Local SEO can be challenging enough for medical practices in major cities across the United States and competitive local landscapes. However, adding multiple locations to the mix can make the overall local SEO program even more complex.
In any form of SEO, organization is essential. That is, an intelligently-organized web presence that combines the right ingredients is vital for a healthy and thriving multi-local SEO campaign.
When it to comes to multi-location SEO for medical practices, efforts must be organized based on some of the following cornerstones in order to succeed.
Developing a Website Content Strategy
The structure and navigation of a site’s content influences not just usability but also SEO. With the sitemap serving as the navigational blueprints behind a site, each URL (web page) serves a purpose in establishing both keyword and geographic relevancy.
How pages are named, structured, and linked together contributes to how well they support the site’s rankings for specific keywords in each geographic market. And there are various ways to achieve this.
A classic content strategy for multi-location medical practices is to create dedicated pages for each individual address or location. In this “Areas We Serve” section of the site, each page clearly communicates the underlying geographic association of the practice. As a result, the site will have greater potential to rank in each market.
Lastly, the content strategy of a site should not overlook each service provided. Also best achieved via dedicated URLs, describing each service with well-optimized pages is the essence of SEO best practice.
Leveraging Schema Markup
Incorporating Schema markup into an on-page SEO/content strategy will take a practice’s ranking potential to entirely new level. In basic terms, Schema uses special HTML tags to define pieces of content on a page (i.e. name of business/product, address, phone number, image, quantity of products available, description, etc.)
Creating Google My Business Profiles for Each Location
Just as important as the content on a site is establishing dedicated Google My Business profiles for each location. Because Google often displays the local 3-pack (with map) for geo-related searches, each Google My Business page will be an equally vital asset to the optimized pages on your site.
Take the time to build and verify Google My Business pages for each location. In addition to ensuring each practice’s Google My Business page is fully populated and verified, make sure each page is properly linked to and from the site (preferably with each corresponding location page.)
Building Citations & Generating Links
Now comes the more long-term and ongoing efforts of building authority in you medical practice: building links and citations. Both “links” (or backlinks) and “citations” are variables for which Google uses to determine the credibility and popularity of a business and its website.
Links pointing to your practice’s site from other related health, medical, or locally-relevant sites are like votes of popularity that define your site’s domain authority, or potential to rank in Google search. Common sources of links include: directories, blogs, affiliation networks, and membership sites. The stronger and more reputable the site supplying the link (i.e. a membership listing on PlasticSurgery.org,) the more domain authority (or local SEO value) the link can offer.
Citations serve a similar purpose but are ranking factors centric to Google’s local listings. Citations are mentions of a business’ name, address, and phone number. Also common on directories and affiliation sites, Google looks at the volume and the accuracy of a business’ citations to determine its local relevancy and credibility. So not only do you want proliferate your medical practice across as many quality directories and sites as possible, but you also want to ensure all of your listings are accurate and consistently the same. Even the slightest inconsistency (like not mentioning the suite of your office’s address) can hinder your medical practice’s SEO efforts.
Earning & Soliciting Positive Reviews
Another very important variable that impacts both SEO and the underlying conversion potential of your business are reviews. In fact, having a high volume of 5-star reviews on your practice’s Google My Business pages can make the different between a user clicking your listing or your competitor’s, even if you rank at the bottom of the local 3-pack listings.
Beyond Google My Business, reviews can offer a layer of authority to your listings on Yelp.com, HealthGrades.com, and other social media platforms and web directories. For many medical practice keywords, Yelp pages themselves can rank highly in the Google search results. As a result, earning good reviews on various web properties associated with your practice can profoundly influence your web marketing efforts and your practice’s online reputation as a whole.
Soliciting positive reviews requires a creative approach of encouraging happy clients to visit these web properties and leave a review. That encouragement may come as an incentive or ethical bargain. But think of it this way: if your practice earned three positive reviews on Yelp, Google My Business, and HealthGrades.com from 10 different clients, then your practice can realize a significant boost for SEO as well as overall click-throughs and lead value associated with your practices’ listings.
