Don't Make These 10 Common Local SEO mistakes
10 Local SEO Mistakes Doctors Do with Their Website
Google gets more than 1 billion health-related searches every day. If you’re not showing up for any of these, your local SEO strategy is your fault.
Google confirms that it gathers medical information from high-quality websites backed by trusted medical professionals. It’s high time to fix SEO mistakes to increase your chances of ranking on Google.
10 SEO Mistakes that Doctors Make (with Solutions)
1. Targeting Unlocalized Keywords
Localized keywords help you understand what local patients are searching on Google. It presents your expertise via blogs or your clinic via citations and drives them to your clinic or hospital.
Quit the guesswork and use effective tools to target local keywords. List your services and match them with local search intent. Then, choose high-volume keywords to generate maximum attention for your clinic.
Tools to Help You Find the Right Keywords
- Ubersuggest: Ubersuggest provides a list of keywords and the list of sites ranking for them, so you keep an eye on competitors.
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs lets you find specific keywords, so you tap right into the search intent. Also, you find top-used keywords from any top-ranking site.
- Google Keyword Planner: Google keywords planner lets you see the search volume for a particular area. For instance, if you live in California, filter search results for the same, displaying average monthly searches for the keyword.
Here’s a screenshot of keywords generated by Ahrefs:
Read: Benefits of Using Long-tail Keywords for SEO
2. Inconsistent NAP Data
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number for your business. Your NAP data must be consistent across all websites on Google, be it citations, directories, or Google My Business.
NAP helps Google provide legitimate information to users about your business. Inconsistent NAP data confuses Google and hampers your search engine ranking.
Tips for Consistent NAP Data:
- Regular checks: Search your business on Google and go through the various listing to check for consistent NAPW data.
- Change data with location: If you’ve moved your business or changed your phone number, update the data in your NAPW.
You can use SEMrush to scan for inconsistent NAP data:
3. Overlooking Reviews
94% of customers in a Review Tracker survey said they avoid businesses with bad reviews. 3.5 is the limit where customers engage with a business. Only 13% choose those below 3-star ratings.
Reviews can make or break a local business, especially in healthcare, where people trust other patients' experiences.
- Incentivizing Reviews: Incentives motivate customers to leave more reviews—set milestones and reward patients with coupons or cards. For instance, they get a coupon for their next appointment or a free checkup for every five reviews.
- Interact with negative reviewers: Replying to reviews shows you value your feedback and are willing to provide solutions. Genuinely interact with negative (and positive) reviews to provide solutions or let new users know your side of the story.
- Actively ask for reviews: A doctor can ask for feedback. Persuade patients to drop feedback, so they share their experiences and improvements they felt after your diagnosis.
Here’s an example of a review form:
4. Not Optimizing Website for Mobile
Mobiles generated 54.4% of global website traffic. The click-to-call option in the mobile search result led 60% of searches to contact the business.
As a doctor, optimizing your site for mobile leads to buzzing inquiries. Moreover, mobiles dominate PPC clicks, with 52% coming from mobiles.
How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile?
- Use Schema Markup: Adding it to your long-form blog content provides structural meaning to the content. It also helps to display structured data summarizing content on your webpage.
- Build Interactive UI: A responsive UI adapts to different screens. Contents on your website, like images, change with the screen and fixing their width or height make it unadaptable to change. For instance, a horizontal weather report is suitable for desktops but won’t work for mobiles.
- Remove Pop-Ups: Pop-ups take up almost all of the mobile screen, causing inconvenience to users. Also, Google penalizes sites with unnecessary pop-ups.
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out if your website is optimized for mobile use:
5. Poor Image Optimization
HTTP archives suggest images to make up 21% of your website’s weight. Upload unique images rather than copying ones from Google. Optimize alt text to help crawlers understand what the image implies.
For instance, the graph title showcasing cases of Covid may be “img345.jpg”. Change it to “covid trend graph” to optimize for SEO. Moreover, compress image size to the point where it’s clear but lightweight.
Tools to Compress Images:
- TinyPNG: TinyPNG comes with a WordPress plugin and reduces image file size without affecting the overall quality.
- Kraken: Kraken.io is a powerful and hassle-free image optimization tool where you can paste links to images, download them, reduces size, and provide a ZIP archive.
- Cloudinary: Claudinary lets to customize images and videos in real-time and compress them to increase the website load speed.
Here’s a screenshot of Kraken.io:
Read: Image SEO tips
6. Inconsistent Backlinks Efforts
Backlinks indicate that viewers find your content valuable. Websites like healthline.io lead the healthcare content with 34.0 M backlinks and 427.5k referring domains. The sites show up for many healthcare-related searches on the first page.
