Local Search Engine Optimization for Eye Care Providers

Local independent Eye Care Providers are the primary way that consumers access eye care diagnostic screening and obtain corrective prescriptions for glasses and contact lenses. The success of our local professional eye care providers is important to the optical health of the country and the growth of the optical products industry.

In this series we will explore ways that eye care providers (known as ECPs) can use the Internet to expand and strengthen and their patient relationships.

Local Search Engine Optimization

Making sure your eye care practice appears near the top of the natural search results, for searches referencing your local service area, is key to getting more traffic to your website and more calls to your office. All search optimization efforts should be localized. It is too costly, difficult and unnecessary to have success in general non-localized searches.

What is a local search?

An example of a non-localized search term, is “best eye doctors.” In contrast, an example of a localized variation of this search term is, “best eye doctors in bellevue wa”. The marketing goal for a local eye care provider is to appear near the top of the search results for common localized relevant search terms.

Below is a screen shot of the Google search results for the localized search term, “best eye doctors in bellevue wa”. For this search term, the best optimized eye care practice in the local area is Overlake Eye Care.

There are a few simple things you can do to win in the search results for localized searches:

  1. Choose a localized domain. If possible, chose a URL that has the primary locale within it. An example would be “bellevueeyecaredoctors.com”
  2. Localize the page title. Put local names in the page title tag. Overlake Eye Care did a great job of localizing their page title. Their page title text is, “Eye Exam Bellevue, WA | Overlake Eye Doctor | Bellevue Eye Doctor | Overlake EyeCare.”
  3. Localize the page description. Each web page has something called a ‘meta description. The meta description is a short description inside the HTML source code of the page. It tells the search engine the main topics of the page. It is important to localize this text also. Again, Overlake Eye Care did a great job in localing their meta description: “Bellevue Eye Doctors of Overlake EyeCare provide exceptional eye care services, eye exams, eye surgery. Located in Bellevue, WA
  4. Localize your page content. Make sure your home page or custom pages on your site have local place name references. A good place to localize your content is on your ‘home page’, ‘about us’ page and ‘contact us’ page. On these pages you will want to include references to the locales your practice services.

While general search engine optimization can be difficult, costly and slow to see results, localized search engine optimization works. It can work fast. By following the simple best practices above your website will appear higher in the all important local search results on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Cost Effective Local Search Marketing for Eye Care Providers

Local independent eye care providers are a vital link the chain of optical care.  In this post we will describe how local eye care professionals can cost-effectively use search engine marketing to attract new patients and retain existing ones.

Keyword Search Engine Marketing – Contextual Search Ads

Small text ads woven into the search results pages on Google, Bing and Yahoo are a fact of life for every Internet user.  This type of advertising is called ‘contextual search advertising.’ The short text ads are ‘contextual’ because they are served up to search users based on the relevance of the ad to the search terms (the ‘context’) the user enters into the search box on the search engine. Those little ads in one form or another account for over 90% of Google’s revenue.  They are also very important in driving customers to millions of businesses worldwide.  A local eye care professional will set up an account with Google (or Microsoft Adcenter which feeds ads to Bing and Yahoo) and pay per click for each user that visits their website from one of their ads on the search engines.

Each advertiser creates a set of simple text ads and they enter a series of keywords that they want their ads to be displayed with when searched for. Google analyzes the advertisers text ads, the keywords they’ve chosen, the amount the advertiser is willing to pay for a given keyword, the content and quality of the advertiser’s landing page and the interest that search users have in the ads over time. All this analysis goes into a ‘quality score’ (from 1 to 10) that Google assigns to each keyword in the advertisers’ set of target search terms.

The higher the quality score and the higher the bid for a search term results in a higher number of views of the ad and equates to a higher number of referrals (clicks) to the advertiser’s website.

Local Search Marketing

What not everyone knows is that Google, Bing and Yahoo make an effort to serve users ads that are relevant to their physical location.

This localization of paid search results is done in primarily two ways:

  1. Advertiser geo-targeting. Advertisers may elect to have their ads served only to users that are searching from a specific location. These ads may be targeted to single or multiple country, state/province and metropolitan locales. The major search engines attempt to locate their users geographically. If you are a mobile user you may be located to within a few feet of your current location. If you are a computer user you may be geo-located to a continent, country, province or city.
  2. Local keywords added by a user to the search phrase. When an advertiser sets up a text or display ad campaign on a search engine, they select the search terms they want their ads to appear on and how much per click they are willing to pay for each visitor. A best practice in choosing your keywords is to add location modifiers to all keywords. For example, instead of bidding on searches where a user types in “best eye doctors”, an eye care provider in Bellevue, WA may bid on terms such as, “best eye doctors in bellevue wa”, “best eye doctors in factoria”, “lake sammamish eye doctors”, “eye doctors in downtown bellevue”, etc.

By combining the two concepts above, the local eye care provider will drive highly qualified leads to their website and increase the number of phone calls to their offices. In summary, the best practice for local keyword search engine advertising is to: a) geo-target your search campaigns to your local practice areas, and b) bid high on a wide variety of highly relevant search terms that include your practice locations.

For more information:

Google Adwords Express for Local Businesses

Bing and Yahoo Advertising for Local Businesses

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