8 Local SEO for Doctors Tips to Boost Your Rankings

Knowing the ins and outs of SEO isn’t enough when you’re marketing a local medical practice. You need a complete understanding of how local SEO for doctors changes the game. Here are some winning strategies to know and master.

Updated: May 11, 2023
Local SEO for Doctors Tips to Boost Your Rankings

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If you run or market a small local medical practice, you don’t need to be told what a challenge it can be to attract a steady influx of new patients. 

Not only do you need to attract the right clientele, but you need to convince them that going with you is a better idea than choosing someone else.

Locals searching for the right doctor definitely count on Google to help them discover and evaluate their options, so your website and online content are among the essential tools you have in your corner. 

But to succeed, you need to understand how solid local SEO techniques differ from the standard strategies you might be used to.

Keep reading to learn more!

    What is Local SEO?

    As you likely know, standard search engine optimization (SEO) is a collection of techniques and best practices designed to help you improve your SERP rankings for relevant search terms. 

    Local SEO is a specific type of SEO that focuses on helping a business rank better for search terms that are location-specific.

    For example, let’s say you run a dermatology practice in San Diego and are looking to master better local SEO for doctors.

    You’ll want to rank better for localized search terms prospective new patients are likely to enter into Google — like “dermatologists in San Diego” or “San Diego dermatologist.”

    Some people may also search for terms like “dermatologist near me” and let Google use their geolocation information to suggest viable nearby options.

    What is the Usefulness of Local SEO for Doctors?

    Think back to the last time you were choosing a doctor. 

    Where did you turn for local suggestions and essential information on what to expect from your visit? Whether or not you also asked a loved one for advice and recommendations, you almost certainly hopped on Google and started searching for answers.

    Most prospective patients in your area aren’t any different in this regard. 

    But a patient who can’t find you online is, sadly, also a patient who can’t be convinced to walk through your practice’s front door and not the competition’s.

    That’s where solid SEO for doctors comes in. Some of the most significant benefits include:

    • Maximizing foot traffic to your establishment.
    • Attracting more of the right patients to your practice.
    • Saving you money in advertising fees and other related costs.
    • Meeting your competitors where they live and becoming a viable contender.
    • Building authority when it comes to your field and areas of expertise.

    In other words, local SEO for doctors is the key to helping those who need your help find you, teaching them what they need to know about any issues they have, and helping them trust you with their ongoing health.

    8 Local SEO Strategies for Doctors

    It’s honestly never too late to get started with local SEO for doctors. 

    However, it’s important to understand that SEO means playing the long game, as it can take time for even a great campaign to yield results.

    Ideally, a medical practitioner should build their website and put their SEO strategy into play at least a few months before they plan to open their doors, rebrand, or launch any new services. 

    But the next-best time to get started is right now, so the sooner you dive in, the better. Here are the best tips to do that.

    1. Claim your online listings

    The days when people turned to the Yellow Pages when they wanted trustworthy local business listings are over. 

    These days, trusted online directories like Google My Business and Yelp are the way to go. (And for doctors, the same goes for healthcare-specific options like Best Doctors or Healthgrades.)

    Options like these typically pop up within the first page of a query for doctor information, so it’s crucial that these listings remain correct and up-to-date regarding your practice. 

    Otherwise, you could be missing out on a lot of great-quality leads.

    Make sure you’ve claimed and verified your listings on Google My Business, Yelp, and other top directories if they already exist. If they don’t, create them from scratch. 

    Then enhance and maintain them moving forward to ensure patients have current, accurate information about your practice.

    2. Optimize your site for local searches

    Most people would rather not have to travel a long distance to keep an appointment with their doctor. Therefore, many localized searches don’t simply include states or general regions. 

    They usually include specific cities, towns, or neighborhoods, as well.

    Great local SEO for doctors means fully optimizing for these searches, the better to help your future patients know you’re out there. 

    Include location-specific terms everywhere it counts — within your web content, on social media, and in your title tags — to raise your chances of ranking for these terms.

    3. Redouble your keyword research efforts

    Before you can work on ranking for the right local keywords, you need to figure out what they are first. 

