As local search is becoming more and more relevant in SEO terms, the opportunity exists for small medical practice owners to narrow their SEO focus to local prospects.
Small medical practices stand a much greater chance of ranking in search engines if they selectively target specific towns and regions where they are based rather than attempting to compete on a nationwide or even international scale.
Even if medical practices are located nationally or internationally, they can still benefit massively by targeting specific locations where they expect to generate more revenue.
You can improve your local medical practice presence in a variety of ways that will impact positively in your local community and with your SEO results, including:
Having a presence at local events– There’s always a local event where you can promote your medical practice effectively. Events such as medical expos, fairs and the like are great places for you to fly the flag and promote your medical practice.
The positive impact of being noticed and recognised at such events isn’t limited to getting your name in front of people attending. It also gives you the opportunity to mention your attendance in a blog post. This will have a further positive impact on SEO.
Writing super targeted local content– The further you drill down into a local area, the more relevant your text becomes for specific keywords. Instead of writing about services available in a town or district, you can benefit from providing local-focused content that is targeted to specific neighbourhoods and community areas.
By concentrating on targeting a wide range of local keywords, small medical practices can jump ahead of bigger competitors that generally focus on generic terms and areas.
Getting good reviews– on Google, Facebook, and websites like Product Reviews, Yellow Page, TripAdvisor and Yelp are significant in search engine rankings these days, as medical practices with better patient reviews on those sites usually rank higher than their competitors.
Below is a sound example of Orthotic Solutions Podiatry (OSP) and its giant competitor competing against each other for the same keyword “sports podiatrists Mabroura” and as you can see despite having probably 15 times bigger budget for online promotion, one of their competitor hasn’t put as much effort in gaining as many authentic good positive reviews as OSP and as a potential patient, which one would you trust more when considering these 02 medical practices for sports podiatry services?
Using Yelp stickers and other means of requesting reviews from your audience can encourage patients to leave positive reviews.
Obviously, the best way to get good reviews is to provide good products and services that are likely to receive them.
Keep in mind that these sites have strict policies about rejecting reviews if reviewers are compensated or directly requested to provide a review.
2. Construct a Long-Tail Keyword Strategy
If small medical practices think they can rank for short, broad two-word keywords related to their services, such as “plastic surgery”, “breast augmentation”, “vet hospital” their strategy requires a significant rethink.
In the large crowd of competitors jostling for these highly competitive keywords, bigger competitors are bound to rank higher. Their massive web presence all but guarantees it. However, they probably are not targeting more specific longer keywords. Adopting long-tail keyword strategies can give smaller medical practices a competitive edge in cases like this.
Long-tail keywords are longer keywords that may even be full sentences. For instance, long-tail keywords for these keywords may simply be “plastic surgeon Bondi Junction”, “custom made orthotics Sydney”, “vet hospital Lindfield”.
If a small medical practice were to attempt to rank for “plastic surgery” due to the high search volume, the chances are they’d be lost way below the first page of results. On the other hand they may experience more success by targeting the longer-tail keyword.
It’s also more specific than the short-tail keyword, targeting people looking for specific treatments/services rather than the much more general term that could be relevant to either case studies or definitions.
One of the most effective ways to develop a long-tail keyword strategy is to simply write high-quality original content. Longer phrases tend to appear naturally within content, and Google picks up on this.
It’s easy for small medical practices to be tempted into coming up with as many keywords as possible to cover all of their areas of expertise. However, it’s a fair bet that larger medical practices will most likely have the market covered when it comes to most of the general keywords.
The competitive answer for the small medical practice owner is to specialise and focus upon a specific niche. Your practice may offer a wide range of medical services but in the harsh competitive light of SEO, it isn’t always practical to target all of the key phrases that are relevant to your medical practice, particularly if you have to compete with some big names for search listings!
The way to beat the richest competition is to fully understand your medical practice, to know exactly what you are offer and to identify a point of difference – a unique selling point. You have more chance of winning when you set the rules and play on your home patch!
Google employed a revolutionary idea to beat Yahoo and other competitors. It focused on “search rankings”. By the time Yahoo finally understood the value of search rankings, the horse had well and truly bolted.
Try focusing on a few key niche areas within your medical practice. Pour your energies into targeting them and doing well for them. Your medical practice will gain much more traction by obtaining high visibility for a few niche products and services rather than poor rankings and next to zero visibility for your entire range of services.
