In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, healthcare businesses face unique challenges and opportunities in online promotion. This comprehensive guide delves into the multifaceted world of digital marketing, offering actionable insights and cutting-edge strategies tailored for the healthcare industry. From leveraging AI-driven content creation to harnessing predictive analytics for patient behavior, we explore advanced digital marketing techniques that are reshaping how healthcare providers connect with their audiences.
With a blend of expert analysis, case studies, and the latest industry statistics, we aim to equip healthcare marketers with the tools and knowledge to thrive in the digital age.Local SEO is all about making your site more visible in specific geographical areas. The local pack is a huge part of this.
The goal is to improve your visibility with search engine users in your area.
But what is the local pack? Also known as ‘the map pack’ , the local pack is simply a cluster of three local business results with each of their locations pinned onto Google Maps.
For example, if you were to search for “Pubs Belfast”, the local pack features at the very top of the results pile with all subsequent results featured underneath.
Table of Contents
1. Choose the Right Ranking Tracker
You can’t know what to improve on if you don’t know where you’re at to begin with, and there are dozens of tools out there that can track your map ranking quite easily. In fact, most ranking trackers will have a specific function built in to measure where your business falls within the local pack.
Popular examples include tools like:
The tricky bit comes with how you want to define ‘local’. Depending on how large the area you want to measure is, you could end up with one local pack where your business features prominently and another where your business doesn’t feature at all.
This is as much to do with knowing your business’s demographic and pinpointing the particular niche that it fills as it is to do with your ultimate ambitions for growth. That’s why choosing the tool with the most available detail is going to be the wisest decision in the long run.
2. Measure your Current Ranking
Once you’ve registered with a ranking tracker that suits your specific business needs, you’ll need to make sure that you’re set up with a Google My Business profile too.
Once this is in place, simply enter your business name into the tracker, choose the search terms you want to rank for, then set the radius around your business’s premises, for example 1 mile, 5 miles, or 10 miles.
The tracker will then present you with a grid (like so), which you can build to make as large or as small as you like.
Normally, at the beginning, you will want to stick with a 7×7 grid to keep things simple. The tool can go right up to 15×15 if you’re curious about how your business ranks on the far reaches of your locality.
Why You Need Local SEO: Visibility, Leads, and MoreDominating the Local Game:If you run a brick-and-mortar business, your success hinges on one crucial factor: local visibility. In today’s digital world, that means mastering the art of Local SEO – optimizing your online presence to attract customers searching for your services near them.Think about it: someone craving a slice of delicious pizza isn’t going to trawl through pages of results. They’ll whip out their phone, type “pizzerias near me,” and boom! The Local Pack appears, showcasing the top local contenders. To be there, you need Local SEO.Benefits Beyond Visibility:Local SEO isn’t just about getting seen; it’s about attracting the right kind of customers. Think of the Local Pack as a magnet for targeted leads. People searching for your specific services in your specific area are already primed to convert. They’re ready to walk through your doors, not just browse websites.But how do you become the Local Pack’s favorite? It all boils down to ranking factors, the secret sauce that decides who sits at the top.The Ranking Recipe:Imagine local rankings as a delicious dish. Here are some key ingredients: NAP Consistency: Like the base of a soup, your Name, Address, Phone number must be consistent across all online platforms. Consistency tells Google you’re reliable and easy to find.
3. Identify Where You Can Improve
Unless your business is right slap-bang in the middle of where the action happens, don’t worry if your ranking within the central business area of a large settlement isn’t great.
First of all, focus on where you’re doing well. Think about the reasons why that might be the case, like ease of access, efficient nearby suppliers. Next, identify other areas where you should be doing well but aren’t. What obstacles are in your way? How can these issues be rectified?
Now check which businesses in those locales are performing well and, crucially, which businesses are ranking in the local pack. Are they direct competitors? Have they invested more resources in the area you’re focusing on or do they just have a better SEO strategy?
It may just be that the competitor in question is physically closer to the point on the grid where you have clicked and in such cases you needn’t worry about spending your valuable time and energy trying to rectify that. Focus instead on what can be achieved.
4. Take Steps to Make those Improvements
Having identified those areas within the grid where you can do better, all you have to do now is make the changes that are required!
This is easier said than done, of course, though your business’s success will already have been predicated to some extent on an awareness of what your competitors are doing better than you.
As a good starting-off point, you’ll want to ensure that the content on your website is as up-to-date and SEO friendly as possible.
Having blogs which delve into specialist areas of interest to your customers, weaving keyword search terms into the narrative of your web pages, including backlinks and improving dwell time through the use of graphics and videos all contribute to better organic SEO rankings.
