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10 Local SEO Strategies For Doctors And Dentists

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Do you want to increase search visibility for your practice? Here are 10 essential local SEO strategies for doctors and dentists.

Google contributes a large percentage of traffic to many healthcare websites.

For doctor appointment bookings, 57% of patients start by using online search. And when patients are searching for a healthcare facility on Google, they genuinely mean business.

SimilarWeb finds that 85% of the traffic to ClevelandClinic.org, 83% of the traffic to HopkinsMedicine.org, and 87% of the traffic to MayoClinic.org comes from organic search.

But ranking on Google isn’t as simple as creating a website. The online world has grown way beyond that now.

Patients today search for doctors in their vicinity. That means you need to rank for your local audience to generate appreciable traffic in your clinic.

This is why local SEO has become necessary for all modern dental and medical practices that want to harness the internet’s potential and use it to grow their profits.

In this article, you will find 10 local SEO strategies that can help you get found by an audience that matters the most to your practice.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a type of SEO that helps your website appear higher in the search results for location-specific searches.

For example, a Nashville-based dental practice ranking for searches like “dentists in Nashville”.

Sometimes patients also search with key phrases like “dentist near me”. In that case, search engines use the searchers’ IP address or geolocation to connect them with relevant and nearby businesses.

Local healthcare SEO is a powerful tool that helps your medical practice gain substantial online visibility. If done correctly, it can help you get among the top-3 “pack” and help you win the search results even if your website does not appear on the first page.

Why Should Doctors And Dentists Consider Local SEO?

The first thing most patients turn to when they feel like visiting a doctor is, ironically, the internet.

If someone feels they need to see a dentist, they wouldn’t open the yellow pages and search the “D” section of the directory for the local dentist. Instead, they will turn to Google, or some other search engine, type in a key phrase like “dentist near me”, and book an appointment with whoever they like best.

That’s the approach most modern patients adopt. And practices that wish to maintain or increase their foot traffic need to adjust according to this approach so they could be among those that appear in response to location-specific and relevant searches.

Local SEO helps make that possible.

By optimizing your Google Business Profile to rank for relevant local searches, you can diversify your traffic acquisition channels and be where your customers are looking for you.

Once you rank for relevant local searches, your patients will know you as an option they have. And given other factors are met, they would be more likely to reach out and book an appointment.

Increasing foot traffic to your medical practice is just one of the ways local SEO contributes to your revenue.

It also helps you save on costly online ads, which reduces your marketing spend and eventually pushes your bottom line.

Local SEO also allows you to be where your peers are and compete with them on a level playing field. By ranking side by side with your competitors, you would be more likely to get a share of their prospective patients, which would be a million times better than giving up all your online patients to them by not being found in the local search results.

All the benefits that local SEO brings to your practice are increased appointments at your practice and more revenue. Let’s talk about some top strategies to help you get started with local SEO.

10 Practical Local SEO Strategies

After reading all the benefits of local SEO, you may be inclined to assume that it is expensive, time-consuming, and tedious, like regular SEO. However, that’s not the case.

It is true that certain local SEO factors require time and dedication to generate truly viable results but getting started is much simpler.
Here are top local SEO strategies that might help you find profit-driving online visibility:

1. List Your Practice On Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, is the source of local online visibility.

Google Business Profile helps small businesses find exposure and showcase their services or products to the interested audience. It offers all the tools you need to create an optimized, accurate, and descriptive listing that helps your patients learn what they need to know about your practice.

You need to have your practice listed on Google Business Profile to leverage local SEO benefits.

Sometimes Google automatically creates business listings on GBP. In that case, you would need to claim that listing, verify it, and check it for accuracy to ensure it does not drive your prospective patients away by disseminating incorrect information.

Also, adding the appointment booking link to your Google Business Profile can instantly increase your appointment bookings as one of LoudGrowth’s clients saw a 44% increase after adding the appointment booking link.

2. Double Down On Keyword Research

Keyword research is the heart of local SEO as it tells you what keywords to optimize with so that the search engines can link relevant queries to your listing and potentially drive patients to it.

Local keywords are distinct from regular keywords as they are marked by location-specific phrases like “Dentist near me” or “Pediatrician Nashville”.

To start with local keyword research, you first need to be intuitive and get into your patient’s mind.

What do they think when they are looking for a doctor? What are the words that they may use to search for a doctor?

Brainstorm a bunch of key phrases and create a list.

Once you have a list, find keyword research tools, and search the phrases from your list.

Shortlist the keywords relevant to your phrases and have the right balance between search volume and competition.

It is important to note that the search volume for local key phrases is usually low. Therefore, don’t hesitate to shortlist relatively smaller SV keywords.

You can also use keyword tools to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. These words are proven to connect searching patients with practices like yours. Therefore, they can also help you find the right kind of visibility.

