A robust digital marketing strategy is essential for any business, and hearing practices are no exception. SEO is an invaluable component of digital marketing because it attracts relevant traffic to your website, increases your online visibility and gives you a competitive edge within your local market.
However, navigating the world of SEO can be tricky if you are unfamiliar with the industry lingo. From “keywords” and “backlinks” to “SERPs” and other technical terms, this post will provide some definitions so you can have more informed discussions about your strategy.
SERP is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Results Page. The SERP is the page of website links that a search engine provides in response to a user’s search query. Ranking positions on SERPs are highly competitive because a prominent placement can help drive traffic and attract potential patients.
Rankings are how search engines prioritize the website links provided in SERP. Search engines use algorithms to analyze content across the web and select the pages with the most relevant information to satisfy search queries.
While the exact functionality of these algorithms is unknown, SEO experts have identified key factors that search engines (like Google) consider when determining page rank (known as “ranking factors”). The best practices for improving rank are ever-changing, so an effective SEO strategy needs to adapt and evolve.
Authority refers to the level of expertise and trustworthiness of your website. The more patients engage with your website and find what they’re searching for, the more valuable and credible your website appears to Google. Having accurate and relevant website content builds trust with both your patient audience and Google.
On-page & Off-Page Optimization
On-page optimization refers to the SEO tactics used directly on your website to improve your visibility. This includes optimizing your content with relevant keywords, internal links and technical features like title tags and alt tags.
Off-page optimization involves anything that supports your SEO efforts outside of your website. Off-page tactics include backlinks, content and social media marketing, patient review generation and more. Both on and off-page optimization tactics are essential when building a holistic SEO strategy.
Keywords are specific words or phrases people use to search for information online. For example, if someone is looking for hearing aids, they might type in “hearing aid clinic near me.” Keywords are one of the many factors search engines use to determine the relevance of your content to a particular search query.
Keyword research is a process used to identify specific search terms relevant to your audience and practice and provides insight into how competitive these terms are (known as keyword difficulty), the volume of users searching for that keyword and more. The research process also helps you discover topics your audience cares about, which can inform the types of content you create in other areas of your website and marketing strategy.
Backlink is a term for when another website links to your website. Backlinks are yet another way search engines evaluate the relevance and credibility of your website. When you have a high number of backlinks from other credible websites, your website is more likely to rank well in search results.
Organic traffic is the free traffic your website receives from search results, excluding traffic from paid methods like Google Ads. Users who discover a website organically are often actively seeking information or solutions related to their search, making them more likely to engage with and take a desired action. Organic traffic is highly competitive and takes time, patience and consistency to attract over time.
Understanding Local SEO Terms
Local SEO involves optimizing a website to rank higher in local search results, such as Google’s Local Map Pack and other online directories. This typically involves building a complete business listing profile that contains accurate information about your practice, such as your address, phone number, website, hours of operation and more. Including location-relevant content on your website, such as individual location pages for your practice, also contributes to Local SEO.
According to market research collected by Hubspot, 72% of consumers that conducted a local search visited a store within five miles. Ranking in local search results is valuable for online visibility and also helps connect more prospective patients in your area to your practice.
Local SEO comes with its own vocabulary, so here are a few terms and definitions to help you better understand local SEO strategy.
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile is Google’s online listing platform that allows local businesses to manage their digital information across Google search results and maps. Your Google Business Profile should contain your essential practice information, including contact info, hours of operation, patient ratings and reviews and more.
A completed and optimized Business Profile can help you improve online visibility with patients in your area actively seeking hearing services. When a user searches for a local business, Relevant Business Profiles are displayed in Google’s Local Pack, which receives prominent placement in search results.
“NAP” is an acronym for your practice’s Name, Address, and Phone Number. Maintaining a consistent NAP across your digital listings ensures patients can find accurate information about your practice. Consistent NAP also signals to search engines like Google that your information is credible and reliable.
A citation is a mention of your practice’s NAP anywhere that isn’t your website. Citations can occur on other websites, online listing platforms and databases. Building citations enhances your authority and credibility in local searches because they help search engines like Google verify your information.
Our Local SEO services include building additional citations for our clients while maintaining existing ones. On some platforms, other entities (like algorithms or users) have the ability to adjust information, so monitoring and sharing the correct information is a large part of citation strategy.
Local keywords are terms users enter into search engines to find products or services specific to their location. They might pair the name of a city or region with the term related to the type of business they’re seeking. “Philadelphia hearing aid repair” or “audiology services near Philadelphia” are examples of local keywords.
Reviews are ratings and testimonials left by your patients that appear on your Google business Profile and other listing platforms. Reviews are opportunities to showcase your customer service and can help improve your local rankings. Positive reviews build trust with your local patient audience and signal to search engines that your business is reliable and worth recommending to others.
When evaluating reviews, Google considers your overall rating, the frequency of reviews and the context of the reviews. For example, a long, in-depth 4-star review provides more context than a short 5-star review and may carry more weight toward your rankings. Additionally, replying and engaging with reviews shows Google you’re responsive and contributes toward your rank.
Local Link Building
Local link building is the process of acquiring links from other prominent business websites within your geographic area. Local links do not include linkbacks from larger blogs or platforms, they are links from smaller, local entities like your chamber of commerce or neighboring businesses. Link building is another great strategy for bolstering your practice’s authority on Google and other search engines.
Schema Markup is a type of “structured data” (a.k.a. data presented in a standardized format) that developers use to label information to help search engines interpret your information more accurately. Adding schema markup to a website allows search engines to show “rich results” for your practice, which is an enhanced version of a typical search result headline and meta description. Rich results include extra information like your business rating, number of reviews and other details more visible in search results for your website and are another way to build trust with search engines.
Geo-targeting is the practice of tailoring your website content for a specific location. This strategy often involves using targeted local keywords and location-specific landing pages. Single-location practices can leverage geo-targeted content throughout their entire website and metadata. If your hearing practice website features multiple locations, we recommend only geo-targeting content on individual location pages.
Google’s Local Pack is the section displayed at the top of SERPs when a user searches for local services. It shows the geographical locations of the highest-rated businesses closest to the user, along with relevant business information and reviews. When selecting businesses to display in the Local Pack, Google considers proximity to the searcher above all other ranking factors previously mentioned (such as reviews, ratings, citations, etc.).
The Bottom Line
Remember, SEO is a complex, multifaceted strategy that takes time to drive real results. The best strategies are built with patience, persistence and the right expertise, and need to be consistently monitored and improved to drive traffic to your website.
If you’re ready to take your website SEO to the next level, our in-house experts are eager to help you build a strategy that’s right for your practice. Book a consultation with us today to learn more!