There’s no worse time in a pet owner’s life than when their furry friend needs medical attention.
Fortunately, there are plenty of skilled vets out there who have dedicated their lives to animal health and changing the lives of people who consider their pets part of the family.
But if it’s not easy for desperate owners to find a veterinary clinic when they need it most, they might find themselves under additional stress in an already trying time, not to mention the impact that not being easily discoverable can have on your clinic’s income.
Truly passionate animal doctors understand that employing SEO services for veterinarians can mean the difference between being found at the top of local search rankings and not receiving that urgent call at all.
And for those yet to embark on their veterinarian SEO journey, you can get started with the best local SEO tool on the market absolutely free.
Many domesticated animals find themselves on the veterinarian’s table after their owner searches something along the lines of “vet near me”.
Whether they typed the query into Google or used their voice assistant while holding their pet in their arms, owners often look to Google’s Local Pack or Maps for the top-rated vet in their area so they can feel confident their companion is going to get the best possible care.
A Think With Google study revealed a 400% YoY increase in the local search term “open now near me” between the periods of September 2019 to August 2020 and September 2020 to August 2021, which means local SEO for veterinarians should be a priority.
If you’re up against several vets in your area, you don’t want to find yourself buried at position four in the Local Pack (where hardly anyone looks).
The more developed your local veterinarian SEO strategy, the more likely your clinic is to secure prime real estate on the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Cat-like reflexes: A big part of ranking well for local searches is a good citation distribution. But the secret to getting your local SEO up and running isn’t painstakingly publishing your business listings one-by-one, it’s using Semrush’s Listing Management to post to 70+ directories in one go and quickly alert you to any inconsistencies.
The best place to begin your journey to the top of the local rankings is by optimizing your Google Business Profile (GBP).
With a vast majority share of the search market, Google is where local SEO for veterinarians is typically focused because it could earn your clinic the biggest visibility boost.
If you’re not in control of your Google Business Profile, you’ll need to claim it, or create one from scratch if one doesn’t already exist.
Start with your essential details, which are your clinic’s NAP data (name, address, phone number).
Your business name should appear on your GBP exactly as you represent yourself offline and on other websites (don’t be tempted to cram it with keywords like “Fort Smith Animal Care Centre” if the sign on your clinic just says “Animal Care Centre”).
If your clinic has multiple phone lines, choose one as your main number that you’ll use for your Google Business Profile and other listings so they all match (you can still use tracking numbers, just make sure you use the real number as your secondary phone number).
Your address should be as specific as possible, including suite number, to avoid it being confused with any other businesses you might share a building with.
Next, it’s time to complete all the other fields in your Google Business Profile. Use photos to show your caring team looking after animals to help new clients feel they’d be in safe hands coming to you. Also show the entrance to the building to make it easy to spot once they arrive.
Write a detailed description of your clinic and include local keywords from your research (if you’re not sure how to do thorough keyword research, use a simple tool like Semrush or find an SEO freelancer or agency to help you, ideally one with experience in SEO services for an animal clinic website).
Add your opening hours and update for any changes during the holidays.
You can choose up to 10 categories to represent your clinic on Google Business Profile. The GBP categories most relevant for veterinary SEO are:
Choose the one that best describes your business as your primary category and add as many as are relevant as secondary categories. It’s not necessary to fill all 10 category slots for the sake of it, choose only categories that genuinely describe your clinic.
Add the services and products you offer with relevant photos and links to your website where users can find out more, make a purchase or book an appointment.
Finally, add any additional information about your clinic, such as wheelchair and toilet accessibility.
Once you’re happy that you’ve represented your clinic the best way you possibly can, it's time to move on to distributing your listings to the other important online directories.
Yelp, Apple Maps, Facebook… There are plenty of other places to get extra visibility for your veterinarian clinic and by distributing accurate NAP data, you’re also signaling to search engines that your clinic’s details are verifiable and worth ranking.
You’ll also notice that results for other directories actually appear above Google’s Local Pack, meaning they are also a highly valuable spot to compete for on the SERPs.
Agency SEO services for veterinarians will take care of your listings distribution on your behalf, or you can use a listings management tool to keep your citations in-house.
A menagerie of tools: Semrush’s Listing Management does way more for your veterinary SEO than distributing your business information for you. It also comes packed with a local rankings tracker, review manager and duplicate profile/error detector to keep your local SEO purring.
When you’re responsible for the well-being of people’s beloved animals at a time when they’re likely feeling worried and vulnerable, customer care must be a priority.
Great veterinarian clinics are well aware of this and it shows in the feedback people leave on their Google Business Profiles and other platforms that allow for customer reviews.
Review generation might seem daunting, especially for professions that deal with sensitive moments in their clients’ lives.
But satisfied pet owners are often more than happy to leave a review for vets who helped them through a tough time, as long as you make it easy for them by sending them a direct link to your Google reviews.
SMS is usually the best way to reach out to people for a review because the open rate is almost 100% by some estimates, whereas emails often go unread or land in spam folders. Just choose an appropriate time to make the request, depending on the outcome of their pet’s medical treatment.
Asking for reviews is just one part of building your online reputation, you also need to reply to all of the people who left you feedback to make it clear you care about their opinions and show potential new customers you take client sentiment seriously.
This also applies to negative reviews, although it’s worth taking a step back here to consider exactly how you’re going to reply. One-star reviews happen to the best of veterinarians, but dissatisfied clients can often be placated if you show that you’ve listened, attempt to make amends and admit fault if you did underperform. In some cases, it might be necessary to consult a legal expert.
Rave reviews: Seeing an increase in the number of reviews coming into your veterinary clinic can be very exciting, until you realize you’ve got to reply to all of them and you’re losing track of all the different review platforms. Semrush’s Listing Management simplifies everything by bringing all your reviews together and lets you know when you’ve replied to them all.
Here’s where your thorough keyword research really comes into its own.
Useful content can help convert potential clients because it demonstrates your expertise, establishes your authority and fosters trust in people that will remember you when they need your services.
Not all pet owners are facing a medical emergency and may use search to try and find solutions to less urgent issues; being there with the answers is a great way to get on the radar of the local animal-lover community.
Great veterinarian SEO content can encourage links from other local community websites, as well as online resources about animal care with high authority scores that can improve your rankings.
If you don’t feel confident in your writing abilities, hire a freelancer or agency to take care of it for you. SEO experts for veterinarian services are used to writing content on the topics your audience cares about and will know how to structure them properly with the correct HTML tags.
Fighting fit: Semrush’s Listing Management subscribers can make sure their website is in good health using the main platform’s Site Audit tool. It can also alert you to broken links, overlong SEO titles and other factors that negatively impact your local SEO.
Attract more customers with listings in top local directories