Having an effective and fruitful local SEO strategy for businesses in the medical industry is not an easy feat. While on-site optimizations as well as the creation of authoritative linking opportunities are both just as important in the medical industry as any other, local presence via Google Plus is especially important for visibility in search results. Search Influence’s own Alison Zeringue once put it quite eloquently, saying, “Google loves it when you play in their sandbox.”
1. If you’re a doctor, get a local page, not a personal page! If you’re a doctor trying to get active on Google Plus, you might think that the obvious choice is to create a Personal page associated with your Google account because you’re a person. If you’re trying to help your patients find you, however, a verified local page in Google Plus gives you the opportunity to rank in local search results and on Google Maps.
2. If you’re a hospital, get a local page, not a brand page! Similar to the reasoning for doctors to have local pages in place of personal pages, hospitals should have local pages instead of brand pages. While brand pages are great for their social capabilities, local Google Plus pages now intrinsically have these exact same social capabilities with the added benefit of being able to appear in blended search results that include local Google Maps results.
3. Build it out! In a recent webinar hosted by Connectivity, Heather Wilburn of Google noted that as far as ranking factors are concerned, it is important to thoroughly build out all parts of a page that Google Plus has to offer. More pieces on your profile mean more signals to Google, which in turn means Google has a greater ability to match your pieces to users’ search queries. For example, doctors who are one of many at a hospital or practice shouldn’t include their practice or hospital name along with their name on their page. They should, however, build out this information in the description section of their page. If someone is looking for a radiologist at a particular hospital, and you are one, having that info on your page will make you more relevant to said user’s search.
4. Pay attention to category opportunities! Make sure you’re using as few categories as possible while still comprehensively making the right category associations with your business. If you’re creating a page for a psychiatric hospital, your main category should be “Psychiatric Hospital,” but you can also build out categories that encompass the business, like “Hospital.”
5. Don’t be afraid to seek help! While threads in Google product forums and blogs that keep you up to date on most recent Google My Business changes are great resources to move you along, it takes usable tacit knowledge, longstanding professional experience, and responsiveness to regular updates to effectively and consistently keep your business relevant in the search ecosystem. Most businesses don’t have the internal capacity to effectively manage the 24/7 efforts that a successful SEO campaign requires.