When it comes to doing SEO for veterinary hospitals, there are more factors than you think about ranking high. There are two things to consider; how to show up highly ranked on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) and how to make sure you’re showing up on Google’s local map rankings. Even better, the two are tied together! Today, we’re going to do a deep dive on the latest ranking factors for Google’s Local SEO rankings (via the amazing Moz)!
First, the basics of Local SEO: Local SEO refers to the process of optimizing your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. These searches take place on Google and other search engines.
But why is this important?
46% of all Google searches are local.
Yep. They’re near your business and searching for “vet near me.” That’s the number one search term that our advertising team uses for current ads, and it’s near the top of our organic keywords.
The top five factors are not shocking, but the order may surprise you.
- Google My Business elements being completely up to date. This includes keywords in the business name ([City name] Veterinary Hospital), the category (hospital names with veterinary clinic or animal hospital in the title), and other relevant keywords on the listing. If you’re sitting there with a funky-named veterinary hospital that does not include the word veterinary, don’t stress. You’ll be fine with the right website company and SEO.
- Google reviews! We keep saying this, and it’s essential! We wrote a blog titled How To Get More Google Reviews in 2020. Did you read it? Is it working? Let us help! Google looks at your number of reviews, the overall sentiment, and whether the business has responded. Good thing WhiskerCloud has a reputation management team, huh?
- The proximity of the searcher to the place of business, which has typically been at the top of the list. In the past, when someone searched for a “vet near me,” Google was likely to show you the literal closest vet near you. Now, they are looking at other factors like naming conventions and reviews before proximity. While odd, this may be a good thing for your clinic. You cannot control the searcher’s vicinity, but you can control your online listing (we manage this for our clients!) and the reviews you’re getting.
- Your physical address in the city of the search. It’s true; Google does want your business to be located in the town that people are searching for a “vet near me.” To our friends in the suburbs or small cities next to a big city, don’t get caught up going after being the top “San Franciso veterinarian” or the top “Chicago veterinarian.” Embrace your location and make sure that you go after keywords for the people in your zip code and surrounding areas. You can still work to make sure you’re the top “Palo Alto veterinarian” and not waste your time competing for San Francisco keywords.
- The final most important factor for local SEO rankings is the consistency of your citations. Making sure that your online listings, website, social media channels, and anything else related to your business are consistent and correct. Make sure the name of your business is consistent across the board, too!
What can we take away from this? Most agree that your organic SEO on your website and your local SEO information are tied together.
What happens next?
Google My Business has recently released a ton of new options for businesses, and the WhiskerCloud team is auditing client pages and optimizing across the board. We’ll take care of the online listing, website organic SEO, and reputation management. You focus on providing exceptional care to your clients and patients and getting more reviews.
Why is this important? A recent study provides three reasons why this should matter to all business owners:
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 79% of consumers read a fake review in the last year, but 84% can’t always spot them
- 94% of consumers said that an online review convinced them to avoid a business
Let’s tag team this effort to ensure that you continue to be at the top of Google when local pet owners are looking for a veterinarian!