3. Capitalize On Google Posts

Google Posts is a free tool that offers local businesses a fantastic opportunity to engage and communicate with their audience.

Google Posts allow you to display up to ten of your most recent posts, which, according to some sources, stay live for up to 7 days. You can use this space for announcements, offers, and to promote your services, and explain your features to the audience.

You can display textual content and images both through Google Posts and end it with a CTA that links to your local landing pages.

Pro tip: make sure to use UTM parameters so you can track how much traffic is coming from your Google Posts.

Google Posts are designed to give quick information to prospective patients and convince them to take the desired action.

These can be utilized for many different post ideas such as offers and specials, products and services, events, business updates, etc.

A study conducted on 600 GBP profiles revealed service and discount-related posts bring the highest conversions in comparison to other ideas posts.

It is critical to have a proactive Google Posts strategy because this space is to communicate recent messages with prospective patients, you will need to work on not only sharing Google Posts but also updating them as the situation changes.

For example, your practice is offering free flu shots close to flu season, and you are promoting that via Google Posts. Once flu season passes, you will need to replace this post with something else since outdated content can tarnish your reputation.

To leverage its power and use them to drive results, you will need to write crisp, concise, and to-the-point copy that clearly communicates your value.

To leverage its power and use them to drive results, you will need to write crisp, concise, and to-the-point copy that clearly communicates your value.

Also, keep in mind that though Google Posts have a 1500-character limit, only a few words are visible above the fold. So you have to concentrate as much information as you can in that space.

Google Posts come at zero cost and offer an excellent opportunity for you to engage with your audience and promote your service. However, you will need a verified Google Business Profile to be able to leverage this tool.

4. Health And Safety Attributes

Ever since the pandemic, people want to know the health and safety practices of places before they visit them.

Therefore, Google has included health and safety attributes in GBP listings. Apart from these essential attributes, there are other information nuggets that you can use to be more intuitive and give your prospective patients the information they need.

Apart from the health and safety attributes like temperature checks, mask requirements, staff safety precautions, etc., you can include other attributes as well, like whether patients need to book an appointment beforehand or can they get a walk-in appointment.

These attributes offer peace of mind and trust and give the prospects the information they need without them having to look for it.
You can add the attributes directly to your listing through your GBP.

5. NAP And Office Hours Consistency

According to a survey, 62% of respondents said that they use GBP listings to find business contact numbers and addresses.

This indicates that perhaps the number one reason people turn to Google for local businesses is to find out about their office hours, contact number, and address.

We can safely conclude what could happen if any of these is incorrect.

The prospect would be annoyed and likely to leave a negative review.

Imagine your office hour is listed as 9 am to 5 pm from Mon to Fri, as it is by default sometimes. But you practice from 1 pm to 4 pm on alternate weekdays.

Can you imagine the frustration of someone who saw the office hours on Google and dropped by your practice only to find out the timing was incorrect?

Again, imagine the frustration of someone who calls your practice using the contact number from Google but ends up trying for hours without a response.

These instances are likely to lead to a negative review on your GBP listing, which is something we have to avoid at all costs.

Therefore, you have to ensure that your office hours, name, address, and phone number (NAP) are all listed accurately on your GBP.

You also have to ensure that this information is consistent across all your customer touchpoints because even minor inconsistencies can lead to significant downfalls.

6. Local Landing Pages

When doing local SEO, many people are confused about whether they should link the call to action (CTA) to the website home page or have separate landing pages for each distinct keyword.

In this case, the most viable option is to link the CTA on your GBP listing to your local, keyword-relevant landing page.

You can use this landing page as the next step to your communication with the prospective patients and dive into more detailed information concerning the keyword.

For example, your keyword is “Pediatrician Boston”.

You can create a landing page that responds to the common pain points people in Boston have that would concern a pediatrician and communicate clearly how you can solve the problem.

Think about your user’s problems and try to address them on your landing page. Use clear and to-the-point headlines and arrange your textual information to keep the readers engaged.

Talk about benefits, not the features of your service, and include attractive, appealing images across your page to keep the audience engaged.
Also, make sure to optimize your page with the right keywords that are relevant to the service you are talking about on the page.

Try to include social proof, like testimonials and reviews, and trust signals like awards and certifications on the page to make your users trust your practice.

Place a CTA strategically on the page. Choose one action and stick to it if you want your readers to book an appointment, make your CTA “Book Your Appointment” or something like that. Don’t use a mix of CTAs and avoid the paradox of choice.

Embed a dynamic map at the bottom of the landing page, making it easier for the searchers to locate your facility.

Finally, don’t forget to optimize your landing pages for mobile users because half of all healthcare website visits come from mobile phones.

7. Local Link Building

Backlinks are your website’s URLs that are placed within the content of other websites. And the process of acquiring these links is called link building.

