Updated: 6 days ago
Local SEO for Doctors
Be available for your patients
The medical profession is one of the professions that do not have a holiday. A doctor is on duty 24 X 7 X 365. An emergency can arise at any time. Hence, he should be available for his patients all the time. Hence, it becomes imperative for a doctor to have a presence in all the local directories irrespective of the industry or sector. Having your name in these directories does not cost you much, but it can save many a life. Imagine the relief on a patient's face when he sees you or speaks to you. He looks upon you as his savior. You should not let him down.
Improve your local presence:
Once you choose the medical profession, there is no looking back. You are available on duty all the time. In fact, the duty would not be the proper term to use. As a doctor, you are passionate about serving people. Hence, make yourself known to everyone in the local neighborhood by improving your local presence. You can announce your services through medical journals or other popular magazines. Seeking local backlinks from prominent establishments in your area can take you to the top of the list. Participate in medical awareness promotional events. In fact, this profession is such that people will come in search of you rather than you seeking their attention. However, it does pay to announce and improve your local presence.
Introduction: SEO is equally important for doctors
The medical profession is the noblest of all professions in this world. Everybody in the world fights for their individual lives. The doctor is the only person who fights the odds to save the lives of others. That makes the doctor second only to the Lord. It is rightly said that God cannot be everywhere, so he created doctors. We shall discuss some aspects necessary for local SEO for doctors.
1. Doctors and SEO:
Do doctors need SEO? Your guess is as good as mine. To put it very simply, the medical profession is after all a profession. The ultimate objective of any profession is to earn a living. It would be naïve on your part to expect doctors to offer their services free. After all they provide services and very essential services at that. Naturally, they need money as well just like you and I do. Therefore, it is imperative for the doctor to advertise his services through the internet. This substantiates the fact that doctors need SEO just like any other business in the world.
Where do you think people search for doctors in an emergency? The Yellow Pages is one place and the internet is the other. Today, you find an overwhelming 97% of consumers searching for local businesses on the internet. Remember the words of Bill Gates, “If you are not online, consider yourself as not in business anymore.” When a person of the stature of Bill Gates makes any statement, you have to sit up and take notice. Doctors have to be accessible on the internet both as a business and service entity.
2. Doctors – Local Search:
The profession is such that people come to the doctor only in a medical emergency. In an emergency, you would like to have access to a doctor as quickly as possible. This signifies the importance of the local search SEO. What is a local search? When you search for a doctor, a cardiologist in Phoenix, you type the words ‘cardiologist in Phoenix’ on the search bar of the internet. The search results show some information as detailed in the image below.
Do you notice anything that stands out in the images? If you look at it closely, you will find the words AD written below the first three search results. Following this, you have a map and three more names. Subsequently, you have a long list of entries. Why do they appear in this particular order? What does each group signify? What is the importance of each category of search results? We shall see these aspects when we discuss the importance of local SEO for doctors.
3. Doctors: Importance of Local Search
· The first category where you had the words AD written below the title stands for ‘Pay per Click’ advertisements (PPC). In effect, they are paid ads. You pay a certain sum of money to have your ads listed in the top three SERP results.
· The second category is Google My Business listing. This is a purely local listing. It lists out your search category specifically in your local area alone. There is a pure geo-search irrespective of what you type on the search bar of the search engine. This result lists the name of three cardiologists in the area you are located at present. Therefore, if you are in a particular locality in Phoenix, it will list out the top three cardiologists in your area and not Phoenix as a whole.
· The third category is the organic search results. This is more of a general result.
When we say that we have to rank high on local search engines, you should aim for the top spot in this organic search results category as well as the GMB listing. However, you have to remember that your name will figure in the listing only if your patient searching for a cardiologist is located in your geographical area.
4. Doctors – How to improve local search
You have just seen the results you obtain when someone searches for a cardiologist in Phoenix. Your endeavor should be to figure in these searches at the top of the table. Let us see how it is possible. You need to take a series of steps. We shall list them out for you to make it easy.
Ensure the GMB listing:
This is the prime requirement for making your presence felt in the search engines. Everyone knows that Google is the most preferred search engine of all. Hence, the presence on the first page of a Google search has more relevance. One of the first things to do is to claim your GMB listing. The best part of this exercise is that it is free. In addition, your listing appears in various other places such as Google Search, Google Maps, and Google.
If you feel that the process of obtaining a GMB listing is tough, please put your fears to rest. It is as easy as checking the blood pressure levels, a task you do hundreds of times a day.
Visit the official website of Google My Business. Fill out the simple interactive application form with the necessary details such as the name of the business, category, address, and contact numbers. Submit the application and wait for the confirmation. It is over. You have claimed your GMB listing. Is it not easy?