    Every comprehensive SEO effort revolves around terrific keyword research, so every strategy for localizing your strategy should include a fresh round of that research. 

    Remember, local keywords differ from standard options via their location-specific terms.

    Start by putting yourself in the shoes of one of your patients. 

    What common issues are they typically looking for help with? What local key phrases can you picture them typing into Google in the hopes of finding a practice like yours? Make a list of the most likely possibilities.

    Then take your list, type each option into your go-to local keyword research tool, and make additional lists from the most relevant suggestions. 

    Keep in mind that local keywords don’t always come attached to a massive search volume, so be sure to balance that with other considerations like competition when making your choices.

    4. Build localized landing pages

    Many healthcare providers interested in local SEO for doctors want to target multiple locations – for example, the actual city where the practice is located plus several nearby areas. 

    However, they make the mistake of thinking more is more when targeting those locations within their on-page site copy.

    Doing that can confuse both Google and your website visitors, but ensuring each distinct location has its own landing page keeps things organized and effective. 

    Fill your pages with solid original content that addresses real concerns prospective patients from that location would have.

    This may include driving directions and similar information. Consider making your content even more helpful for those people by embedding a map within your content.

    5. Leverage the power of social proof

    Social proof is a powerful force when it comes to any type of digital marketing, and with good reason. 

    People need to feel like they’re making smart decisions they’ll be happy with in the long run, and social proof can help give them that peace of mind. 

    This is especially the case when they’re choosing a local service to trust their health to.

    That said, it pays to include testimonials, endorsements, and positive reviews from happy patients who love what you do. 

    The same goes for powerful trust signals like awards you may have won or special certifications that show you know your stuff.

    6. Optimize your site for mobile

    Accessing the web isn’t just common in 2022. 

    It’s also the most popular way to do just about anything online, including searching for information, with 58 percent of global web traffic now originating from mobile devices. 

    That makes mobile accessibility a must for any local SEO for doctors strategy.

    Ensure your web design is simple, clean, fast, and capable of adapting to a variety of different screens. 

    Make sure any buttons and on-site functions are fully compatible with touch-screen technology, as well. 

    You’ll make your patients’ lives easier, show Google you’re serious about offering a great user experience, and satisfy Google’s mobile-first indexing policy.

    7. Focus on local link building

    High-quality backlinks have been major Google ranking signals for a long time, and they continue to be so. 

    This is just as much the case for sites focusing on local healthcare services as any other type of site, so a local link building campaign should always be part of your ongoing strategy.

    Just keep in mind that not all backlinks are equal to one another. The best kind to have are organic backlinksbacklinks you earn just by having amazing content that people can’t help but share and endorse. 

    Google sees those as votes of confidence for the site they link to — proof that your content deserves to rank well.

    Encourage high-quality backlinking by networking with industry peers and other business owners in niches related to yours. 

    Scope out opportunities to guest-blog for other sites in your niche or contribute content to local publications. Never pay for services that sell backlinks, as those can do more harm than good.

    8. Create plenty of incredible content

    And, of course, no local SEO for doctors’ campaigns could be considered complete without a solid content marketing strategy. 

    Google favors sites that produce consistent streams of helpful content that address its users’ needs, so make sure yours is doing that.

    Add a blog to your website and fill it with content that will help your visitors get to the bottom of their concerns and nudge them toward booking an appointment, including location-specific content. 

    Share it across your social media channels, and encourage your followers to do the same.

    You may also be interested in these articles:

    Wrap Up

    Now that you know a bit more about local SEO for doctors, as well as how to launch a solid strategy, it’s time to ensure you not only achieve success but maintain it over the long term. 

    After all, achieving top search engine rankings for your target keywords is not enough. You also need to maintain them once you’ve got them.

    Take our quick but comprehensive SEO maturity assessment to see how effective your current campaign really is!

    You’ll find out once and for all what’s working for you, as well as where you could stand to improve.


    Human Crafted Content

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    Human Crafted Content

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    Shannon Hilson Rock author vector
    Rock Content Writer

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