5 Local SEO factors for Spine and Orthopedic Websites
According to SEO experts, businesses serving customers regionally and locally should be focusing part of their digital marketing strategy on Local SEO. This is especially true for service businesses like spine and orthopedics who are often reviewed and rated by patients.
The top 5 SEO factors that affect your local search results are:
- Google My Business signals
- Backlinks from authority websites
- On-Page SEO for Local
- Ratings and Reviews (has grown in importance year over year)
- Citation signals (your business mentioned on other sites)
Here are the Local SEO rank factors by importance according to Moz.com
Google My Business signals 19.01%
A first logical step in optimizing your local search is claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing. GMB is a service provided by Google that helps your business to appear to searchers in your practice’s local area. Your area is defined by the business address you list when you sign up for GMB. To get a GMB listing, head on over to https://www.google.com/business to sign up. Make sure you fill out ALL the information they ask for, it’s completely FREE!
Backlinks from Authority Websites 17.31%
While some practices may only focus on one or two Local SEO factors, you can get a double whammy by having links pointing to your homepage from local websites. Here are a handful of tactics your practice can use to get valuable local authoritative backlinks:
- Alumni website – Ask your Alma mater for a link to your website from theirs. .EDU backlinks are very powerful.
- Sponsorships – If you sponsor a little league, conference or any other local event ask for a link instead of a plaque (that will most likely never add much value).
- Brand mentions – Set up Google alerts for your practice or doctors mentioned online, then ask the publisher of that mention for a backlink.
- Guest blogging & interviews – Submit topics on your specialty to local blogs with links back to your website.
- Free Wifi Listings – Does your office offer free wifi to patients? You can add your website to free wifi listings.
- Here are a few to get started:
On-Page SEO for Physicians Local Search 13.81%
On-page SEO consists of tweaking pages on your website so that they are optimized for search engines.
Here’s a shortlist of things that will improve your practice’s Local SEO:
- Create a landing page for every city where you have a location, even if it’s a small office.
- Make City, State & zip part of your page URL along with descriptive keywords – example, myspinedr.com/spinal-stenosis-surgeon-tampa-fl-33607/.
- Add the same descriptive text to your title tags.
- Add your location keywords inside heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc).
- Compliment your page content with your location, but do it so it sounds normal when your page is read out loud.
- Make sure you Name, Address, Phone (NAP) is on every page of your website. A good place to add NAP is in the footer of your site. Also, be consistent with your NAP everywhere you list it.
- Embed a Google map on your webpages with your location pinned within it.
- Name images on your page similar to your page name, example: spinal_stenosis_surgeon_tampa_fl_33607.jpeg.
Ratings and Reviews – Experts say have the biggest impact on Local SEO
Ratings and reviews (R&R) along with Local SEO for spine and orthopedic practices is a 1-2 punch. R&R is very important not only for better local search, but for clicks to your website (and appointments). By paying attention and focusing on reviews along with having a Local SEO game plan you have a much better chance of not only “Getting found” but “Getting chosen”.
Here are some pointers for every spine and orthopedic practice concerned with their local search results and online reputation.
- Decide which review sites are important for your practice – Healthgrades.com, Google reviews, vitals.com to name a few. Start by googling your spine surgeon by name, practice or “competitor’s name + reviews” for a list.
- Decide whether you should acquire reviews for your spine practice or your physicians. I suggest both if possible.
- Understand rating websites’ posting policies – know what you can and can’t do such as soliciting online reviews, creating fakes (obviously), etc.
- Create a review request handout to give your patients – see the one we generated in about 5 minutes below. We use an easy-to-use tool called canva.com.
- Select a platform to automate review/rating requests right out of your EMR system. After a patient visit, one of these platforms can send your patient an email or text requesting a review right to their phone. There are many platforms to choose from.
- Setup a review kiosk at patient checkout and request a review during checkout.
- Be prepared for negative reviews and how to respond to them. In fact, make it a weekly or monthly task to respond to positive reviews. Negatives should be handled immediately.
Citation signals for spine and orthopedic practices 13.31%
A citation signal is an online listing of your practice Name, Address and Phone number (aka NAP). Unlike a link, citations do not need to be linked back to your website to get Local SEO credit. Citation signals are important because Google uses them to verify the identity of a spine or orthopedic practice location. Like links, having citations on local-to-you websites that are relevant and/or on topic specific to your specialty is logical. Google’s local search algorithm determines a site that has a lot of citations compared to one that doesn’t, deserves a higher ranking. That is why some Spine & Orthopedic practices show up in the Local 3-Pack and some don’t.
Spine Surgeons in Montgomery, Alabama Local 3-Pack Results
Montgomery Spine Surgeons could use some rating and review management!
Here are a few best practices for citation building:
- Make sure your NAP matches your My Google Business listing.
- Setup a new email address just for citation acquisition. This will help you manage citation request emails & responses.
- Go for citations on sites that are on topic to your practice when possible.
- Go for citations on sites local to your location.
- Search for competitor citations (those who show up in your local search) and place citations on the same websites.
- Provide as much detail as you can, including, opening hours, descriptions, photos, etc.
- Don’t set it and forget it, much like regular SEO, this is a continuous process.
Bringing it all together
Because most spine and orthopedic practices cater to local and regional patients, having a Local SEO program & strategy in place should be one of any practices top marketing strategies.
Spine surgeons and orthopedic clinics that don’t have a Local SEO strategy in place are most definitely missing patients searching for their medical services. Additionally, since Google continuously changes their search algorithms and the way that Local businesses appear in SERPs, practice managers and spine surgery marketers need to keep on top of it.
My advice is to keep doing all of the above if your practice already is, if not, seriously consider implementing a Local SEO strategy because your competition probably is. If you need help, we’re here for you. Just call or fill out our contact form and we’ll be happy to offer you advice.
Thanks for reading!