You need to add some crisp images to distinguish your listing from the others. Having a placeholder on the map is a great idea to help patients locate you on the go.
The medical profession is different from other professions in many ways. Hence, you might experience special scenarios like the ones we are going to list below.
One location – One doctor:
This is the simplest scenario of all. You are the only doctor in the dispensary. Hence, making your online presence should not be an issue at all. You have the entire GMB page dedicated to you and your practice. It becomes easy for the patients to locate you. You can give your personal mobile number as well for enabling them to contact you easily.
One location – Multiple doctors:
It is very common for many doctors to congregate and establish a polyclinic type of situation where they attend for a few hours to cater to patients. The advantage of the polyclinic is that patients can avail a variety of services under a single roof. It can become difficult for you to create a GMB listing, or is it? No, it is not. You can create an individual page for the practitioner that will contain the contact details of the practice, but the name of the page will be that of the practitioner.
One location – Multiple practices:
This is also a typical scenario in many cities where doctors practicing various streams of medicine such as orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, pathology, etc come under a single roof and establish a mini-hospital type of scenario. There can be different hours of operation for each doctor. Under such circumstances, it is better if each practice has its separate page along with the contact details of the practitioner.
There can be another situation where a single doctor moves to different locations during the course of his / her practice. It can become difficult for such doctors to register their GMB pages as they will be at different locations during the day. They can have multiple pages with the facility to include ‘hours of operation’. The other contact details like name and phone numbers can remain the same. Under such circumstances, it is better to have the individual pages in the name of the practitioner. One must admit that Google is also not very clear on this issue. This is a typical scenario applicable only to the medical profession.
5. Maintain consistency of information:
You need people to locate you in an emergency. Would you be able to do so if you provide inconsistent information? It is compulsory on your part to update the requisite information as and when there is a change. Maintaining consistency is the key to enabling people to locate you on time. A delay of a few minutes in this profession can make the difference between life and death for a patient. Therefore, ensure that your NAP is up to date and found on every page of your website.
6. Fresh and relevant SEO content can do wonders:
Never underestimate the power of SEO content. Fresh content has tremendous value. Every search engine prefers to publish fresh content. Duplicate content is not only inadvisable but can also result in flagging down your rankings.
Describe each of the services you provide on separate pages. Have a short and crisp title and Meta description to give your patients a good idea of what to expect from you. Patients will have lots of questions to ask. Pool in your experience and fill up the FAQ pages with such relevant questions. Having internal links to the services page from the FAQ pages is a sure way of providing the right information.
7. Multiple sites for multiple locations:
You have your principal practice in Phoenix. You might be providing your services at various polyclinics spread all over the city. How do you list all your service areas in a single listing?
It was possible in the earlier days to do so. You could list them on the webpage footer as a reference. Today, the search engines treat this as spam. The best solution is to have a separate webpage for every location. This will enable you to add accurate working hours, unique images, contact information, testimonials from satisfied patients, and so on. If you had a single location, it would have been difficult to include all this information because of the relevancy factor.
8.Social media interaction:
In today’s times, any website is incomplete without the mention of social media. Having a social media presence is always a great advantage. List out your social media links on each webpage. This is one of the easiest ways to improve your local presence. Practically, every person in the world has at least one social media account if not more.
You will be able to connect to your patients better. This is a great place to promote your medical events. Sharing information about such events is easy over social media. Join select social media groups that have only doctors as members. It can be tremendously useful for you to improve your knowledge as well.
9. Reviews work here as efficiently:
There cannot be a better assurance to any patient than seeing a fellow patient write positive reviews about the doctor. Personal experience matters a lot. Patients do go through the reviews before choosing to consult the specialists. They might not have time to do so in an emergency, but reviews do play a great part when patients search for doctors to seek second opinions.
You can ask your patients to provide positive reviews. You have hospitals and other websites that provide positive feedback. Medical review websites like WebMD are also useful.
Now, that you have seen the importance of local SEO for doctors, you will feel the need to have a dedicated website in your name. Creating an effective SEO marketing campaign should not be a problem at all. Following the above steps can easily ensure that your website ranks among the top in the SERPs.
Does a doctor need SEO? Coming back to the topic, we had said earlier that people revere doctors as next to God. This profession is such that people place great faith in their capabilities. You are the only person they can turn to in an emergency. Hence, it becomes imperative to be accessible to them at all times. It is said, “A doctor and soldier are on duty at all times.” How true it is! An effective campaign in local SEO for doctors can see your profession attain a high rank on the local search SEO.
Need Some more help regarding SEO for your business? Talk to the experts at Granddad Communications.