Are you looking to increase the visibility of your business on Google search from local SEO for doctors? Do you want more potential clients visiting your website and getting more foot traffic to your clinic?
Paying consistently for advertising on social media or search engines can be very expensive and limiting without any compound effect. Check out SEO vs SMO.
Therefore, in this article, I am going to give you some of the local SEO for doctors best practices that will help you grow your business, diversify your revenue, improve the quality of leads, and most importantly the longer you’ll do it, the better results you’ll get.
So, let’s get started!
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a technique that helps businesses improve search visibility in local search results and maps for the country, state, region, or city to attract more local customers searching for local products or services. Common tasks associated with Local SEO include optimizing local listings, targeting relevant local keywords, improving your online reputation, and more.
Why is Local SEO Important for Doctors and Medical Specialists?
Local SEO is extremely important for most businesses regardless it’s in B2B or B2C, and it becomes even more important for service-based businesses such as doctors, medical specialists, or other service-related professions.
Just think about it, when is the last time you searched for local business be it to repair or clean your car, find a good restaurant, open an ATM after midnight, or flower shop to make up for your mistakes?
According to Bright Local, it turned out that most of us search for local businesses multiple times per week.
Not only that, but 97% of online users searched online to find a local business. (Source)
And out of 2 trillion searches on Google per year (source), 46% of all searches on Google include local intent. (source)
So, this means, all the people around you, in your city, are searching for your doctor’s expertise be it a dentist, plastics surge, specialist, or pediatrician services.
And they are searching for your doctor services every day, just imagine the number of people you could attract to your clinic, how would it help your business?
With that here are the most important reasons why Local SEO for doctors is so important:
Improve Ranking for Important Keywords
One of the key benefits of doing local SEO is that it allows you to improve the ranking for keywords used by your potential customers that are searching for your products or services.
This is important because 24.4% of all clicks go to the first result of local business searches. So almost a quarter of your potential customers is taken by the one who ranks #1.
So, to make sure it’s you who get most of the users coming to your website we need to implement the best practices for Local SEO for doctors, which I am going to show you.
Marketing in general became quite an expensive practice especially when it comes to advertising on search engines or social media platforms as you need to keep paying to appear in front of your target audience and once you stop, it stops.
With SEO it’s different, you don’t have to pay to get your medical services in front of your clients and it works more like investing with compound effect.
Of course, SEO is not for free and there will be an initial cost be it for professional services, local SEO tools, link building, content creation, or others.
I recommend having $3,000 to $5,000 per month, at a minimum. Many companies are spending tens of thousands of dollars per month on SEO.
However, the average timeframe to see positive ROI results from Local SEO is 4.76 months, which is way faster than general SEO, which can take around 12 months. (source)
Bring More Local Customers
As I already said, there is a huge demand for local services and people are using search engines as the #1 way to find them.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Local SEO is arguably one of the best affordable ways to bring more customers to your doctor’s business.
In fact, 70% of consumers will visit a store because of information found online (source).
When people are searching for local business, often they already made up their mind to make a purchase, making them highly valuable for businesses that’s why over 50% of all “near me” searches will result in an offline store visit, and 78% of local searches on mobile result in an offline purchase.
With Local SEO you can bring more local customer day and night for your medical services, and I am going to show you some of the best ways to do that.
Best Practices for Local SEO for Doctors
1. Create Business Listings
Arguably the most important Local SEO best practice to start appearing for local search results is to create local listings. Particularly you should create:
These business listings are used by Google and other search engines to get up-to-date information about your business such as business hours, location, promotions, services you provide, areas you serve, and more.
They also allow you to appear for local listings on Google when somebody types your business name.
It’s important if you are a local business that you keep these up-to-date every time there are changes to your business, having a holiday close down, changed hours or location, etc.
Business listings are the number one technique for both local SEO and off-page SEO.
2. Do Local Keyword Research
Every time a potential customer of yours starts searching for your products or services, they will be typing certain words in Google search to find relevant search results.
And any word typed into a search bar is called a keyword in SEO terms.
So local keyword research is a process of finding these local keywords that your potential customers in your area are using to find your products or services.
Luckily this is not as difficult as it might sound, because you already know what products or services you are offering you just need to write them down.
For example, for a dentist doctor, this could be “teeth whitening”, “braces”, “dental bridges”, etc.
You can also check out your competitors for inspiration.
Or use SEO tools like SE Ranking to do quick local keyword research using the main category keyword for the products or services you are offering. For a dentist doctor, this would be “dentist” or “dental” and just go through the keywords to find anything related to your business.
Also, one great way, if you are using an SEO tool, is by analyzing your competitor’s website and looking at the keywords they are ranking for. This is a quick and easy way to find relevant keywords.
Or using other means of finding the relevant keywords. There are millions and one way, but if you are not an SEO specialist, then you might not know them. Thus, these ways should be sufficient to find enough local keywords for your business.
I also recommend you check out my articles on keyword research and B2B keyword research as they provide more ways to find your SEO keywords.