And with better organic SEO rankings come better profitability margins, improved customer flow and a more sustainable business reputation. Which, in turn, feeds into how well you perform in local pack rankings for your chosen area.
3 Tips for Ranking in the Local Pack
Of course, it also helps to know which factors the Google algorithm cares about when it’s deciding which businesses make the local pack. Once you understand these, it’s much easier to optimise your website and Google My Business profile for success.
Let’s take a look at three actions you can take to improve your chances of featuring locally.
1. Get Local Reviews
One of the top local SEO ranking factors is your review profile:
This makes a certain amount of sense. Google’s business model is all about directing users towards the businesses that best meet their needs. If a business has terrible reviews, this raises a big red flag.
On the other hand, if your business has glowing reviews, you’ll find that Google privileges your site, as they have more confidence that you’ll satisfy their users.
This leads some businesses to employ freelance writers to come up with fake reviews for them. We wouldn’t recommend this. At best, it’s what’s known as a grey hat SEO strategy, meaning that it’s not exactly against the rules, but it’s an underhanded technique all the same.
It’s also important to recognise that users aren’t stupid. They’ll often see through fake reviews, causing them to avoid your site. You’ll then quickly lose your spot in the local pack, as Google realises your site isn’t popular.
It’s better to encourage genuine reviews from your customers.
2. Get NAP Citations
Google also takes account of how many NAP citations your business has. NAP stands for:
- Phone number.
The more times your site is cited across web directories, the more Google will privilege it in local SEO. However, not all NAP citations are created equal. The key here is consistency. That is, you need to ensure that the information online about your business is all the same.
When Google finds inconsistencies, like different phone numbers on different directories, your local SEO will suffer. In short, this is because the algorithm wants to have confidence that it’s giving users the right information.
If there is any doubt, the algorithm will not rank your business highly.
3. Improve Mobile Usability
Local SEO is highly tied up with mobile marketing. This is because mobile searches are more likely to be out and about, and therefore in need of local recommendations. Because of this, it’s important to make sure that your website works correctly on mobile devices.
One easy way to achieve this is using responsive web design. Alternatively, you might use accelerated mobile pages (AMPs).
The key here is providing a seamless user experience when users click through from Google to your site. In addition to helping you make the local pack, this will improve other domain-level SEO factors, like time-on-site and exit rates.
For any mobile marketing or web design project, it’s always best to consult with an experienced agency in order to find the best strategy for your particular business.
Local SEO Statistics: Dominating the Local Pack
The Power of the Local Pack:
- 46% of all Google searches have local intent. (HubSpot) That means nearly half of all searches are people looking for something near them.
- 76% of consumers “regularly” read online reviews when browsing for local businesses. (Moz) Reviews play a crucial role in influencing local pack rankings and customer decisions.
- 88% of consumers who do a local search on their smartphone visit or call a store within a day. (Local SEO Guide) The Local Pack captures high-intent, ready-to-convert leads.
- The top result in the Local Pack receives 24.4% of all clicks. (Moz) Landing at the top significantly increases your chances of attracting new customers.
The Importance of Local SEO:
- Local searches contribute 22.6% of website traffic, highlighting the significant potential for local businesses. (Milestone Research)
- SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound leads. (HubSpot) Local SEO attracts high-quality leads more likely to convert.
- 64% of small businesses have a local SEO presence. (LocaliQ) Investing in local SEO gives you a competitive edge.
Additional Stats to Consider:
- 98% of consumers used the internet to find information about local businesses in 2022. (On The Map Marketing)
- “Where to buy” + “Near me” searches have grown over 200% in two years. (Think with Google) Local intent is increasing rapidly.
- Voice search accounts for 58% of all searches. (Search Engine Journal) Optimize for voice search queries using natural language and location keywords.
Bonus Tip: Integrate these statistics into your article to add authority and support your claims. Use them to emphasize the urgency of implementing local SEO strategies and illustrate the potential benefits for businesses.
Beyond the Rankings: Engaging Users with Local Pack Features
While ranking high in the “Local Pack” is crucial, it’s only the first step. The real magic happens when you leverage its features to engage users and convert them into customers. Here’s how:
1. Direct Calls and Website Visits:
- Make it easy to connect: Ensure your phone number and website address are clearly displayed and clickable within the “Local Pack”.
- Encourage phone calls: Use call-to-action text like “Call Now” or “Book Appointment” directly in your GMB listing description.
- Optimize your website for mobile: Most “Local Pack” clicks come from mobile devices, so ensure your website is fast, user-friendly, and optimized for local search.
- Track website traffic: Use analytics tools to understand how effectively the “Local Pack” drives traffic to your website and identify areas for improvement.
