When you’re in the business of caring for people’s pets, it might be more challenging for you to figure out how to market that business effectively. Fortunately, you don’t have to be (or hire) a marketing major to understand the ins and outs of local SEO and other optimization efforts. Optimization is a process that, in this case, refers to using your online presence (and creating said presence) as a means to ensure that when people search for vet clinics in your area online, yours comes up in the results.
And when local SEO is done correctly, your clinic will rank highly in the results. If you can get into Google’s top three listings that come up alongside the area map, you’re going to get a lot more attention than if people have to scroll to find your business. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier to get there than you might think.
This is just the first thing that should be on your agenda. Too often, clinics and other pet services think they can just put the city and/or state before or after a keyword and call that local SEO. Granted, when you do keyword research, there’s a good chance that you’ll find those types of keywords as high rankers in searches. However, you cannot just assume that’s the case.
You need to perform the necessary keyword research, either by hiring someone to do it for you or by using tools like the ones available online (Moz, Semrush, etc.). Search for local keywords that are ranking well, along with those that may have lower scores, but have high potential. You can even test out some of the keywords before you commit so that you’re sure about your decision.
Business directories are an essential part of your local SEO strategy. This begins with your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). Not only do you need to claim this page, but you need to complete it, thoroughly, and with keywords where you can. Fill out the categories, add titles and tags, and make sure that the details are complete and accurate. If you don’t maximize the power of your Google listing, you’re never going to get the SEO results that you deserve.
You’ll also want to find relevant business directories outside of Google. These could include veterinary business directories, more generic animal resources like pet forums and social media pages, and even business directories for your location, state, or region. Whatever the basis of the directory, make sure it’s relevant to your vet clinic in some way because reputation counts, too.
There’s a lot that can be said for credibility when you are talking about local SEO. After all, you could use all the right keywords and create all the right content, and still not hit the mark with your local optimization efforts if people don’t feel like you’re a reputable source. Focus your local SEO strategy on positioning your business as an authority in the veterinary industry. This will help you build a strong following, create better backlinks, and generate a much higher ranking from Google because of the sense of authority.
While there are a lot of SEO efforts that you can undertake, there’s nothing that can replace an upstanding reputation. Today, that matters more to search engines (and your human clients) than you might realize.
People love to leave reviews in one of two cases:
Unfortunately, the latter is far more common these days, which is why you need to keep an eye on things in this area. You should keep an eye out for negative reviews and resolve them to the best of your ability. Respond to them, at the very least, or Google (and people) will notice. You should also check out and highlight positive reviews, thank people for their kind words, and engage in other ways with your reviews and ratings.
This is a big part of local SEO that some people overlook or simply aren’t aware of. You should consider posting reviews on your website and social media pages, in addition to the review sites and directories out there that people are already using (Yellow Pages, Yelp, etc.).
In addition to all the information we’ve covered so far, there are a few additional tips that we want to offer. For starters, you need to make sure that your name, address, and phone number are listed exactly the same in every instance. From your website to your social media to your city’s local business directory, it should be identical. Otherwise, you’ll lose credibility points with search engine indexers.
Speaking of social media, you also need to check out what you’re doing here. Simply creating profiles and walking away isn’t going to do you any favors. You also need to interact with people on social media. Share resources and information, build relationships, and build your sense of authority all at the same time.
Don’t just scrap your existing content. You can instead perform an SEO audit of all existing content, including your website, social media pages, and other online listings, to see where changes can be made. Sometimes, a little optimization can go a lot further than you think, so don’t make any rash moves until you have a plan.
At Smith.ai, we know how important it is for your vet clinic to get local SEO situated. However, we also know that if you’re not there to answer the door when customers come knocking, per se, you’re going to miss out on valuable opportunities. When you partner with the team at Smith.ai, you’ll get virtual receptionists that offer a 24/7 answering service, along with solutions for appointment scheduling, lead intake, and even your outreach campaigns.
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