What Healthcare Mergers Mean for Marketing and SEO
In addition to providing high-quality care and a strong patient experience, the goal of most healthcare mergers and acquisitions is strong growth and development. One or several locations are becoming multiple, spread out locally, regionally, or, in some cases, nationally.
These multi-location healthcare groups have to deploy multi-location marketing strategies if they hope to hit the mark. Specifically, as medical practices expand and open new locations, they must adjust their SEO strategy to stay competitive and keep their appointment book full.
A Renewed Focus on Local SEO
The physical location of a health care provider is an important consideration for most people, especially when they need immediate care. We’ve told you elsewhere that 7% of all daily searches are related to healthcare. These daily searches number in the billions, with an increasing number of “nearby” searches forming the cake.
Local search just cannot be ignored.
Healthcare consumers are not widely used mobile devices either. Think about it: what’s the first thing people do when they need urgent and urgent medical care? They use their smartphones to search Google Maps, find a phone number, or just call 911.
According to Google, mobile accounts for 84% of “near me” searches. And when people search locally, they tend to show up: 76% of smartphone users who search for things nearby visit a business within 24 hours. It’s convenient, and you can often search for, find, and call or contact a healthcare provider in one fell swoop.
Yet, optimizing a multi-location healthcare network’s digital entities for these local search experiences is different than, say, a broader SEO strategy. Above most else, this means optimizing site content so it appears in Map Pack/Google Maps—for all of your physical locations. Here are four foundational ways to make sure each location ranks for relevant local searches.
1. Create a Unique Page for Each Location
This can be a basic step, but creating unique sites for each location should be the minimum requirement for healthcare organizations. It’s really about getting patients to the content that is most relevant to their location with as few clicks as possible. Search engines provide this facility, but getting your Greensboro location to rank well for local Greensboro health searches means creating a unique page for your Greensboro office.
The trick is to create these pages for each location, each containing rich, location-specific information that search engines and people can use. When creating these location pages:
- Give each location a distinct URL, one that includes the city, state, or some other location identifier in the slug. Make sure your URL is readable by both humans and search engines. Don’t forget to update your page title as well, and include your city, region, and state there.
- Use at least 500 words of copy, including organized headers, body copy, bulleted lists, and other details. Highlight the specific medical services offered at this location. On the back end, you should be implementing a location schema.
- Include keywords relevant to your location. If your office is located on Petaling Jaya, Selangor, you already have all kinds of location-specific keyword combinations to include.
- Make your user experience (UX) a priority. Consider including an embedded map of your location. As well as a “Get Directions” button. Don’t make them hunt for a phone number either, or only provide a corporate number. Add the phone number for that location, and include a “Click to Call” button to improve the mobile UX. Finally, make sure there is a link for scheduling appointments.
- Showcase providers at each of your locations, including name, photo, and links to their dedicated bio pages. Video messages can also help enliven your location page and get visitors more engaged. Learn how video can help you bring your website to life.
- Develop a template that can be used for all locations that covers the aforementioned points. This makes it easier to roll out pages for new locations as part of mergers, acquisitions, or expansion.
2. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing (For Each Location!)
A common mistake we see is that healthcare organizations fail to create location-specific Google My Business (GMB) pages. Either they have a brand-wide GMB listing (usually their head office or first location) or they don’t set up GMB at all. It is a missed opportunity.
Creating a Google My Business listing with a verified address, associated service catalog, details about your business, and a photo is the first step. Be as thorough as possible – the GMB interface provides suggestions for areas on your list that need your attention. The second step is to regularly update the dynamic content features on the Google My Business listing.
Consider posting photos and video content to your GMB pages weekly or monthly, along with information about new offers, specials, or promotions. Enrich your ads by answering user questions, posting virtual video tours, and sharing the latest COVID19 information. Oh, and make sure you keep your Google Reviews up to date!
3. Build Local Links
The importance of linking to rankings cannot be overstated, and link building can have a huge impact on multi-location medical practices. Search engines use links to crawl the web and understand the relationships between web pages. A large volume of quality links to specific sites of your relevant sites from authority sites sends a strong message to Google’s algorithm that your site is credible and useful. However, there are some nuances to keep in mind when devising a local search link-building strategy. What is needed is a sustained effort over time to secure all of the following types of link locales:
- Citations are business listings placed in online directories that include your location’s name, address, and phone number. Besides GMB, Bing Maps, Yelp, and Facebook. there are a plethora of healthcare-focused citations, such as ZocDoc, Vitals, and those run by specific healthcare groups. It’s very important to manage all citations and keep them accurate and up to date. Remember: each location needs its own citation. And attention to detail is critical! Make sure, for example, that your company name, address, and other information are exactly the same across all citations.
- Local directories offer a free and easy way to post NAP info for multiple locations and earn valuable backlinks in the process. It’s the same concept as citations, only with a more local focus (and different ways of getting the actual listings placed).
- Local industry-related websites can provide another avenue to place content and fetch backlinks.
- Local publications and media often feature content for the local healthcare industry and sometimes provide listings.
4. Solicit Positive Reviews
Given people’s proclivity toward fast, local, and convenient healthcare experiences powered by digital, it’s no wonder that reviews play such a prominent role in the patient journey. Reading reviews is the first step for most people looking for a healthcare professional: in fact, almost 60% of patients choose a doctor based on the positive reviews they read online. . According to the same study, more than 60% of patients avoid doctors because of their negative reviews.
As such, you need to build your digital reputation at each of your locations. If you have separate listings for your PJ, KL, or Johor locations, you’ll want to generate reviews at each of those locations, too. That means soliciting and managing reviews for as many of the following listings (for each of your listings):
Google My Business
The mistake that many organizations make is front-loading all of their reviews when they first open the doors, then failing to consistently secure additional reviews over time. Instead, build a reputation management program to solicit and manage reviews. Here are a few tips on how to formalize a practice-wide process for regularly soliciting reviews at each of your locations:
- Identify points of the patient journey where you can ask patients for reviews or testimonials.
- Normalize the act of asking for reviews by training staff and providing them an email and phone scripts.
- Automate the process by investing in review management software that automatically solicits reviews via email, SMS, or even snail mail.
How You’ll Know Your Local SEO Strategy is Working
When you follow the best practices we’ve laid out here for each of your locations, you’ll notice a few things start happening:
- Traffic from local listings, citations, and websites will increase as you gain local SEO traction (all of which can be tracked using web analytics software).
- The reviews will start coming in more consistently, giving you a great way to take the pulse on patient sentiment and respond to any issues directly.
- Conversions will increase too, including click-to-call, new appointments, get directions, and other hard metrics trackable through listings like GMB, Yelp, and Bing Maps.
Finally, you’ll create a local SEO powerhouse for each location, outranking local competition and connecting with the communities you serve. It’s a benefit that not only bodes well for your broader SEO strategy but the health and visibility of your brand overall.