2. Reviews and Ratings:
- Positive reviews are gold: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB listing and other relevant platforms.
- Respond to all reviews: Thank positive reviewers and address negative ones promptly and professionally. This shows you care about feedback and improves customer perception.
- Showcase positive reviews: Highlight your best reviews on your website or social media to build trust and attract new customers.
- Use review management tools: Consider using tools to automate review requests and track your overall review sentiment.
3. Photos and Videos:
- High-quality visuals are key: Invest in professional photos and videos that showcase your business, products, and team in an appealing way.
- Variety is important: Include photos of your storefront, interior, staff, products, and happy customers to tell a complete story.
- Update your photos regularly: Keep your visuals fresh and reflect any changes in your business or offerings.
- Leverage video tours: Take viewers on a virtual tour of your business using captivating video content.
- Use “Local Posts” in GMB: Share updates, offers, and events to keep your listing active and engage potential customers.
- Respond to user questions: Engage directly with users who ask questions about your business in the “Local Pack” or on review platforms.
- Run promotions through the “Local Pack”: Utilize features like “Special Offers” to attract new customers and incentivize action.
Remember, the “Local Pack” is a dynamic platform for interacting with potential customers. By utilizing its features strategically, you can go beyond just ranking high and convert online searchers into loyal customers.
Future of Local Pack and Local SEO: Navigating the Evolving Landscape
The “Local Pack” and local SEO landscape are continuously evolving, making it crucial for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. Here’s a glimpse into the future and how you can adapt your strategy:
Emerging Trends and Updates:
- AI-powered personalization: Expect algorithms to become more sophisticated, personalizing “Local Pack” results based on individual user search history, preferences, and context.
- Voice search optimization: As voice search gains traction, optimize your business information and online presence for queries phrased naturally like “best pizza near me.”
- Local service ads integration: Blending traditional “Local Pack” with paid local service ads might create new opportunities for targeted visibility.
- Focus on user experience: Expect continued emphasis on user-generated content, reviews, and engagement metrics when ranking businesses.
- Multi-platform visibility: Optimize your presence across various platforms like Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp, and industry-specific directories.
Integration with Other Marketing Strategies:
- Social media synergy: Leverage social media engagement and reviews to boost your “Local Pack” ranking and brand awareness.
- Content marketing: Create local content relevant to your area and target audience to attract organic search traffic and establish expertise.
- Email marketing: Segment your email list based on location and send targeted promotional offers based on “Local Pack” visibility.
- Paid advertising: Use targeted local search ads to complement your organic “Local Pack” ranking and reach specific customer segments.
- Omnichannel experience: Ensure a seamless experience across online and offline touchpoints, with consistent information and promotions.
FAQ: Local SEO: How to Make the Local Pack
1. Is ranking in the Local Pack guaranteed?
No, there’s no guarantee for any top search engine position. However, by optimizing your online presence and following recommended best practices, you can significantly increase your chances of appearing in the Local Pack for relevant searches.
2. How long does it take to see results from local SEO efforts?
It depends on various factors like competition, the strength of your current online presence, and the quality of your optimization efforts. Some businesses see results within weeks, while others may take several months. Consistency and patience are key!
3. Do I need to hire an SEO expert for local SEO?
While expertise can be valuable, it’s not always necessary. You can achieve significant progress using available resources and implementing best practices. However, if your local market is highly competitive or you need advanced strategy development, consulting an SEO expert can be beneficial.
4. What are the most important factors for ranking in the Local Pack?
- Google My Business (GMB) optimization: Complete your GMB listing with accurate information, high-quality photos, and positive reviews.
- Relevance to search queries: Ensure your business information aligns with what users are searching for.
- Distance from the searcher: Proximity plays a role, especially for location-specific searches.
- Prominence: This includes factors like online reviews, website authority, and brand mentions.
- User engagement: Positive reviews, clicks, and website visits signal user interest and can boost your ranking.
5. How can I track my local SEO performance?
Use tools like Google My Business Insights, local rank trackers, and website analytics to monitor your search visibility, website traffic, and user engagement metrics.
Conclusion: Mastering the Local Pack for Local Business Success
The Local Pack offers a powerful opportunity for local businesses to connect with potential customers actively searching for their services. By understanding its ranking factors, implementing effective optimization strategies, and integrating local SEO with other marketing efforts, you can unlock visibility, attract qualified leads, and ultimately achieve your local business goals.
Remember, the key lies in ongoing optimization, data-driven decisions, and consistently providing a positive user experience. Embrace the evolving local SEO landscape, stay ahead of the curve, and watch your business thrive in the local search ecosystem.