If you want to find more patients for your optometrist practice or eye care center, it pays to look in the right place. Enter local SEO.
Local SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that helps businesses be more visible in the local search results to earn more foot traffic and improve sales. Local search results are primarily based on the distance, relevance, and prominence of a business in relation to a given search query.
Wondering about the benefits of local SEO for eye doctors, and how you can use this digital marketing strategy to attract more of your target patients to your optometrist practice or eye care center?
Here’s a closer look at everything you should know about local SEO.
What is Local SEO?
Search engines were created to help internet users quickly and easily find the information they need. To do this, they evaluate a number of factors — both on and off your web pages — to evaluate whether it is accurate to display as a search result.
While the specific algorithm Google uses to make this determination is a mystery (and an always-changing one), we do know that important ranking factors include a secure and accessible website, responsiveness and page speed, mobile-friendliness, domain age, optimized content, technical SEO, links, social signals, as well as real and accurate business information.
Local SEO adds another element to the equation. Google’s primary goal is to deliver value to searchers. Based on the fact that many people are looking for certain types of businesses within their geographic region, local SEO means search engines can also take proximity into account. This means that when someone performs a search, Google also considers their location — even if you don’t include “near me” or the name of your city in the search.
Why Local SEO Is Important
While local search isn’t new, its importance has skyrocketed in recent years in parallel with the increase in mobile internet access. According to data shared by HubSpot, mobile queries like “near me” increased by 200 percent within a two-year period.
Among advantages of local SEO, maximizing your visibility is at the top of the list. Using local SEO means you won’t just appear on the main organic search results page, but you can also gain a coveted spot in the Google Maps Pack. This is the set of three highlighted maps-based results that appear at the top of your Google search.
In addition to giving you front and center visibility, the Google Map Pack also displays crucial information, such as a brief business summary, hours, price ranges, featured photos reviews, and reviews and ratings. There’s a reason why Google Map Pack is considered prime real estate on search pages: according to data, businesses in it claim as much as 44 percent of a search engine results page’s total clicks.
The Benefits of Local SEO
You’ll improve your online visibility
The data increasingly tells us that patients are turning to the internet first when looking for eye care and other healthcare. Local SEO techniques will improve your search results and boost your chances of being found — both on organic results pages and in the Google Map Pack.
You’ll build a community
Reputable backlinks are a known factor in SEO. Adding more local backlinks to your website not only helps your rank but also opens the door to reciprocity. If you refer your customers to a relevant local product or service via your website, they’re likely to do the same.
Data also consistently tells us that people are much more likely to trust peer feedback over marketing. Including local backlinks is an excellent way to build trust.
You’ll get more relevant traffic
SEO isn’t just about attracting traffic to your website; it’s about attracting the right traffic. For geography-based businesses, local SEO lets you take this to another level. While a general SEO search may result in dead-end visits from prospective patients outside your vicinity, local SEO lets you narrow your focus to hits that matter.
You’ll build trust and increase your authority
Google is a respected entity trusted by billions of people all over the world. When your optometry practice or eye care center receives a high search rank or spot in the Google Map Pack, your services are automatically perceived as more respectable and authoritative. High search rankings come with an implicit vote of confidence that goes a long way to building consumer trust.
You’ll get more conversions
It’s a straightforward concept: More visibility + higher value traffic = more information requests, appointment bookings and other conversions.
Tips to Improve Your Local SEO
Unify all of your listings
Your optometry practice appears in many places on the web, such as Google My Business, social media, Apple Maps, and third-party review sites like Yelp. When the information on these sites is consistent, search engines trust it more and reward your site with higher rankings.
Measure how you’re doing
You can’t fix it if you don’t know what’s broken. Tracking your local position can help you understand how you’re doing and change strategies to improve, when necessary.
Manage Your Google My Business profile
Your Google My Business (GMB) profile has a huge impact on organic rankings, Google Maps, and the Google Local Pack feature. In addition to the basics like creating and verifying your GMB profile, you should also commit to managing it, such as by keeping your address and hours updated, uploading pictures and videos, and posting.
Make sure your website is mobile-optimized
We’ve established that many of your potential patients are looking for you on mobile devices. Local SEO is pointless if your target audience can’t easily access your website on their phones or tablets.
While the tips above can help your eye care practice start to leverage the power of local search, they’re just the beginning. Not only that, but the SEO landscape is constantly changing — which means that making the most of it hinges on keeping up. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for busy healthcare businesses focused on the more mission-critical imperative of providing high-quality patient care. However, eye care marketing IS mission-critical for one major reason: You can’t deliver this care if you don’t have patients.
Why You Need an Ophthalmology Marketing Agency
That brings us to one last tip. If you’re truly looking to benefit from everything SEO and digital marketing have to offer, hiring an ophthalmology marketing agency can be a game-changer.
Offering skills, expertise, and dedicated focus, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO services for optometrists will manage all aspects of SEO and digital marketing for your optometry practice or eye care center, thereby freeing you up to concentrate on what you do best: caring for your patients.