Need help with local SEO or your overall healthcare digital marketing strategy? Give our team a call today at (404) 334-7993 for a free consultation.
Local Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising can have a negative stigma for small businesses. As many businesses try their hand with Google AdWords, the common perception after a few weeks of advertising is that local PPC is both costly and incredibly competitive, especially when bidding against big brands in competitive keyword categories.
While this can be true for some industries where the popular keywords have an average Cost Per Click (CPC) of over $5-6/click. But the fact of the matter is, local PPC advertising (when executed properly) provides highly granular control over the targeted users and locations that will trigger your local PPC ad to display – and of course, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
The most important aspects of a successful local PPC strategy is choosing the most relevant keyword phrases to bid on, as well as organizing your PPC campaign for success. Below, we’re going shed light on some of the nuances of local PPC advertising and how you can make it a highly profitable tactic in a well-rounded local Internet marketing strategy.
Local PPC for Small Businesses
Local PPC can have profound impact on the growth of a local small business. Because local PPC can be set to target only users in a business’s geographic markets, the quality of click traffic can lead to high conversion rates and a significant return on ad spend.
To further illustrate this point about local PPC, let’s pretend your small business is located in Atlanta and you service and repair luxury automobiles. Local PPC can offer a great opportunity because if someone located in Atlanta or surrounding metropolitan cities is looking for “Mercedes Repair,” your paid search ad can be set to display and you have a greater chance of landing a quality lead.
It’s important to drive home the notion that if someone in Scottsdale, AZ or Macon, GA for that matter, did the same exact search query, your ad would not display because those searchers are not in the pre-determined geographic location that your PPC campaign is targeting. With Google AdWords, you can set your ads to show in specific cities, counties, states, or even radius targeting around desired location.
Is Local PPC a Viable Option for Your Business?
Before you go diving into a local PPC campaign, you should take the time to conduct an analysis of your competition and your entire local search marketing landscape. Conduct some simple keyword research using the Google Keyword Planner tool to see what keywords might be right for your business. Assess the volume, average CPC, and level of competitiveness of these keywords. Next, visit Google and conduct a searches of these keyword phrases on your own to see what your competitors are doing.
In the example below, this small business owner was assessing the local PPC landscape for “alternative medicine,” which turns out to be a fairly competitive keyword phrase.
Now as a small business owner, you need to determine what a click (potential customer) is worth to you. Is spending $4 per click worth reaching a potential customer who could possibly spend hundreds or thousands of dollars with your business in the coming months and years?
That is the type of question that small business owners need to ask themselves before starting a local PPC campaign. How much are you willing to invest per click in order to attract more local customers?
Socially-Integrated Local PPC Ads
As you might have noticed, Google has been making significant changes this year to its local search engine results page (SERP). Google has done away with its Google Places local business listings platform and integrated them into Google+.
Google+ Local is a game-changer for the local search results and for local SEO general. Google’s infusion of social search can be found in both the local organic search listings and in the local PPC advertisements. Google’s +1 can be seen throughout the search results in both areas of the SERP.
Google has made it so users of the Google+ network will see +1 recommendations from other users in their Circles (friends, family, coworkers, etc.) in the paid and organic search results. This gives search a more relevant result for local users because they’re receiving recommendations from users they trust – even before they click on an ad or search listing.
As you can imagine with these +1s showing up in local PPC and local organic search, Google+ has opened up a huge opportunity for local businesses to capitalize on creative and socially-infused local SEO strategies to help grow their business.
With this in mind, it’s important for local businesses to fully understand the local search landscape to determine which avenues are the best for their local search marketing budgets. A well-rounded local campaign that has a balance of Local PPC, local organic SEO and social media marketing is an ideal recipe for success, but that’s up to you to determine.
