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Local ranking factors

What Does Google Look for When Ranking Your Clinic?

In last week’s Free Webinar, we looked at local ranking factors and what Google is taking into account when ranking your clinic, using this to put together action priorities for your SEO strategy.

Watch the Webinar Replay

Or for those (like me!) who prefer to read, let’s look at each of the topics in turn…

Google Business Profile – Key Factors

Your Google Business Profile is the first key to ranking your business online. It’s easy to set up and maintain, and is arguably the single biggest ranking factor.

The 3 most important factors in ranking your clinic there is actually little you can do much about. They are simply about returning relevant results to the searcher – so if I google “physiotherapist near me” in London, I don’t get carpenters in Manchester.

  • Relevance (i.e. name of service) – ensure your primary category is correctly set on your Google Business Profile, and make use of any secondary categories Google offer that accurately describe your other services.
  • Proximity to search
  • Keywords in business name – although Google say it doesn’t make a difference it does, a huge difference. If I am searching London dentist and your business is called The London Dentist, you stand a huge advantage over businesses which don’t contain the keyphrase in their name

Google Business Profile – Other Factors

The secondary GBP factors are much more in your control.

  • Completeness of profile – fill out every section you possibly can on your profile. Make full use of the 750 character description, fill in your services and prices and add as many photos as you can.
  • Your other profile sections should be relevant to your key search. Unlikely to be a problem for clinics as all of your services will generally be related.
  • Your landing page should also contain the keywords you’re trying to target. So if someone is searching for sports injury clinic, Google is less likely to return you if the page the user lands on is optimised for physiotherapy rather than sports injury.
  • Keep your GBP regularly updated. Make use of the posts feature to add regular posts to your GBP, add new photos whenever you can, and keep your description and services updated whenever something changes. Google prefers profiles that are regularly updated to those that are always the same.

A Note About Multidisciplinary Clinics

The more services your clinic offers, the more you are at a disadvantage with your Google Business Profile. Although we can add secondary categories to your GBP and Google recognises the varied content on your website, you can only pick one primary category and one landing page, and you will always rank higher for this term than any others, and struggle for your secondary terms against clinics that are optimised purely or primarily for those services.


Reviews are a huge ranking factor when it comes to local SEO. Although one review won’t make a huge difference, once you start getting beyond 50 or 100 reviews the difference to local SEO is massive.

It will take time to build reviews, the important thing is just to have a system in place. Ensure that every patient is asked to leave a review and sent a link to be able to review you online. We and other agencies offer various services to ensure this happens, or you can set aside a time to do it yourself, or get an admin to do it.

Website Optimisations

Next up is your website. Ensure that your website is optimised for your service (e.g. dentist, counsellor, etc.), your location and also for conversion, meaning that when someone lands on it they are funnelled into making a booking. Don’t make information hard to find.

There’s a full guide to both conversion rate optimisation and on-page SEO in our free downloads. You might also want to see our guide to clinic SEO.

Other Types of Webpage

With a basic website complete and optimised, start building out your website with other types of page.

  • Clinic / Location Page – a page entirely optimised for your location. If you have multiple locations do one for each. Each should contain a map, address and contact details, practical clinic information and if possible some local area information as well.
  • Treatment / Service Pages – a page for each service (dentist, teeth whitening, airflow polishing, etc.) Optimise these for the service and the location and include plenty of “conversion sections” such as book now call to actions, reviews, “our clinicians” etc. Aim for around 800-1000 words.
  • Condition Pages – a page for each of the main conditions you want to treat, in addition to your main service pages. So for example if you’re a counsellor, you might also have pages for terms like “anxiety”, “depression”, “trauma” and so on, according to your main SEO targets. See our guide to condition pages.
  • Clinician Pages – a page for each clinician working at your clinic. It’s possible to put all these on one page, but slightly better for SEO to put them separately. Be sure to include their qualifications and experience, as Google is looking for this when choosing who to rank.


Once your website is complete with all these pages, start working on your blog. Your blog can provide “tier 2” content for your main pages, going into more depth about specific areas of the treatment or condition you are trying to target. Link them to the main treatment and condition pages, and back again.

Your blog also keeps your website fresh, which Google likes, and will over time make you a more and more useful repository of content, something else Google likes. You can also use your blog articles to share on your social media and with your mailing list to keep engaged with your followers.


Citations are listings on business directories like Yell and, and on other directories such as GPS networks (like TomTom).

Although for the majority of these sites it’s unlikely someone will ever find your business from it, citations send important trust signals to Google to show that your business is where it says it is, and someone will also give you a useful link back to your website.

You can build citations manually, but it is very frustrating and time consuming. Instead you can use an agency such as us, or look for online citation builder services, but be warned they vary in the quality of the citations being built and you get what you pay for.

Aim for around 50 citations for smaller clinics, 100+ for larger.

Other Links

Once citations are built, start trying to build links to your clinic from other sources. We’re now at the point where harder work is required to try and move your SEO forward further, but quality links will help you to continue growing and outranking your competitors.

  • Local directories – councils usually have a list of local businesses
  • Trade or niche directories
  • Local press may have business directories, or you may be able to get press coverage when doing events or when you have genuinely interesting news
  • Local partnerships with other organisations – see our guide on how to create local partnerships for your clinic
  • You can also pay for links in the form of guest posts or niche edits.

Focusing on non-SEO & Thinking Outside the Box

Once all the “SEO” things are done, focus on genuine organic marketing rather than trying to do SEO activities for the sake of it. In the course of these activities you’ll generate inbound links and raise your profile, giving you more SEO juice.

  • Make a local outreach list of organisations you can try to partner or work with and work through them
  • Create varied seasonal offers which you can share with your list and social. Try to make them interesting or novel so people will talk about them
  • Create a media list and send press releases every time you do something interesting
  • The corollary of the last point – do interesting things! Maybe hold charity events or do things for the local community – get creative!
  • Always be thinking what you can do to promote, and ask for a link from other people’s websites whenever you help them out.
  • Get out and network organically in real life. Try to make new friends and associates, and you can co-promote and reciprocal link.