For the last couple years local search optimization has become an increasingly important strategy for digital marketers, one that should be leveraged by plastic surgeons and aesthetic practitioners alike. Local search is where you’ll often see results within a map and pushpins and sometimes star reviews for the top listed practices. The special attention these local search results get can be truly spectacular, especially on mobile, where a local result can take up the whole screen – clearly a major win for the practice that has earned that spot.
Google switched to heavy use of local results a few years ago and hasn’t looked back since. They were smart. They recognized that local search intent led to conversions. They understood that a search for Botox injections clearly benefited from showing local physicians within a few miles as opposed to those from across the country. Today, around 40% or 50% of all searches are localized to some degree. This includes many search results that may not even look local and instead look just like regular old organic search results.
You are Your Namespace
The thing is, there have been problems in the local search space for years. It can be a real headache. It’s confusing and hard to manage and Google is not inherently good at keeping things organized and in order. There are many pages about you online, and for years we have been letting physicians know that they are much more than just their website, they are the sum total of all those pages about them online, whether they like it or not. These pages make up your namespace: your pages across the web on websites about plastic surgery, directories of physicians, patient review sites, and more, from your page on Healthgrades.com, to your profile on Realself.com, to your Twitter page, and beyond. And all theoretically starting at the NPI level; after all, each doctor has an NPI number and a name and address.
Your NAP Defines You as a Physician
We call that name, address, and phone number your NAP and each and every doctor has one. It’s easy to recognize that you have your own website. But you also have a namespace and a NAP – and it is how that nap is listed across your namespace that is so vitally important for local search optimization. So, in order to succeed, a physician must claim, standardize, and preferentially optimize and update all of those pages across there namespace with the same standard name, address, and phone number, or NAP. That is step one to get local search results that can make the difference substantial visibility and virtual invisibility. It’s not complicated, but it is time-consuming. At Surgeon’s Advisor we specialize in optimizing the namespace using a standardized NAP to ensure consist listings across the web. It takes time, effort, and consistency, and we routinely monitor and modify our clients’ NAP listings.
Citations, Trust, and Patients Finding You
Claiming, standardizing, and optimizing these namespace pages is step one. Step two involves acquiring citations, social media mentions, and positive reviews that help build trust and validation, as well as updating the content on these namespace pages to reflect practice changes, new offers, promotions, and the like. While claiming and standardizing is largely a one-time thing, step involves work over time.
Getting patients reviews is covered in the section on reputation management and patient reviews. Content updates include lots of the same tips we provide in the writing and editing article and the page on content development. Citations are the final piece. These are like links but are focused on listings name, address, and phone number. They are often to be found on directory pages listing physicians and cites like the Better Business Bureau. Each citation you acquire acts like a “plus-1” for Google – giving it more reason to validate your listing while helping it rank well for local search.
Surgeon’s Advisor focuses a substantial amount of its digital marketing efforts on local search. Because the people finding you locally are nearby, their chances of converting to patients are high. As such they deserve special attention. To learn how we can help improve your local search marketing efforts, click here or call us at 305.763.8011.