Over Half of all the Traffic in Google is Local Search
Local people go online to search to learn more about dermatology clinics just like yours.
And it’s a vetting process…
People look at a dermatologist’s reviews to decide if they want to become a patient or not.
A dermatologists ability to attract new patients depends on controlling your online reputation in places like Google, Bing, and Facebook.
These were some of the justifications our agency presented to the client for this digital campaign. They agreed to allow us to promote their dermatology practice online and we documented the results.
This is going to be a long article, so let me go ahead and present the cliffs notes to you. WE SCALED UP THEIR PRACTICE. New patient bookings average 10-15 per month consistently. Over the course of the campaign we delivered 4,200 unique site visitors to this business using Search Engine Optimization.
Landing a Dermatologist Top Placement on the Google Map Results
We delivered those 4200 visitors mostly through Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. It’s the practice of optimizing a website to rank in Google’s local search results.
We’ll share tips on exactly how we delivered these new dermatology patients further down, but it’s important to first mention that the map listings in Google are the most important place for your dermatology business to be visible. It’s the most valuable position because it earns the lion’s share of the local market leads. Top keywords like ‘Dermatologist Birmingham’ or ‘Dermatology nearby’ earn over 800 unique searches per month:
That’s one of our clients dominating the local map results and earning a large share of 800+ dermatology related searches each month from Google. Let’s take a look at the specific strategies we use to deliver new patient leads with local SEO.
We realize the rest of this article is marketing jargon. If you’re a busy dermatologist that just wants new patients without having to spend years mastering digital marketing, give us a call.
We already learned your industry, and we know how to deliver leads anywhere.
For the rest of you, let’s dig into some specific strategies that will work consistently for any dermatology practice in the US.
Setting the groundwork for online advertising
Promoting your practice online is easy with the right patient acquisition strategies. It’s a formula…We simply generate new patient leads by driving local traffic to the website.
Once people visit the site, they must be greeted with a modern design that loads fast and clearly explains your practice location and the dermatology services it offers.
Your site must cause them to take some for of action such as a call, email, or interaction with your office staff through live chat.
No matter what action they take, you’ve successfully converted from website visitor to inbound lead. But there’s one more step in the new patient acquisition process. This step is critical…
Dermatology Patient Acquisition Depends on Skilled Office Staff
Consumers are impatient. They expect someone to pick up the phone on the first call. They will leave your site if someone does not immediately respond to a chat request. Speed and efficiency in the back office is the real secret sauce for new patient acquisition.
We stress this to all of our dermatology clients because if we don’t it reduces the overall ROI of our digital marketing campaign. We tested all lead sources thoroughly before driving traffic to the site.
This included ‘mystery shopping’ to ensure the phones were ringing through correctly and an inbound call would be serviced in a fast, professional manner.
Advertising a Dermatology Clinic in Google Search
This dermatology clinic had already tried several different marketing ideas with mixed results. Then they had heard about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and were hoping to try it out.
We would have preferred to have started out with paid ads as well due to the immediate ROI, but the practice manager understood that SEO would take time and agreed to be patient.
We both agreed to a set of benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to measure the success of the campaign.
Whenever possible, dermatologists should leverage both organic and paid search instead of one or the other. This increases your overall exposure and impression share.
Search Engine Optimization for a Dermatology Website
SEO is a widely misunderstood discipline that takes years to master. It’s an ever-changing and technical field that seeks to improve a website in order to make it rank higher in Google and other search engines.
In spite of all the change, SEO results have always relied on three fundamental things:
QUALITY CONTENT written on a website that is…
- TECHNICALLY SOUND
- FAST TO LOAD
with lots of other quality websites LINKING BACK TO IT.
That’s the basic formula, but it goes much deeper.
Specific SEO Services for Dermatologists
We began with keyword research, which is the foundation of every successful SEO campaign. It’s easy to identify high-traffic phrases like the one above, but it took us months to earn that ranking. Instead, we prefer to start our campaigns targeting less competitive phrases so that we can deliver early results that get better over time. Here’s a few of the phrases we targeted:
- Pediatric dermatologist in Birmingham, AL
- Cosmetic Dermatology
- Skin peels
- Botox treatment in Birmingham, AL
- Skin cancer treatment clinic near me
- Dermatology Birmingham
Once we had our keyword list set, we started optimizing. It required a combination of technical know-how in WordPress along with some SEO wizardry to put the pieces together.
On-Page Optimization Techniques
Step 1 is to make a site that loads fast with a good user experience. We started with a Google LightHouse Audit to make the site technically sound in the eyes of the worlds biggest search engine.
After cleaning up the site code, we started working through the following changes:
- URL Structure Optimization
- Image Optimization
- Meta Titles and Descriptions
- Schema Markup
- Internal Linking
- Heading Tag Optimization
That’s all pretty standard stuff for any experienced SEO consultant but if that’s not you, give us a call and we can explain everything in detail. It would take up too much of the article to go into full details on these steps, and we have a lot of ground to cover. So, let’s move on to content and off-page optimization.
Content Marketing for Dermatologists
Not to be critical of the dermatology industry, but most of you don’t blog enough! 😄
Blogging is very important for marketing and SEO. Google values sites that are rich with content, and what’s better for authority than having a board certified dermatologist write on skin care topics?
Our client didn’t have to work very hard in this area because most of the competition didn’t even update their site copy every 5 years. We used SEMrush to analyze each page on the site beginning with the Home and Service pages.
It allowed us to identify important words and phrases that relate to our target keywords so that we could include those in the copy. It also looks at competitor pages and suggests a minimum word count needed to rank against the competition.
Once we optimized the content on the main pages, we suggested a monthly blog marketing schedule. Blogging allows you to create compelling articles with a call to action to attract new patients. More importantly, constantly updating your website helps it rank in Google.
Targeting relevant blogs in the skin care niche
Next we went about building up the authority of their site in Google. Getting other websites to link to yours acts like a ‘vote of confidence’ that your site provides a valuable experience to users and isn’t spammy. These ‘backlinks’ are the primary ranking factor used to determine where your website ranks.
We published dermatology themed articles on everything from acne to brown recluse spider bites. These are considered to be ‘guest posts’ where bloggers allow your brand to publish content on their site. It allows you to get in front of their audience, while usually including a link back to your website.
We also built up a lot of profiles on local directories like Superpages, Yelp, and others. These links include your business location data and help you rank better in the map results. We build new links to client sites each month to maintain their authority and ranking within the Google search engine.
Related Article: The Broken Link Building Strategy
Looking back we have months of data to benchmark our work and see how well we’re doing for our client. Being a local business, map results tend to drive the most new patient leads, so let’s take a look at Google My Business performance year over year:
It’s easy to look at vanity metrics like impression share and hope you are doing well. It’s another thing entirely to look at source data from Google that proves calls to your business went up over 300% from the preceding year. That’s how you know your digital campaign is delivering the ROI you expect. Always track actual calls to the business. Know your closing rate from inbound calls and compare that against your search marketing expenditure. If the math makes sense, either continue what you’re doing or scale up with a bigger budget.
We hope you found this case study informative and helpful for you and your practice. We’re a leading SEO agency headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. Over the years, we have had the privilege of working with dermatologists just like you to help deliver new patient leads.
Currently, we only take on one dermatology client per major city. That’s just so that we’re not competing against ourselves because that would be some serious competition!