Local SEO Guide for Acupuncturists: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Google Rankings

/Local SEO Guide for Acupuncturists: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Google Rankings
Local SEO Guide for Acupuncturists: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Google Rankings

Acupuncturists face some difficulties when attempting to draw in new patients. One of the largest hurdles is the fact that when someone wants to try acupuncture, he typically runs a Google search and calls the first clinic or two on the results page. To build your patient list, you need to make your way into that top spot.

We will guide you through our proven step by step process to lift your clinic to the top of the rankings. But first, let’s take a look at why local SEO is essential for all acupuncturists.

3 Reasons Acupuncturists Should Invest in Local SEO

Google Has Replaced the Yellow Pages:

Not terribly long ago, acupuncturists could simply place an ad in the Yellow Pages and wait for the phone to ring. Things have changed, and now a whopping 97% of people search for local businesses online. Google dominates the search market.

Free Traffic:

Although it is growing and evolving rapidly, advertising is still a major expenditure for many small businesses. Boosting your Google rankings gives you a constant stream of free traffic that you can convert into patients.

Swift Results:

While national and international companies typically wait 6 months to a year to see much movement in their Google rankings, acupuncturists have a huge advantage. Your competition is other acupuncturists nearby, not those on the other side of the country. And the majority of your competitors are not yet using local SEO. A targeted campaign could propel you to the first page of Google local results in as little as 30 days!

Step 1: Choose Your Keywords

The first step is easy: just make a list of keywords that match your services. For example, you might try “acupuncture”, “fertility acupuncture”, and “Chinese herbs”. When your list is reasonably complete, create a free Google AdWords account.

You do not to actually develop or pay for an ad campaign, but you need the AdWords account to access the free Google Keyword Planner. This helpful tool lets you input your keywords to see how much traffic they drive, and suggests related keywords that might not have occurred to you.

Now you are ready to select your final list of keywords. All keywords loosely fall into 2 categories:

  • Buying Intent: Buying intent keywords signal that a prospect is imminently ready to give acupuncture a try. For example, someone who searches for “cupping therapy Philadelphia” has probably researched acupuncture and chosen a type that appeals.

    Focus your local SEO campaign primarily on buying intent keywords, which drive the fastest conversions. Display them prominently on your homepage, and build service pages around them.

  • Research Intent: A prospect who is searching for research intent keywords is just gathering information. He might want acupuncture someday, but is not ready to commit. For example, someone searching for “is acupuncture safe” likely knows little about the practice and is trying to learn more.

    Make research intent keywords lower priority in your campaign, as they do not show results right away. Don’t let go of them, though, as they are useful for blogs and FAQs. These posts introduce you to prospects who might contact you later, when they are ready to make an appointment.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords

When you have decided on your keywords, it is time to optimize for them in 2 places—your Google My Business page and your website. Here is what you need to do:

Google My Business

Your Google My Business page is effectively a miniature website that will appear in the “Map” section of Google local listings. It gives prospects a quick overview of your company, improves your overall online presence, and even gives you a fast boost to your Google rankings. This is because it is significantly easier to rank highly with a Google My Business page than with a traditional website.

Fill out the page fully and accurately, following these steps:

  • Verification: The first step is to claim your page and submit it to Google for verification. You will know this step is complete when you see a checkmark and the word “Verified” next to your company name.
  • NAP: Your business NAP (name, address, and phone number) must be both entirely accurate and identical across the internet. Signal Google that yours is a local business by selecting a local phone number rather than an 800 number.
  • Categories: Google requirements state that all categories must focus on services instead of results. For example, besides Acupuncture Clinic, you might choose Acupuncture School, if you teach classes. List any ancillary services as well, for a total of 3 to 5 categories.
  • Description: Your description is a short summary of your company that closes with a call to action. It should be between 100 and 200 words in length, and formatted similarly to: {Name of Clinic} offers professional {pain relief and fertility acupuncture, or similar} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about your background and/or why patients love you.} Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first session!
  • Hours: Your office hours must be correct and consistent across all of your web listings.
  • Images: Images can boost customer engagement, and show your prospects that you do excellent work. Add a few photos of your office, your staff, or your team at work (with permission!). Your images must have a sharp focus, be sized between 10KB and 5MB, and have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px. We also recommend replacing the generic Google My Business background image with a branded image.

