Hospitals are businesses that rely heavily on local customers, so it’s digital marketing strategy should put a high priority on local visibility through local listings, and local SEO.
To start, 80% of consumers use search engines to find local business information.
Also, 59% of consumers use Google every month to locate a business.
And lastly, 95% of internet users have reported finding incorrect information about a business that they were searching for online, per a Yext survey.
Not having a plan to manage your local listings means you’re missing out on:
- Increased web presence/visibility
- Increased search traffic
- Increased conversions
- Increased brand awareness
Don’t let this happen to you. Take charge of your local online presence by using this simple local SEO checklist below.
Claim your business listings
Making sure your hospital is listed correctly on the major websites should be priority number one. The first place you should add your business listing is Google.com. With most things search related, Google is the go-to resource and local listings are no different. Healthcare is one of the only industries in which Google allows users to submit both a physical business listing and a listing for each doctor that works there. Fathom clients have seen great results adding individual physicians to their local listing on Google.
When doing this, one thing to keep in mind is that many local listings on Google are auto-generated from data from third-party resources. To check if you already have a local listing, visit http://gybo.com/.
Make sure the categories you choose are as relevant as possible. A great resource to see all of Google’s available categories is Moz Local’s Category Tool.
While Google is the authority on local listings, you don’t want to neglect other sites where you can claim your business listings. After Google, look into adding your business listings to Bing, Yelp, Facebook and Google Maps Connect. While there are many more, these should be your top priorities after Google.
Industry specific sites
The healthcare industry is a little different in that you want to gain local visibility for individual physicians as well as your physical business location. A great way to do this is to add/check your physician’s listings on websites including Healthgrades, ZocDoc and WebMD. These sites make it easy to add or edit your hospital’s physicians.
Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP)
A large ranking factor for search engines such as Google is consistency in your NAP across all of the sites listed above. That’s right – Google actually looks to these sites to make sure the information is consistent, and if it isn’t, it’s possible your hospital listing will take a hit in search results. This is especially true for physicians, since they are much more likely to move around, and their information often doesn’t get updated, leading to inconsistent information.
Reviews are a huge part of your local listings’ rankings. Asking your customers for reviews on Google is a great way to help yourself rank higher. Be careful though, because some sites such as Yelp may actually penalize you for soliciting reviews from customers in the hopes that the reviews won’t be biased and are natural.
Unique Location pages
Each physical business location should have it’s own page with unique content about the city/area.
City and State
The City and state should be listed in the title tag, meta description and H1 tag of each location page.
Most location pages only contain a map, address and phone number. Your location pages have so much opportunity to help your website and local listings rank higher. Each location page should have at least 250 words of unique content (without being spammy.) A great way to help you rank higher AND have more content is to write a little bit about surrounding cities.
Micro data is a way to tell search engines more about your business. For example wrapping your address in micro data code helps tell Google, Bing and Yahoo that your business is located in X city, has X hours, etc. etc. To learn more about how to add microdata to your site check out https://schema.org/.
If however, you are less technically inclined, there are very easy tools from Google and Bing called Data Highlighter in which you highlight this data from your webmaster tools account. If you can do either you should choose the schema code option, it is treated the same by most major search engines, while Googles data highlighter strictly only works for Google and is much more limited. You should attempt to wrap all of your locations data, events and physicians in micro data code for optimum results.
Key takeaways from this local SEO checklist for hospitals:
- Google My Business should be your top priority. Having consistent NAP helps your hospital rank higher and ensures your customers show up to the right location.
- Make sure you choose the most relevant category.
- Claim listings on secondary sites after Google.
- Search the web to make sure your info is consistent.
- Ask for reviews on Google & Facebook.
- Create a unique webpage for each location.
- Add the city and state to your page title,
h1 tag, and meta description.
- Fill your location pages with unique information about surrounding cities.
- Wrap your important business information in Micro Data code.
That’s it. Local SEO may seem complicated, but it’s just a matter of taking the steps above to ensure your local online presence is optimized as best as possible. Need help? Don’t hesitate to contact Fathom’s local SEO experts today.