SEO for Family Doctors
There are many SEO professionals that SEO is a fine art and is a secret society, but truth be known that Google would much rather see higher quality sites with amazing content, than to attempt to game the algorithm.
When managed properly, a local SEO campaign can be one of the best marketing investments you can make for your practice. For best results, you need to approach SEO in a step-by-step fashion.
Here are the 5 key steps you must take to rank higher, generate more traffic, and attract more patients:
- Keyword research
- Keyword optimization
- Citations and Links
1. Keyword research
Searchers type keywords into search engines as a way to identify and verbalize their problem or topic they’re interested in. Your practice needs to create content around topics that are relevant to your specialty, which helps you rank and be found when searches are looking for what you offer.
Example: When someone in your region has a problem with their foot, they’ll most likely search the terms “plantar fasciitis” or “heel pain” before they search for “podiatrist in Charlotte.”
Creating content around the keywords that people are actually searching for will increase your chances of coming up in search results.
2. Keyword Optimization
There are 2 major types of pages you’ll want to optimize. Your Google My Business page and the key pages on your website.
Google My Business Page
For local family doctor-related searches, your Google My Business page is what shows up in the “Map” results. Having a fully optimized Google My Business page will play a key role in your Local SEO initiatives and deliver a compelling introduction of your practice to prospective patients. Another benefit is that often it’s faster and easier to get a Google My Business page ranking in Google versus your website. Additionally, Google shows these map pages at the very top of the search results.
Optimizing Your Website
On your website, the initial focus will be to edit your “core pages” which includes the homepage and service pages to make them match up with the keywords that prospective patients are searching for. Focus first on hiring intent keywords.
Set up a blog and write consistently. The more pages you have indexed with search engines, the more your website is viewed as being authoritative on whatever topic you write about. Each time you blog, a page is indexed. If your blogs carry the relevant keywords and your content is shared, linked to and consumed, your website authority increases. Blogs are also a great way to establish thought leadership and build trust as an authority on your specialty. Content marketing in healthcare carries so much value because of the years of knowledge and training being disseminated to the audience.
3. Citations and Links
Optimizing your website and Google My Business page are the initial steps you need to take to start ranking on Google. But to compete in a crowded field, you’ll need to do more. Building citations and links are the next major step to separate yourself from the other dentists in your area.
Citations are mentions of your practice Name, Address and Phone number (known as “NAP”). You’ll first want to include a citation for your practice on your own website, on your contact page and ideally also in the footer of your website. Then, you’ll want to build citations across the web by getting listed in relevant directories.
There are 3 main categories of directories that you’ll want to submit to:
General, National Business Directories
A great starting point is to get listed in the major national business directories. Some of the top directories include Yelp.com, 411.com, yellowpages.com and citysearch.com. We also recommend setting up a Facebook page for your practice.
You’ll also want to submit to dental and medical-specific directories, such as everydentist.com and implantdirectory.com. Some industry-specific directories will be free while others require a fee. We recommend focusing on free directories first. If you opt to get listed in paid directories, you’ll want to make sure that you’re generating some website referral traffic from those directories (which you can track using Google Analytics).
It’s important to get citations for your website in the form of links from other “high authority” domains. For example, an orthopedic group would really benefit from having “The American Journal of Orthopedics” link to them. After publishing worthy original content on your site, create awareness by reaching out to the link target— a well-known blogger in your field or an online directory, for example — explaining why providing a link to your site is in their best interest.
3. Local Directories
Finally, you’ll also want to search for local business directories in your area. An example of a local directory would be your local Chamber of Commerce website. Important: you’ll need to ensure that your business Name, Address and Phone number information remains 100% consistent across all directories.
By “links,” we mean hyperlinks pointing from another website (higher domain authority) to your website. These are also known as “inbound links.” Google places a lot of emphasis on what types of websites are linking to you. Links act as a vote in favor of your website’s authority and relevance.
Submit to general, dental, and local directories. Directories are helpful especially for Local SEO because they are a source for getting citations as well as links. Most directory listings will provide you with a link to your website, as well as a mention of your practice Name, Address and Phone number (NAP).
Take inventory of the offline relationships you’ve built, and see if you can gain links from those relationships. Or, perhaps you’re a member of an association and you’re able to gain a link in that directory listing. Or you’ve sponsoring a local event and you’re able to gain a link as part of your sponsorship.
Another step is to see which websites are linking to your competitors’ websites and then see if you can get similar links as well. And in this way, you may find additional directory opportunities or come across other ideas for how you can attract links to your website.
Reviews are another factor that can give you an edge over local competitors and give you higher rankings on Google’s SERPs. In addition. Reviews helps improve trust. Getting reviews on your Google My Business page will help your Google My Business page rank higher, so you get more exposure to prospective patients. Plus, when prospective patients see all of your positive reviews, they’ll be more likely to contact you.
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