To get new patients through your clinic doors, you’ll need to get them through your digital doors. That means you will have to improve your local presence and stand out to new patients to get them to choose you over your competitors.
As prospective patients spend time online researching to find your clinic or treatments that you offer, you’ll want to have all the information they need ready for them to see. This includes location, updates on your clinic, opening times and reviews.
In order to be visible to potential patients, you’ll need to rank high on Google by improving your local SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. Whereas traditional SEO focuses on increasing organic traffic to your website, local SEO operates differently. It helps you stand out to new patients by making your clinic more visible when prospective patients search for it by matching up their search with your clinic based on location.
That means someone looking for a clinic that does dermal fillers in their area will be matched with a local clinic offering this treatment when they search for it in Google.
How does Google do this?
With its trusty algorithm. Google uses its local algorithm whenever there is local intent in a search query. Whenever somebody searches for a clinic with words such as ‘’near me’’ or the name of a city, Google’s algorithm kicks in to find the nearest clinics that match the search. If the users’ location settings are turned on, they won’t even need to put the location into the search bar.
This means that someone searching for ‘’dermal fillers in Leeds’’ will have completely different results from someone searching for ‘’dermal fillers near me’’ in Manchester.
Where do the results appear?
After searching in Google, you will see any Google Ads appearing right at the top of the page. Then you will find ‘’Places’’ where you will see a map with the top three results. This is known as the local SEO 3-pack. Your aim should be to show up in the 3-pack.
Users can click ‘’More places’’, but often, your prospective patients won’t click beyond the first three. Previously, Google showed up to seven results here, but as they cut this down, competition has gotten tougher to appear within the 3-pack.
Those who want more information on a listing can click on the business name, where they will be redirected to a page where more information is given, such as opening times. On this page, various other listings will also be visible. This is why, although it is ideal for getting your listing in the top three search results, it is still essential to work on local SEO to get them to appear at least within these listings.
After ‘’Places’’ on the results page, the standard Google search results will appear where you should also aim to appear. The higher up on the page, the more likely you will receive clicks and new patient enquiries.
How do I stand out to new patients and increase my local search ranking?
Several factors are involved in local SEO and how the algorithm ranks each business and place.
Google Business Profile (GBP)
If you haven’t already listed your business on Google, what are you waiting for?
You can either claim a listing that already exists as your own or create a new one. Do this by clicking here and following the steps. You’ll want to add your opening and closing times and the address. Once set up, you can manage your business account in Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business), where you can post photos and updates.
Make sure your listing is complete.
If your opening times change, update them and any other contact information on your listing. People seeing your clinic will see things like ‘’closing soon’’ when they view it, so an updated, accurate profile is vital to avoid losing leads.
Make sure you get your profile verified through Google Business Profile Verification. This can take a while for some businesses, but it is worth it.
Now that your listing is set up let’s optimise it to increase the chances of it appearing in the 3-pack.
93% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase. And this is no different in the healthcare industry. Using social proof, you’ll increase your credibility, enabling future patients to trust you and your work.
But that’s not all. Businesses with more reviews and higher ratings rank higher in search results helping you to stand out to new patients.
Ask your satisfied and most frequent patients for reviews. Send them the link or ask them in person to increase the chances of them leaving a review. If they talk in detail about the treatment or the staff they saw, when others search for one of these words, the first reviews they see will include this.
This means prospective patients won’t have to search through reviews to find one that is relevant to them and the treatment they are interested in.
Replying to reviews won’t increase your ranking, but it will help add credibility to your business from the patient’s perspective.
People also like to see pictures of patients pre and post-treatment, so try and encourage them to use any images taken.
Once people start seeing your overall rating, the visibility of your clinic will be boosted. Google will reward you for making your website more credible, leading to more clicks.
Local keyword research
You should have already considered SEO when adding pages to your website or editing them. You’ll hopefully have included keywords on your site which help those searching on Google to find your clinic’s website. To find out more about keywords, have a look at this more in-depth blog.
Local keyword research will help you understand which keywords are used in the local area for people to find your business. This is key for a clinic where most patients come from within a few miles.
How to do keyword research?
You probably have an idea of what people search for to find your clinic. Use this as a starting point to find new words. You’ll need to identify the modifier, the core term and the location of your key phrase.
Here is an example of a key phrase for an aesthetics clinic. For your research, you can leave out the modifier if the search volume for your phrase is low and you aren’t getting many results.
Best (modifier) dermal filler clinic (core term) near me (location)
There are different tools to find new keywords. The easiest and fastest is simply doing a Google search. You can see the suggested search queries and what appears on the first page. Find out what other competitors are using and what’s working for them!
Using Keyword Planner, Google’s free keyword tool, you’ll be able to find new and less competitive keywords. In the Keyword blog mentioned earlier, you’ll find all the details you need to use this program.
Another platform that will also help is Ubersuggest. They offer free searches before you have to commit to a paid plan.
The platform will give you new suggestions for the keywords you type in, showing you which have a high volume and a low SEO difficulty (SD). This is the ideal combination!
So, you have your keywords; where do you use them?
Don’t drop them in randomly or too much throughout your website. Make it relevant. Create a new page where you can use the keywords in the title and write about how to find your clinic. Use local landmarks to broaden how your prospective patients can find you!
Google has always rewarded websites that have their URL posted on high-authority sites. This is the same for local links. Chat with small businesses in your area and build a rapport with them. See if you can support each other by inserting links on your websites.
Write interesting blogs and put good-quality content on your website to encourage others to share that content.
Find directories and blog posts relevant to your clinic. You can also see where your competitors have links to get the same one.
The better the website (for example, a directory that gets lots of daily traffic), the higher Google will rank your website.
Citations are less important than the previously mentioned ranking factors. However, it is still worth understanding and dedicating some time to them.
Citations are mentions of businesses that include the name, address and phone number on other websites. This adds credibility to your website because Google is assured that you have a local business at that address.
This information can be structured as a list of essential details (name, address, phone number) or included in website pages such as blogs. Make sure any citations you come across are correct to avoid Google penalising your website.
While this isn’t as weighted as other ranking factors, it is set to become more important. That is because it is hard to manipulate behavioural signals. With these, Google is trying to make its local search as real-world as possible.
Tracking behavioural signals such as location from mobile devices and desktops allows Google to give more accurate search results based on location.
Click-through rate (CTR) is also thought to impact the ranking. The idea is that if more people click on your listing or your website from a search, the higher it will rank as it indicates that the person clicking thinks the page is relevant.
This is harder to control, but with relevant headlines and copy to your keywords, you will increase your CTR, which Google should reward you for.
Check off these points to ensure you are giving yourself the best possible chance to get your listing in the top three on Google.
- Create a Google Business Profile, ensuring you have completed all the details
- Get Google reviews from patients
- Insert keywords that prospective patients will use to find your clinic on your website
- Contact other websites, including directories, to get links and citations on their website
With this blog, you should feel comfortable implementing these methods to rank higher for local searches, but if you’ve found you’ve struggled to get there or this isn’t your thing, book a free call with our experts where we can talk you through our strategy to bring you new patient enquiries!