If you want your website to show up on Google search results, your local SEO efforts are absolutely paramount. And if you don’t want your website to be easily-accessible for new patients to find you and start treatment with you, then… we can’t help you there.
A website that isn’t optimized for local search won’t stand a chance against the competition, because chances are very high that your competition is already utilizing local SEO to some degree.
But why is local SEO so important, and how do you do local SEO in the first place?
Here’s the down-low on the top local SEO tips and the best local search practices.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO, or ‘local search engine optimization’, is essentially how you market your practice online to your community and surrounding communities. Especially in the orthodontic industry, your existing patients, new patients and new prospective patients are located in your local area.
Generally speaking, you’re not marketing your orthodontic services to people who live across the nation or in a different country. You’re trying to reach people who are likely to visit your office and start treatment with you today, tomorrow, or next week.
So how do you ensure that your website shows up on Google when a prospective patient searches for an “orthodontist near me” or “Invisalign® near me”?
The answer is local SEO.
Local SEO is the optimization strategy your website uses to appear in the local pack results of a Google search. The local pack results are the first three results on the map of a SERP (search engine results page).
Here’s what a quick search for “Invisalign near me” shows us in the local pack.
Why is Local SEO Important?
How often do you search beyond the local pack results when you’re seeking a business near you? If you’re searching for a local business, you may already be in your car, ready to start your GPS and drive to that business. Otherwise, you may be planning to leave your house in a few hours. Either way, you have every intention of surveying the area to find the nearest business that meets your needs as soon as possible.
“72% of consumers who complete a local search will visit a business within 5 miles (WordStream).”
While the specific range your patients are willing to travel is dependent on your market (patients located in highly-populated areas may only travel 5 miles, while others located in less-populated, rural areas may travel 10 to 20 miles), you should still assume that prospective patients are looking for an orthodontist within a convenient proximity.
Most of your leads don’t want to leave their area to find an orthodontist. They want to find a conveniently-located orthodontist with minimal travel time. Let’s face it, nobody wants to drive an hour to their regular orthodontist appointments.
Your prospective patients are already looking for you! Your practice already has the opportunity to attract new patients, just from its location. You just have to close the deal by optimizing your site and practice listings for local search.
Optimizing your website for local search ensures that people are finding your practice with ease. They don’t have to search past the map, or at least the first page, to find your website. And with your star-rating easily visible, that might be the only push they need! (See why Google Reviews are another huge factor in patient conversion.)
A locally-optimized website is also easier for users to contact. If your website appears in the local pack and your listing is set up properly, your practice phone number will be visible, your website will be linked and easy to access, and GPS directions will be a simple click away.
This easy navigation makes for a better user experience, which increases your chances of users visiting your site or contacting your practice from your locally-optimized listing.
How to do Local SEO
There are a few key components to successful local SEO—and they’re certainly not hard to implement.
Here’s your local SEO checklist:
1. Optimize your website content.
Content is king when it comes to SEO. That’s because people use words to search for your business. By including these keywords with high search volumes in your content, you’re telling Google that your website meets the user’s needs. It’s critical to include location keywords in your home page, blogs, service landing pages, and basically every other page.
Throughout your website, use keywords that include your location along with your service. For example, “orthodontist in Tampa” or “braces Tampa” will help your fellow Tampa locals to find your website when they’re in need of orthodontic services.
2. Create a separate page for every location.
We often see websites that don’t have individual pages to broadcast their office locations, and it leaves us cringing…
Not only should you have a page dedicated to your office locations, but you should have one page per office location. Separate location pages enable you to utilize H1 tags with local keywords. Having properly implemented H1 tags is imperative for search rankings.
Each location page should feature an H1 tag that includes the location. Each page should also include the surrounding communities in the content. This way, if prospective patients from these surrounding communities are searching for an orthodontist, there’s a good chance your website will show up.
3. Create and optimize Google My Business listing.
Your practice’s Google My Business listing should always have up-to-date business information. This is important for your existing and prospective patients’ user experience, but also for your local SEO.
Update your business hours to reflect any changes, even if they’re temporary. Make sure your website is linked properly and your phone number is entered correctly. This can help to increase website traffic, as users are able to access your website easily. And as we know, the more website traffic, the greater the search ranking.
“Google algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results (Google).”
So even if you’re a few extra miles away from a prospective patient, you can still outrank a competing practice that’s in closer proximity, just by optimizing your Google My Business listing and your practice website. The content on your website and the information on your listing are the pieces that tell Google whether or not your business is closely aligned with a user’s search.
Your local SEO efforts won’t transform your rankings and website visibility over night. It takes time for SEO to kick in and start showing results.
Slow and steady wins the SEO race! Take small steps each day or week to increase your local SEO gradually, but surely.
And if you’re Interested in learning more about our tried-and-true search techniques, let’s chat. We are a local SEO company and we have the tools to get your website in front of the right people.