The saying “action speaks louder than words” is true when speaking of credibility, which is highly essential for medical and dental practices. How they operate, perform procedures and treat patients speaks volumes of how good and trustworthy they are in order to gain a consistent flow of new patients and their ability to keep existing patients happy.
But with the Internet and technology taking over in today’s world, it seems that the “power of words” can spread like wildfire. The online world can have a positive or negative impact on businesses. You would agree with me that in this digital age “trust is earned when actions meet words”.
In digital marketing terms, we can refer to words in many ways–articles, tags, keywords, reviews, user-generated content, keyphrases and many others. They are most essential in order to reach readers who are your prospective prospects.
Healthcare providers now more than ever need support online for why they are the most credible in their field or local area of practice.
The medium? The Internet and search engines!
How? The simple answer is, local SEO.
Defining Local SEO
You might be more familiar with general SEO and local SEO can sometimes be an afterthought. Well, local SEO is a derivative. It’s a more specific SEO strategy based on the proximity of a business and its customers.
How SEO Works
SEO is a digital marketing strategy that increases the number and quality of visitors to a website.
In order to do that, your website should be highly visible in search engines, more specifically Google. Google dominates the search landscape in terms of being the most used search engine.
How does SEO work?
You need to optimize your content by adding keywords or keyphrases by which you would like to rank for in the search engines. The most basic concept of how SEO works consists of enriching your title pages, meta descriptions, images’ alt attributes (image) and content with your targeted keywords.
Yes, SEO is much more complex, but that should give you a good starting point.
In layman’s terms, search engines notice and reward content that is optimized based on keywords that users are searching for. The search engine’s algorithm crawls the Internet and ranks websites according to users’ queries.
So, when a user searches for a term, search engines would come up with the top suggestions. When your content is optimized, it’s more likely that search engines will rank you higher and show your content in the top search results.
When you optimize your content, your medical practice’s website will get more visibility in search engines. As a result, quality and targeted traffic will be directed to your website which can turn free traffic into paying customers for your business.
Local SEO Rankings & Visibility
So, that’s SEO for you. Now, how about local SEO?
Local SEO is SEO per se but includes a “local” element. Your SEO strategy revolves around your website but by adding local-based targeting.
You’re actually specifying your relevance around a specific geographical location. Think of it as, your optimized keyword + the specific location where your practice is located (e.g. dentist in Charlotte, NC).
The goal of local SEO or any SEO strategy is to rank your website at the top of the search engines when users search for a specific service in a geographical location.
Why Medical and Dental Practices Benefit from Local SEO
The simplest answer to this question is because local SEO can make your medical or dental practice more visible and accessible to prospective patients. That’s the biggest benefit that you can reap from local SEO. Visibility means you get people to notice you and try your services in the process.
When a patient searches for example, “pharmacist in miami florida”, this search is very intent-based. In addition, it is timely for their needs. The user is looking for a pharmacist in their local area, in this case, the Miami, Florida area.
We will speak more about the purpose of ROI here later in the article.
But let’s dig a little deeper so you can appreciate local SEO better.
Increase Visibility Online and Website Traffic
You need to rank at the top of the search engines for your targeted keywords, otherwise, you’ll be missing out on a ton of opportunities. Your mindset should be to land on the first page if not the number 1 search result for your chosen/optimized keywords.
Remember, that when people search online for a particular practice, treatment or service, they’ll only browse 1-2 pages of the search results.
More specifically, you need to be in one of the top 3 positions of the local search results for your targeted keywords.
The benefit is that your Google My Business profile will show up in the local 3-pack and your website can show up in the top 10 search results of the first page. That is brand dominance.
That’s what local SEO can do for your practice, dominate the search results and show up when your patients are looking for your services. By using local SEO, you can boost your visibility. Modern Family Dental Care is one of our clients, and for the keyword “dentist concord mills”, they rank #1 in the local-3 pack and #1 in the top 10 search results.
Their practice was booked out for months before COVID-19 due to these results. They will get it back once things get back to normal.
When you’re visible, there’s a high probability that they would end up on your practice’s website.
Boost Credibility and Patient Confidence
When healthcare providers have an online presence, they are perceived to be a credible practice. In addition, a quality, mobile-friendly and functional website can give your customers the best online user experience.
