In today’s internet-driven world, having a strong web presence can be the difference between success and failure in business. Medial offices are not exempt. Without a viable online marketing strategy, even established practices can falter due to a combination of limited visibility and savvy competition.
Luckily, techniques like local search marketing exist to help entities in the healthcare field boost the visibility and traffic they needed to not only be competitive, but highly successive as well. Even better is the fact that we have compiled a list of the steps necessary to thrive with this tactic.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Not all medical practitioners are created equal. Some specialize in emergency medicine. Others specialize in family practice. Some have the expertise and certifications to provide psychiatric services. Others have all the tools needed to perform various types of surgery.
For medical offices, the first step in taking advantage of local search marketing is identifying what makes your practice unique, then determining who your target audience is, your ideal patients. This first step will set the tone from optimization to the marketing techniques you need to employ in order to find success.
2. Do the Keyword Research
Be it a local, national, or global focus, keywords are an integral part of search marketing. However, it’s important to understand that you will generate much better results when conducting extensive keyword research opposed to just randomly selecting them.
For instance, rather targeting a term like “Lasik Eye Surgery”, which is probably highly competitive and sought after by rival offices, something like “Chicago Lasik” would be more likely to create the visibility, traffic, and conversions you seek. When it comes to local search marketing, taking a location-based approach to keywords will generally produce the best results.
A Quick Word on Keyword Tools
No local search marketer should be without a good keyword tool. These tools are invaluable as they help you determine which keywords your ideal patients are likely to enter into their favorite search engines. Although it’s made for PPC advertising campaigns, Google Keyword Tool is hailed as one of the best of its kind.
In addition to hunting down keywords, this tool helps you estimate the traffic volume of individual keywords, how much competition is associated with them, and identify other terms or phrases that might be relevant to your program.
3. Prepare for SEO
Search engine optimization is a huge part of your local marketing strategy. It entails many fundamental steps of its own, including the following essentials:
On-site Content. A medical office will need to target “Insurance”, “Services”, “Occupational Medicine”, “About Us” and other pages with a natural dose of relevant keywords. These pages should contain a rich mix of content like copy, images, and video if possible to boost search rankings.
Internal Linking. A good internal linking strategy is vital to SEO. Connect your pages by using relevant anchortext such as “urgent care” to create links from menus to the body of your copy.
Optimize Metadata. Search engines use metadata to preview your site in the results pages. Medical offices should optimize this area with location-based information and relevant keywords.
External Linking. The links you have coming in to your site can provide a substantial boost for your local search marketing program. Focus your efforts on building links from related sites with good authority, and quality content of their own.
4. Create a Social Presence
The correlation between search and social is real. But for medical offices, the benefits aren’t all about rankings. Having an active social media presence allows your practice to attract new patients and build relationships with existing ones. Share important updates and information so visitors receive the benefit of a more personalized service. Encourage them to share this content to help build buzz about your office in the local community.
5. Go to Google
Social platforms are abundant, but Google+ is the one tool that can be considered mandatory for local search marketing. A while back, the search giant combined Google+ and Google Places to create Google Plus Local. The local feature allows you to host a page for your location.
This page is connected to Google Maps and may include content such as the description and contact details of your practice, photos of the staff, and even a video tour of the facility. Needless to say, you want to make sure you have a local page set up on Google+.
As you can see, local search marketing is very involved process made up of quite a few specific steps. But with the visibility, traffic, and performance gains it can create, the hard work is worth every bit of sweat you put into it.
About the author:
Francis Santos is the Marketing Manager for Benchmark Email. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In addition, he is also the executive editor for separate popular news blogs. Follow him on Twitter: @emailfrancis