Local SEO is critical for doctors who want to ensure their practice is visible and accessible to patients online. Local SEO isn’t a single activity but an ongoing process of ensuring that your website is easy to find, accessible, and delivers a positive user experience. We’re going to break down the fundamentals of local SEO for GPs and provide you with a step-by-step guide to get you started
Basics of local SEO
You probably already know this, but we’ll go right back to basics and build from there.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It’s a set of strategies, tools, and techniques aimed at improving your website’s visibility on search engines like Google.
Google is the world’s most popular search engine, handling billions of daily requests. When someone types a query into a search engine (what is local SEO for doctors?), it sits through the billions of webpages to identify what it considers the best and most appropriate result.
SEO is a strategy to ensure your website ranks as highly as possible in search engine results. To get you there, SEO agencies and professionals use a range of strategies and approaches, including technical improvements to your site, keyword optimisation, link-building, and content creation to boost your running.
When searching for healthcare services, Google will use your location as part of its assessment for search results. When it filters through webpages, it will identify local GP surgeries and display results. As well as details of the GP practices that are local to your area, it will also display a map with places.
Local SEO ensures that your local practice appears prominently in Google search results.
Why Local SEO Matters for Doctors
SEO for doctors isn’t about advertising services but accessibility and visibility. Here are some of the reasons why doctors like you may want to invest in local SEO:
- Establishing a new GP practice in an area
- Improving the profile and search engine position of your local practice
- Updating the user experience to make the site accessible to everyone
- Rebranding a GP practice
- Conflict with a GP practice with the same name from another area
- Adding additional services to your GP practice
- Welcoming a new GP practice partner
- Boosting your GP practice profile before sale
- Combat negative reviews online
In each of these situations, SEO is going to have a positive impact on your practice.
By optimising your online presence locally, you ensure that your practice shows up in these critical searches, connecting you with potential patients in your area.
Key components of local SEO for doctors
SEO for doctors is a huge area that incorporates a large range of technical improvements, website optimisation, and more. We’re going to focus on the elements of local SEO.
- Google My Business: Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is your practice’s profile on Google. It includes your practice’s name, address, phone number, and other details. A well-optimised GMB listing is essential and can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s local pack – the top three business listings that appear for a local search. You’ll need to create your listing but also keep it updated with correct details, including phone numbers, website address, and opening hours. Investing time in your Google My Business profile is a great way to boost local SEO.
- Keywords: Keywords are the terms that potential patients and local people use to search for your services. For a doctor, this could be “family doctor in [City]” or “GP service in (your local area).” Identifying the right keywords and incorporating them into your website’s content is essential and will help both Google and your patients.
- Website optimisation: Google will analyse your website and grade it according to its speed, accessibility, and overall quality. You should ensure your website is user-friendly, fast, and performs flawlessly on mobile devices. You can use website speed checkers to see how fast your site is, or for more detailed analysis, use a tool like ahrefs.
- Content creation and optimisation: The content on your site needs to be simple, easy to read, and informative. It must also include relevant keywords (where appropriate and add value). This principle works for all content pages, including blogs and articles. To safeguard a strong Google rank, create relevant, informative content. You can read out guide on how to generate healthcare content ideas.
- Local links: Link building with local sources is great for SEO, and patients. Ensure your practice is listed on all relevant website directories, and there are links from relevant sources, like your local NHS trust, secondary care providers, third sector organisations, and community groups. Also use local listing sites, like Yelp that your patients may use.
- Online reviews: It can be hard, but encouraging patients to leave reviews on your GMB profile and other review sites can have a boost for SEO.
Common local SEO mistakes to avoid
Local SEO for doctors isn’t hard, but it does take an investment of time and resource. You can’t simply create connections like Google My Business and ignore them.
- Failing to focus on local keywords: Local SEO is also about knowing your audience, and the keywords they use to search for your services. If you aren’t using the right keywords, you’re not going to be optimising your site effectively. It’s that simple.
- Inconsistent information across different platforms: Google will analyse information on your site and identify inconsistencies. It’s important to ensure your profiles is identical across all infromation sources and online.
- Neglecting the power of patient reviews: Patient reviews are powerful and are an effective strategy to boost local SEO. You’ll need to monitor and manage reviews, responding where necessary. It can be hard to deal with difficult reviews, but ignoring them is worse.
- Not keeping the website content updated: Accurate, relevant, and clear content demonstrates authority to Google. It’s important that all content is regularly reviewed and checked for accuracy. In addition to status content, if you want to boost your search engine ranking, you need to invest in posting regularly new content on all types of healthcare issues that matter to your patients and local population.
Measuring Your SEO Success
Measuring SEO impact and assessing success is technical, but the easiest way to do so is to simply type your keywords into Google and see where you rank.
If you’re looking for more technical analysis of performance, use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to track your website’s performance. You’ll want to look for changes (and hopefully, improvements), in website traffic, search rankings, and engagement rates.
Want to supercharge your SEO?
At 42group, we work with healthcare providers to boost their SEO using sustainable techniques. There are no shortcuts, or dubious practices, just good, old fashioned hard work.
If you’d like to chat to us, get in touch today.Get in touch
Local SEO FAQs
How long does it take to see results from SEO?
SEO deosn’t work overnight (or at least, in most cases it won’t), but you should begin to se an impact quickly. We recommend investing in SEO for 3-6 months to see a demonstrable change in traffic and improvements in ranking, but it can happen much quicker.
Can I do SEO on my own, or should I hire a professional healthcare SEO agency?
IF you’re confident working with the tools here and have access to the internet, there’s no reason why you can’t attempt many of these SEO activities yourself. Of course, working with an agency like 42group will make the process easier, faster, and more effective.
How often should I update my website content?
If you’re serious about boosting SEO for your GP practice, then you should review all content on your website regularly and update it. You should also invest in regularly posting high quality new content. There is no hard and fast rule about this, but we recommend a post or two a week is effective for most practices and will soon have an impact.