Local Search Tips for Healthcare Organizations
As more and more people turn to online sources in their search for medical treatment, it’s becoming critical that your hospital or medical practice can be found via local search. Local search allows someone to look for a service or good within a contained geographical area.
If you’re a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, you want to show up in the top results when people search “ER Nashville.” And not only that, you want your details to be correct. Imagine if someone searched for your ER, only to be given the wrong address. This type of misinformation can lower your standing in the community, both through bad word-of-mouth and negative reviews online.
Here are 3 tips to ensure your medical practice is set up for the local search.
Claim your listing
Search for your business on popular search engines like Google and Bing. You can even try Moz’s local search function to see how your hospital or practice shows up online. If you haven’t already, claim your listing. Then update your details, adding as much information as possible. In addition to things like your hours of operation, be sure to add in any relevant credentials and awards. This will help lend authority to your organization.
Pro Tip: Once you’ve entered in all your details, ask a test audience of family or friends to Google your hospital or practice. Did your listings show up correctly? Were the driving directions accurate? If not, find the incorrect listing and fix it.
Optimize your website
To properly optimize your website for local search, you want to focus on three things—your target audience, SEO best practices, and responsive design. Your target audience (likely potential patients) should be your first and foremost focus when you design your site. Make sure your pages are easy to navigate and that you’re answering the questions your potential patients are asking online. Next, consider how Google wants your site to be organized.
The final element that will really impact your local search ranking is whether or not your site is mobile-friendly. Pyxl recommends a responsively designed website—basically, this means that your website scales properly no matter what size device someone is using, whether it be a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Your potential patients are driving around, relying on their smartphones to give the correct directions to your location. It’s important that you show up first and that your listing is accurate.
When looking for a local hospital or medical practice, many people search online for facility and individual doctor reviews. This can be a scary prospect for a lot of healthcare organizations. Opening your hospital or practice up for reviews means accepting that there may be negative ones in the mix. You are trusting a non-medically-trained audience to reflect your skills and knowledge properly. However, studies have shown that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth, so it’s an important component of your digital brand. Whether you condone it or not, online reviews are going to be written about your hospital or practice. By encouraging reviews, you are showing that you stand behind your staff and their expertise.
Search engine optimization and local search are based on ever-changing algorithms. These practical tips will serve you well in the long run and will never go out of style. Interested in learning more about the future of digital marketing in healthcare? Download our resource Healthcare Marketing in the Digital Age. For more detailed advice, specific to your hospital or practice, get in touch with us today.
Updated: May 24, 2022