Google favors websites with a high volume of backlinks because it sees such websites as trustworthy and authoritative.

People seek out and get backlinks from relevant high authority websites for regular SEO. But for local SEO, you would need to get links from local entities so Google can trust your presence in that locality and rank your website for searches coming from there.

The process of acquiring links from your local websites is called local link building, and there are many strategies through which you can get a link from local websites.

You can create helpful content for doctors and dentists and get it posted on your community blog with a link back to your website.

If your practice makes enough revenue, you can sponsor a local school team or students from the local school or college and get a link from these institutions.

You can also join your local chamber of commerce and post in their news section to get a link from there.

Most cities have local newspapers. You can create PR content for these newspapers, offer advice, or write articles for them and link back to your website. These websites often enjoy high domain authority, so you can get valuable links from them.

You can also find local business directories and get your practices included in them to get another backlink.

These are just a few of the many local backlinking strategies. If you can get creative, the sky’s the limit.

8. Make Good Use Of GBP Calls And Messages

Businesses listed on GBP can get direct calls from google searchers.

Therefore, if you have included your phone number on GBP with the intent to receive calls and messages from your online audience, make sure you have someone to receive and respond to them.

Not responding to internet-driven calls and messages can lead to a bad customer experience, which can manifest as negative reviews and lousy promotion, which can be detrimental to your practice.

9. Local Reviews

Patients want to make sure the person they are going to consult is good at what they do. More importantly, they want the peace of mind that the facility is up to their standards and does not have a bad reputation. Due to these reasons, 98% of people read online reviews.

Therefore, the majority of healthcare consumers say online reviews influence their decision when selecting a healthcare service provider.

Therefore, you need to ensure your GBP listing features enough diverse reviews to win the prospective patients” trust.

Getting reviews, however, is not as straightforward as you may want it to be. Fully 74% of consumers write online reviews.

People would love to leave a bad review, but they rarely go out of their way to leave a good one.

Therefore, you will have to pursue positive reviews for the sake of your profit.

What you can do, in this case, is to follow up every patient’s appointment with a request to leave feedback on your GBP listing.

Make sure to go through all your reviews and remove any personally identifiable information that people may have shared accidentally in their reviews.

Also, while responding to positive reviews is important, address the negative reviews as well so the rest of the world knows you prioritize your patients” experience and work to make it a good one.

10. Multiple Professional Listings At One Address

Google allows you to share an address with various other businesses sharing the same location and have an independent GBP for your business, given that your business is distinct and has its own Tax Identification Code.

So, you can create an independent listing if you have a clinic located within an office building that houses many other businesses.

However, if you have a large hospital with several smaller clinics, it might become challenging to create an independent listing for each hospital.

Because you need to have distinct businesses, each of which files its taxes independently and has its own phone numbers to create a different listing for businesses operating from a similar location.

Final Words

Local SEO can unlock a new traffic channel for your practice. By helping you rank for local prospective patients, it can allow you to generate more bookings and consequently increase profit.

However, before you can enjoy its benefits, you will have to do the hard work of creating and maintaining a healthy Google Business Profile listing.

Once you have an optimized GBP listing, you will be more likely to harness the potential of SEO and garner more appointments for your practice.

If you are interested in original article by Atul Jindal you can find it here

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Google: Don’t Publish Empty Or Blank Pages

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An SEO asked Google’s John Mueller if it is okay or even a good idea to publish blank or empty pages so Google can find those URLs? John Mueller said no, don’t publish empty pages to the web.

The question was “is it a good idea to make a website live even if there is no content on some pages?” I am trying to think why this would be considered a good idea? I am thinking maybe he wants to jump start indexing by feeding Google a URL, even though that page has no content? I mean, that probably will backfire being that if Google sees not content, Google might decide not to check that page again for a while (even classify it as duplicate).

John Mueller of Google responded on Twitter saying “Just make the pages live that have content? It would be annoying as a user to get promised while browsing your site and just not get it. Build it out when you have time, but don’t just publish empty pages.”

So no, don’t publish empty pages as an SEO strategy or any type of strategy…

If you are interested in original article by Barry Schwartz you can find it here

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3 SEO tools to build for your clients in Google Data Studio

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Creating technical SEO auditing, keyword research, and link building tracking tools is easy with Google Data Studio. Learn how here.

With the wide variety of clients out there, you’re bound to run into the occasional DIY marketer. These marketers prefer that you teach them how to be self-sufficient rather than rely on you for every little question.

These clients can be a blessing but can also be dangerous. The challenging aspect of client management is finding the balance between empowering them to get the data they want without feeling like they don’t need you.

That’s where Google Data Studio tools come into play.

Data Studio is typically used for general reporting. The real beauty of Data Studio is that it can be used for so much more.

