So, if you can’t get enough patients through your door, there is a good chance your company has a poor local online presence. Not enough patients come – they go to your competitors instead, simply because they found them first after doing a local search.
But all is not lost.
Related: 5 Marketing Tips to Build a Practice Without Breaking the Bank
With a well-designed search engine optimization (SEO) campaign in healthcare, you can improve the digital presence of your medical practice and attract more patients.
Below are some of the best ways to use local SEO and get more patients through your door.
1. Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing
All local businesses, including healthcare providers, should claim their Google My Business (GMB) listing. GMB not only has a significant impact on search engine ranking, but is also one of the first things potential patients see after a local search query (Google’s Local Pack).
Fortunately, applying for your GMB account is easy and free.2 After you sign up and claim your listing, you will need to provide the following information:
• Name of the practice
• Telephone number
• Opening hours
• Photos of the practice
• Brief description of the practice
The idea is to bring the GMB list to life by providing full information about the practice to potential patients. To optimize a GMB entry, update it regularly and answer any questions.
What about multiple locations?
Even if you have a main phone line for taking calls and booking patient appointments, each office location should have its own Google My Business listing.
Otherwise, when a patient searches for your secondary locations (satellite offices) they will likely find the google listing for the main location. This can lead to patients traveling to the wrong practice or unsure which practice location to go to.
Related: Why It Is Important To Have A Marketing Plan
2. Build a strong content marketing strategy
About 89% of healthcare companies use content marketing to attract potential patients and grow their practice.3 This trend comes as no surprise because when it comes to medical SEO, there is no substitute for quality, relevant content. It is also important that patients have access to accurate information.
Aside from being valuable to your readers, relevant content is a gold mine of information and keywords that search engines can use to rank your website. Additionally, strong content helps establish the authority of your health practice.
The easiest way to start your content marketing strategy is with a blog.
Create well-written, lengthy content such as blog posts, case studies, white papers, etc. that is important to your target audience. Research relevant topics that resonate the most by using keywords your patients use to find answers to their health questions.
For example, if you have a GP practice that frequently orders a lipid panel as part of a routine blood test during a physical exam, consider posting a blog post on “Why did my doctor order a lipid panel?”
Related: How to Expand Your Practice Using Instagram and Pinterest
3. Encourage patient reviews
Online reviews have become a non-negotiable part of health marketing. With 84% of patients using online reviews to rate healthcare professionals, encourage your patients to rate your practice 4.5
As mentioned earlier, the patient’s journey begins with researching online as people want to find the right practice for their needs. Potential patients will look at reviews of your practice to help them make a decision.
Simply ask your current patients to leave feedback on their experience in your practice for reviews. Encourage them to leave reviews on your GMB profile, Yelp account, etc.
Once you have reviews for your practice, make sure you respond to them, regardless of whether they are positive or negative.
Many practices use SMS apps or email to communicate with patients about appointment reminders and other updates.6 These can be great tools for follow-up communication after a visit, to get patient feedback, and to request reviews. Just make sure you share the link for the website that you want to leave a review on.
4. Optimize your website
Approximately 90% of visitors left a website that is loading slowly, nearly 80% left due to unresponsive issues, and 70% due to poor navigation, among other usability issues.7 Your health website is generally the first port of call for your brand for many of your patients. Therefore it has to be visually appealing and optimized for usability.
In terms of design, your website needs to exude professionalism and competence. So invest in developing a user-friendly and informative website. Visitors need to have a good experience navigating your website and be able to find the information they are looking for.
For example, your medical website should contain important information such as the clinic’s address, phone number, and opening hours. In addition, your website must be optimized for mobile browsers by integrating a responsive design that automatically adapts to the browser used.
Local SEO can improve your online presence and help your practice attract more patients. The local SEO strategies outlined above will help you get on the right track.
1. Think with Google. The digital journey to wellness: hospital selection. Accessed September 7, 2021. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-strategies/search/the-digital-journey-to-wellness-hospital-selection/
2. Google My Business Help. How to add or claim your company profile on Google. Accessed on September 7, 2021. https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=de
3. Skinner J. The State of Healthcare Content Marketing: The Era of Forced Evolution. September 8, 2020. Accessed September 7, 2020. https://truenorthcustom.com/blog/the-state-of-healthcare-content-marketing/
4. Online reputation management for healthcare professionals. Statistics on doctor and health reports. May 29, 2021. Accessed September 7, 2021. https://visual.ly/community/Infographics/health/doctor-healthcare-review-statistics
5. Tornetta J. How to Ask Patients for Personal Reviews. July 8, 2021. Accessed September 7, 2021. https://www.physicianspractice.com/view/how-to-ask-patients-for-reviews-in-person
6. Tornetta J. Tips for SMS patients. August 5, 2021. Accessed September 7, 2021. https://www.physicianspractice.com/view/tips-for-texting-patients
7. Fitzgerald A. 25+ Web Design Statistics That Must Know In 2021. December 2019. Retrieved September 7, 2021. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/web-design-stats-for-2020