Tips to get your practice to the top
During a lecture at the New York Vet Show conference, Cesar Garcia shares his advice on how to get your practice to the top of a Google search page
Whether someone is a new pet owner or recently moved to a new area, Cesar Garcia, senior vice president of sales at iMatrix, explained that most pet owners will search “veterinarians near me” to find medical care for their pet. Because of that, Garcia stressed the importance of being one of the top listed veterinarians in that search, in his session, “Attracting New Patients in a Post COVID World” at the 2022 New York Vet Show in New York, New York.1
Garcia explained to attendees that consumers do most of their research on Google, so if they are an owner searching for a new veterinarian, they will most likely find a practice listed on Google rather than social media. Because of this, Garcia said, “If you are not [in the search results], you do not exist. The only way you exist if somebody recommends you.” Garcia stated that while recommendations are still good promotion, they have their limitations and can only go so far with attracting new clients.
How do you target new clients?
First, Garcia explained that Google divides geographical areas into “geo fences” which is like an area box that is near the current location of the searcher. He used the example of Manhattan to further explain this. Within that example, only nearby practices on Manhattan Island would show on Google when pet parents are searching “veterinarians near me.” However, although Queens visually looks nearby, practices in that area would not show up since the reality of traveling from Manhattan to Queens is inconvenient for most clients.
Why does this matter? Garcia stated that knowing your geo fence or search location box can help you understand your target audience. If your practice is in a convenient proximity to where clients live in a particular town or city, then it should definitely be coming up in those types of Google searches.
Besides location, Garcia explained the pros and cons of Google targeted advertisements. One pro, according to Garcia, is being pushed to the top of a search page. He gives an example, “If you perform surgeries, right, and my animal has been injured, I do not have time to be scrolling through. If I have a bleeding animal—to find the best veterinary practice, I'm going to look at whoever is at the very top, I'm going to click them, [and] I'm going to call them. So targeted ads work for that type of a patient.”
However, a con of Google ads is the cost. Sometimes certain practices cannot afford the ads and therefore this option of attracting new clients can be difficult to implement.
One way to put yourself to the top of a search on Google is through the “organic section” meaning that without using ads or proximity, practices can produce content that is relative to a consumers search. If your practice has a dentistry specialty for example, Garcia suggests to create regular content on your website to draw more traffic. “Google likes to see is our people have actually visited your website. So, if you created [an article] about dog teeth cleaning, and then you promoted that page, then more people will see it. And then it'll be quicker that you move up in your rankings [on the search results page],” he said.
Garcia, C. Attracting New Patients in a Post COVID World. Presented at: 2022 New York Vet Show, New York, New York. November 2-4, 2022.