Although it’s not a personal website, it’s an example of how a healthcare professional can implement consistent backlink efforts to build authority and rank on Google.
Where Can a Doctor get Backlinks From?
- Local Publications: Get in touch with local journalists to let them know you’re available to comment on public concerns. For instance, you can give your thoughts on a local disease breakout for the publication and exchange for a link to your website. Use HARO to find journalist queries online.
- Industry Publications/ Websites: Getting a link from a popular local healthcare website is a major plus point as it establishes your authority among readers.
- Patient Blog: Some of your patients may have a blog. Ask them to link to your site when they share a recovery experience in their blog.
Here’s an example of how you can request bloggers to link back to your site:
7. Uninteractive Website
As per the research by Content Marketing Institute and Ion Interactive, 66% of marketers increased engagement with interactive content, while 79% say it increases audience retention.
An interactive website is key to persuading viewers to spend more time on your website. Such content is prevalent in landing pages and blogs, so readers feel motivated to act by booking an appointment or online consultation.
Tips to Make Your Website Interactive
- Post-User-Generated Content: User-generated content makes the reader feel seen. They love to see how you incorporated their ideas into your content. Create blogs answering top questions in the comments.
- Encourage Feedback: Include CTAs in your content to persuade readers to leave comments. Not only do comments serve as engagement, but they also increase keyword variation and amp up your SEO efforts.
- Use Gamification: Add small medical quizzes or discount wheels to your website, so users click on them and stay on a page longer.
Here’s an example of a website that prompts patients to leave a review:
8. Inefficient Content with Keyword Stuffing
As a doctor, you must understand that your target audience is patients who want answers about their illness or disease. Your content must reflect empathy and guide readers to understand their condition better.
You can’t stuff keywords for crawlers or write solely AI-powered content that makes no sense. Moreover, Google penalizes keyword stuffing with decreased rankings or page removal.
Tool to Help you Write Better
- Grammarly: As the name suggests, Grammarly corrects grammatical mistakes and small sentence structure issues. Filter desired tonality from formal, informal, or neutral along with audience from an expert, general and knowledgeable.
- Hemingway: Hemingway also corrects grammar, uses colors to highlight long sentences, and suggests edits to increase the clarity of your blogs.
- Wordtune: If you want to repurpose blog content into social media posts, wordtune is great for you. It helps to reword your sentence without changing the flow of meaning.
Here’s a screenshot of Grammarly:
9. Lack of Quality Citations
For an online service provider, citations may or may not be important as they serve to global customer base. But citations must be one of your top priorities as a local clinic or hospital.
Links from local resources, features in local magazines, and yelp reviews can work wonders for your business.
List of Free Citations for Your Business:
- Bing: Bing is a highly popular search engine with a default spot on many PCs and mobile devices. Ranking on Bing improves your credibility as a doctor.
- Yelp: If you already requested reviews, ranking on Yelp would be easier for you. Moreover, it includes options like creating deals and managing customers directly.
- Yellow Pages: Yellow pages let you monitor your clinic’s reputation and build authority with videos.
Here’s a screenshot of Yelp:
10. Poor Technical SEO
Poor technical SEO means your site does not comply with the search engine’s requirements. With poor technical SEO, crawlers won’t find or index your content, no matter how good it is.
Improving technical SEO makes your site accessible to Google and increases your chances of ranking.
Tips to Improve Technical SEO
- Improve Site Structure: Site structure influences everything from URL to using robot.txt to sitemaps. Use a flat structure — with all pages a few links away from each other — to optimize it for SEO.
- Avoid Duplicate Content: Duplicate content hampers your site’s rankings. Use the “Content Quality” tool by SEMRush to check if your website has the same content on multiple pages.
- Reduce the size of your Web Pages: People often talk about slow loading speed but don’t point out why. Large web pages will take time to load and hurt your scores on Google PageSpeed. Trim your page size while maintaining the quality.
Here’s a screenshot of SEMRush displaying duplicate content on a website:
- Create valuable medical content to educate your target audience and build authority.
- Improve technical SEO by working on an on-site structure, removing duplicate content, and optimizing the sizes of web pages.
- Apply for good-quality citations on Bing, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.
- Build an attractive website with an interactive UI, so visitors surf through it with ease.
- Enhance your backlink efforts to get links from local publications, websites, and patient blogs.
- Remember to optimize your website for mobile by introducing schema markup and removing pop-up ads.