Knowing How Patients Search for Physical Therapy Websites Could Save You Some Money

How Do Patients Search for You?
Knowing How Patients Search for Your Physical Therapy Clinic Could Save You Some Money

How should online promotion be done for physical therapy websites? That’s a question that many practice owners struggle with and as such they spend hundreds or thousands of dollars per month on promoting their business online the wrong way. They are “hyper sold” the idea, by the big box corporate marketing companies, that they should show up when people do a geographic search (e.g. physical therapy Solana Beach) or a search for back pain treatment in their city (e.g. back pain treatment in Solana Beach). But do people really do this type of search? Is it common? Most importantly, does it generate new business?

With few exceptions (yes, I know there are some clinics that do more than 5% direct access), physical therapy clinics receive most of their business through word-of-mouth. They receive referrals from physicians, family members, and friends. The direct access patients are usually those that come back a second time without seeing their physician first, because they were educated by the PT practice direct access “next time” is possible.

So, if the above is true, what is the most important way for you to promote your physical therapy practice online? The answer is to dominate page of a search engine results page when a prospective patient does a name/reputation search. Let me go through the thought process and share some proof with you.

Let’s look at a practice that dominates the search engine results for a geographic search. As you can see, when you do a search for “physical therapy Solana Beach”, this practice has all of the top listings.

physical-therapy-online-marketing

If this really matters, then we should see lots of searches and traffic to the website from viewers that were using the search phrase “physical therapy Solana Beach”.

physical-therapy-search-data

As you can see, the search for “physical therapy Solana Beach” is relatively rare (in fact, the one result we see “Solana Beach Physical Therapy” is the name of competitor in the area). What you should notice is that a search for the name of the practice (any type of search with the word “Gaspar” in it), is the most common type of search. This is the name/reputation search I was referencing above.

Therefore, this is the type of search you want to dominate page 1 of Google for – a search for your business name.

Additionally, because review sites often are displayed for name searches, you should make sure that you have great reviews. While only approximately 20 percent of patients are influenced by reviews, there are all kinds of statistics and reports suggesting that reviews really matter. This infographic summarizes how consumers value reviews.

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Note on Geographic Search Engine Marketing: I am not saying that you shouldn’t invest some time and money to get your practice listed for a geographic search.

This type of search, as noted above does happen, but it is much less common. As such, you should make sure match your dollars invested proportionally to the potential return on investment.

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Case Study

Here is an example of a practice that doesn’t have the best online reputation when you do a search for them by name. Personally, I know this practice delivers excellent care. However, it only takes one or two unhappy people that post negative reviews, to give others that have been referred to the practice, (and do a name/reputation search) a negative impression.

poor physical therapy website search results

The Solution is Both Simple and Affordable.

First, Claim Your Listings

you should to go to www.getlisted.org and claim your business listings. Enter your business name and zip code, see which listings you haven’t claimed and go through the process. It is rather labor intensive but not technically challenging at all.

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Words of Caution:

  • When you do claim your listings, make sure you are not duplicating an already claimed listing.
  • Do NOT do it part way. Fill in all of the information for each listing.
  • Make sure your Name, Address, Phone Number, Web Address, match exactly what you have on your website.
  • Consistency will help you maintain good search engine rankings or possibly improve them if you are not ranked as high as you’d like to be.

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Second, Get Some Practice Reviews

I recommend you use mobile website and your desktop physical therapy websites to boost your reputation.

After you have claimed your listings, encourage your patients to review you on Google, Yelp, Yahoo, and the Yellowpages.com. By doing so, additional positive search engine listings will be present when prospective patients do that all important, name/reputation search. They will see lots of colored stars and great reviews which will confirm in their mind that the referral to your practice was a good one.

Put links to your review websites on your mobile optimized version of your website. You can show patients how to start the review process right on their mobile phone while they are in your clinic! As a side note, they can also easily get to your social media properties like Facebook and “Like” your business page.

Here’s a Good Example

Good Search Marketing Results

Take a look at this SERP(search engine results page). This practice dominates the listings, there are lots of stars (though I would suggest they improve the 3-star Yelp listing), and even a video on page 1. This is how you want to dominate the page.

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Action Items

In summary, physical therapy websites often get lots of traffic. Because you are a referral business, the most common search is for your business name. Invest your time in making a great impression when patients that have been referred to you do the most common search for your practice – the name/reputation search.

  1. Do a search for your business name.
  2. Claim your listings “properly”, consistently, and completely on getlisted.org
  3. Encourage reviews on your practice. 1 or 2 per month is all you need.
  4. DO NOT get a bunch of reviews at the start then stop acquiring reviews. This could hurt your search engine rankings. Consistency matters.

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