Healthcare Online Reputation & Local SEO: The Winning Combination

POSTED ON: Apr 29, 2024

Healthcare Online Reputation & Local SEO: The Winning Combination Hannah

Healthcare Online Reputation & Local SEO: The Winning Combination

Online reputation management (ORM) plays a crucial role in healthcare, helping providers track and protect their online image. This is because online content changes rapidly, and negative reviews or misinformation can significantly impact patient perceptions.

Local SEO, on the other hand, focuses on optimizing a healthcare provider's online presence for local audiences, improving search engine rankings for local queries. This combination of ORM and Local SEO proves crucial for healthcare businesses to attract and retain patients.

Why Healthcare Businesses Need Online Reputation Management

  • Monitoring online presence: Healthcare providers must actively monitor online reviews and address negative feedback promptly.
  • Building trust and credibility: Positive reviews and consistent information across online directories build trust and attract potential patients.
  • Protecting brand image: Online reputation management is essential to protect the healthcare provider's brand from negative publicity and ensure patient confidence.

What Is Local SEO and How Does It Work?

Local SEO helps healthcare facilities optimize their online presence for local audiences, ensuring they rank higher in local search engine results for relevant services. This increases their visibility and makes it easier for potential patients to find them.

Online Reputation Management and Local SEO: How Are They Connected?

Local search rankings are heavily influenced by online reputation. Positive reviews, high ratings, and consistent information across online directories signal to search engines that a healthcare sector is trustworthy, increasing its chances of appearing in local search results.

6 Strategies for Optimizing Local Healthcare Business Listings

1. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile Listing

Your local SEO strategy relies most on Google Business Profile. This Google tool creates free healthcare sector listings. Moz says it's one of Google's top factors for organic local search and snack pack rankings.

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a free tool that allows healthcare providers to manage their online presence on Google Search and Maps.

  • The first step is to claim your listing on Google Business Profile. This process verifies your ownership of the business and grants you access to manage its information. Visit Google Business Profile to claim or create your listing.

  • Ensure all information is accurate and complete, including your name, address, phone number, website, and business hours. Inaccurate or inconsistent information can lead to confusion and frustration among potential patients.
  • Upload high-quality photos/images of your healthcare practice, including images of the practice, the staff, and the services offered. These photos or images helps to create a positive impression and gives potential patients a glimpse into your practice. 
  • Add relevant business categories: Select relevant business categories that accurately reflect the services provided by your healthcare practice. Why? This helps Google understand your business and improves its visibility in relevant search results for accurate terms.
  • Post regular updates and content using GBP Posts: Regularly share updates, news, and informative content on your Google Business Profile about your practice, new offers, announcements etc. This not only keeps your listing fresh and engaging but also provides valuable information to prospective patients.

2. Keep Mobile in Mind

With smartphones in our daily lives, it's only natural that many will use them to search for local healthcare and information. Uberall commissioned a study that found 82% of respondents used their phones to search “near me”. This shows how much people use phones for local searches.

Optimizing your website for mobile screens is essential to serving these searchers. Make your website mobile-friendly so visitors can easily navigate and find information.

Add click-to-call buttons to your site and GMB listing. This could make a big difference since 60% of mobile users contact healthcare directly from search results.

3. Collect Lots of Patient Reviews

A Moz study mentioned earlier found that review signals affect local search and snack pack ranking. Google itself says that more reviews and positive ratings can improve your business' local ranking.

Thus, having many genuine, positive reviews can boost your local search ranking and reputation. You need to collect more authentic customer reviews for your healthcare sector.

  • Encourage patients to leave genuine reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other relevant platforms.
  • Respond to reviews promptly and professionally, addressing negative feedback and thanking positive ones.

4. Focus on Building Local Links

Link signals like domain authority and quality are key factors in local search and snack pack rankings, according to Moz. Local SEO, like regular SEO, requires link building to boost your link profile. Acquire backlinks from local authority websites to boost your local search ranking.

So target authority websites in your region. This could be licensing bureaus, trade associations, the Chamber of Commerce, or.edu sites etc. 

5. Ensure NAP/Citation Consistency

Moz found that Google uses citation volume and NAP consistency in local search results. Besides GBP, your information should be on Bing Maps, Yelp, and Facebook. Prioritize high-domain-authority directories over smaller ones.

More importantly, standardize your healthcare sector NAP across platforms and websites. Fix misspellings, address and phone number discrepancies, and duplicate listings to improve local SEO.

6. Capitalize on Social Listening

While social listening has traditionally provided marketing insights, it has many other benefits. If you know what insights to look for and how to use them, it could boost your local SEO strategy.

Social listening can reveal what people in your target location are saying about your healthcare sector or otherwise. You could even use it to gather audience preferences and interests. Take advantage of these insights to change your strategy or products and services.

Integrating ORM and SEO in the Buying Process

We've hinted that SEO and ORM are important in the buying process. The sales funnel represents the journey a patient takes before choosing a healthcare provider. ORM and SEO play a crucial role in each stage:

  • Awareness: SEO helps raise awareness of your healthcare services through search engine marketing and PR campaigns.
  • Consideration: Effective reputation management and targeted content influence patients as they compare different healthcare providers.
  • Decision: Positive reviews, compelling content, and addressing negative feedback can sway patients towards choosing your services.

Conclusion

A well-executed local SEO strategy weaved with proactive online reputation management can push healthcare providers and businesses towards greater visibility, credibility, and success in their respective communities. By adopting these strategies, healthcare organizations can optimize their online presence and effectively connect with prospective patients to drive meaningful conversions and foster long-term relationships.

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