Help your firm rank higher in local Google searches

A strong online presence is essential if you’re looking to acquire new patients, grow your practice, and increase your revenue.

Online searches are used every day to find just about anything: a good restaurant, selected cocktails, a café and even the friendly neighborhood eye doctor.

A strong online presence is essential if you’re looking to acquire new patients, grow your practice, and increase your revenue. With that in mind, making sure your private practice ranks high in local and “near me” Google searches is key.

With more than 86% of the search market share, Google stands out as the No. 1 search engine optimization (SEO) platform, followed by YouTube, which is also owned by Google.1

As an eye care professional (ECP), ranking well in Google’s search engine is important if you offer a product or service and want to grow your practice. It allows potential patients to find you faster and schedule an appointment. Why? Because this is where the younger generations spend most of their time.

Research shows that younger generations (Gen Z and Millennials) read and trust online reviews before making a purchase.

Although we’re not in the restaurant industry, studies show that Gen Z and Millennials are 99% more likely to rely on online reviews when choosing a restaurant.2

As a PCU, potential new patients browse online and read what others are saying about you, your practice, your staff, and your customer service. What can you expect when optimizing your firm’s Google profile? Many new and established patients will call you and make an appointment.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our firm’s Google analytics for May 2022. During that month, our firm’s Google profile was viewed 22,800 times (Figure 1).

Our practice was found 10,248 times on Google SEO.

» 72% (7,376) via mobile

» 16% (1,667) via desktop

» 11% (1,113) via Google Maps – mobile

» 1% (92) via Google Maps – desktop (Figure 2)

We received 894 direct phone calls from our Google profile to our office (picture 3) and 235 requests for directions to our office via Google maps (Figure 4). Even more impressively, the 280 photos we uploaded to our Google profile received 179,036 views over the past month (Figure 5).

It’s thousands of eyeballs verifying what we have to offer before decide to make an appointment, call us or visit us. This is another example of why it’s imperative to make sure your practice’s Google profile is optimized and that you’re doing everything you can to help potential patients find you online.

Here are some tips that cost you nothing (except a little time and energy) to help you achieve higher rankings on your local Google search engine:

Step 1: Open your firm’s Google profile and claim it.

If you already have a Google profile for your practice, make sure all of your information is accurate and up-to-date. Check the store’s mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, website, and hours of operation. Most potential clients would rather use Google to look up your office hours than call the office and ask your receptionist. You want to make sure that potential patients have your correct information so they can easily contact you. Add any missing information. Once all the information is up to date, verify your page.

If you don’t yet have a Google profile for your firm:

Go to google.com and, in the search field, enter the name of your practice or the name of your ECP. You can also add and claim your business through Google Maps. Google will tell you the steps needed to claim your page. If someone has already opened a Google profile under your practice name or doctor’s name, go ahead and claim it by clicking “Own this Business?”3

2nd step: Show engagement on your page.

Engagement includes, but is not limited to, uploading photos of inside and outside your practice, uploading videos, posting regularly to your Google profile, just like you would on a Facebook page or LinkedIn, and getting as many 5-star reviews as possible. possible.

If you have photos of your practice uploaded to your profile, and your competitor does not, there is a higher likelihood that your potential patient will prefer to call your practice. Patients often want to know what a practice looks like before making an appointment or consulting.

Make sure these images showcase the best features of your practice. These images can be your newest equipment, your optical coherence tomography equipment, the best-selling eyeglass frame, etc. Make sure these images are clear and avoid uploading blurry photos or cluttered photos. Encourage patients and staff to upload photos to your profile directly from their mobile phones. These authentic and personal images create engagement and help others see your practice through the eyes of current patients.

Step 3: Start collecting 5-star patient reviews on Google.

Reviews are considered a substantial engagement by Google. You must respond to each review: the good ones and especially the bad ones. Check out “6 Tips for Responding, Surviving 1-Star Online Reviews,” Featured in optometry time®’ November 2017 issue.4

The higher your review rate on Google, the better your practice will rank online. The more reviews you have on your Google profile, the more engagement Google sees, and the more Google will push you to the top of the SEO page organically. Patients trust Google Notes. You want to have a high rating with a generous number of reviews.

Research and data show that when a potential customer (or patient) searches for services, they typically use their mobile device to search, rather than a computer or laptop, and look to purchase locally and within 24 hours.5-7

If you’re looking to acquire new patients and build credibility online, it’s worth reviewing your practice’s Google profile, taking the time to claim it, and verifying that all information is correct so that new patients can find you online.

References
1. Davies D. Discover the 7 most popular search engines in the world. Search Engine Journal. March 3, 2021. Accessed July 26, 2022. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-guide/meet-search-engines/#close
2. Baer J. How Gen Z uses word of mouth [11 statistics]. Convince&Convert. Accessed July 26, 2022. https://www.convinceandconvert.com/word-of-mouth/gen-z-statistics/
3. How to add or claim your business profile on Google. Google Business Profile Help. Accessed July 26, 2022. https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3D
4. Canto-Sims D. 6 Tips for Responding, Surviving One-Star Online Reviews. optometry time®. November 15, 2017. Accessed July 26, 2022. https://www.optometrytimes.com/view/6-tips-address-survive-one-star-online-reviews
5. Ahluwalia B. Local SEO – why it matters and how to rank in local search. RankMath Blog. Accessed July 26, 2022. https://rankmath.com/blog/local-seo/
6. Walker-Ford M. 12 Local SEO Stats Every Business Owner and Marketer Should Know in 2019 [Infographic]. SocialMediaToday. February 26, 2019. Accessed July 26, 2022. https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/12-local-seo-stats-every-business-owner-and-marketer-should-know-in-2019-i/ 549079/
7. Google Local SEO stats every search marketer should read. SEO expert. Accessed July 26, 2022. https://seoexpertbrad.com/local-seo-stats/