Local SEO Basics for Doctors

What do you expect to get from your website? Thoughts of shedding the limitations of physical location, social media posts going viral overnight, and the potential for millions of followers tend to inflate expectations for many new website owners. Getting a handful of local visitors a day is then viewed as a failure, they get sour, and they end up abandoning their website and SEO practices.

It’s true that the internet offers many advantages — constant access to a large audience being one of the big ones  — but many health and wellness websites come up short of their potential. Lofty goals are good and well, but you can’t neglect local SEO. In fact, local SEO is one of the most important things for doctors to focus on.

Digital marketing isn’t one size fits all

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the largest, most recognized, and most trusted authorities for health information in the United States. They have 909K followers on Facebook, and 201K followers on Instagram. Their website gets upwards of 80 million visits a month.

These numbers are probably larger than the number of people living in the city where your practice is located. They’re not sensible goals for your website. A focus on more and more traffic won’t increase your revenue. 

Of course, there’s an egg with 8 million followers on Instagram.

But your medical website isn’t competing with an egg, or even with the CDC. As a doctor or wellness professional, your main competitors are local.

Doctors must focus on local SEO

Local SEO basics matter for all businesses. But for healthcare it’s crucial.

If you’re selling products through ecommerce, the physical location of your customers doesn’t matter. You want everyone to find you wherever they are in the world. However, physical proximity is much more important for doctors, medical professionals, and those providing health and wellness services.

It certainly isn’t a bad thing if someone with flu symptoms in Nantucket, MA, finds your Arkansas clinic through Google, but they aren’t going to book a flight and schedule an appointment with you.

You’re not missing out if that Nantucketer can’t find your website in search; failing to show up in local search is what hurts your clinic.

95% of patients look for doctors in a 'nearby location' Make sure that you show up. Click To Tweet

Local SEO basics for Doctors

Earlier this year, Yext analyzed 15,000 listings and 1,800 healthcare facilities. They found some surprising results about how doctors come up short in local SEO:

  • Nearly one third of facilities lacked an online local listing.
  • Almost half of the listed healthcare facilities had errors in their physical address.
  • 29 percent of the facilities lacked an accurate phone number.

So imagine you’re a patient searching for a new doctor — you can’t reach a third of the doctors by phone to schedule an appointment, you don’t know that a third of the doctors even exist, and there’s a 50/50 chance that you will go to the right place even if you do manage to schedule an appointment.

This information might be discouraging for patients, but it presents doctors with an opportunity.

Focus on local SEO: make it easy to find your clinic, both physically and digitally, and make it easy for patients to contact your clinic.

SEO for doctors has to focus on local listings. Here are the basics:

  • Make sure that your phone number and address are listed correctly online. Put the information on your website just as you’d write it on an envelope. 
  • Use place names and your specialties in your meta description and markup. “Urgent care in Springdale, AR” is a good example. “Urgent care is a popular healthcare option in and around the Heather Heights neighborhood and the surrounding Fayetteville area” is not, but we found it on page 4.
  • Make sure you have great listings in local directories, including Google My Business. Don’t just copy and paste from your website.

Of course, you also need to have a good website optimized for search and regular HIPAA-compliant SEO blogging to really set yourself apart from the local competition. Get the basics right and then move on to regular SEO work. Need help? Call on us.

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