Local SEO for Healthcare Practices – A Guide to Acquire New Patients

Justin Knott
May 21, 2024

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It’s no secret that most healthcare practices depend on getting patients who live or work nearby. In the same way, most patients look for healthcare practices that are close to them to save time and make their lives easier.  Healthcare practices use a method called local search engine optimization, or SEO, to bring in those high-value patients. This is because local SEO for healthcare is the best way for doctors to help more local patients find their practices online. In this blog, we’ll review the best ways to improve your practice’s healthcare local SEO.

What Happens When a Prospective Patient Does a Google Search?

About 8 out of 10 patients that walk through your doors at your practice have already done a Google search on you or found your practice through a Google search. Many patients do research beforehand, and there are many types of specific searches they may perform including but not limited to:

  • Condition-specific searches –  The patient is trying to solve an issue, such as knee pain or back pain
  • Treatment-specific search – The patient is looking for a specific procedure, like a hip replacement or knee replacement
  • Doctor-specific search – The patient is looking for a specific doctor someone may have recommended to them. This is when provider pages are highly important to help drive more local SEO traffic to the provider’s website
  • Provider specialty search – The patient is looking for a specific specialty, such as spine surgeon or hand surgeon
  • Practice search – The patient is looking for a specific type of practice like an orthopedic practice close by or an aesthetic practice

There are a few things we cannot control when it comes to patient searches. Search experience may affect what comes up on one’s Google search, such as search history, which will change the results for everyone looking. Google is a search experience, which means past searches on someone’s device will influence what may come up each time they search. Personalization can also affect what comes up because we cannot control one’s location, for instance, if someone in New Hampshire was looking for an orthopedic practice near them, a practice located in Tennessee will not appear in their search. 

Here are a few things you CAN control when it comes to Google searches:

  • Google My Business or GMB has a 25% influence over the local search ranking and when it is used correctly, it can help drive your local medical SEO
  • Links, like guest posts, citations, and more. There are many provider directories, which are citations that you can use to help give yourself a shot when it comes to ranking because this has about a 15% influence over local search ranking
  • Reviews have about a 16% influence and also help drive GMB, it’s important you share the reviews you do receive from patients and find a way to have patients leave a review without overdoing it
  • On-page SEO, like your website structure, content, and more play a large role in your local SEO for healthcare ranking. Content on your page, such as physician listings, service pages, location pages, and more will help your practice come up in those specific searches prospective patients will look into

How to Optimize Your Google My Business for Your Practice

First, it is important to claim and verify your business on Google My Business and fill out as much information as you can, this means EVERY DETAIL you can provide. The more complete your profile is, the higher the trust score you receive, which will give Google more reason to have your business appear at the top of the search results. 

In Google My Business, your business description should be written using this formula: who + what + where in your first sentence. This means who you are, what you do, and where you are located. This introduction to your description will help set the tone for Google. It is also very important that your contact details match everywhere, meaning in every spot this information is provided, such as GMB, your website, and provider directories. 

When you list your categories, it is very important you get this part spot on. You need to make sure you list what you specifically do as a provider. Instead of listing “doctor”, you are going to want to list “orthopedic doctor” or whatever your specialty is, as your primary category, so you may rank higher for those specific searches. Once you’ve completed as much of your GMB profile as you can, getting it properly integrated on your website, like on your location pages, your provider pages, and more, is very important to help increase your trust score through Google My Business. 

The Importance of Reviews to your Healthcare Practice

You never want to ask for a good review because it is very likely those patients will not leave a review for you at all. Be proactive by asking for reviews, but don’t overdo it. You can simply put a link on your website and ask patients to leave a review by going to your website, however, you should always give another option over Google since not everyone has a google account to leave a review there. You can also use text messaging or emails to ask them to leave a review after their appointment. 

When it comes to how you respond to reviews, you have to be careful from a HIPPA standpoint, you can’t mention them ever being at your practice or what services you provided for them, you would need a generic response thanking them for their time in giving their review. And last but not least, share your reviews! Share them on your website, on your social media pages, and more. These can all help with your ranking.

What Matters Most for Your Website?

There are four major things that are very important when it comes to your website for your practice. These include:

  • The number one important thing is your location pages. You MUST have a page for every location you have, the services that the location offers, and a small description of the location itself
  • Next, is your provider page. Each provider within your practice that is an MD should have a page of their own because it can help drive traffic to your site, especially when you add their specialty to their page as well
  • The services you provide should all have their own page, don’t list them all on one page. Each service will help bring in more traffic when patients do a specific condition or procedure search. All of the conditions and treatments you provide care for should also have their own separate pages as well to help increase your SEO ranking
  • Lastly, having a call tracking system will help you track performance that you can use to your advantage when it comes to knowing where you need to improve on your website

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