Whether you are managing a small optometric practice or running a sizable multi-disciplinary clinic with multiple locations, you can’t deny the importance of local search ranking of your optometry practice on search engines. Local SEO is critical to any practice that operates on a local level. While general SEO focuses on improving search ranking regardless of location, local SEO focuses on appearing on SERPs (search engine results pages) in a specific region or area.
According to a report, almost 35% of all search engine traffic is local.
Without local SEO, your optometric practice could be missing out on a significant amount of web traffic. By appropriately configuring your local SEO, you can expect an increase in website traffic, leads and online conversions. The reason for this is that the local SEO strategy helps connect you with your local patients. Local SEO is a focused approach that can put you on an even playing field with bigger optometric and ophthalmologic practices that have more time and money at their disposal. By appropriately executing local SEO strategies, you can offset the advantage of more prominent practices that rely on brand recognition instead of direct lead generation for bringing in more traffic.
Local SEO provides numerous benefits to your practice. The most obvious advantage is that your potential patients will be able to find your practice website quickly when performing an online search.
Here are 5 ways local SEO can help your optometric practice:
1. Generate more leadsLead generation is a basic SEO goal for healthcare practices. Make sure to include specific and targeted keywords into your content strategy. Remember, the more people who read your blog, the higher your website will rank in all local search engine results. The more people who read your blog, the more qualified leads who may eventually convert into patients.
2. Build your practiceMany prospective patients utilize local search engines in order to find the nearest and the best eye-care practice in the area. Therefore, practices that maintain a localized online presence are more likely to attract new patients. Local SEO efforts make it easier for these patients to find your practice if you implement strategies tailored to promoting your services online.
3. Connect with local patientsMany optometry practices think that if they target larger areas, they will attract patients from the surrounding communities, in addition to patients in their local area. However, the contrary is likely true. Optometric and ophthalmologic practices that aim at larger cities and neglect the needs of patients in their local area are less likely to attract new patients.
4. Increase online visibilityWhen you list your eye-care practice on local online directories, there is a higher chance of you appearing on local search results. As a result, prospective patients in your area may learn about your practice and may want to contact you for your services.
5. Improve online reputationImplementing a local SEO strategy can increase the number of targeted visitors to your practice website. Increased traffic generally equates to a higher conversion rate, which is essential for improving your brand persona and reputation. Additionally, by claiming your profiles on social media sites, directory listings and patient review sites, you gain control over your online reputation. Lastly, local SEO can help you connect with your target audience and build long-term relationships by offering online promotions and patient support services.
Local SEO for optometry practices is an incredibly powerful tool. New patients will always be looking for local eye-care practitioners for their services, and search engines will ensure only relevant practices are noticed on the results. So, don’t bother with Yellow Pages and start considering innovative ways to increase your online presence and promote your website to show up on the first page of Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
Local SEO 2019 Checklist
While every optometry practice is looking to attract more patients and to rank higher on search engines, what strategies can they implement to win in local search? The most efficient way to do so is the utilize a local SEO checklist to ensure that your online presence is optimized appropriately.
1. Is your website mobile-friendly?In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches. Since then, Google prefers mobile-friendly websites over traditional websites. You will lose both search engine ranking and potential leads if your website is not mobile-friendly. Be sure to use Google’s checker to assess the mobile-friendliness of your eye-care practice site.
2. Is your "Google My Business" listing optimized?It is a fact that Google My Business listing is critical for local SEO. In order to personalize your GMB listing, you should claim your listing and make sure that each one of the locations of your practice (if you have multiple locations) have their own listings. It is critical to enter an accurate business name with your complete physical address, phone number and website URL and that the information provided should match your actual name, address and phone number.
3. Is your content optimized for local SEO?Content can make or break your optometry practice. The content should be relevant and unique to your practice and clientele. Additionally, each webpage should have a minimum of 500 words of local content and utilize hyperlocal keywords and references whenever possible. You should also try to include local patient reviews on your website. This adds a tremendous level of trust to your online presence.
4. Do you have a Google map on your website?Google maps will help prospective patients physically find your eye-care practice. If you only have one physical location, you can embed a Google map onto your contact page. If you have multiple locations, you can insert a Google map of each location on its own landing page.
5. Are your title tags optimized?The title tag tell Google what information to display when a potential patient searches for your practice using relevant keywords. Hence, it is important to write individualized titles for each web page and try to include your local keywords for that page. To ensure your title displays correctly in the search results, make sure your title has be fewer than 60 characters.
6. Are your meta descriptions unique?Meta descriptions appear under the title tag on search engine results, and they tell searchers what they may find on your website. Each web page should have its own meta description. These descriptions should be short and crisp while using local keywords.
7. Have you optimized your website's heading tags?A Heading tag helps manage and format the content on your website, creating a hierarchy of importance. For heading tags to work appropriately, put one H1 tag on each web page and include your primary local-area keyword in it. Using heading tags appropriately will help search engines identify your keywords and the content of each page.
8. Are you leveraging Schema Markup?Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. It allows you to add relevant information about your eye-care practice. Make sure to utilize Schema Markup by adding structured data markup to your landing page.
9. Are you tracking online reviews?Is your practice listed on the relevant third-party review sites? Identify all local review sites that are relevant to your niche and claim your listings there. Also, assign someone on your staff to keep an eye on online reviews. Don't ever ignore your patient reviews – positive or negative. Additionally, have a process in place to request reviews from your patients. A simplified approach is to hand out business cards with a link to Yelp or your Google+ account. You can get creative by offering promotions to those who post reviews.
Before starting your local SEO campaign, have a look at your local search rankings. This will give you a baseline to understanding the road ahead.
Start small and keep working at it until you get your desired results with local SEO. Believe me, ranking on page 1 is undoubtedly doable, depending on how focused you are. Make sure to master the basics first and then you’ll have plenty of time to implement advanced SEO.
If you’re looking for help developing your local SEO, contact us at Eye Care Digital and we’ll get you started ASAP!