6 Ways Local SEO Attracts Ophthalmology Patients
A brief look at Google Trends demonstrates that over the past few years, more and more people are typing "eye exam near me" into the search box. If you aren't seeing an increase in online leads for the eye exam service, your local SEO may need some work.
6 Ways Local SEO Attracts Ophthalmology Patients
A brief look at Google Trends demonstrates that over the past few years, more and more people are typing “eye exam near me” into the search box. If you aren’t seeing an increase in online leads for the eye exam service, your local SEO may need some work.
For example, a potential patient who needs an eye exam starts the search with “eye exam near me.” If you have an effective local SEO campaign for ophthalmologists, the patient will see your clinic in the search results and inside the Google Map Pack.
By grabbing this much real estate on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), you are fortifying lead generation efforts and bringing new patients to your doorstep. Let’s find out how ophthalmology SEO can help attract new patients to your vision practice.
What is local SEO for ophthalmologists?
Local SEO is a set of search engine optimization tactics aimed at attracting a local audience. While traditional SEO focuses on patients on the global level, local ophthalmology SEO works to make your clinic visible to people who live nearby.
Patients are rarely willing to travel for more than 30 minutes to reach an eye care provider if another is closer. That’s why your focus should be on people who live within a close radius of your practice. Achieving this is possible with local SEO tactics.
6 Ways Ophthalmologists Can Boost Local SEO Rankings
Today, 97% of patients learn more about a local practice online than they do anywhere else. Boosting your local SEO efforts can help improve visibility on search results and bring new patients to your clinic.
1. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP) is a calling card that makes your clinic visible across all relevant Google services. By optimizing, managing, and updating your GBP, you are making it easy for Google to figure out your clinic’s relevance to the searcher’s query and intent.
Once you create a Google Business Profile, you need to optimize it for local SEO. This includes:
- Adding relevant NAP (name, address, phone number) data.
- Providing working hours (including holidays and weekends).
- Uploading high-quality photos of your practice.
- Choosing relevant categories (e.g., ophthalmologist, ophthalmology clinic, optometrist)
- Sharing a full list of services.
- Creating a Q&A section (while you are waiting for patients to ask questions, you can use this as a FAQ section, in which questions contain appropriate ophthalmology keywords).
- Adding a “book an appointment” button
Your clinic’s GBP profile may already exist. All you have to do is claim it and start adding relevant information.
Claiming and optimizing your GBP is just the first step toward high-quality local SEO. The next step is maintenance. You have to check GBP regularly to update information and reply to reviews.
2. Keywords Research for Local SEO
Keyword research is the pillar of your local SEO efforts. Figuring out which keywords to use for your content goes hand in hand with understanding the user’s intent.
Local SEO for ophthalmologists focuses on keywords that are divided into three categories:
- Procedure keywords – LASIK surgery, refractive eye surgery, eye exam.
- Specialty keywords – eye doctors, LASIK surgeon, ophthalmologist
- Location keywords – Seattle, Boston, Houston.
These categories are then used in combinations:
- Procedure + location (e.g., LASIK surgery Seattle)
- Specialty + location (e.g., eye doctors Boston)
Keyword research for local SEO is a complex process that requires leveraging high-quality tools.
If you aren’t working with a marketing agency, you can rely on such free tools as Google Keyword Planner or software with free trials, such as SEMrush or Ahrefs. They can help you generate keywords and identify monthly keyword search volume and keyword difficulty.
3. Optimize Web Design for Local SEO
To appeal to local patients, your website should comply with relevant SEO practices.
Your clinic’s Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) should be the same across all the possible touchpoints. This includes GBP, website footnotes, CTAs, contact us pages, and citations.
If this data is inconsistent, it can confuse potential patients and send them shopping around for another eye healthcare provider. It also will confuse Google which can hurt your rankings.
For local SEO, you need to optimize website elements to help search engine crawlers understand the relevance of the webpage to the user’s query. To do that, you can add local keywords to meta descriptions, title tags, URLs, and headers.
Pro tip: Always put the keyword closer to the beginning of the title, URL, meta description, and header.
Schema markup (also called structured data) is a machine-readable language designed specifically to help search engines crawl, categorize, and rank web pages. While Google can rank your site without structured data, adding local schema markups streamlines the process and improves the way your website appears in the SERPs.
4. Build and Manage Citations
Citations (mentions of your clinic online) are a ranking factor for local SEO. Building citations involves creating and claiming your profiles on:
- Data aggregators
- Consumer directories
- Local business directories
- Industry directories
Once you create a profile, you need to ensure NAP accuracy and other data relevance.
Keep in mind that a couple of high-quality citations (e.g., on a trustworthy data aggregator like Neustar) can improve your clinic’s rankings better than numerous low-quality citations (e.g., a low-ranking local blog), which Google may view as spam.
5. Link Building Through Content Marketing
Backlinks are one of the top Google ranking factors. These links bring visitors from other websites to your web pages. While citations are sometimes also backlinks, they usually link only to the homepage.
Similar to citations, backlinks vary in quality. Links from trustworthy and credible websites are worth much more than a backlink from a low-quality blog.
The simplest way to obtain these links is to create valuable content that another website would consider worthy of linking to. Creating and promoting content is part of an excellent content marketing strategy.
6. Encourage Google Reviews Through Reputation Management
Sourcing reviews are a significant part of local SEO for ophthalmologists. According to a recent survey, 90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate a healthcare provider. To encourage reviews, the first step is to claim and manage your GBP. Then you can:
- Ask for reviews in a follow-up email.
- Send a text message with reminders to leave a review.
- Put up office signs that ask for reviews.
- Make it easy to leave a review on your website.
You can also use a review aggregation tool to collect Google reviews from GBP and publish them in relevant places on your website.
The Future of Local SEO for Ophthalmologists
Local SEO is an integral part of digital marketing for ophthalmologists. Following the above strategies can give you a competitive edge over clinics that don’t rely on local SEO. However, outsourcing this strategy to marketing agencies that use traditional tactics is no longer enough to become an industry leader.
That’s where artificial intelligence (A.I.) comes in.
Traditional SEO service providers can only target a handful of relevant keywords. However, marketing agencies that offer a patient acquisition platform can target tens of thousands of relevant local ophthalmology keywords. This is known as “A.I.-driven SEO.”
DoctorLogic is a full-service digital marketing agency that uses both A.I.-driven SEO and traditional ophthalmology SEO tactics. To learn how a patient acquisition platform benefits your practice, check out DoctorLogic’s free demo.