How to Improve Your Local SEO for Animal Hospitals
Local search engine optimization for veterinary practices is often overlooked—but incredibly important.
This is especially true if you only have one practice versus a chain of well-known practices spread out through various regions.
Since everything is done digitally these days, your online presence matters. The more visible you are online, the more people that can vet your business (no pun intended) and choose you over the competing animal hospitals.
To learn more about improving local search engine optimization for veterinary hospitals, check out the essential tips listed below.
Create a Google My Business Listing
Creating or claiming a Google My Business (GMB) listing is single-handedly the best thing you can do for your local SEO.
Your GMB listing not only provides your target audience with fast information about your business but also your location via Google Maps. This is beyond important considering that most users will search for the businesses that are nearest to their location—whether that be their home or the location they’re currently in.
For example, let’s say there’s a couple whose new puppy just ate a sock. They may be driving around in a panic in search of the nearest veterinary hospital. If you have a GMB listing set up and ready to go, it’ll show up if it’s within the appropriate distance of their current location, presenting your business info and the directions to get them there
However, you can’t just set and forget your GMB listing. It’s critical that you ensure your listing is accurate and up-to-date with the latest information pertaining to your veterinary hospital—especially your hours of operation.
That would also include the images of your practice that you post onto the listing. You want to continuously post high-quality photos that accurately represent you, your staff, and the animals you serve.
Your business description should also contain relevant local keywords—we’ll get to those in a moment.
Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Another local SEO component that cannot be missed is ensuring that your business website is mobile-friendly.
If someone is looking for vet care in their area, they’re likely conducting that search using their smartphone. Recent research shows that while more than half of all local business searches are conducted using a smartphone, roughly 88% of those searches result in a call or visit to the business within the same day.
However, if someone is using their phone to visit your business website and that website isn’t formatted for the small screen, they’re going to become frustrated and move onto one of your competitors.
Additionally, when people click out of your website in 60 seconds or less, it can negatively affect your click-through rate. This will cause Google to push your website further down the ranks.
Optimize Local Keywords
You’re probably already aware that you need to optimize your keywords to target your customer base. However, when it comes to local SEO for animal hospitals, you need to optimize for local keywords.
Keeping user intent in mind you probably want to use local keywords such as “veterinary hospital” near me, or “veterinary hospital [your location].” Of course, you’ll probably want to get a bit more creative, but you get the point.
If you’re having trouble, you can always use Google’s Keyword Planner to create an effective list of locally relevant keywords. Just make sure to use those keywords in your GMB listing, meta descriptions, content, and your website HTML and URLs.
Put Out Valuable Content
In this day and age, it’s all about giving away your secrets—to an extent. Not only is your content essential to your SEO efforts, but it’s also essential to gaining the trust of your audience.
You need to position yourself as an authoritative source within your industry. That means addressing the pain points and burning questions of all the puppy and kitty parents out there.
It also means ensuring that the content you put out addressing these questions and concerns is informative, accurate, well-written, and most importantly, relatable. If you aren’t sure where to start, it’s a good idea to check out the blogs of the competing animal hospitals.
Accumulate High-Quality Backlinks
High-quality backlinks are like virtual shout-outs in the form of linked hypertext from other popular and trusted businesses. These types of mentions are important as they demonstrate that another well-known trusted business or public source views you as the same.
You can garner these high-quality backlinks by reaching out to local digital journals or magazines, as well as local papers and businesses. You may have to offer a favor in return, but the website traffic alone will be worth it.
Just make sure you’re going for high-quality backlinks, otherwise it could hurt your local SEO rather than help it.
Get Visible on Online Business Directories
Yelp!, FourSquare, Yellow Pages, Google Q&A, Bing Places—you want your veterinary practice to appear on these crowd-sourced review platforms. More importantly, you want your business information listed properly among these platforms.
Not only will it boost your local SEO by having an additional source of business information and relevant keywords to come up on a Google search, but it’s also a chance to engage with current and potential customers.
Responding to customer reviews and questions allows you to appeal to them on an emotional level, whether you’re trying to mend fences or reaching out to address a specific concern. This helps further your customer relationships while also building trust.
Separate Your Products and Services Pages
Relevant local SEO keywords aren’t enough to get you where you need to be within Google’s local business ranks. You’re going to need to use your website to your advantage as well by creating separate pages dedicated to each product and service you provide.
Having separate pages allows you to promote multiple keywords that are relevant to each topic. This tells Google that you’re an authoritative source in multiple fields, giving you a better chance of becoming more visible.
Think of it as entering into a raffle. The more tickets you buy, the better your chances of winning.