Success with local SEO

3 Big Tips for Being Successful in Local SEO

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for location-based businesses, like hearing care practices. Because almost all your patients are from your local area, it is very important that your practice’s website performs well in local searches.
While the concept is easy to understand, ensuring that your practice’s online presence is at the forefront of local searches is not so simple. Many factors go into how Google and other search engines rank webpages on search engine results pages (SERPs).
To simplify the issue, we have identified a few key tips to help you be successful with local SEO:

  1. Provide your practice’s information to Google.

Have you ever searched for a business on Google (or another search engine) and found a variety of responses among the results? For example, perhaps you found the business’s main website, as well as a listing on a third-party site. Your search may have also turned up mentions on social media or an unclaimed business listing.
Make sure people who search for your practice online find the right information, not a hodge-podge of any mention of you on the Internet. To do this, you need to provide your own information to Google. You can make sure you have uploaded or created the following information for your practice:

  • Website content that includes your office location, services, and products
  • Supporting information about your practice on other websites
  • Image content
  • Video content
  • Social media content
  • Local business listing content (including a complete Google My Business listing)

On any other websites or platforms that feature information about your practice, make sure that information is accurate and up to date. If you receive reviews on these platforms, respond to them in a timely manner.

  1. Fight back when necessary.

While Google might seem all-knowing, the tech giant can make missteps. Operating on such a global level means that sometimes, things slip through. While these might seem small in the grand scheme of the Internet, they can have a real impact on your business. In certain cases, it may be necessary to fight back against issues that are damaging to your practice’s online presence. These may include:

  • Having your reputation targeted and attacked by competitors or members of the public who post fake negative reviews of your business
  • Being outranked online by businesses that violate Google’s guidelines
  • Having Google experiment with local features that have direct negative effects on your business

These other and other types of issues should be fought. While it’s important to choose your battles, if something is impacting your business, do not be afraid to speak up and make things right.

  1. Become a local business force independent of Google.

While providing your information online and fighting against wrongful practices can help your local SEO performance, you can also benefit from standing out locally—offline. Focus on listening to your patients, meeting their needs, exceeding their expectations, and beating the competition in every way you know how.
It is also important to take advantage of other avenues for advertising (which may make their way back to your Google ranking), such as print and TV news, local business organization newsletters, school newsletters and papers, and any form of publication surrounding non-profits, charities, or government.
With these simple steps, your business is well on its way to becoming a local force to be reckoned with. To learn more about how you can succeed in local SEO and grow your business, please contact us at AudiologyPlus today. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we are here to help.

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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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How Much Can Your Hearing Practice Grow?

The traditional trajectory for business growth has long been displayed as a slow and steady rise of leads and sales. For decades, that classic, gentle upward slope was the hard-earned result of several marketing approaches: physical mailers, newspaper and other print ads, billboards, and radio or TV airtime.
But things have definitely changed. And these days, that gentle curve can look a lot more like a leap to the top.
The Internet and the incredible number of people now using it has completely revolutionized the way businesses market themselves to potential customers. The good news is that it’s often cheaper to advertise online and also much easier to analyze the effectiveness of any online marketing efforts. The flipside is that digital marketing is a rapidly changing landscape, making the learning curve for it nearly as steep as the potential it offers.
Luckily, specialized companies have swiftly formed to meet the need of businesses interested in marketing online. We created our digital marketing firm to specifically address the needs of hearing healthcare practices — the result of spending over two decades in the industry and acquiring a strong sense of what hearing professionals need to successfully leverage their presence online.
However, a surprising fact remains: the majority of hearing professionals have yet to take advantage of the immense potential that digital marketing holds for their practices.
Hearing professionals, on the whole, tend to keep quite busy serving their patients’ needs and staying abreast of the latest developments in hearing science and technology. There is also a pervasive sense of overwhelm among them when it comes to creating a website and digital strategy that generates much more than it costs. At AudiologyPlus, we get that. It’s why we’ve specialized in making effective online marketing easy to achieve for any level of savviness in computers or marketing.
The truth is, few hearing practice owners realize that adults age 65 and older are currently the fastest growing demographic on social media. Or that 95% of Internet users only click on websites showing up on the first page of search results.
Most hearing professionals have taken the time (and spent the money) to get a website for their practices, but few realize that just having a website is no longer enough. Your website needs to be part of a larger digital strategy for it to translate into actual patients through your door.
And once it is — the opportunities for growth are limitless.
Consider how many people in your community are currently in need of hearing services, but have yet to receive them. You’ve heard the stats before: 36 million Americans (and rising) are suffering from untreated hearing loss. With more than 93 million Americans looking for health information online each year, can you imagine if your website and services were what some of those online searches turned up? How many people reading about you and the information on your website would end up giving your office a call to learn more?
The quality of your website and digital strategy makes all the difference when it comes to whether your online presence is helping your business or not. Your website needs to be optimized to be found by search engines like Google. Your content needs to be keyed into what your target market is actively searching for online (i.e. what they actually want to know). And your reputation on various review websites, like Yelp and HealthGrades, needs to be actively monitored and managed. You don’t have to do this on your own, but you do need to be sure it’s done right.
At AudiologyPlus, we’ve created top-of-the-line digital tools, such as our proprietary ReviewMe website plugin, to deliver the results our clients are looking for. With over 20 years in the industry, we know where your potential patients are active online and what they need to see on your website to become your current patients.

