SEO Talk: The Art of Local Search
Small local business owners need to market themselves on the web in a much different way than international businesses do. Your optometry practice is a local business, and as such, you want to target local Internet users when it comes to your search engine strategy. You want to make the World Wide Web a little less “world wide”.
According to recent statistics by the Kelsey Group, 70% of online searchers will use local search to find offline businesses. As we all know, more and more consumers are turning to the web to find local businesses, yes, even healthcare providers.
Your target audience is searching for an optometrist or optician in your city and therefore you want to focus your strategy on the factors that will contribute to them finding your practice. Here are a few “web locations” to focus on that are known to impact local search results. Remember, it is important to have a broad presence online so we recommend you optimize for as many of these as possible.
Practice Website - Local keywords
This is one of the SEO basics but it is worth repeating. If you want to come up in local search results, you need to use local keywords in your website content, titles and meta tags. Make sure your office location is located prominently and frequently on your site, particularly on the home page. You might also want to include any terms that local patrons might use in a search such as names of a particular area in the city, a shopping center or a well-known main street. If you have an onsite blog, this a great place to increase the frequency of geographic keywords as well. Mention your location in your blog and this adds another opportunity to be found in a local search.
Google Places Listings
Verifying and optimizing your Google Places listing can give you a big advantage if your site shows up in the Local Listings results at the top of the SERP’s. If your SEO is working you could show up at least twice on the first page of results for a local search term. It’s also important to verify your listing to ensure that your practice information is accurate and up to date.
Local Business Review Sites
More and more consumers are turning first to local business review sites such as Yelp when selecting a local business. While it is never a good idea to forge a review, you can get creative and come up with some ways to encourage happy patients to write reviews for you (a little incentive never hurt anyone). Further, if you become active on these sites by writing reviews of other local businesses, this can result in reciprocal posting or general recognition by local patrons.
Local Online Directories
Another way to boost your local searchability is to register your site with as many local directories as possible. This increases your chances of being found by local users and often provides inbound links which is a key factor for SEO.
Google+ Business Pages
You may think that Facebook is enough social media for you, but the fact is Google+ business pages have been showing up in Google Places search results. This is huge. This means that Google’s search results are now combining web page, Google Places and Google + into one powerful local search feature, so it is in your best interest to have a strong presence across the board. Google has even provided a special page for local businesses so be sure to register with the right category for maximum results.
If you have these bases covered, you have a better chance of getting found in a local search and probably even an advantage over much of your local competition!
Want to read more blog posts on SEO? Check out our SEO Blog Archives with a host of other informative articles about getting your optometry practice website to the top of the search engines.