Most smart local business marketers understand the necessity of not only attracting local customers, but also cultivating a positive local reputation to succeed. In today’s digital age, the first stop for many consumers is Google search. Ensuring that your business is well-positioned in the Google local search results is essential to attract new customers, establish an online reputation, and leverage a local competitive advantage.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your business’ web presence in local search results. While not all of these strategies are focal to local SEO, each of these strategies can help increase your company’s search visibility
Keyword Optimize Your Site
For those experienced in local SEO best practices, keyword optimization is a no-brainer. If you want to attract customers in your local area, you should be sure to optimize your website with geographic modifiers based on your business’ location.
For example if you operate a small business that offers local search marketing services in Atlanta, GA, you might optimize your website for the keyword phrase “Atlanta SEO Agency” to establish proper keyword and geographic relevancy.
Analyze Your Local SEO Competition
Conduct a thorough assessment of your local marketplace as well as an evaluation of what keywords (if any) your local competitors are optimizing their websites for. Assessing your competitors’ local SEO strategies can provide invaluable insights into how you better optimize your site. Analyzing your local competition can also provide a barometer of what NOT to do when optimizing your website for local organic SEO.
Create Local Business Listings
Google, Bing, and Yahoo! offer free local business listings that you can establish (and optimize) for the benefit of local search SEO. Your local business listings contribute to greater visibility in local searches on specific keyword targets associated with your company.
In addition to creating local business listing for search engine visibility, getting listed aids in building an array of online citations for your business, which are also Google local ranking factors in the 3-pack. We suggest creating profiles on sites like Yelp, YP, Merchant Circle, Superpages, Manta, etc. to help validate your business and boost your company’s search rankings.
Earn Positive Reviews on Local Business Listings
Particularly with respect to your business’s Google listing, earning customer reviews influence both SEO and your the local online reputation of your brand. In addition to Google, pointing happy customers to your Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo! listings offer greater credibility with the search engines.
Getting your customers to leave reviews can be as easy as just asking, but don’t be afraid to get creative and establish certain discounts in return – their effort can be worth incentives for some business looking to employ a review generation program. In the example of above, review generation can be a pivotal strategy for Google Maps marketing, especially when your business ranks under your competitors.
Leverage Local PPC Advertising
Local Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising using Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter is one of the most effective and efficient means of driving highly-qualified search traffic. Local PPC ads can be precisely-targeted to only local search engine users in your area. Because local PPC advertising only reaches people you’re targeting, it provides a high success rate and return on investment.
Engage Local Users on Social Media
Social media platforms are a great tool that can help increase the brand impressions for your small business. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can help your web content go viral and in turn increase the link popularity of your website and your business.
Establishing a social media presence and actively engaging with users is easy, and creating accounts is 100% free on most of these platforms. Like all social media outlets, staying active and engaging other users is key to a successful strategy that will help fuel local SEO and search marketing as a whole.
These local SEO strategies can provide a great starting point for your local search marketing strategy and can greatly benefit the overall success of your organic search optimization efforts.
On-site optimization is the first critical step to achieving better rankings in the search results for your targeted keyword phrases. On-site SEO is just as it sounds. It’s work that is done on your website – particularly in the website content – that helps make your website more relevant for your primary keyword targets.
While there are a number of other on-site variables that contribute to organic SEO, there are three primary elements that are easy SEO wins. These on-site SEO elements are:
- Page Title (Meta Title)
- Meta Description
- Page Copy (Text on the Page)
Optimizing all three of these elements is SEO best practices to achieving organic better rankings and improving your business’s Google Maps marketing strategy.
In the rest of this blog post, we’re going to outline each of the three on-site SEO elements and how to properly optimize them for the search engines.
On-site SEO: Page Titles (Meta Title)
The first on-site SEO element we’ll discuss is the Page Title or Meta Title of your web page. The title tag is the first thing the search engine spider sees when it comes to any of your web pages. The title tag tells the search engine spider and your site visitors what your web page is all about – it’s also the most prominently shown text on the search engine results page.
