Local Veterinary SEO Explained
When you are a local business, you need to be popular in the local scene. That's logical, right?
For example, if you have a veterinary clinic in Utica, New York, there's no actual use to market to a pet owner in Midland, Michigan. Unless, of course, if your service is worth the 8+ hour road trip, then sure.
But if you are a local veterinary clinic, then it makes sense to target the people within your city or in nearby locations.
This is where local veterinary marketing SEO comes in. Regular SEO (often called national SEO) is a more of a "catch all" approach to SEO that is great but can take a lot more time to develop and requires a bigger budget - something a lot of veterinary clinics don't have.
So what is Local Veterinary SEO? How does it work, and how will it help vets get more people through the front door?
What is Local Veterinary SEO
Local Veterinary SEO is the practice of optimizing a website (in this case, the website of a vet clinic) to increase leads, traffic, and brand awareness from local searches. This can be done through various things, including using localized keywords, creating NAP citations, and optimizing the Google Business Profile of the client.
Why is Local Veterinary SEO Important?
To make this piece more convincing, let's talk about statistics. I mean, numbers don't lie.
According to the Search Engine Roundtable, about 46% of the searches on Google have what's called "local intent." Of this number, 76% visit a store within the day. This means that about half of the people searching for products, services, or solutions are looking for somebody near their location.
Just think about it, when a person is looking for a "veterinarian near me," and your website comes up first, then there's a 75% chance they will go and visit your clinic within that day.
According to RankRanger, only 29% of Google SERPs contain a local pack. A local pack is a SERP feature that appears on the first page of a search that has local intent. The local pack appears as a map of businesses within the area of the search location, along with three or so listings of companies relevant to the search. The local pack included seven listings in the past but has since been pared down to three. The local pack results are affected by the Google Business Profiles of relevant businesses within the area.
How Does Local Veterinary SEO Work?
On the surface, local SEO work is the same as regular SEO because you are optimizing a site to appear to relevant searches. However, in local veterinary SEO, you have to consider that there are different sets of ranking factors that you have to consider under the hood.
Local SEO boasts a unique set of ranking signals that include:
- Location of the person doing the search
- NAP Citations of the businesses
- Presence and optimization level of the Google Business profiles
- Sentiment and keywords of online reviews
- How often do people check in at a location
- Number of shares on social media
- Star rating of the business based on reviews
What Do You Need to Do To Optimize Your Veterinary Website for Local Search?
There are a couple of things you can do as a business owner to optimize your site for local search.
Set up your Google Business Profile
Your Google Business profile, or Google My Business profile in the past, is your entry on Google's business directory. If you want to appear on the local pack, you should start by setting up your Google Business profile.
The good news here is that all you need to claim or set up your Google Business profile is an email address and your business information. Google support has a page specifically for that.
Note that if you want Google to "prefer" your profile over the competition, you need to spruce it up a little bit. Aside from putting in all the necessary information, you should also add images of your business location and projects.
Once you have your Google Business profile, the next step is to get reviews from your past and current customers. Assuming they are legitimate, these reviews are Google's way of figuring out if you run a good business or not. When the overall sentiment of your reviews is negative, you are less likely to appear on the map pack.
Also, don't forget that even if you appear on the local pack, the people searching will still look at the rating of your business. A lower rating may mean people are less likely to choose you.
Be Active on Social Media
While not precisely proven, Google considers social proof as one way of gauging how "good" a business is. When there is an overall positive sentiment towards a business on social media, and you get mentioned/shared a lot, you must be a business worth showing in the local pack. So be active on social media, and engage with people, so they share your business on their profiles.
Get A Veterinary Marketing Agency for Local SEO
While the tips I mentioned above can work, you might still be a long way from getting on the local pack. This is because other veterinary clinics might be more established or have a marketing agency working with them to improve their local SEO.
It makes sense to hire a professional marketing agency to help you with your local veterinary SEO. These agencies know the ins and outs of local SEO and can speed up your progress in appearing on local searches.
Apex Veterinary Marketing is a one-stop-shop veterinary digital marketing agency that can help your business appear on local searches. They have an entire team of local SEO experts who will employ the best practices to ensure you get ahead of the competition. Contact them today at (844) 844-0338 and schedule a consultation with one of their friendly account managers.