What is local SEO and how can you use it for your private practice?
Local SEO is customizing your website and online presence to focus on local searches. It is essential for business that serve clients in person or geographically limited (like telehealth where your are limited by state licenses). If you provide speech therapy in Chicago, then a referral with aphasia from Atlanta will not help you. It’s also very difficult to compete for page rank with every speech therapy private practice in the United States. Focusing on local SEO will bring you local customers, and keep the pond small by limiting your page rank competition to speech therapy practices near you.
Why you will get more new clients with your Website optimized for SEO
More and more, people search online to find providers. Even if a potential client finds you via word of mouth or their doctor, they will likely look you up online. If they can’t find you, or if your website presence is unprofessional, they will move on to the next private practice.
There is an upfront time and small monetary investment for SEO and your online presence. But it’s benefits are long term and is a highly effective FREE method to get clients. Yes, you can pay for ads – and ads DO work, though they are expensive. Ads only draw clients to your website. Once you are there, your impression determines if you’ll win the client.
People find speech therapists 3 ways: Word of Mouth, Doctors, and online.
You need to determine what works best in your area, or work on all 3.
Word of Mouth – Provide exceptional customer experience, provide effective treatment, be visible and helpful in local facebook groups and in the community.
Doctors – Effective dependent on the community and your specialty. Some doctors will only refer if you are in their network. Most doctors will only refer if you accept insurance. This option works best if you offer a highly skilled specialty, like apraxia, autism, tongue tie, tongue thrust, Parkinson’s.
Online – Visibility and Professionalism determines if the client will make that initial contact. Local SEO optimization for speech therapy in your community will draw your ideal clients to you, just when they are searching for help.
Improve your LOCAL SEO with just 5 steps
Standard essentials plus 1 tip that no one’s talking about.
1. Claim / Set up your Google My Business Page
2. Contact Information
Ensure your location/city and contact information (e.g. phone number and email) is on EVERY page (the footer is a convenient way to do this). I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done a speech therapy private practice website review where I couldn’t find the location of the clinic.
TIP: If you have multiple locations, have a page on your website for EACH location. Just as you have a page highlighting each specialty, highlighting each location will help search engines know where you are, and will improve your visibility for local searches. Include bios of different staff at different locations to introduce customers to the people who will be serving them.
3. Embed a google map on your website.
4. Get backlinks
Local businesses, local chamber of commerce, Google My business, Bing, Yelp, diagnosis specific and local directories, guest blog.
TIP: As you are setting up, type your business name, address, website, email, phone number into a doc. Then, copy and paste it when you fill your information into every listing. The information (also known as NAP) across the web should needs to be as identical as possible.
5. Here’s the tip NO ONE is talking about, but can grow your SEO and get you to the top of local searches:
Highlight your community throughout your website.
This method helps draw connections between your speech therapy practice and your community for the search engines. People use search engines to find answers that are relevent to THEM as an individual. So Google will show results that are will answer the question, but also will provide answers that are geographically located. To see an example, a local speech therapy service highlighted the Green Bay Botanical Gardens when discussing visits with people with dementia or aphasia.
Here are some ideas to add to your website:
–> Mention the great storytime at your local library.
–> During winter, write a post about how to practice S-blends at the local sledding hill – include a list of the best sledding hills in the area.
–> Talk about enriching language skills at the local botanical gardens, children’s museum, and grocery store.
–> Highlight the best 5 local parks and communication activities you can do at each.
–> The local (not chain) restaurants with the best kid menus for children with feeding issues.
–> Local coffee shops and restaurants that are quiet enough to be great for adults with a hearing loss or communication difficulties.
–> Keep an updated calendar of community events that may be of interest to your clients on your website.
–> Highlight any community connections on your website – e.g. volunteering, organization membership, or sponsoring a kids baseball team.
–> Interview experts- these can be clinicians within your practice or referral sources in your community. Offer tips that apply to specific geographic or demographic audiences.
–> If you offer telepractice, be sure to include local tourism attractions. If your target clientele tends to be retired adults, write about museums and local art galleries like The Automobile Gallery in Green Bay or the Georgia OKeefe museum in Santa Fe. If you see children, then a zoo within your state. Check out Trip Advisor’s top 10 lists for ideas.
Every post should include 3 components:
–> Highlight a local event/geographic location.
–> Provide value to your ideal clients.
–> Highlight an area of your expertise.
Post Example: Interview a local daycare provider that is a good referral source, about what parents should look for in a good daycare. Sprinkle in your own tips of language-enriching environments to look for.
After you publish the post, share it in your local Facebook groups, when allowed. This is also a great post to “boost” on your facebook page, to increase your visibility on facebook and increase your “followers” with ideal clients. Email it to the organization you highlighted – they will probably share it on social media or if you are lucky, they will link to it from their website, increasing your inbound links.
Finally, always track your results.
Regularly share your posts on social media. Over time, track your Domain Authority Score and website traffic. Ask potential clients where they heard about you.
Investing the time and energy into SEO, especially local SEO, can help your speech therapy private practice stand out among the rest in your community. Ensure a professional website, optimized with your ideal client in mind. It’s a long term investment that will keep your website bringing in a regular flow of new clients without a dime in traditional advertising.