3. Create Localized Content on Your Website
Your website is the #1 way for search engines to get information about your website, services, products, service area, and other important information about your business.
If you are not having a website, then there is no local SEO for you. You need to have a website.
Because the next logical step and best practice for local SEO for doctors is to create content that targets the relevant local keywords you have found.
As you can see from this example, this dentist created a web page to target the keyword “teeth whitening” and add the location where they service, in Washington DC.
And that same applies to this website targeting the keyword “cosmetic dermatology” used by anyone in Washington DC.
With that, localized content such as these make it easy for Google and other search engines to understand what services or products you are selling so they can rank you for relevant keywords in order to attract potential customers to your website.
For example, if I look at the ranking keywords for the page “Cosmetic Dermatology in Washington, DC” using SE Ranking, I can see, that this page ranks for tens of relevant keywords, each with the potential to generate clients for this doctor/clinic.
So, it’s really important you create as much relevant localized content on your website in order to create strong topical authority, rank for relevant local keywords, and give search engines a lot of information about what’s your business and website about.
Because statistics show content marketing generates 3x as many leads as outbound marketing at less than half the cost. (source)
And on top of that, these pages work as lead generation landing pages for your business, and according to HubSpot, the more landing pages you have, the more leads you generate. (source)
4. Register at Local and Relevant Directories
Registering at relevant and local directories is one of the off-page SEO activities highly endorsed by SEO marketers, and It’s called citation building.
Building these citations is very important for your business because it helps Google get more information about your business which further improves the trust in your website.
Google is also using directories and business listings to create local search results.
On top of that, you will also improve ranking relevancy and your search visibility which can result in driving more potential customers to your website.
Furthermore, they also help with link building but about this a bit later.
With that, there are many different relevant directories you can register. Therefore, you should start with general one such as:
Of course, then you should go for more relevant. For example, if you are a dentist in Canada, then Dentist Directory Canada is where you should register yourself.
You can also use citation building services such as from SEMrush or Whitespark that helps you to quickly build and update your citations quickly and easily without the need to log in or register one by one.
Or using local citation building services in your area could be another cheap option. However, make sure you register your business at relevant local directories, be it in industry or location-specific directories.
5. Implement GMB Best Practices for SEO
Google My Business (GMB) now known as Google Business Profile (GBP) is arguably the most important tool you can use to boost your local search visibility and SEO lead generation for your business.
Because Google’s market share is at 92% which means that most likely your potential customers are using Google to search for your business. (source)
And GMB allows you to effectively display your business with important information on Google search and Google maps which is important because 86% of customers use Google Maps to find local businesses. (source)
This information such as reviews, pictures, posts, social media profiles, and more, are used by your potential customers to learn about your business and also by search engines to properly rank your website.
That’s why GBP is so important for your business and important local SEO best practices for doctors as well.
However, 56% of local businesses have not yet claimed their Google Business listing, and ever more did not properly optimize it such as this example.
So here are some of the Google Business Profile best practices:
- Claim your business: Even if you don’t create your own GMB account, but your business was long enough in the market, the chances are Google already created for you.
- Use important keywords: In your description, categories, posts, reviews, Q&A, and of course on your website. Google uses these places to rank your business accordingly.
- Post often: Posts are an excellent way to inform your potential customers about your business. Businesses with pictures in their listing receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions and 35 percent more click-throughs than those that don’t.
- Collect reviews: Is extremely important to ensure you collect reviews all the time.
- 100% accuracy: Ensure all your information are accurate, always!
- Encourage people to post questions: Questions are an excellent way to boost your listing and local SEO.
- Set up messaging: People love an easy way to connect with businesses and even more to get answers fast. GMB allows you to give that option to your customers.
- Add Backlinks to your website: Linking to your website from GBP helps Google associate these together and navigate your users to your website when they are looking for you.
6. Ensure Your NAP Information are Consistent
The next on the list of local SEO for doctors’ best practices is to ensure you are having consistent NAP information across all your directories and business listings.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone of the business.
And search engines are using different sources to verify the authenticity of the business, some of them are internal and some are external such as business and directory listings and other external sources.
These data aggregators influence a web of businesses across the ecosystem and the consequences of not maintaining accurate data can cause your business not to show up on Google.
In fact, inconsistent NAP information across the internet can be one of the biggest reasons why your business does not rank or show up in search results.
So, it’s important to Google your business name find all your citations, and ensure every one of them has the correct information.
It’s recommended to follow your Google My Business Profile address and copy it exactly across your citations for best results.
7. Start with Local Link Building
The next best practice for local SEO for doctors is to do local link building.
The thing is, backlinks are still being considered one of the main ranking factors and without them, you won’t be able to rank for more competitive and profitable keywords that would be driving your potential customers to your website.
With that being said, by doing citation building you will already build backlinks that might help you.
However, if you want to rank in search, you need backlinks from relevant sites that write about topics related to your services and drive organic traffic from your target country.