We take pride in simplifying the process of digital marketing for our clients. We want you to keep doing what you do best — while we handle your online success. Work with us to see what’s possible.

Women talking in a group

Generate Talk: Use Online Reviews to Boost Your Practice

In the socially connected world of the new millennium, a practice’s reputation is vetted in real-time by patients leaving feedback about their experiences as online reviews. Essentially the evolved form of word-of-mouth marketing, online reviews have made it easier than ever to capitalize on this powerful form of patient referral. It’s also never been so easy to get it wrong. And the facts are clear: this is the time to get it right.
A stunning 90% of consumers rely on online reviews before choosing a business, and patient-targeted studies have found that at least 72% of patients read online reviews as their first step in choosing a new health care provider. What’s more, these trends are only getting stronger, with incredible growth year after year. This comes as no surprise considering the ever-widening reach of sites like Google and Facebook across a rapidly increasing number of people online.
Gaining more reviews for your practice does wonders for your visibility online. This is especially true for local search results, as search engines like Google give a higher search result ranking to businesses with “prominence” online. Prominence refers to several things, including positive rankings on review sites. Online reviews can be a powerful ally for your business’s ability to reach a wider local audience online.
Beyond local searches, having your website mentioned (and linked to) by various review sites is also an excellent way to boost your overall search result ranking, and is a critical element of a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Better ranking in the results makes it easier for people anywhere looking for hearing help or information to find your website through popular search engines. Considering that the children of aging Baby Boomers (who often live in different cities) are commonly interested and willing to help their parents search online to find the hearing services they need, it’s important for your website to be easy to find for anyone—anywhere.
By now, if you haven’t been making online reviews a focus of your marketing strategy, you might be reconsidering it. If so, you may be wondering, “How do I increase the amount of reviews I get anyhow?” This is a valid query, as simply asking your patients to leave you a review isn’t always enough. Busy lives and the endless threat of distraction can quickly defeat even your biggest fans. Some hearing practices try to work around this by setting up a “review station” in their waiting room—complete with a laptop and simple instructions. This isn’t ideal, however, as some review sites actually penalize businesses with too many reviews from the same IP address.
There are a variety of approaches to increasing the number of online reviews you receive. You could offer an incentive, such as a free pack of hearing aid batteries or discount on their next purchase. This is considered ethical (and within review sites’ terms and conditions) as long as it’s not dependant on the review being a positive one. A more cost-effective way to boost your reviews is simply to provide clear and concise step-by-step instructions for leaving a review for your practice. You already know you have happy patients leaving your office each day. Many of them would be more than willing to sit down to help your services reach others in need. But they may need a little guidance, so a quick and easy “cheat sheet” with a clear call to action (i.e. “Help Us Help Others!”) and a few steps for them to complete the reviews can go a long way.
Ultimately, no online review strategy will make up for sub-par services or care. This goes without saying, but there are a couple of tips about patient communication that can help boost your online reviews and maintain a positive reputation online. The first is to make a point to thank every patient who leaves you a positive review—and to do so publicly. Almost all review sites allow the business owner to comment on a review, specifically so owners can address negative reviews, but few people actually take advantage of those comments to return praise to patients who took the time to write a nice review. Showcasing gratitude bears well on your practice’s image and encourages future patients (especially those who found you by reading your reviews) to leave one for you as well.
The second (and critical) communication strategy for online reviews is to immediately reply to any negative ones you might receive. Your comment below a negative review must reflect patience, understanding, and a willingness to acknowledge where the reviewer is coming from. If their complaint is legitimate, you might even offer some form of consolation (a future discount, coupon, etc) if appropriate. In cases where the review is distorted, unfair, or exaggerated, it’s completely fine to state your case in the comment below—just be sure it’s done in a courteous and professional tone. Future patients will appreciate your direct communication and respect your approach to criticism.
At AudiologyPlus, we’ve worked with countless hearing practices to optimize their online review strategy. Over the years, we’ve found that the keys to a successful plan involve two critical elements: convenience and efficiency. Patients are almost always willing to leave a positive review when prompted to in a quick and easy-to-follow way. We built our proprietary website plugin, ReviewMe, with just that in mind. It offers patients a chance to quickly select the number of stars they feel their experience deserves—right from the hearing practice’s website—and then with a few simple clicks they can publish their review on the various review websites of their choosing.
And what about those occasional negative reviews? ReviewMe automatically notifies the practice owner of every review—positive or negative— that gets published. We know how important it is for you to have a chance to proactively respond to disgruntled reviewers, and we designed this software to make it easier than ever to maintain an excellent (and popular) reputation online.
If your practice could benefit from reaching a wider local audience on the Internet, then optimizing your online review strategy should be at the top of your task list. If you want to tackle this with leading-edge tools and professional expertise, be sure to contact us to learn how we can help.
 

