Local SEO Checklist for Functional Medicine Practices
Whether you’re an established chiropractic practice or a new-to-the-community naturopath, finding new patients often hinges on your making it easy for them to find you. For the modern practice, that means being found in directories and search engines like Google.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a highly technical marketing field that helps tailor your website and online presence for being found in search engine results. It’s a fast-changing field, but there’s a few best practices that can help any practice.
This is an ‘eat right and exercise’ guide to getting your local health and wellness practice in search engine shape. These tips are great for any practice, but geared more to those that serve a specific community area, town, or state than those with a nationwide telemedicine practice.
Name. Address. Phone. (And Email and Website!)
Search engines rely on many data sources to verify that your business information is valid, and so it’s important that your practice’s name, address, and phone (NAP) are consistent wherever mentioned. This includes industry directories, social media accounts, sponsorship opportunities, and even event pages.
For many practices, this also means remembering to include both your name and the name of your practice together.
The best way to get started? Just start Googling yourself! Sure, there are some fancy tools and SEO companies that can help with this, but you can cover a lot of ground by Googling your own name, your practice’s name, and your practice’s phone number.
How you fix inconsistencies depends on the site you’ve found the opportunity on. Many directories will allow you to submit a correction, while your feature in a blog or industry profile may require an email to that website’s editor or support team.
Also be sure that your email is correct (if listed) and that your website is listed whenever possible.
Claim your Google Business Page
One of the biggest, most important opportunities is ‘Google My Business,’ the official business directory of Google and Google Maps. If you’ve ever seen a map show up when searching for services and stores in your area, that’s the result of an updated Google my Business (GMB)—and it’s 100% free!
First, Google your practice name and city name to see if your business already exists. A practice that’s been well established may already be there as the result of Google’s community and other resources.
Create or Claim your Business on Google
If you’re listed, click the map icon and select ‘Claim this Business.’
If you’re not listed, get started at https://www.google.com/business/.
To verify that you’re the rightful owner of your business, Google will verify your address by phone or (most commonly) by postcard. In either case, you’ll receive simple instructions to visit Google my Business and input a one-time-use security code.
Get the Most from your Google My Business Listing
Consider this listing the online analog for your front door and front office. Absolutely ensure your hours, address, and description are all accurate and in line with your brand.
Don’t pass on the opportunity to upload captivating photos from around the office. While you can’t include patients in your photos, there’s nothing wrong with bringing in a friend to stage some smiling conversational snapshots to give people a sense of what it feels like to visit you.
Google Map Inclusion
Your NAPs are consistent, your GMB is healthy, and you’re capable of comfortably tossing around some pretty nerdy SEO abbreviations with the best of them. Now it’s time to get a little extra nerdy.
We noted in NAP Consistency that search engines, like Google, come to understand your address and phone number when it appears. There’s a special formatting that you can use, called meta-tagging, to label the information on your own website in a way that clarifies it for search engines. This typically requires the help of a website developer, but there is another fashionable option that’s as easy to add as your Wellevate badge—a beautiful Google Map!
- Open Google Maps in your web browser
- Search for, and then click on, your business
- In the top left, click Menu Menu
- Click Share or Embed Map
- Click Embed Map
- To the left of the text box, pick the size you want by clicking the Down Arrow
- Copy the text in the box, then paste it into the HTML of your website or blog
The most common spot to add this is to the bottom of your homepage with your practice’s name, address, and phone number. If you have a DIY-friendly website, many will have an easy way of adding this widget. If you have a custom-built website, it may be worth asking your developer to include this in the next round of updates.
Invite Happy Patients to Review on Google and Facebook
This is far easier done than said. It’s OK to invite long-term patients to leave a 5-star review to help other people in the area find the same great experience with you and your practice.
While you typically don’t want to coach the review content, let your patients know not to list any specific medical condition to protect their privacy, but that leaving a note how they felt about the relationship with you isn’t uncommon.
The volume, quality, and average rating of your listings have a large weight on if your practice appears in local searches. Don’t be shy to invite your long-term patients to leave a review ‘on Facebook or on Google—just look us up on the map.’
Search engine optimization for naturopaths, chiropractors, and any healthcare practice is a science and art to itself, but armed with the above checklist (and some good habits in how you handle your information on other websites) it can go a long way it making your practice easier to discover— helping your practice find more of the right patients.