By creating tools for clients, you enable them to do the actual research it takes to accomplish SEO while still providing that much-needed maintenance and guidance that comes with experience.

This article illustrates free dashboard templates you can use with your clients.

How to change the branding

Before we dive into the specifics, you may want to update the branding and logo of your dashboard. This process could not be easier.

Right-click on your logo, and you will see a menu appear. Near the bottom, select “Extract theme from image.” You will then be presented with three different color scheme options. Select whichever one you feel best represents your brand.

This will automatically change most of the colors and get you most of the way to the finish line of designing in your Data Studio tool. However, there may still be a few charts or texts you’ll need to update.

1. Technical SEO auditing

Tracking technical SEO efforts can be difficult to visualize. Sure, you can track it in a spreadsheet, but that isn’t client-friendly. 

For years, SEOs have attempted to make dashboard trackers to help show improvements in site health over time. 

Luckily, our friends at Screaming Frog have finally cracked the case of the perfect technical SEO dashboard. The best part? The template is free. You can see it here.

How to copy the dashboard

To copy the dashboard:

  1. Click on the three dots in the top right
  2. Select make a copy
  3. Select your data source (don’t worry, you can update later)

How to set up the technical SEO tracker tool

Screaming Frog has published a helpful guide on setting up this Data Studio tool. What they will walk you through includes:

  • Setting up a scheduled crawl
  • Configuring the export to a Google Sheet
  • Connecting that Google Sheet to the Data Studio dashboard

2. Keyword research

The presentation of keyword research takes many forms. Most recognizable is the simple spreadsheet. Some people create keyword maps for each page or topic, while others with smaller clients have a short list of keywords.

However, Data Studio can be a powerful analysis tool for larger sites with tens of thousands or millions of keywords.

If you are working with millions of keywords, do not use Google Sheets like this example. I recommend using BigQuery to handle your keywords.

Step One: Setting up your source data

The first step involves importing your keyword research into a Google Sheet. To use the free template I created, you will need to include the following dimensions and metrics in your Google Sheet:

  • Keyword
  • Position
  • Previous position
  • Search Volume
  • Keyword Difficulty
  • CPC
  • URL
  • Keyword Intents

Step Two: Copy the dashboard

As we learned in the previous dashboard, you’ll want to make a copy of this dashboard and connect your data source, whether it be Google Sheets or BigQuery.

Important features of this Data Studio tool

This tool has many unique features that can be used to help drive your on-page SEO strategy. Depending on your strategy, these features can be customized to display different types of data and categories.

Boolean Buttons

The three buttons in this tool are based on custom boolean formulas, meaning they work on true/false statements. Let’s take a look at one of them.

We’re creating a function only to display long-tail queries that start with a question word in the formula above. This formula relies on regex, with two very important symbols:

  • The circumflex (^) is a regex function that essentially means, “if the keyword starts with this.” 
  • The pipe (|) symbol is another regex function that means “or.”

Using this formula, you can create any number of different kinds of checkboxes. I added a few keywords separated by pipes (|) to help display keywords in those categories for the SEO and PPC checkboxes.

The custom search box is a pretty simple but powerful feature of this tool. Not only can it quickly help you narrow down your search to identify keyword opportunities, but it can also use the power of regex to customize your search.

Intent dropdown

The keyword intent dropdown can help you filter by the intent of each keyword within the search funnel. Pretty simple, right?

Well, this filter can be easily swapped out by any dimension in Data Studio. So if you want to swap it out for other keyword categories, this can be the perfect filter for you. 

Funnel

This funnel helps visualize the true search funnel by intent. When applying other filters in this tool, the funnel and metrics above automatically update with the intents.

Link building is one of the tensest topics SEOs like to avoid with clients. Links are challenging to earn and often the hardest thing to control. 

The best way to earn trust with clients and stakeholders is through transparency. Instead of dodging the data around link building, hand over the keys and let them explore the data for themselves.

This is one of the more straightforward Data Studio tools we can create. You can pair any number of dimensions and metrics to help illustrate your point. 

The supporting Google Sheet I’m using is a simple backlinks analytics report from SEMrush. However, you can use your own link-building tracker to feed the report. Just make sure you add the acquisition date for the date range.

Conclusion

Data Studio is one of the fastest reporting tools to stand up while still having some seriously robust features. The fact that it’s also free makes it an easy platform of choice.

But that begs the question, why go through all that trouble for clients and other stakeholders?

These tools help create a better sense of transparency, which can help improve trust. Thus, creating a better partnership between you and your stakeholders. 

One of the most challenging parts of SEO isn’t the work itself but the communication of value. So from now on, think of new creative ways to demonstrate value to your clients, even if it’s just making a simple tool in Data Studio.

If you are interested in original article by John McAlpin, you can find it here

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