Woman looks at her smartphone while walking in a city

How to Get Local People to Find You Online

The scenarios prompting people to search for the hearing help they need are diverse, but typically have one thing in common: they take place within your local area. Whether it’s someone looking up hearing services after another frustrating dinner at a favorite (and loud) restaurant, or someone looking up local options for hearing protection before a big concert, the people you serve are nearby, looking for you.
And you want them to find your website when they look online for help.
Search engines simplify the process of ranking different web pages by using “location targeting” to narrow search results. This is good news for everyone, since no one wants to wade through websites for businesses in another country when searching for something local, nor do we want our own websites to compete with those across the globe for a given search.
Location targeting, or geo-locating, eliminates the need for zip codes and other location modifiers such as “hearing aids in New York City,” as search engines now rely heavily on device location instead. Thus, there has been a rapid increase of the use of “near me” instead for online searches, as in, “where to buy hearing aids near me.” This all begs the question, of course: are local people easily finding you with that search?
Enter: local search engine optimization, or local SEO.
By optimizing your website for better visibility in local searches, you can quickly rise above the competition as more and more local people turn to the Internet to learn about their options for hearing care. And trust us, they are definitely going online.
Consider that recent surveys report 87% of smartphone owners using a search engine, like Google, at least once per day. And nearly 50% of those searches are for local products and services. Even better? From local-mobile searches alone, 78% result in offline purchases.
So how is your business ranking online for local searches? Location targeting happens automatically to generate local results first, but not all local results. Website ranking is a complex and ever-shifting terrain, and it can take some effort up front to see the results of local SEO pay off. Consider the best practices below for easy boosts to your local visibility online.
List and Verify Your Business
It’s imperative that search engines see your business in local and popular online directories — especially the directories they own (think Google My Business and Bing Local). The more complete your information, the better, so include your address, phone, email, and hours of operation everywhere you can. Aim to get your business a listing or profile in any and all online directories (especially local ones, such as your local paper’s website), and be sure that your information is identical, down to the details of your address being “st.” or “street” across the board. Although smart, search engines are still robots, and the goal is for them to find your identical listing throughout the Internet to bolster your website’s ranking in the search results related to a given location.
Lastly, take the time to verify all of your listings. This can be a tedious process as you work your way through the long list of potential online directories to post your business on, but it is well worth the effort. Not only do these listings reinforce the location your business serves for local SEO purposes, they also provide valuable links back to your website that boost your SEO overall.
Make Your Location Known
Your business address and any other areas you serve should be clearly defined on your website, be it on the home page, in a footer, on a dedicated location page, or all of the above. Keep this information identical to what is listed in online directories and also highlight the areas you serve in broader content throughout your website.
For instance, if you serve the Greater Atlanta Area, you should note that on your location page alongside your actual address, and you could also write a blog about “How to Find the Best Hearing Care in the Greater Atlanta Area.” The idea here is to combine keywords of the services you provide with the keywords of the areas you serve — and to do it naturally. The content you create should still be useful and informative, but also tailored with local SEO in mind.
To take this approach one step further, include other forms of location-related media on your website. Images and videos from local events in your community that your office has participated in, for example, are a great addition to a blog. They help “prove” to search engines that your website is increasingly relevant to people looking for your type of services in that your area, as search algorithms tend to rank diverse forms of media higher than written content alone.
Network with Other Local Businesses
We’ve gone into the reasons why you want quality backlinks to your website before, but for the purposes of boosting your local SEO rankings, it’s incredibly helpful to find other local businesses to link to your website from their own. The more popular and credible your neighbor’s website, the better it will be for increasing your website’s visibility in local searches.
Backlinks provide a significant “vote” for your website that search algorithms count heavily towards your ranking in the results. Although it can take a while to build the relationships and partnerships necessary to get links to your site from other local websites, the boost in your website’s traffic will pay back your time and effort generously.
Make it Quick and Mobile-Friendly
This last tip tends to be taken for granted. People have heard for years now about how “the world is going mobile,” and hopefully have ensured that their websites are indeed mobile-ready. But with the recent shift towards a “mobile first” search platform by Google, and the increasing need for a fast-loading website (that loads easily on cellular data networks), this point bears repeating.
A mobile-friendly website means more than larger text and a simpler hand-held design. It also means that your layout and content is organized and optimized with a mobile visitor in mind. Images need to be fast-loading, menus need to be easy to find, and your home page requires succinct language on an efficient layout.
With nearly 90% of surveyed people reporting to search for local businesses on their smartphones each week, ignoring the needs of mobile visitors is akin to turning off the lights in your office and expecting people to walk in, anyway. Search engines agree and penalize mobile-unfriendly websites by ranking them lower.
Getting local prospects to find you online isn’t incredibly difficult. It’s actually much easier than trying to get found without the geo-locating technology working on your behalf. And by applying the recommendations above you can boost your local ranking much faster, and find yourself with a steady stream of new patients who found you first online.
If your business’s website could benefit from professional SEO improvements or needs a modern website altogether, talk to us today about our complete digital solutions. Join our family of thrilled clients and enjoy the thriving practice you’ve been waiting for.
 

