By now, you hopefully understand that local search leads to better conversions online.

But why?

Local search tactics work because a consumer who’s searched for nearby healthcare services (or even your brand’s name) has already demonstrated their intent to take the next step in their consumer journey.

In this recent post, we discussed how 77% of consumers who schedule an appointment use a search engine before they select a hospital. This type of traffic is highly convertible, because they’re searching with intent to schedule or call.

Also, people searching for businesses online almost always choose a company listed on the first page of search results. In fact, according to Search Engine Watch, the top 5-10 listings in any search earn 90% of the clicks. When the services you offer and promote, your nearby facilities, or your physicians appear in local search results, you’re that much closer to a booked appointment or phone call.

As a healthcare organization, this means that you absolutely must appear near the top of the first page if you want potential patients to find you when searching for the services you provide.

Why is accuracy so important when it comes to local search?

Accuracy is crucial because:

  • Inaccurate data leads to lost phone calls (not to mention dissatisfactory consumer experience).
  • Fewer phone calls means fewer patients.
  • A loss in patients reduces revenue.

Accuracy is so important, in fact, that more than 7 out of 10 patients report that they lose trust in healthcare brands that present incorrect information (e.g. name, address, phone number) within a Google listing.

What elements should I monitor for accuracy?

1) Your NAP:
From helping healthcare organizations to manage their contact information (name, address, phone number – NAP) on the web for physicians and locations, we discovered that 90% of information is incomplete, outdated, or simply inaccurate. To avoid being part of this statistic, it’s critical that you check (and double check) your NAP information on a consistent basis.

2) Physician roster changes:
In this recent post, we covered best practices for managing your local listings. One of the key areas that trip up many healthcare organizations was managing physician roster changes.

For instance, when a new cardiologist comes on-board, your team should create new listings or claim and update existing listings to ensure prospective patients can easily find your new physician.

However, with practice location changes, additions and removals of employed physicians, and other roster changes, managing this work load for your entire physician roster can be nearly impossible on your own.

3) Organizational updates:
We also discussed how organizational changes can affect your local directory listings.

Maybe you’re going through a website redesign or migrating sites, which will result in URL changes. Or, you might rebrand a specific practice or your entire health system due to a merger or acquisitions.

Whatever the cause, you need to be prepared to handle changes across all locations, all brand iterations, and all URL restructures.

4) Duplicate listings:
This is another area that can be a struggle to manage. Whether it’s an old practice location for your top bariatric surgeon in Google, or a patient-created Facebook page for your urgent care location, working to remove or merge these duplicate pages is just as important as making sure the correct data is shown in each local listing.

If a duplicate page exists, you’re muddying the local footprint of your business, which could cause issues in other directories. Directories pull information from other data sources, which could include other directories. These inaccurate or duplicate entries could show in local search, confusing a prospective patient looking to schedule an appointment.

Automated tools that can make the process easier

New patient acquisition and patient loyalty depend on your brand's ability to compete in "near me" search moments. Consistent, accurate, and updated listings are the key to winning those search moments, especially in local search. But, with a task so important and time consuming, it can be nearly impossible to do it alone.

Implementing a Healthcare Directory Listings Management solution can alleviate the burden of claiming and maintaining accurate data in online local listings for providers, hospitals, and other practice locations.

A comprehensive solution will claim, cleanse, and maintain online listings for all your providers and locations across the entire search ecosystem — spanning social, search, and healthcare-specific directories. It can also help you maintain accurate hours, phone numbers, and driving directions for all your providers and locations in Google Search and Maps to improve your search rankings.

Want more in-depth tips and insight into winning local search? Read our eBook, The Quest to Be Found.