Narrow your focus and broaden your search for niches. For instance, if your medical practice specialises in plastic surgery, focusing on a specific type of plastic surgery services such as breast reduction or eye bag removals instead of being a general plastic surgeon, will raise your medical practice profile above bigger competitors in this niche.
4. Write and Publish Fresh Content
Frequently publishing fresh content about topics that will capture prospective, current and past patients’ interest is an excellent way to establish your medical practice as a content authority and expert in your chosen niche.
Content that regularly helps people is much more likely to be appreciated and shared through social media channels. The content delivery method can be via a blog post, podcast, eBook, informational video, or perhaps a webinar.
Developing an efficient content strategy that is set up to remind you of when and what to post is a great way to ensure you publish content consistently.
The more relevant regular content you post, the more you establish yourself with people as a trusted reliable source of information. Adopting this strategy will naturally assist with SEO and give you an advantage over your competitors.
5. Work Harder, Be Smarter Than Your Competitors = Bust Your Ass
When billionaire technology entrepreneur Mark Cuban was asked by Entrepreneur Magazine– What was the key element of his success as a technology entrepreneur, the answer was short and sharp – “Busting your ass.” It is a quote that should not just be applied to the tech industry but all industries.
Money and connections that you may or may not have don’t determine success. Those who are willing to roll up their sleeves to outwork and out-learn their competition can and do outperform larger players.
There’s no such thing as failure – everything you experience provides more data for your next campaign. The more knowledge you have, the better job you will do next time.
Doing research on keywords, writing interesting content on regular basis, gaining patients reviews online…all of these seems overwhelming considering you have a medical practice to run and millions of no name tasks to do…and guess what….every medical practice has the same issue – the key is you need to outwork and outsmart your competitors…there is no way around this.
And you know what? Hard works always pay off in one way or the other, your passion, tenacity and a strong mind will power your medical practice through the success.
6. Build Your Authority As A Content Publisher
Frequently publishing new content concerning topics that patients and prospects find relevant and helpful is a good means of establishing your medical practice’s bona fides as a content authority.
Good content gets shared with larger audiences. The viral impact of social media cannot be underestimated. Regular published content builds authority and creates its own sharing audience. Provide quality content regularly and your audience builds.
You can create a personal tone and authorship that can set your content and positioning apart from your big competitors who have so many stakeholders involved.
As mentioned earlier, establishing and sticking to a content publishing strategy is the best way to ensure that you publish content consistently.
Fresh reliable content published regularly not only builds your credibility and reputation it also helps with organic medical SEO.
7. Make it Personal , Warm and Inviting
Your big advantage over big corporations is your size. Big medical practices struggle to provide a human face to their patients. Many are seen as cold and faceless. Tales of getting placed on hold for hours and being treated as a number abound.
Small medical practices naturally have an easier time presenting a human face to the public. It is an asset that you should make every use of.
Patients want to do medical practice with people they know and like, so if you can create a personal connection with your prospects, you’d surely have a distinct advantage over your competitors.
Concentrate on making your patient service and social media warm, human and friendly. This is sure to build your reputation in these key areas. People appreciate, remember and comment on personal service. Get it right and you will earn recommendations and social media mentions. This is great free publicity and pumps up your SEO.
Finally, if your website is not mobile-friendly, do whatever it takes to make it so. There is simply no value in building SEO if more than 60% of your potential audience can’t view your site when they use their mobile devices. Don’t put this off, your site has to be mobile in 2017!
It may seem overwhelming when competing with the big names in medical world – how on earth can a small medical practice with a limited budget hope to contend with large conglomerates with seemingly endless resources? The answer is you simply have to be smart about what you do.
While you may never be able to rank first for those highly competitive key phrases, you should be able to carve out a spot for your own niche service.
Thinking laterally is the key. You can get the visitors and patients you want by maneuvering around the giant medical practices and outranking them in areas they haven’t targeted..
Keeping these key elements of your SEO strategy in mind can help your small medical practice to outrank larger competitors in a variety of satisfying and profitable ways.
The focus of this blog is on SEO and related internet marketing, with a specific concentration towards healthcare practices. My motto towards online marketing follows the KISS principle, that by keeping it simple can lead to incredible results.