In organic SEO terms, the Page Title tag is the most critical factor in establishing relevancy for your targeted SEO keywords. Because of this, it’s highly important to craft balanced, well-optimized Meta Titles that include targeted keywords for the search engine spider – and that are also easy to read for user benefits. Below we outline several keys to consider when crafting well-optimized page titles.
- To properly optimize your website to achieve better SEO rankings, each web page on your site should have a unique meta Page Title. On many websites, particularly those built on content management systems (CMS), it is easy to have automatically generated meta titles that are consistent across every web page on the website. Be sure to have a custom, keyword optimized title tag for every page on your site for maximum organic SEO benefits.
- Your Meta Title Tag should accurately describe the content on each of your web pages. By doing so, it lets search engine users – and search spiders – know what the page is about, and is one of the reasons why a unique page title is key.
- Most search engines like Google only display 60-70 characters of your title tag, so it’s important to keep your page titles concise and to the point with your keywords.
- Your primary keyword phrase that you are targeting should always be used in an exact phrase match at the beginning your title tag. This is very important for organic SEO and will maximize your website’s potential to rank well in the search results.
- When separating keywords phrasing in your meta page titles, be sure to use basic characters like commas, hyphens, or pipes (‘|’) and avoid using special characters that can waste character space.
On-site SEO: Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are short summaries of your website’s pages that display below your website URL in the search engine results pages. Although meta descriptions aren’t visible to users on a webpage, and they do not have a direct impact on how well your website ranks in the search results, they are still a critically important for getting users to click on your website from the SERP.
Good Meta descriptions should be informative about the content of the page, and often times include a call to action. Here are some on-site organic SEO tips to keep in mind when writing good Meta description tags for maximum organic SEO value:
- Strong Meta descriptions should be between 150 and 200 characters long. Google and the other search engines display 160 characters.
- Your meta descriptions should be creative and compelling to increase click through rates. Meta descriptions should also include calls to action and promote why a user would want to click on your page to see what you have to offer.
- Include your targeted keywords early in your meta description tag. It’s also good practice to include variations of your targeted keywords later on in the meta description.
On-site SEO: On-page Content
On-page content is the actual text and images that site visitors read while visiting your web pages. So it’s only common sense that your web pages have well-written, well-optimized valuable content for your users to read. Publishing content with generic, fluffy on-page content can have negative implications for your organic SEO rankings.
Producing well-optimized on-page copy isn’t as easy as it sounds. Good SEO copywriters know that writing well-optimized copy is a balancing act of getting your message across creatively while sprinkling in your targeted keyword phrases throughout the copy. For proper on-site optimization, your website copy should be optimized for conversions have value for your users and compel them to to take action. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind while writing on-page copy for maximum organic SEO benefits:
- Moderate usage of strong tags on your targeted keyword phrases is a local SEO best practice. This lets search engine spiders know that this particular phrase is more important than other phrases on your web pages.
- Logical use of header tags throughout your web pages is also a good practice. Make sure you properly utilize the power of H1’s, H2’s, and H3’s throughout your pages. The H1 tag should be used as the primary title of a page and H2’s and h3’s are supportive sub-headers. Be sure to include your targeted keyword phrases into these headers for maximum SEO benefits.
- Your web copy should include sporadic use of your primary keyword target(s) throughout your web page copy. Be sure not to overuse your keyword targets (keyword stuffing) but mentioning your keyword target(s) early in your web content is essential for search engine optimization gains.
- Depending on the nature of your industry, competition and topic of the web page, your content should be between 300-800 words per page. In general, the more valuable on-page content you can include on your web pages, the more respect you’ll gain from the search engines for being a relevant source of the keywords that you’re targeting.
With all the changes to Google search, it’s important to have a solid SEO strategy for your website. On-site SEO is only the first step in a successful organic SEO campaign. Proper search engine optimization requires both on-site and off-site work on an ongoing basis. Off-site SEO work, such as link building and content marketing, are an essential ingredient in achieving top SEO rankings.
To learn more about our organic SEO best practices, contact us today for a free assessment.