Google is the largest search engine in the world, so it’s vital that your veterinary business is not just listed but visible. You need your potential customers to be able to find you on local search for terms, such as, “veterinary business near me.”
Unfortunately, Google keeps its cards very close to the vest on how exactly they rank websites. It can feel as if gaining any visibility at all is more of a black art, if you’re not an SEO specialist.
However, there are things you can do to gain visibility and get found by your potential customers.
Read on for Surefire Local’s tips on how to get more visibility on Google for veterinarians.
How your veterinary business can appear on Google
Improving your visibility on Google can get very complicated. People spend years learning the finer points of SEO and keeping up with Google’s algorithm changes. So, let’s start with breaking down the ways in which your veterinary business can appear on Google:
We’re all familiar with Google’s standard search results. They’ve become so known for search results that many people now call web search ‘Googling’.
Naturally, you want your business to appear as high up in Google’s traditional search results as possible. Preferably in the top five results on page one, or higher. The further back in the search results you are, the less chance you have of being found. Few potential customers will search more than page one or two of the search results at the most.
Google Maps is also an excellent way to get visibility. If you can get your business into the local pack (we’ll talk about this below), you’ll be shown in a highly visible place in the search results. Instead of just appearing in the main search listings, Google will also place your business in a box on the right-hand side of the results, along with a map of where you are.
Additionally, you will also appear on Google Maps when someone searches for veterinary practices in your area. If the searcher clicks on Google Maps, they’ll get a list of local businesses. They’ll also be able to see a bright red tag with an arrow pointing down to your location on the map. If they click on your Google Business Profile, then they’ll get all of the information about your business to the side of the page. How about that for visibility?
If you optimize your images correctly, you have an excellent chance of showing up high on Google Image Search. Searchers can then click on your images to see a large version or click on the link below the image to find out more.
Again, it’s another way for you to be found and you do want to take advantage of as many ways you can gain visibility as possible.
Video Search (Google + YouTube videos)
Videos are hugely popular right now, with videos enjoyed by a large percentage of the population to look at more information on products and services. They’re a great way to market yourself and a great way to be found on Google’s Video Search.
If you click the More tab at the top of Google, you can click on the Videos tab and find videos on just about any topic. If you have videos, you can find yourself listed there too.
In addition, Google owns YouTube, so if you post your videos on YouTube too, you’re likely to get more visibility.
How is your visibility on Google determined?
Unfortunately, for Google, it’s not about you. Google’s priority is to deliver top-quality, highly relevant content to its users. Google’s aim is to show the best possible, most targeted results to searchers. So the thing to do is to create high-quality, relevant, optimized content to get attention.
Google doesn’t reveal all of its ranking factors but if you pay attention, you’ll notice they hint at areas that weigh more heavily than others. Therefore, it’s important to focus on these local search ranking signals.
Local Ranking Factor #1: Recency
Google loves fresh content, both content you create and user-generated content, such as reviews.
The more frequently you post high-quality content and the more frequently you get great reviews, the more attention Google will pay.
Local Ranking Factor #2: Relevance
Google is always looking to provide content that’s as relevant as possible to its users. The more on-topic and relevant you can be, the better.
Local Ranking Factor #3: Distance
This is a tricky one as you might be the nearest veterinary business to your customer on search, but if your competitor has more relevant content or more specific services that your customer is looking for, they will be suggested first. However, distance definitely does play a part in search when customers are looking for a local business.
Local Ranking Factor #4: Prominence
Prominence is about how well known you are. Is your veterinary business well known in your local community? Are you actively involved in charities and local organizations that will talk highly about your business and backlink to your website?
However, prominence is also based on how much quality information there is about you online, and how Google scores your business, so you can do something about this.
Local Ranking Factor #5: Availability
Availability matters because searchers can now use Alexa, Echo, and the like to search for a veterinary business that is open now. Include your business hours on your website and your Google Business Profile, and you should show up for this.
How to Improve Visibility on Google Search and Google Maps
Here’s where we get to the good stuff. Let’s get into how you can optimize your online presence to appear higher and gain more visibility on Google Search and Google Maps.
Surefire Tips for Better Visibility on Google Maps
If you haven’t yet claimed your Google Business Profile (GBP) for your veterinary practice, do it as soon as possible! This is how you verify your business with Google. It also comes with a host of other benefits, including interaction with your customers, reviews, and more.