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Digital Marketing Trends for Healthcare Practices

 
The relationship between patient and healthcare provider has been an eternally evolving one. The changes to this dynamic in the last decade, however, have completely transformed it. Never before have patients come so equipped with information (accurate or not) to their appointments. And never before have health providers been so poised to market themselves on such a broad stage. Prospective patients can literally get to know you before the first handshake — if you’re doing things right.
Welcome to the age of digital marketing for the modern healthcare practice. With nearly half of the entire human population online, and no sign of things slowing down, it’s no surprise that the online terrain is the new frontier for the promotion of your practice. This can seem odd to some since, especially in the field of hearing healthcare, it’s imperative to actually see your patients in-person. But the truth is that the Internet equalizes the playing field. Prospective patients down the street are just as accessible as those across the sea. Not to mention that getting attention on your practice’s website from anyone — no matter where they live — will significantly boost your website’s ability to show up high up in the search results for someone local looking for hearing help.
It’s important to recognize that having a presence online (aka owning a website) is not the same thing as having a digital marketing strategy. Millions of beautiful (and expensive) websites languish in the online oblivion. If your website has not been optimized by an effective digital marketing strategy to actually be seen by online searchers — well then, it’s invisible.
Certain strategies can ensure that the website you’ve invested in, and the services you’re proud to provide, can easily be found by prospective, local patients. Many healthcare providers across all specialties have become keen to these strategies are actively using them to their advantage.
Below are some highlights of these current trends in digital marketing for healthcare practices.
Location-based Marketing
Perhaps one of the more interesting areas of rapid development is that of location-based technologies and the increasing number of ways it can be used. Information gathered from people “checking in” or enabling location detection on their mobile devices yields an entire world of geographical data. Marketers like Google recognized early on how useful this data was and have developed sophisticated ways of targeting specific groups of people based on location. Healthcare professionals, in particular, appreciate this new option for ad targeting since their interest is in having patients physically come to their offices. Being able to refine who your Google Adwords listing, for instance, shows up for based on where they live makes your investment more effective and efficient.
Video Streaming
Online trends have continued to show user preference for video content over written content. It’s simple: video content grabs attention much better than text does. Internet-savvy healthcare professionals have taken note and offer regular video blogs (called vlogs) to engage with their audiences. Video is useful on many fronts: it conveys helpful information in a short timespan, it allows prospective patients to get a sense of your personality, and it can be uploaded to the second most popular search engine on the Internet: Youtube. Having your content spread out on different platforms (i.e. on your website and also on your Youtube channel) can radically boost your rankings in the search results of an online query. This, in turn, is how your new patients will find you when they type in “hearing loss treatment in XYZ city.” The more content you’re producing supports more visits to your website. And the more people visiting your website helps to naturally boost your website ranking in the search results.
Blogging
Don’t get us wrong — vlogs haven’t completely taken over the domain of blogs… just yet. Many people are simply too busy to create consistent video content, or are perhaps too shy for the camera. Fortunately for them, blogs are still a reliable content marketing strategy and an informative way to stay connected with your audience. Blogs are also very useful for promoting your website’s listing in the search results, since each blog is bound to be replete with keywords people are using to search for your services online. It would be pretty hard to write a blog about tinnitus without mentioning “ringing in the ears” and “treatment,” for instance. That said, it’s a helpful tip to think about how patients are typically searching for help online, and then to use that exact phrasing somewhere in your blog.
User-Friendly Website
Healthcare websites should be designed with mobile users in mind. With over 80 percent of Internet users owning a smartphone, and Google’s preference for mobile-friendly websites in its recent algorithm update, having a website that loads to mobile devices quickly and in an optimized way is essential. Healthcare practices who have sought services to optimize their rankings in search engines (as in search engine optimization or SEO) have learned this early on. Having a well-designed website that conforms to the best user experience possible is an effective way to boost your website’s ranking on the results page. It also keeps people on your website longer.
If much of this information is news to you, don’t be overwhelmed — these trends are just getting started and so can you. Digital marketing is a specialty in itself and just like getting hearing help, getting the digital help you need can make the whole process that much easier. We’re here when you need us.