Posted: September 13, 2017
We live in an increasingly globally connected world. You can find just about anything you need or place you’d like to go with a few taps on your smartphone, then have it delivered or get driving directions there. Near immediate gratification is the name of the game. When you translate this reality to healthcare, it’s easy to understand why “near me” search results are winning healthcare consumer attention and driving decision making.
Beyond simple SEO optimization, there are other strategies for ranking well in search. Keywords and relevance are still important, but they’re not everything. If you want to dominate local SEO, you have to dominate the first page of Google. But is your healthcare organization fully engaged in all tactics that help you rank at the top?
The three sections of the Google SERP (search engine results page) all require different tactics – from paid advertising to star ratings to organic relevance. If you’re ready to win in all three areas, there are 5 key strategies to consider.
5 Ways to Win Consumer Attention in “Near Me” Search Moments
1. Keywords: There are plenty of online tools to help you find the best ranking keywords relative to your strengths. Work service line by service line to find the best keywords for your goals and then include them on webpage content, in paid ads, and in any other content you write. Make sure to check in on keyword performance regularly and make adjustments where necessary.
2. Content: Content is king these days, and Google ranks your webpages based on the quality and relevance of your content to search terms consumers use. You want your content to be engaging for your audience, so you need to know who they are and what they find interesting. Monkeys (and robots) haven’t managed to duplicate Hamlet yet, so spend time crafting quality provider bios, service line descriptions, educational material, blogs, and the like.
3. Links: When you have high quality, relevant links in your content to both other areas of your site and to other, outside, reputable sites, Google pays attention. Crafting a linking strategy for your content that builds on other well ranking sites and pages without overdoing it takes time. But, done thoughtfully, your own page’s rank will climb.
4. Speed: This should be second nature by now, because we’ve all seen the stats about consumers abandoning pages that load too slowly or don’t render well on mobile. This matters to search engines as well, because they’re less likely to recommend, or rank, pages that are slow or have high abandonment rates. Having a CMS architected for load-time optimization is helpful and ensures your consumers see your engaging content and images before they lose patience.
5. Research: Do you ever Google yourself just to see what comes up? Try doing the same for your keywords. If you’re seeing the hospital down the street higher up in those results than your organization, click through to see how they’re doing it, what their landing pages look like, what other keywords, links, images, etc. are on their site. Watch what your competitors are doing, even what they aren’t doing well, and learn from it.
Bonus Strategy: When you can balance your efforts across paid, earned, and owned media, you’ll find that each realm helps lift the other up. Paid ads speak to landing page content on your owned sites, star rankings on your site and outside review sites boost your reputation and reach, and Google will pay attention.
Studies show that local search delivers more clicks and calls than other marketing channels. With all that hinges on this important channel for your healthcare organization’s business growth, you can’t afford to not throw all your talent and efforts behind it. But, it’s a lot to tackle. Finding technology solutions built for SEO best practices, content optimization, and speed is a good place to start, and you’ll get even more out of your investment if that tech comes with an experienced services team to help keep you up to date on best practices and tactics. You’ll learn what works for your business goals as you continually optimize your efforts. The proof will be when you see your organization all over the first page of those local search results.
Want more help understanding how to win more real estate on local search? Read our ebook, The Quest to be Found: How to Win Consumer Attention in “Near Me” Search Moments.