You know about SEO, but what about local SEO for autism treatment centers? When you’re marketing your autism care program, you need to know this one. That’s because your future patients are all around you. Literally. And local SEO is how they find you.
Local SEO for Autism Treatment Centers
According to the CDC’s research, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects just over 2% of the population in the United States.1 And as you know all too well, the patients who need your help are everywhere. ASD doesn’t care about geography, race, socioeconomic status, or education levels. Autism doesn’t discriminate. As a result, this disorder has the potential to touch anyone and everyone.
So, to connect with your ideal patients, you might think you should advertise on a regional or even national scale. And that might be true if you’re launching a highly specialized therapy designed for a targeted subset of patients who need a specific type of assistance. But for most autism treatment centers, your marketing efforts should be localized—because the people who need you are right in your backyard. And that means local SEO.
What is Local SEO for Autism Treatment Centers?
Local SEO for autism treatment centers takes established SEO principles and applies them to local searches to maximize ranking potential when internet users look for services in your area.
Studies show that 46% of all searches are local.2 Think about that. Almost half of the 5.6 billion searches queried daily3 are for a resource near the user. And those people aren’t just looking for the best local ice cream shop or a great plumber near them. They’re also looking for everything from the best Mexican restaurant in their town to a local provider of autism treatment services.
What if you’re already invested in an SEO strategy? Well, that approach might be enough to establish your presence, but you’ll miss out on lead generation opportunities. Local SEO bridges the gap between what you’re already doing to optimize your center’s findability and making connections with patients and their families in your area.
Why Do You Need Local SEO?
There’s a simple answer to this question: rank. We know the first five search results get 67% of the clicks.4 Rank first, and you’ll get more than 28% of those clicks.5 The higher your pages’ positions on the search engine results page (SERP), the more users will visit your website. And, if your site is converting properly, more visitors means welcoming more new patients to your center.
Local SEO for autism treatment centers comes down to a simple cause-and-effect relationship between your position on the SERP and the number of patients receiving care at your center. Rank higher on the SERP (the cause), and your patient base will invariably increase (the effect).
There is a clear correlation between these factors, and by executing an effective local SEO strategy, you increase your potential to find and convert your ideal patients.
How to Develop a Local SEO Strategy
Now that you understand how important local SEO is, you need to learn how to incorporate this tool into your digital marketing strategy.
Ninety-three percent of people use the internet6 to find a local business, so an effective SEO strategy has real implications on the lives of those who need your services. Here are a few tips to help you master local SEO to connect with more kids and families who need you.
Tip #1: Understand Ranking Factors
Ranking factors are a great place to start. Google uses more than 200 of them7 to determine the order of search results for any given search. But in terms of local SEO, some ranking factors are more important than others.
Google is famously tight-lipped about exactly what the ranking factors are, but they have provided some insight into how the algorithm evaluates local searches.
According to Google, there are three key ranking factors for local search.8 Google bases local results on relevance, distance, and prominence. Of course, Google still takes many other known ranking factors into account. But these are the most important to local search.
Tip #2: Optimize Local Keywords
Finding the right keywords will help you remain relevant, which we know is a key ranking factor for Google. Think about what your patients and their families search for when looking for an autism treatment center near them. Those are the keywords you should optimize.
Use a keyword generator to identify local SEO opportunities. Usually, searches like “autism treatment in [insert town name]” or “autism care near me” are great places to start. “Near me” searches have increased by 500%9 in the last several years, and you don’t want to miss out.
Another thing to consider is the keyword, or keyword phrase, length. About half of all searches are four words or longer,10 so create your keywords accordingly.
3. Maintain your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profiles11 have become an SEO, especially a local SEO, juggernaut. If you don’t claim and update your Business Profile, your local SEO will undoubtedly suffer.
Quality profile listings help increase an organization’s relevance, which is a ranking factor for local SEO. Three out of four marketers agree that using a Google Business Profile12 directly impacts rank.
Claiming a profile listing is an absolute must, but don’t stop there. You need to maintain the listing, too. Regularly update your profile with information about your physical address, phone number, category, website, attributes, hours, and photos. Keeping your profile up to date is important because 64% of users use it to get organizations’13 addresses and phone numbers.
4. Pay Attention to Google Reviews
Patients also use your Google Business Profile for writing and reading reviews. Reading online reviews has become an absolute must for most consumers, as 88% claim they trust them just as much as personal recommendations14 from family and friends.
As a result, Google believes your reviews indicate your prominence in the marketplace. So the more high-quality reviews you have, the better your local SEO. While you can’t solicit bulk reviews or only positive reviews,15 you may provide the review link and encourage patients to post honest feedback about your center.
And don’t forget to respond to your reviews—whether they’re positive or negative.
5. Monitor Your Google Maps Location
Distance is a key ranking factor for local SEO. Now more than ever, people want services in their immediate area. In fact, 86% of users check Google Maps16 before contacting a business.
The best way to communicate your location in relation to users’ searches is through Google Maps. Verify your center’s location on Google Maps to ensure you’re getting the most out of this valuable local SEO tool.
6. Don’t Forget the Basics
All these tips will maximize your local SEO potential, but don’t throw your tried-and-true SEO strategy out the door just yet. The best approach to local SEO is optimizing for local ranking factors, while still maintaining a robust overall SEO strategy.
Maintain a strong SEO strategy with:
- Content creation: Blogs, white papers, videos, podcasts, and more. About three-quarters of marketers agree17 that content creation is the most effective SEO tactic.
- Social media: Much of your content probably lives on social media, and that’s OK. Google tracks social media activity and sees high engagement rates as a sign of prominence, a key local ranking factor, in your sector.
- Backlinks: Backlinks are an important ranking factor, no matter your SEO goals. Keep trying to earn high-value backlinks to increase your relevance. Top search results have 3.8 times the amount of backlinks18 as lower-ranking pages.
- Titles: This goes back to SEO 101, but titles are easy to forget when you’re looking at a complicated local SEO strategy. Add your local keywords to your titles whenever possible. And try to write your titles in the form of a question since they’re clicked 14.1% more19 than typical titles.
- Meta descriptions: Meta descriptions are just as important as ever. Take the time to write them because when you do, your page will be clicked 5.8% more often than pages without meta descriptions.20
- NAP: Name. Address. Phone number. These three simple elements must be consistent across every digital asset your treatment center owns. Beyond that, NAP should be the same on business directory websites, forums, and more. Google observes their congruence, or lack thereof, and ranks your pages accordingly.
7. Hire Professionals
Local SEO for autism treatment centers is a science that takes practice and patience to master. When crafting your digital marketing strategy, the most efficient use of your time (and budget!) may be partnering with an agency that specializes in delivering local SEO wins for programs like yours.
If you’re interested in learning more about improving your local SEO strategy, or if you have questions about how well your current plan is delivering, Dreamscape Marketing can help. Call us at 888.307.7304 to schedule a strategy session and get started today.
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