When is the last time you physically looked something up in the yellow pages? You probably can't remember; that is because most searches for local businesses today happen online. If your practice isn't optimized for local search, you could be costing your practice tons of new patients.
Local search is when a consumer seeks information online in a specific geographic area, with the intention of making a transaction offline. Today we want to share with you not only why local search is important, but also what you can do to make sure your practice is better represented.
Optical Marketing Resources: The Importance of Local Search for Your Eyecare PracticeGoogle as a Go-To
Google remains on top as the number one search engine, and their incorporation with Google Maps in search results makes it one of the strongest online GPS systems. The greater SEO you have in your area, the more likely patients are to come across your practice first in their search results.
Local Search is More Focused
When consumers use local search, they have a specific need or type of business in mind, meaning that their search will be more specific. This is great news for your independent practice because it means that patients will be searching specifically for optometrists in your city, increasing their chances of coming across your practice.
Power of the Patient
Peer recommendations online are huge. We are living in a time where consumers tend to trust other consumers more than they trust businesses and advertisements. Local search provides a great opportunity for potential patients to come across what others have said about your practice. Hopefully, patients have left your practice happy and will encourage others to visit your office.
How to Help Your Practice in Local Search
Optimize Your Website for Mobile Use
Our cell phones rarely leave our sides, so it makes sense that 88 percent of local searches happen on mobile devices. Make sure your website is responsive and looks great not only on a desktop, but on tablets and phones as well. This will increase the chances of patients actually making an appointment with your practice, after coming across your website in a local search.
Pay Attention to Traditional SEO
Your website SEO is how search engines, like Google, categorize your site so that it accurately shows up in search results. Make sure you are paying attention to your alt tags (the text alternatives for images and objects on your page), meta descriptions (the element that describes your page to search engines), content, and keywords to help boost your SEO accurately. Include your industry, what you offer, and where you are located in these details so that search engines can relay those general descriptions to consumers.
Manage Your Google+ Business Pages
Your practice's social media pages can show up in local search along with your website, so be sure that you are keeping them accurately updated. An important page to keep up with is your Google+ page, the nicer you are to Google, the nicer they are back to you in terms of SEO. Your business pages act as great tools for informally getting the information you want to potential patients. They are also strong means for communicating with current patients and monitoring feedback to help keep your patients happy!
Check Google Maps
Search for your practice on Google Maps and make sure that the correct information is being displayed. You don't want to miss out on the opportunity of being found by new patients simply because they are confused on your location. This is especially important if your practice is a new business or has recently moved. If the information currently being displayed is incorrect, you can contact Google to request a change.
Add Yourself to Business Directories
A great way to increase your local search marketing is to add your practice to business directories. The more directories you include yourself in, the greater your chances are of being discovered. There are tons of options out there when it comes to directories, some to make sure you include yourself on are:
Get Your Address Out There
It is important to include your practice's address on any online presence you have. When including your address on your website it is a great idea to embed a Google Map if you have the ability to. Your address should also be included on all of your business pages across social media!
As you can see, local search is vital for growing your business, so make sure you are doing what you can to get your practice out there!
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