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What are local searches?

Local searches on search engines are keywords that contain a location. Local searches typically contain the name of a city or a specific suburb.

“Medical Practice Perth”

For searches on Google with local intent, in 97% of cases, the “Google 3-pack” appears in the top spot (Map with three organic listings underneath)

Google 3 Pack

Why is local SEO so important for your practice?

46% of all searches on Google have local intent. Because general practices are essentially local brick and mortar stores, the share of local searches is a lot higher.

Typically, people want to visit a GP in their local area or near their workplace and Google is in most cases the first place they turn to in order to find a medical practice.

Investing in a local SEO strategy increases your likelihood to appear in the 3-pack on Google for local searches.

Research by Google shows that 76% of people who conduct a local search contact a business within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase of a service. So, when you rank within the 3-Pack, you increase the chance to get phone calls and website visits which in turn brings in more patients for your practice.

So what are the most important factors in order to rank in the 3-Pack?

#1 Google reviews & ratings
One of Google’s highest priorities is to serve up search results that please the searcher. When it comes to a local search for medical practices, Google prioritises search result listings of medical practices with a demonstrated quality service. The only way for Google to know how good your practice is, is to rely on reviews and ratings.

Unfortunately, dissatisfied patients are much more likely to write a review on your Google profile than satisfied patients and sadly a small bunch of very negative reviews can have a huge impact on your business and Google map listing. So the first step is to offer a top notch experience for each and every patient of your practice. Secondly, it is advisable to encourage very happy patients to leave a review and a rating on your Google profile.

In addition to verbally asking your patients to write a review, you can send a follow up email with a link that takes them directly to your Google profile where they can write the review. You can use this useful review link generator tool.

#2 Directory Listings
Local business directories play an important role for your local rankings. Local directories allow you to build citations of your business. Citations are essentially an aggregation of business name, address, phone number, website url and other details about your business.

Listing your business in local directories signals to Google that you are a trusted local business.

#3 Website Content
A business that operates and serves customers across Australia or globally wouldn’t want to optimise their homepage content with local keywords because it restricts them to only appear on Google for the optimised location.

However, for a local business such as a medical practice, it’s definitely advisable to optimise your website content with location specific keywords.
So where should you add your location specific keywords?

SEO best practice is to add your main focus keyword for a page in the following places:

  • Meta title & description (what you see on Google listing)
  • H Tags (h1, h2, h3, h4,…)
  • In the first paragraph
  • And throughout the text
  • Closing words

    Appearing in the 3-Pack on Google for local searches as well as having a prominent position on the Google Map can make the difference between a busy and a quiet practice.
    Does your practice need help with attracting more patients?

    Besides helping clients find qualified GPs, consulting them to run a more efficient practice, Alecto can also assist you in developing and implementing an effective digital marketing strategy.
    Please contact us for further advice.

    Alecto Australia | +61 1800 604 332 | [email protected]