Website Optimization

Next, optimize your “core” pages (your homepage and service pages) for your buying intent keywords. Later, you will optimize your “content” pages (FAQs and blog posts) for your research intent keywords. Here’s where to focus:

  • Homepage: Roughly equivalent to a chapter title in a book, the title tag is the most important part of your homepage. It should be 50 to 65 characters long, and formatted something like: Licensed Acupuncturist in {Your City} | {Name of Your Clinic}.

    The 100 to 150-character meta description briefly mentions your primary services and ends with a call to action. Try to approximate this format: {Name of Clinic} offers quality {acupuncture and Chinese herbology, or similar} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today for 10% off your first session!

    Also known as the H1, the visible headline must be descriptive yet concise, and must include your primary category. This format works well: {Acupuncture Clinic} in {City, State}.

    The final key element is your page copy. Aim for 500 to 1000 words of tightly written and edited content that includes your primary keyword in a natural manner. List some company background, briefly describe your core services, and close with a strong call to action.

  • Service Pages: Develop a separate service page for each of your core services, and optimize it for a buying intent keyword just as you did your homepage.

Step 3: Find Citations and Links

Now that you have the basic structure of your local SEO campaign in place, you can work on finding citations and links. Both increase your online reach while boosting your Google rankings.

  • Citations: A citation is simply an online directory listing of your business NAP (name, address, and phone number). Possibilities include general national directories (yellowpages.com and Facebook), general local directories (Chamber of Commerce website), and targeted directories for acupuncturists. Be sure that your NAP is absolutely identical across all listings.

    Many directories are free, but some require you to pay for a listing. Before you make a decision, check out Google Analytics. There is no reason to pay for a site that is not driving traffic and conversions.

  • Links: Links from authoritative, high-quality websites will improve your Google rankings. Build relationships in person and online with companies that offer services that complement yours, such as health food stores. Then ask to trade web links. A tool such as the Moz Open Site Explorer will help you learn where other local acupuncturists find their links.

Step 4: Ask for Reviews

Online reviews play 2 very important roles: they help to convince prospects to try your services, and they let Google know that yours is a legitimate business. Although all reviews are valuable, you will get the speediest boost to your Google rankings from Google My Business page reviews.

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to send a direct link to the review page. Instead, run a Google search for your company name, and send that URL to your satisfied patients. Include instructions to click on Write a Review underneath your business name on the right side of that page. If you do this regularly, you will soon have an ongoing stream of reviews.

Step 5: Track Your Results

You can only find out whether your local SEO campaign is performing well, and discover areas that still need some work, if you track your results. You can analyze your data in many ways, but these are the 3 core metrics:

  • Rankings: Google customizes its search results based on past browsing history. Therefore, it is only possible to see your true rankings with a tool. Ask your webmaster to install the free Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools), and check your results at least once per month.

    For a more in-depth assessment of your ranking data, consider switching to a paid tool. We particularly like the one provided by RankRanger.com. This helpful tool tracks both your Google My Business page and your webpages, and gives you automatically updated ranking data from all of your SEO campaigns.

  • Traffic: Google Analytics is an excellent way to track your web visitors, known as traffic. You can view your overall traffic, the traffic for each individual webpage, and even what percentage of visitors come through Google search. Pay attention to your reports at least once per month, and be on the lookout for any long-term trends.
  • Conversions: A conversion can be defined as any specific behavior that you want your prospects to do. As an acupuncturist, that behavior might be contacting you for 10% off one session. In Google Analytics, you can track phone as well as web conversions, discover which of your services drives the most conversions, and find out which of your webpages have the lowest and highest conversion rates.

Ready to Roll Out Your Campaign?

Now you understand why you must incorporate a local SEO campaign to bring more prospects to your acupuncture clinic. Make your way through the steps in order, and finish each one before beginning the next. Here is a recap of the 5 steps:

  1.    Keyword research
  2.    Keyword optimization
  3.    Citations and Links
  4.    Reviews
  5.    Tracking

Want Help with SEO?

At Main Street ROI, we specialize in helping acupuncturists attract more local customers through Google. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free quote.

Click here to request a Free SEO Quote