Optimized, top-ranking local SEO is paramount for all doctors, dentists and other healthcare brands that have a brick-and-mortar office or clinic. With mobile searches now surpassing desktop searches, it only makes sense that your business should be incorporating local SEO. Highly targeted, local SEO helps to position brands in front of the right customers at the right time. Why Local SEO Is More Important than Ever!

Unfortunately, changes introduced by Google over the last year have made local SEO (in particular, appearing on map listings) a lot tougher. Starting in late 2015, Google began showing only the top three business listings on maps: This was a huge departure from the previous seven listings that were displayed. Instantly, more than half of all listings were eliminated and the competition became much steeper for those coveted three spots.

 Why Local SEO Is More Important than Ever!

Businesses managing to make it into the magical top three will realize a significant influx of patient leads. Ranking in the Google Local 3-Pack Listings is the equivalent of being named an authority for a particular niche in a particular area (city/town, etc.).

A question we often hear from clients is: What determines who makes it onto the coveted 3-pack listing?

Quite simply, businesses gain the highest ranking based on a number of different factors evaluated by a Google algorithm. The greatest challenge is pinpointing exactly what a client needs to do to ensure that they will appear. How the individual signals are weighted and the overall search algorithms are closely guarded secrets.

It is vital to remember that all of Google’s search algorithms are constantly evolving and changing based on Google’s research of how consumers are searching. What works this week may produce different outcome just weeks from now.

Below we briefly detail the most up-to-date, primary local SEO signals and how they relate to gaining higher rankings.

Google Local 3-Pack SEO Signals

  • Is the Google+ page verified with the business?
  • Are there numerous and accurate citations (or mentions of the business name, address, and phone number on other web listings such as Yelp, Facebook, Yellow Pages, LinkedIn, etc.?
  • Is the Google+ Local page well populated and optimized?
  • What is the authority of the practice website? How clear is the mentioned citation (in the header and/or footer)? Is the citation properly linked to the Google+ page?
  • Is there a good number of quality reviews on the Google+ Local page?
  • What is the proximity of the business location to the centermost point of the target city or town?

These are just a few of the most common factors that Google considers when ranking practices in the Google local 3-pack. As previously mentioned, it’s important to keep in mind that Google is always evolving and displaying different forms of search results.

Local SEO for Specialized Procedures

Does Google always display search results as listing in a map? In a word, NO!

For more specialized and niche surgical procedures (such as “wisdom teeth extraction” or “rhinoplasty”) and depending on the city or geographic target, Google displays only the organic search results and not the local listings. As a result, a slightly different strategy is needed to attain top rankings for these keyword phrases.

Some of ranking factors that influence a website’s organic search visibility include:

  • How authoritative is the website (based on domain age, backlink profile, and other factors)?
  • What are the number, quality and relevancy of backlinks pointing to the website from external sources?
  • What is the quality of the website’s content, use of keywords, and volume and depth of pages?
  • How fresh is the website and how often is it updated with new content? (This is often best achieved via blogging or publishing fresh content on a consistent basis.)
  • Is there internal linking throughout the website as well as the presence and adequacy of sitemaps?

Although there are several other ranking factors involved with organic SEO, the aforementioned items are elements that can be tweaked so as to be best optimized for Google.

Why Local SEO Is More Important than Ever!

About Us

Whitehead Agency Group is a leading healthcare marketing agency with over 25 years of specialized health and wellness experience. Start profiting from the new age of consumer-driven healthcare with marketing that clicks. Contact us today at (416) 365-6884 or by emailing us at hello@waginc.ca to arrange a complimentary, no-obligation review of your current local SEO, digital and overall marketing strategy.

Why Local SEO Is More Important than Ever!