The patient journey begins online. So what does that mean for the healthcare industry? If that’s where patients are searching, it means that’s where you need to be found. Consider these statistics:
- About 7% of daily searches on Google are health related, according to Google Health Vice President David Feinberg, MD, as reported by The Telegraph. With over 70,000 searches every minute, that means that there are over one billion health-related searches every day. Prospective patients trust Google to provide answers to health-related questions and find providers of specific medical services.
- We also know that most patients live within 8.5 miles of their routine or urgent care providers.
- According to Google, 76% of smartphone users who search for things nearby visit a business within 24 hours.
Put those three knowledge nuggets together and you realize that every day, hundreds of patients are nearby, searching on the internet, with the intention to act quickly. It becomes quite obvious how important local SEO (search engine optimization) is to your business.
How Does Local Search Differ from Organic (Traditional) SEO
Local SEO has a geographical component that organic SEO does not have. Traditional SEO revolves around a website. Search engines are looking for relevant and trusted content online that leads to that digital website. For local SEO, search engines are seeking out relevant and trusted locations. For brick and mortar locations, such as doctors’ offices, treatment centers, hospitals, etc. where a patient must physically visit to receive a service, local SEO is critical to being found online. If they don’t find you, they’re going to your competition.
So How Do You Gain Visibility in Local Search Results?
From your website to local business listings to online reviews, there are many elements that affect your local SEO. Here are some of the most important:
Local Listings – You must also make sure your local business listings are correct across the internet. Creating quality content, like adding a blog to your website will help Google to see you as an authority in your industry and boost your SEO rankings as well.
Website SEO – Knowing how to optimize your healthcare website for local search takes research and experience. From researching the best keywords to behind-the-scenes (technical) SEO like proper, headings, meta titles, and descriptions, and creating backlinks, optimizing a website can be a little daunting for SEO novices.
User Experience – (UX) is extremely important to Google as well, so having a user-friendly site with clear, easy-to-use navigation, quality content like pages that answer important questions patients might have, to fast page load times (53% of mobile website visitors will leave your site if it takes more than three seconds to load), will all ensure a better position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
User-Friendly Mobile Site – Don’t forget the same thing applies to your mobile site and with more people now using mobile over desktop computers, it’s absolutely critical. Google knows this and rewards mobile-friendly sites.
Online Reviews – Positive word of mouth is extremely important to your success as well. Prospective patients will research online, read reviews, and visit multiple sites to compare providers, so encourage your patients to leave reviews.