And how many backlinks you’ll need largely depends on the keyword and industry you are in. You can use SE Ranking to check for the number of backlinks, referring domains as well as the domain authority the ranking sites have.
With that being said, I also want to share with you 5 link building strategies to build local backlinks apart from citation building:
- Guest posting: just make sure the sites are legit and talking about your topics
- SEO Press release: this can be a very powerful way to start ranking in top results.
- Resource link building: This might be one of the best ways to get going.
- Niche edits: While good, only at a very slow pace can be done.
- Link Insertion: Very easy, but expensive and only few can be build.
- HARO link building: This can be your best friend, especially if you are the doctor answering it.
- Podcast interview: Probably the easiest yet very effective way.
8. Get a Press Release Coverage from Local News and Magazines
I have already mentioned getting press release coverage is great for local link building, but I want to dive a bit deeper into this.
Press releases for SEO can be a very powerful way to skyrocket your business as any backlinks build from trusted news, magazines, and local news are seen by Google as super valuable.
And even in the Google Rater Guidelines, they gave a specific example about a clinic being mentioned by reputable sites means it can be trusted.
Therefore, building coverage across local news, magazines, or global news sites is something that you should put in your budget.
I can definitely recommend Search Intelligence as the #1 digital PR agency that can help you land tens or even hundreds of backlinks on big media sites.
9. Collect Reviews
Reviews are very important for your local business in two ways:
- Reviews improve your ranking in Google maps and helps you to rank for relevant keywords as your customers will naturally include the keywords within the reviews.
- Reviews help you get more customers as 88% of potential customers look for online reviews before choosing local services. (source) Thus, the better reviews the bigger trust you get from them.
Therefore, it’s essential to actively build more reviews for your clinic so here are some of the best ways to do that:
- Ask for reviews via a little brochure sitting at your reception desk with a QR code link to Google reviews.
- Include reviews on your website and encourage customers to leave some.
- Ask for a review in person. If you provided great service, asking to leave their honest review is nothing against Google guidelines.
- Include Google review options within your email campaigns.
- Ask for a review on social media.
- Always respond to every review.
10. Implement SEO Best Practices
Another important best practice for local SEO for doctors is to implement actual SEO best practices for your website.
Local SEO is a small part of an overall SEO strategy and the other parts as on-page SEO, content creation, technical SEO, and off-page SEO. (Also check out my B2B SEO strategy)
Therefore, to have the best results from your local SEO, you need to focus on the entire SEO process to successfully drive potential customers to your website.
Because without the other important parts of SEO, your local SEO will not work. Therefore, here are some of the SEO best practices you can implement for your website. (Also check out my B2B SEO best practices)
- Implement a proper technical SEO foundation for your website.
- Focus on your core web vitals and page speed to deliver the right user experience.
- Know where and how to add keywords to your website.
- Use only SEO-optimized images.
- Try creating a minimum of 2-3, preferably 5 pieces of new high-quality SEO content on your website every week.
- Focus on internal linking strategy. This is super important.
- Start targeting low competition keywords, especially long-tail keywords to keep your average ranking position in GSC below 20.
- Implement proper SEO-friendly headlines.
11. Add Local Schema Mark Up
Local Schema Mark Up helps search engines to get important information about your business uniformly so they can easily understand it and can improve the accuracy of their ranking algorithm for your website.
It tells search engines about your business working hours, NAP, logo, and more so they can pull the information and create rich results. So, even if you don’t have and GMB account, you can still have the local business listing.
Luckily, this is very easy to do especially if you are using WordPress, as you can install an SEO plugin like Rank Math without any knowledge of coding. They will automatically insert the code into your website.
You just need to select the “Organization” tab and fill up your address from Google my Business.
If you are having more locations, then you will need to subscribe to Rank Math Pro. However, for single clinic doctors, the free version has all that you need.
If you are using other CMS such as Wix or Squarespace, you can contact customer support to help you find the best way to include the local schema markup on your website but make sure you implement it as it is a very important best practice for local SEO.
Final SEO Advice for Local SEO for Doctors & Medical Specialists
Local SEO can get complicated and if you are in a very competitive niche or location, then you might need an SEO specialist. However, for most of what I have seen, starting implementing these best practices for local SEO will definitely help you bring more clients for your clinic.
If you are going to do alone your SEO, I recommend you start with easy ones. Use this as a checklist and just keep completing it and soon you will see results.
Did you like something about this article, did I forget something or do you have any comments, hop on my YouTube channel and write it in my comment section under my videos!
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Also, check out our SEO hub page to find all our SEO resources.
This article was created by Eduard Dziak and may contain affiliate links. The following were used to optimize the article for the best user and search engine experience include:
- SE Ranking for keyword research and on-page SEO optimization
- Surfer SEO for SEO-friendly content creation for users and search engines.
- Jasper AI for grammar correction and information enhancement.
The article is based on the author’s own experience and knowledge, drawn from both their own work and that of their clients, to provide the latest, proven methods.