In healthcare, the name of the game is reaching patients. Consistently and with purpose. In an increasingly noisy digital marketplace, Google is still the best place to start. Of the three principal ways you can do so—paid ads, reputation, and local search optimization (SEO)—local SEO has particular upside for healthcare marketers. And one of the first steps toward shoring up local SEO for each of your locations is with a strong location page.
To understand how localized search has evolved, examine your own digital habits around healthcare. When you need a teeth cleaning, new primary care physician, or physical therapist, do you look in the next town over or closer to home? If you’re like most people these days, you’re making your decisions based on proximity.
You’re likely doing it all on your smartphone, too. According to the Google UX Playbook for Healthcare, 65 percent of searches for healthcare happen on mobile. Of these searches, mobile-based “near me” searches—for example, “urgent care near me”, or “dentist near me”—factor prominently.
What does this all mean for healthcare marketers? Convenience, even down to how your locations appear in search results, matters greatly. People not only want to find you using their smartphone but quickly place a call or schedule an appointment—right then and there in the search results. Indeed, “78% of respondents agree that Google has become the new homepage for local businesses” (Moz State of Local SEO Industry Report 2020).
Local SEO is critical to delivering this kind of relevance to healthcare consumers. That means optimizing your site so it appears in Map Pack and Google Maps. Step one is to create unique, optimized location pages for each of your locations. It’s the most fundamental way to send the right signals to Google so each page ranks for local search queries.
We’ve established that location pages are a best practice for local SEO. So let’s begin with a good rule of thumb: unique location landing pages are better than separate websites. In other words, you should create individual location pages for each physical locale, all of which live on your practice or organization’s main website (as opposed to creating a completely separate website for each location).
This approach to site structure and location pages affords the following benefits:
- Create a cohesive brand image and voice across all locations
- Increase site authority as you accumulate internal and external links
- Make it easier for patients to find you and navigate your website
- Reduce your workload with fewer pages to optimize
Here’s an eight-step formula for spinning up stellar location pages:
Site structure and navigation matter to search engines. Before diving in headlong, put proper site structure in place for your location pages. To begin with, you’ll want to create a singular “parent” location page—a strong, locally optimized URL that has a place in your site’s top navigation menu.
If you only have one location, this page will be optimized for that location (for example, San Diego or your particular part of San Diego). If you have multiple locations, you’ll want to list them all on this parent location page, then link out to dedicated subpages for each location. Here’s what that might look like:
This centralized approach to your location pages offers several advantages:
- Google crawlers will easily index this part of your site
- You can concentrate your link building efforts on this page (a single URL)
- Link juice will flow down to each dedicated location page
The quality and thoughtfulness of this content matters. Google will figure it out pretty quickly if you’ve copied a template and swapped out the location’s name for each one. Instead, add keywords relevant to your location by including points of interest, nearby landmarks, or a location-specific description of the office itself (for example, “views of San Diego bay from our sixth-floor reception desk”).
While we don’t recommend repeating content, we do recommend developing a template that can be used for all location pages. This template should make it easy to copy agreed-upon page structure, content sections, and so on, and then quickly build out the unique content for each. This achieves some near-term consistency while making it easier to roll out and add locations as your organization expands.
Your people offer another opportunity to enrich each location page with relevant content. You can organize staff into various departments or groups, then include a name, photo, and credentials or bio for each. For physicians or the leadership team, you might consider creating additional bio pages with more information, testimonials and reviews, and so on.
People want to get to know their providers!
In addition to meeting your people, healthcare consumers want to meet your services. Most likely, they’re confirming that you offer their service at this particular location and, if available, getting a bit more information. Here’s an example of how to go about that:
- Build out a subpage for your dental group’s Tampa Bay practice
- On that page, list the services offered at that location
- Link each specific service, such as “veneers” and “root canal therapy,” to their own dedicated subpages
- Enrich location-specific service pages with as much detail as possible, including media, testimonials, and FAQs
Photos serve several purposes for local SEO. First and foremost, this is an opportunity to show people what your location looks like inside and out. It gives prospective patients an idea of what to expect. This is also an opportunity to optimize the images, including image alt text and other metadata, for local search results. Google will often pull these images and include them in your Local Pack to enhance that experience for people looking for healthcare.
We’re talking about user experience (UX)—both in terms of navigating between location pages and to the location pages themselves. Not only does good UX make life easier for site visitors, but UX happens to be a Google Ranking factor. That means you have double the incentive to make it easy for patients to understand where you’re located and how to navigate to you. They should quickly find how to contact you by phone, email, or chat or to schedule an appointment.
Some tips for strong location page UX:
- Optimize your page for smartphones
- Structure your content for readability with skimmable headers, bullets, etc.
- Embed a map for each specific location
- Add a “get directions” button
- Include the phone number for that location
- Add a “click to call” button
- Add an embedded scheduler
- If applicable, include location-specific insurance information
There are a few opportunities to further localize your dedicated location pages by way of on-page SEO. Here are the three we commonly recommend:
- Implement location schema: Essentially, location schema is special page markup, and that helps search engines better serve up location-based information in search results. Check out SearchEngineJournal for an in-depth guide on location schema.
- Use location keywords in the URL, for example:
- Add city and region keywords to the page title and meta-description.
Your name, address, and phone number information (NAP) must be consistent across all directory listings (citations) and location pages. By consistent, we mean using the exact same name, address, and phone number—same formatting, too. This way, both prospective patients and search engines know they have the right information wherever they find it.
Rather than treat their location pages as an afterthought, these three healthcare providers invested time and resources toward well-optimized pages.
Here’s the location page we helped CareSpot put together for its urgent care location in Lakewood, California. We focused on creating a clean and straightforward layout, mobile-optimized design, and embedded buttons for calling, getting directions, or scheduling an appointment.
This page is also simple in its layout and well optimized for mobile experiences. We appreciate the prominent “Schedule First Appointment Online” button, which is a common first action for visitors to this page. LifeStance makes it easy.
The first thing we noticed about this page was the local-optimized URL (https://www.atlantabrainandspine.com/atlanta-office/), as well as the embedded links to other location pages. In fact, the page is rich with photos and additional content as you scroll.
To see how more healthcare organizations across a variety of verticals are handling local SEO, check out our case studies page.
Yes! There’s a reason we dedicate blog posts, social media content, and even full webinars to location pages and local SEO. With a little tender loving care—a little bit of structure and intention—these pages can generate serious link juice over time.
To a place where your location pages are ranking well and even converting, you have to make them easy to use. You need to situate them, structure them, and write them with your people in mind. What do your people need when they reach one of your location pages? And how can you build those pages to support better experiences? If you use those questions as starting points for your location pages, the rest of it takes care of itself.