Picture this: the bathroom sink is leaking, and it’s making a complete mess.
What’s the first thing you do?
Most people hop on Google to look for tips and advice. If they decide that they can’t fix the problem on their own, then they look for the best service or product that can help them solve their needs. But, they don’t just choose the first option that shows up in search results.
They review information about different businesses, check out social media, and read reviews to find the product that fits their needs best.
It goes without saying that Google pays a key role for physical therapy clinics that want to get their products and services known to local searchers. Recent data shows that over 97% of consumers search for a local business online and that 20% of the 13.7 billion searches performed in the U.S. are related to a specific location.
If you want to take advantage of the opportunities presented by these searches, you need to optimize your Google local business listings. These listings are featured in local search results and are essential for attracting and bringing in new patients.
This article will present you with the best practices for optimizing your Google My Business Listing along with some off-page optimization that will help make your listing stand out.
But first, let’s try to understand the importance local SEO plays in your business.
The first rule of building a successful SEO strategy is knowing who you are targeting. Are you trying to reach a local community, prospects across the country or an international audience?
The answer isn’t always as simple as it might seem.
If you are a local small physical therapy clinic, then you have a clear audience: people residing or visiting in your city. But, what if your business has multiple locations in different countries? How do you optimize for each location?
Here’s why you should focus your efforts on optimizing your PT clinic’s website for local SEO.
New reports show that over 64% of customers use search engines to find local businesses while just 28% of them rely on paper directories to get information. Another report has shown that the number of online searches for local business grew by 58% in the last years.
What that means is that you need to create a dedicated page for each geographical location you target.
These pages must provide information specific to your local audience, such as your name, address, phone number, and hours of operations, as well as a map to your location, and keywords relevant to your city or region.
In addition to location-based information, you must also strive to create unique content for each of your location.
Here’s why this is important: if you want to build an audience around your local branch, you’ll need to attract local links. These could be links from bloggers, influencers, reviewers, local newspapers or even other local businesses.
Identify topics that are relevant to your PT clinic, and those that can spike the interest of a local audience.
According to one report, only 10% of businesses have claimed their local listings.
That leaves the door open to your competitors who might seize the opportunity and improve their local ranking. Getting local links and citations is crucial if you want to build a successful business.
Further on, claiming these listings will give you a chance to make sure that all the information stated for your business is accurate & updated.
According to one Google study, up to 50% of prospects who conducted a local search on their smartphone, visited the store within a day. The study also found that one in three mobile searches occurred before a prospect visited a store.
That means two things:
a) ranking high in local search has a direct impact on in-store traffic
b) you have to optimize your site for mobile.
Half of the mobile users prefer using a mobile internet browser to research local business. If your local pages aren’t mobile-friendly, you’ll lose not only your high rankings but also potential customers.
Now that you know why Local SEO is so important, it's time to see how you can further optimize your local listings.
One of the first steps you need to take to optimize your Google listing is to make sure that you meet Google’s quality guideline.
In other words, you need to ensure that you understand what it takes to create a good listing and provide the basic information that Google wants to see in place.
You can read the guideline for representing your business on Google here. The information provided is short and simple, but extremely insightful, so take a few minutes to read it carefully. You’ll learn how to verify your location (extremely important,) represent your business accurately, use precise location information, and so on.
Think about it this way: given a choice between two similar listings, Google would display the one that offers more information.
More than that, searchers will have a better experience if they can find more information on your business listing and will be more likely to choose you over your competition.
Take the extra mile and fill out more than just the required text fields, such as your address, phone number, email address and/or business hours. You can also include the type of payment you accept, your website URL, and so on.
Make sure that the information you provide is completely accurate.
Your business name, location address and phone number must be exactly the same as that mentioned on your website. Further on, every location should have it’s own listing. For example, you need to have a dedicated phone number per location.
Google business listings are categorized to help users find what they want fast, so it’s vital to choose the categories that describe your company accurately.
As a rule of thumb, pick more specific categories rather than broad ones.
Google’s algorithm makes sure that people who are looking for “restaurants” will see businesses in more niche categories, such as “Asian restaurants,” “vegan restaurants,” and so on.
Photos can make a major difference since the human brain is hard-wired to respond better and faster to images than text.
If you’re not getting any results from your Google My Business page, and you have no images added to your profile, then that should be the first thing to fix for an optimize Google local business listings.
Make sure to add photographs of your doctors, the office, and the perimeter around your business (so that people can recognize it when they see it,) of patients being helped, and of some of your best products/services.
Google is already using your geotags and selected categories to display your business listing in response to a search query, so use this opportunity to persuade searchers and drive clicks.
Think about the problems a potential patient is trying to solve and create content that offers a solution to their situation.
This is not the place to focus on keywords but rather on communicating your core value proposition to potential customers.
Not only that online reviews are a powerful source of information that can impact consumer behavior, but they can also improve your rankings.
The more reviews you have and the more positive they are, the more people will feel comfortable doing business with you.
Make a habit of asking for reviews from your patients to gain an advantage over your competitors.
Also, make sure to answer the reviews you have, especially to the negative ones. Use them as an opportunity to highlight your stellar customer service and responsiveness and convert an unhappy patient into a loyal advocate of your brand.
Most PT clinics focus on the obvious practices when optimizing their listings but completely ignore the small things that can make their practice stand out. Geotagging your images for local search is one of the best examples in this sense.
Geotagging images is a fairly simple process, even for a technologically challenged person. You can use tools, such as Picasa or even the Google My Business dashboard to add relevant metadata.
The tagging will help Google identify the category and location of the image, giving your listing a boost in search results.
Another great but often neglected tip that can help you optimize Google local business listings is to use social media. Platforms such as Pinterest, FourSquare, and Facebook provide options for adding geotag data.
On Pinterest, for instance, you create a branded board, add photos from your listings, and then add a destination URL to your Google My Business profile or your maps location.
That way, when someone searches a query related to your business, not only that you are gaining massive exposure, but you can also provide powerful citations.
If you run a small physical therapy clinic, then you should know that optimizing for local search is something you need to begin paying attention to right now!
By updating your information, improving your listings with positive reviews, adding geotag data to your photos, and leveraging social media to build clean citations, you can get more people to discover your practice on search engines.
Because we know that running a physical therapy clinic is no simple task, PatientSites has created the perfect service for you. Our experts can take care of all of your SEO needs, local or otherwise so that you can focus on growing your practice.
Get in touch with us to learn more about our ‘Managed SEO’ program.
Do you want to take your physical therapy marketing to the next level? Download our Free Evergreen Marketing Blueprint for Physical Therapists and start creating long-term assets that generate new patient bookings for years to come.