Choosing the right location has traditionally been one of the most important decisions to make for a business, clinic, or practice. It seemed as though the internet was set to be a great equalizer, removing many of the limitations of a physical address. However, physical location continues to play an important role, even in online search and medical web marketing.
Location, location, location
SEO giant Moz recently released a new report on local SEO. One of the findings was that 90% of those surveyed believe that Google focuses too much on proximity in local search. This can be very noticeable in healthcare.
The closest doctor or clinic may not be the best choice, yet Google shows nearby selections over other options that might be a better fit.
You put a lot of thought into choosing the location of your practice, wellness clinic, or medical office. Maybe you chose a central location or considered population density, access to the interstate, visibility, or surrounding businesses.
However, you probably weren’t thinking about Google search.
How can you differentiate your practice in local search when proximity is so important? You can’t just pack up and move to across town to the hottest spot for medical searches.
Will proximity always affect local rankings?
Google constantly tweaks and tinkers with their search algorithms to improve the user experience. The current emphasis on proximity isn’t providing the best search results — according to 90% of marketers, at least — which means that they are not providing the best user experience.
People will go to the nearest urgent care clinic or emergency room for medical emergencies; that’s a normal thing. However, most are willing to drive a little further for better quality care if it’s not an emergency situation.
The more significant the good or service, the greater the distance people will travel.
You’ll go to the nearest drugstore or gas station to buy adhesive bandages, and maybe you’ll visit the nearest walk-in clinic for a common cold. No one chooses a heart surgeon because he is within walking distance of their home, however.
We can’t know for sure if and when Google will change how it weights proximity in local search. However, there are things that you can implement with your medical web marketing strategy to increase your visibility in local search.
Focus on local SEO
If most of your patients or clients are local, you don’t need to compete with medical and wellness professionals on the national level. Instead, you want to own your local space.
Establish a medical web marketing plan that emphasizes local SEO.
Because more people are stopping at Google to choose a clinic rather than push through to vet each individual site — this is especially true in emergency situations — managing your Google presence is essential.
- Make sure your business information is listed correctly, including your physical address. Nearly half of medical facilities with online listings (a third of doctors didn’t have an online listing at all) had listed their physical address incorrectly.
- Take care of your Google reviews, and respond to them. People consider reviews when making decisions about shampoo, pizza, medical care, and everything else. Furthermore, 91% of marketers agree that Google reviews impact local pack rankings.
- You can post on Google and share photos to improve your online appearance.
Organic traffic is still a critical part of SEO for doctors. As the Moz report puts it, “Google may be becoming the new “homepage” for local businesses, but it’s the organic authority of companies’ own websites that supports local rank”.
Let Haden Interactive help you with your medical web marketing strategy. We offer a full range of SEO services for doctors, medical professionals, and wellness professionals.