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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.
 

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Local SEO: Smart Strategies for Growing Website Traffic

Why is it important that your website is optimized for local SEO? People use online searches every day to find the best local businesses for the products and services they’re in need of. For businesses such as hearing centers that rely on attracting patients who live in the local area, it is especially important that your business shows up in local search results. Therefore, optimizing your website for local SEO is an effective way to grow your business. Local SEO also offers a great return on investment (ROI) – local SEO is very cost-effective and efficient compared to traditional advertising approaches, such as direct mail.
Because Google is constantly changing its algorithms, it can be more challenging to rank high in local search results. A variety of strategies are needed to help increase your chances of getting found. Everything that applies to customary SEO also applies to local SEO, including responsive design and site speed.
Responsive Design: More and more people are using the internet to find local businesses online, and they’re using mobile devices to do so. Because so many people view websites on mobile devices, Google has started penalizing websites that are not mobile-responsive. If your website is not mobile responsive, it will not likely display very high in Google’s search results, increasing the chances that potential customers will not see your website in the search results when they perform a search on a mobile device.
Site Speed: Google favors websites that are fast and easy to navigate, and that’s what visitors want as well. For businesses, this can also mean a lower bounce rate and a higher average amount of time spent on your website. If your website is slow to load, visitors will not stay long and probably won’t return again. Search engines can detect if your website is slow-loading. Make sure the images on your website are not too large, as this can cause slow loading time.
What other strategies can help improve your local SEO?
Online Reviews
Online reviews of your business, such as Google and Yelp, impact how your business will rank in local search results, and which results will get clicked on. It’s worth spending time trying to acquire them from your customers. Keep in mind that more and more consumers are relying on online reviews to make purchasing decisions. Both positive and negative reviews can impact a consumer’s buying decision. Reviews don’t just have to be on Google – Yelp and local directories are also important, but do focus on Google reviews.
How do you get local reviews? Contact current customers to see if they will leave you a review. You might want to consider offering them an incentive, such as a discount or gift card. Create a page on your website with instructions on how to leave a review – make it quick and simple for your customers or they might leave in the middle of posting a review.
How do you know if someone has posted an online review of your business? You can easily set up a Google Alert, which is a free notification service offered through Google. Each time your business is mentioned online on any website, you will get notified by e-mail. To create a Google Alert, visit http://www.google.com/alerts.
Google My Business Page
Be sure to claim your page through Google My Business. It is necessary to include all of the requested information about your business. Google also loves photos and videos of your business, such as a virtual tour of your office. Your Google My Business page is also where Google reviews from your customers display. Make sure your business is listed accurately, including the business category. Otherwise, it will be more difficult for potential customers to find you.
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Your business has an increased chance of displaying in local search results if your business name, address, and phone number are displayed prominently on your website and on every web page if possible – this allows the search engines to find your website easily. If you have a toll-free number, be sure to always list your local phone number as well – otherwise, this could confuse Google.
Local Link Building
Google likes links to your business from other local businesses that are similar to your business. When determining the types of links you should look for, consider that you want links that will drive direct traffic to your website, build visibility for your brand, and help build your reputation. Local online directories are a great resource for this.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help optimize your website for local SEO, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]