VetNetwork Blog

How Do Prospective Clients Find Your Veterinary Practice?

0 Comments Posted by Alyssa Noonan in Search Engine Optimization - SEO, Websites on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010.

They drive by, see your sign, and notice how close you are to their home or business. They get on home computers or cell phones and do Google searches for “veterinarian in Mayberry.” Statistics show that the internet is the most popular way for prospective clients to find you. How do you get these new techno-savvy clients to your door? Make sure they can find your veterinary website in local and mobile searches.

SEO and SEM for Veterinary Hospital Websites
The terms are not interchangeable, but both terms describe strategies that make your veterinary hospital website attractive to search engines. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of emphasizing the phrases or words people use to find you on the web. Search engine Marketing (SEM) includes SEO, but also involves buying ads, paying search engines to include your site, or paying for pay-per-click advertising. SEM includes adding your site to local search directories.

Since your veterinary practice depends on local website traffic, it’s not crucial that you have high Google rankings when someone across the country types “dog vaccinations” in a search box. What you really want is to own the top position if a local pet owner in Mayberry types “dog vaccinations.”

Local Internet Marketing for Veterinary Websites
Even though your veterinary website is part of the World Wide Web, you really need to concentrate your efforts in your local community. Your signage should be easy to see from the road, and your building should have “curb appeal.” If you advertise in the local yellow pages or newspaper, be sure to include your website address. Local radio ads should also include your web address, and your website should be updated often. Offering coupons or specials is another great way to attract local clients.

Once the basics are covered, it is important to list your practice in the most popular local search engines. They include Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yext and Yelp. Most of these listings are free, but registering takes some time. In addition, every veterinary hospital website should have a Google map. These are small, interactive maps where customers can zoom in, get directions, and pinpoint your office location.

Recently, Google has been placing local maps in the search results for broadly stated searches such as “veterinarian.” The resulting maps are based on the location of the visitor. Yes, Google knows where the search is being performed by the visitor’s IP address.

Optimizing for local searches requires specialized knowledge of how Google Maps and Google Places list businesses in local search results. For example, if your veterinary practice listing has customer reviews, links to yellow pages listings, or other web-based information referencing your account, your veterinary practice website is going to rank high in the Maps pane.

The Rise of Angie’s List: Getting Listed on Specialized Search Websites
There are specialized search websites that help prospective clients find a veterinarian. These include Angie’s List, Vets Near You, and Veterinarians.com. Most of these sites charge veterinarians to list their practices, and are free for users. Angie’s list is a little different.

Angie’s List is free for companies, and charges a small subscription fee for users. Users are allowed to grade veterinarians and animal hospitals, leave reviews for other users, and search through listings by category. “Veterinarians” is one category, further broken down by city and state. Since this is free advertising, there is no reason not to register with Angie’s List through Company Connect. If your rating averages are better than a B, you can advertise to members by using discounts and special offers.

Optimizing Your Veterinary Website for Local Searches
Your practice relies on local traffic to your website, so “being found” on the web affects your bottom line. If you are in a crowded market, you may need help rising above the throng in local searches. VetNetwork’s SEO strategies work, whether you’re the only veterinary hospital in town or one of hundreds. Please call VetNetwork at 800-564-4215 to add an SEO package to your veterinary hospital website and enhance your placement in the searches that matter.

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