November 12, 2021 | Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

3 Minute Read

4 Ways to Improve Local Online Search

Let’s face it, we all want our business to be at the top of the “pile” when it comes to internet searches. Like it or not, it’s actually a good thing that all 141 million results for “physical therapy Chicago” don’t end up sharing the very top of the search results. That would be a lot of clutter.

So how can you ensure that your practice’s website listing doesn’t end up buried 20 pages deep when someone searches for “physical therapy” in your region? Let’s look at five easy fixes that can help (I use the word “help” because, in the game of search rankings, nothing is guaranteed).

Before we begin, I suggest that you take note of two things:

First, search for “physical therapy [your city],” replacing your city, of course, with wherever your clinic resides. Jot down how many pages you have to look through and how far down before finding your listing.

Second, open a new incognito window in your browser. How this is done can vary from browser to browser, but typically if you go to the top-right corner of your window you’ll find a menu button or three small dots. Click here, then click on “New incognito window.” This will open a new browser window that will allow you to search the internet without any of your personal settings (i.e., location or past searches) influencing your search. It’s like a clean slate.

Perform the same search as before, and again, make note of how far back your website is listed. I’m betting there is a difference between the two! The latter will give you a better idea of what a new patient will see when they search.

Now, let’s discuss ways to improve your clinic’s online ranking:

1. Claim and complete your free Google My Business profile, including an accurate Google Maps location

Visit and click “Manage now”. Search for your practice, and if it doesn’t exist already, you can claim it and add it to Google (this can involve a confirmation process).

You’ll be prompted to fill in your business information including name, category of business, photos, hours, and a correct address that will show in Google Maps. Unsurprisingly, having an accurate and updated Google My Business profile can vastly improve your search ranking.

2. Address consistency

Your address is all over the internet – your website, your aforementioned Google My Business profile, Yelp, Yahoo, and even your Facebook page. Make sure that all of these are exactly the same, even down to abbreviations.

To abbreviate or not to abbreviate – either one works. Just be consistent across the board (e.g., ‘Street’ or ‘St.’ ‘Avenue’ or ‘Ave.’ ‘Suite’ or ‘Ste.’ ‘Calif.’ or ‘CA’, etc.).

3. Add a blog to your website

You’re already busy, and a blog may seem like just another to-do. But, it doesn’t have to be a heavy lift. And the impact on search results makes it worth the little time it truly takes.

You might have to call your webmaster to get a blog going on your website. Once it’s set up, try to blog at least once a week, a minimum of 300 words each. Write about your business and continuing education, conferences, and your industry. Just write!

Consistently adding new content to your website will significantly improve your ranking, as search engines like to see websites are continually providing new content.

4. Add keywords in your web page title tag

Ideally, try to have the tag begin with that keyword. Again, this might require your webmaster, but it can make a big difference. You can see what your title is by looking at the internet browser tab along the top of your window.

Are you a “physical therapist” who performs “physical therapy”? Use the term “physical therapy,” not the initials “PT.” The general public won’t know what PT means and doesn’t use that as a search term.

5. Add keywords to the body of your page

As long as it reads well, mentions physical therapy, yoga, dry needling, spine care – whatever you offer – more than once in the body of your webpage. This needs to be typed text, not images with those words on them. Imagine someone on the Google team reading your website and checking boxes on a form. If you want to sell these services, don’t be afraid to use them in your text, as long as what you’re saying sounds natural and you aren’t just “keyword stuffing” your content.

These are some quick and easy tips to help give your online search results a leg up amidst the competition in your area. Note that even with these efforts, search engine optimization (SEO) takes time. So, you may not see the results for a while. Keep at it though; persistence is key when it comes to SEO.

If you’d like to know more about improving your search results and online reputation, give Net Health a call today to explore tools and solutions that give your practice a boost in this important digital space!

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