In order to succeed, local businesses need visibility. This means doing everything in your power to help potential clients find your business on Google. But how does Google rank local businesses on their search results pages? Here, Surefire Local addresses key Google local marketing tips for physical therapists seeking to understand then dominate Google’s local search results page. Let’s get started.
Unpacking the Google Local Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
To optimize your business for Google’s search engine results page (SERP), you need to know how it works. When it comes to local businesses and searches, Google organizes its results page into three tiers: Google Ads, Local Pack and Organic Listing. Ideally, you want your business to appear in each of these tiers.
The first results that appear when people make local queries on Google are sponsored placements or advertisements. Companies pay to have their website displayed at the top of the page, typically with pay-per-click (PPC). Specific keywords and phrases will alert Google to show these links based on their relevance.
You can tell whether or not the top result is a sponsored placement by the small ‘Ad’ label next to the title. Other paid placements include call-only ads, which often appear on mobile searches and emphasize the business’s phone number, and shopping results. Shopping results either come in the form of a text ad or images at the top of the results page.
Local Map Pack
Businesses hoping to generate local leads and customers want to pay attention to the Local Pack. When a search includes local intent, a geographic location or the phrase ‘near me,’ Google shows the searcher three businesses in a box called the Local Pack. These featured results will often include the businesses’ names, addresses, contact information, website links and ratings from their Google My Business pages. Google also displays these results with a map and pins to indicate the businesses’ locations.
Appearing on the Local Pack provides businesses with incredible visibility thanks to its prominence on the results page and the amount of information searchers receive from it. Earning a spot on the Local Pack takes time and effort, but its marketing power makes it worthwhile.
Organic listings appear underneath the advertisements and Local Pack. These results are unpaid, naturally occurring listings ranked based on Google’s search engine algorithm. The algorithm looks at your business’s relevance, distance and prominence (among other factors) in relation to the searched query and keywords. These results appear no matter what, and you can work on your physical therapy practice’s online presence in order to influence your ranking.
Looking at Your Digital Footprint
Now that we understand how your physical therapy practice can appear on Google, we can address your digital footprint. Your digital footprint includes everything about your practice that exists online, from your website to your Google My Business page to social media accounts. When considering how to improve your digital footprint, these three parts may come to mind first, but it goes deeper than that.
How Google Ranks Your Practice
As mentioned above, Google determines your local ranking by considering relevance, distance and prominence. Relevance determines how well your business profile matches someone’s query or keywords, while distance judges how far your practice is from the location searched. The third factor, prominence, considers how well-known your practice is in the area. Links, articles and directories all help Google determine the prominence of your business on and offline.
However, Google’s SERP algorithm takes more into account than just these basic factors. It looks at your entire digital footprint in order to rank your website among the other listings. To improve your SEO, you need to look at your digital footprint from all sides. This means analyzing your:
- Google My Business profile
- Business listings in industry directories
- Customer reviews and ratings
- Success of paid advertising campaigns
- Social media engagement
- Photos and videos
- Business information across all platforms
All of these contribute to how well Google ranks your physical therapy practice in local listings. The next section addresses how you can start improving that ranking.
Boosting Your Practice’s SEO and Visibility
You understand how Google’s SERP works, and you know the importance of a comprehensive digital footprint. Now you’re ready for potential clients to find you on any and all of those key search results page sections: Google Ads, Local Pack and Organic Listings.
1. Invest In Google Ads
One of the top Google local marketing tips for physical therapists who need visibility now is launching a Google Ads campaign. Investing part of your budget into this campaign is one of the most effective ways to approach online advertising.
When you start a Google Ads campaign, the questionnaire will ask what goals you want to achieve and which audience — global or local — you want to target. With these two elements established, you can set your budget. Your ad then goes live, and you pay based on the results produced by the ad.
Starting a Google Ads campaign helps your physical therapy practice in multiple ways. The program allows you to target people based on location, and it experiences a high amount of traffic on a daily basis. This, in turn, will help you generate more leads, which will hopefully turn into loyal clients in your area. Since Google Ads is PPC, you also have a higher ROI than with other methods of marketing.
2. Update Your Google My Business Profile
If you want your practice to appear in the Local Pack, you should optimize your Google My Business profile. A significant amount of data used to rank the Local Pack search results comes from information on Google My Business pages. The more comprehensive and up-to-date your profile’s information, the better visibility you achieve.
You also have the opportunity to think beyond the basic business information like address and contact information. Including photos and encouraging customers to review and rate your services helps build trust with potential clients and Google’s algorithm, and it helps you rank higher locally.
3. Write High-Quality Content
The best method for boosting SEO is consistently producing well-written content for your website. This will serve as the foundation for all your other marketing efforts. When your website has trustworthy, quality content, people will see your physical therapy practice as a vetted authority in your industry. More visitors will gravitate to your web pages, and other blogs may link to or reference your articles as you incorporate critical keywords into your website. Google’s algorithm rewards good content.
4. Define and Use Important Keywords
Organic SEO relies on the clever usage of keywords in content. This does not mean just the body of an article or web page, though. Once you have defined the keywords that lead potential clients to your practice, you should include them in page titles, headlines, body text, meta descriptions and URLs. The goal is to strike the ideal balance between keyword usage and quality writing; Google will penalize pages guilty of keyword stuffing.
5. Optimize Your Website for Mobile Use
If someone thinks they need a physical therapist, there is a good chance they will look up physical therapy practices on their phones. Because of this, you need to create a mobile-friendly website. A mobile-friendly site includes the most important information at the top of the page, legible font for smaller screens and compressed images to avoid slow loading times.
6. Establish Your Authority
As a physical therapist, clients trust you with their health and well-being. You can help establish this trust early on by following Google’s EAT guidelines: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Citing reputable sources in your blog posts or on web pages can demonstrate expertise, and credentials, reviews and testimonials display authority and trust. You can also help your clients feel safe on your site by making sure their information is completely secure. By following EAT guidelines, Google will rank you higher on SERP.
7. Increase Your Social Media Engagement
Remember the importance of social media platforms in marketing. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter all serve valuable purposes and target different audiences. Publishing reputable information, such as health and wellness tips you have learned as a physical therapist, will drive leads and SEO. It also provides the perfect opportunity to engage with your audience and build a relationship.
Take Control of Your Digital Marketing With Surefire Local
Businesses need visibility and local reach to thrive. Surefire Local specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses reach new and current customers, grow revenue and broaden their reach in local markets. Started in 2009, our company offers Google local marketing tips for physical therapists that will get your practice on track to grow its clientele and increase profits. Request a demo of our all-in-one marketing intelligence platform today!