We also wouldn’t be recommending it if it didn’t also create greater visibility for your business.
Claim your GBP and then ensure you optimize your profile by filling in every piece of information you can.
Write a compelling company description that showcases why someone should pick your veterinary business over another. Use keywords and phrases your audience will identify with and are top of mind. Ensure you provide questions and answers to your customers – create your own if no one has asked any questions yet.
Add your business information in full, including your opening hours so people can search for you when you’re open. Pay particular attention to the business categories you choose and make sure you pick the right ones for your business.
You’ve seen above how important images and videos can be to your visibility but they also add a great deal to your GBP. Your GBP will look attractive to customers with quality images and videos, and you’ll appear in Image Search and Video Search. A good shot of the outside of your business can also help new customers find you.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GBP as reviews are so important. Google loves to see good reviews and will reward you with higher visibility, and it is great social proof for new customers too.
Remember when we talked about the local pack above? Well, a completed, fully optimized GBP is the thing that could get you listed in the local pack. If you don’t have your GBP complete, you don’t have a chance of appearing in the local pack.
Filling in your Google Business Profile properly couldn’t be more important if you want greater visibility on Google.
Surefire Tips for Better Visibility on Google Search
Don’t think that you’re helpless to control if and how you appear on Google’s listings. There are so many things you can do to optimize your online presence and boost visibility. Here are just a few of the things to do to get more visibility on Google for veterinarians:
1) Optimize your website
You need to optimize your website as much as you possibly can. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do that don’t require a professional.
Do thorough keyword research and find out which keywords you should be targeting. Then ensure you use those keywords and related keywords in every piece of content you write. This is important for your website copy and your blog.
In addition, look at your site structure. You need clear navigation for your customers, but also for the search engines. Search engines use spiders (bots) to crawl your site and index it. With clear navigation, you can guide the bots around your site and ensure they index every page.
Internal linking also helps with this. When creating content think about how you can link to other pages within your site as you write. This again helps the bots find their way around your site. As an aside, it also guides your customers to more of your awesome content, so win-win.
Your site really should be mobile-compatible. So many people now conduct their entire customer journies from their phones or tablet without ever using a laptop that making sure your website loads properly and quickly on any device is a must. It’s also another ranking factor for Google so it’s important.
Google also considers site speed as one of its ranking factors so ensure your site loads quickly.
2) Manage your directory listings
You should be listed on any relevant business directories online, including Yelp, Angi, Nextdoor, and any veterinary-focused platforms. However, it’s important to be sure that your details are the same and correct on every site. Even something as simple as writing Ave in one place and Avenue in another can cause confusion and lower your visibility.
We’ve mentioned that Google loves fresh content so keep your listings fresh and updated with new reviews, new images, relevant content, and more.
3) Optimize your social media profiles
Make sure your profiles are fully complete with your contact details, website URL, keyworded business description, relevant hashtags, and great content. These platforms have high domain-authority in Google’s eyes and will rank near the top of search results which gives you more shots on goal, so to speak.
4) Run Google Ads
Google Ads are from none other than Google so using them can bring you great visibility. They also work. If you know what you’re doing, you can drive quality traffic to your website without needing a large budget.
5) Publish new content
We know we’ve said this before but fresh content really is that important. You can’t start a blog and then leave it to gather tumbleweed. It won’t look impressive to either your clients or Google.
Keep a regular schedule and post on relevant topics with good keywords.
It’s also a good idea to refresh and re-optimize your content over time. Go back to older posts and add in internal linking too.
6) Optimize your visual content
Don’t just post images and videos. Ensure you give them great, well-keyworded titles and use excellent descriptions. Size them properly so they load quickly on your website.
7) Keep an eye on your stats
Optimizing your website for Google isn’t instantaneous. It does take time. However, if you keep an eye on your website and social media statistics, you should be able to see improvements over time.
You can also use your statistics to understand what people are searching for when they find you, what keywords and phrases they are using, where they came from, and more. You’ll also be able to see which of your posts performed the best so you can do more of the same.
This information can then be used in your SEO efforts to get content ideas and optimize your veterinary website even more for Google.
Why Not Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo?
Find out how simple it is to promote your business on Google using an all-in-one platform and working with an experienced Digital Marketing Strategist who becomes a part of your team.
We can help you keep your business listings updated, manage your content, reviews, social media, and more. Manage your marketing all in one place with a clear, easy-to-understand dashboard and maximize your visibility on Google.