Consumers build confidence with businesses that they see as suggested at the top search result. It’s a gold standard for them when you’re being suggested by Google. It’s somewhat like a recommendation to visit your website.
Just showing up at the top doesn’t do the trick, you have to consistently stay there and be considered worthy by the search engines based on your customers’ behaviors in how they interact with your online assets (i.e. website, GMB profile, etc.).
If you are at the top of Google for example, but your services and customer care are not supporting your customers, your business could get a ton of negative reviews and press which could crush its credibility and customer confidence. As a result, your SEO rankings will suffer.
Reach Targeted Clients and Convert Them to New Patients
Your end goal is to reach more clients and increase your patient base, right?
With local SEO, you can easily target clients in your particular area.
When your targeted clients proceed to your website from the search results, that’s half the battle. The opportunity for you to win them as a new patient determines how well you are able to connect with their pain points and convert them from a web visitor to a customer.
SEO is not only about showing up at the top of the search engines, but having a quality and fast website with the right messaging and call-to-actions to help convert your visitors into paying customers.
You should remember that when users specify a locality in their online search, it’s a more purposive search. They are customers that you need to harvest. That being said, local SEO is a better way to market your practice online. It’s fast and effective. Most of all it’s affordable.
Wait… it’s FREE?
When you are executing effective local SEO strategies and your website is showing up at the top of Google for all of your different search terms, this is free traffic. You don’t have to pay anyone for this traffic that you will get each time someone finds your website at the top of the search engines.
The beauty of the search engines consist of people searching for your services when they need you, so again, it is very intent-based and timely. Yes, you may have to pay a marketing agency to help your practice show up at the top, but that cost will outweigh the new patients you will consistently get.
Otherwise, if you want to go the online paid route, which can be effective, but typically you are paying a marketing agency to manage your paid campaigns and then paying Google or Facebook for each time someone converts on your Ads. That can become very expensive based on the competition, cost-per-click, etc.
But nonetheless, local SEO is a lot cheaper than getting in an advertising space online or via traditional media (print, radio, television). The best thing is that local SEO is more targeted towards your ideal market. Check out these results on cost comparison by Social Champ.
Local SEO: Minimum Cost, Big ROI
Local SEO is among those digital marketing strategies that belong to the “Low Risk-High Reward” group. There is not a ton of upfront investment you’ll put into it compared to paid advertising or traditional marketing solutions. It’s a wise financial move to utilize this free platform while having a more targeted reach.
With local SEO, you’re assured of the users’ intention and that is to find a relevant medical or dental practice for their health needs. They’re actually looking for the type of service or treatment you offer. That’s a shortcut already, compared to the usual route of marketing.
Radio advertising could cost you thousands. When I’m listening to the radio, I hardly ever call the 800# that is being advertised or a specific promotion unless I hear it a thousand times and it is something that has been a thorn in my side.
However, I still will search Google to determine the credibility of that advertisement. In this case, radio may not be able to track the right ROI and will charge you a ton of money to advertise on their platforms.
You may reach a larger audience but at what cost? In addition, it is not really intent-based. When you are listening to the radio, you are not looking for anything compared to how you interact with Google or other search engines.
The Cost of SEO
The search engine platform itself is free. What counts into cost is building your SEO strategy and paying an agency or a specialist to execute local SEO strategies for you.
As a small local business, you may pay between $1000 – $2000 per month for local SEO rankings that will deliver a significantly higher ROI based on all the things mentioned above.
Steady Stream of Patients
The more visible you’re in search engines, the higher your website traffic will be. Using that analogy, as your traffic grows, the probability of turning leads into new patients will also be high. It’s a ratio game.
Earn more by spending less with your digital marketing by utilizing local SEO. The reward won’t just be bigger but can also come faster than you expected.
About Med Rank Interactive
If ROI is your bottom line, Med Rank Interactive can deliver it for you. We provide local SEO services exclusively for dentists, independent physicians, and multi-location medical practices. We have proven strategies to rank you at the top of Google and other search engines.
We’ll build your brand by spreading your visibility through local SEO, but coupled with an interactive and creative website design, a solid reputation, paid advertisement, email marketing, social media management, and much more.
Start your move with local SEO by contacting Med Rank Interactive at 980-217-1633. Book your free SEO assessment today!