Optimizing your veterinary website for local online traffic is an excellent way to attract attention from potential customers who are within driving distance of your business. Google Maps and local review sites such as Yelp® can help boost qualified traffic to your business based on the audience’s geographic location.
So, how does local online advertising work?
If someone uses a search engine (Google®, Bing®, Yahoo!®, etc.) to find a local vet clinic, they will receive results based on their specified location. Even if they don’t specify their location within the search query, search engines can often figure out where the searcher is physically located.
What does this mean for your business?
If a potential customer is searching for a local vet clinic (and your products or services relate to their query), you need to optimize your local online advertising strategy to ensure they see your website within the search engine result pages (SERPs).
Top Tips for Local Online Advertising
When optimizing your website for local search, you should use the same SEO best practices as you would for other pages on your site (including keywords, meta tags, title tags, H-tags, etc.). Targeting geo-specific keywords is perhaps the most important step in a local online advertising strategy.
Begin by researching geo-specific keywords that you can target, for example: “vet in Miami” vs. “Miami vet clinic” vs. “Dade County veterinarian”:
Local Search Results for "Veterinarian in Miami"
When entering these geo-specific keywords into Google, you’ll notice the result page is filled with geo-specific suggestions. This includes a map with the top ranked and closest results related to your inquiry.
Be sure that your full physical address appears on your website’s pages. If your business has multiple locations, you should dedicate at least one page on your site for each location. This is better than listing all your locations on a single page because you can optimize for those important SEO elements based on each geo-specific location.
To put it simply, you want your pages at the top of the search engine results when your targeted keywords are paired with location. Using our pet-specific examples, here are some tips to help make that happen:
1. Set Up Google Places®
You can quickly get your business placed on the top of search results by utilizing Google Places. When someone searches for a related product or service, your company will be among the first potential customers see.
To use Google Places, submit all your local online business information (including photos, discounts, services, and related content). As you fill out this information, use the description fields to naturally insert some of your targeted geo-specific keywords.
Remember the difference between white-hat SEO (best practices) vs. black-hat SEO (shady practices). You will not rank better if you stuff too many of those keywords in the description field.
If done correctly, when a searcher is near your location, the search engine will place a clickable address link under your advertisement so that people can easily get directions to your business.
2. Utilize Local Search Ads
Because it’s the first thing someone will see when entering a local search, it's crucial to appear on the map, especially when searchers use a mobile device. Google Maps search results, for example, may look like this:
Local Map Result for "Petco"
The following information is readily available for interested parties:
- Reviews of your business
- Business address
- Short description of your offerings
- Hours of operation
If you’re purchasing ads for Google Maps, you'll be charged a standard cost-per-click (CPC) for:
- Get location detail clicks
- Get direction clicks
- Mobile clicks-to-call clicks
When purchasing ad space for these results, you receive added perks. Notice how the top result has a purple icon next to it? If someone clicks on that icon, your listing will expand to show details about your business. Within the expanded details, searchers will also see a “Directions” and/or “Call” button. This helps potential customers easily get directions to your business or call for more information about a product or service.
3. Create a Compelling “About Us” Page
Creating a solid About Us page on your website is a lot harder than it sounds. For many online companies, this page is hard to write, and even more difficult to implement correctly. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about drafting one. In fact, these pages are among the most frequented on your website.
People want to connect to your business; they want a story they can feel; a cause they can take part in. Great storytelling can humanize your brand and build a connection with your potential customers. Check out WordStream’s® Easy Guide to Creating an Awesome “About Us” Page for more ideas.
About Us pages can also reinforce your local online marketing efforts. Utilize those targeted geo-specific keywords, include your hours of operation, addresses/directions, and main contact info. By doing this, you are helping search engines recognize your location and business for future inquires.
4. Publish Geo-Specific Content on Social Media
In recent years, social media has become an important factor when ranking businesses for local search. Hound About Town (a pet supply shop based in Jersey City, New Jersey) utilizes their branded Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles to engage with potential and loyal customers. They’re experts at using the social networks to announce discounts, events, contents and pet-friendly photos. You’ll notice the shop also uses #hashtags effectively by making them geo-specific and only using them when it’s relevant.
Hound About Town also uses social media to invite customers to in-store events including dog walks, puppy training and product demos. They cultivate positive reviews and ask for constructive feedback through their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
5. Get Your Business Listed in Directories
It’s important to get your business listed in numerous local online directories. These directories provide valuable links that can improve your ranking in the SERPs. Consider adding your business to the following:
Encourage existing customers to write short Yelp reviews if they have had a positive experience. In addition, make your clinic more reputable by getting listed in local directories such as Better Business Bureau and/or local Chamber of Commerce.
Learn more about online marketing for veterinary practices: NexGardClinic.com
Merial is now a part of Boehringer Ingelheim.
®NexGard is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2017 Merial Inc., Duluth, GA. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. NEX17NAVERTICALMB (01/17).