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Local seo and online visibility is criutical for optometry practices.
As an optometrist, digital marketing that creates a strong online presence in your local area, is crucial. Your potential patients are certain to search Google or Bing before they trek into town to visit a practice. To reliably attract new patients and grow your business you need the right SEO based digital marketing strategy. Having looked at the way optometrists and opticians put themselves out there, in various locations around the UK over the past few months, there is a very clear divide. Towns dominated by the national chains such as Specsavers, Vision Express and Boots. And then there are towns where the optical industry independents have grabbed their marketing by the eyeballs and decided that the big boys aren’t going to have it all their own way!
In Manchester, independent practices dominate the search results
Optometrists and opticians in London's Newham have tackled the national chains head on... successfuly.
In large population centres like Manchester, with its plethora of digital marketing companies, and even London boroughs like Newham, switched on optometrists have been quietly working away at improving their local visibility. In these cities and towns, they are reaping the rewards of not being intimidated by gigantic national chains with large marketing budgets. It is always possible to tap into your local connection.
In Wigan, the independent optometry and optician practices are completely overwhelmed by the large national chains.

In other towns, boroughs and cities across the UK, it seems that independent optometry and optician practices have been unwilling to tap into their local roots to challenge the domination of the national chains in their area.

So, how have these successful challengers done it?

They have worked at the basics in terms of local SEO and digital PR.

Keyword Research: The SEO Foundation for Visibility for Independents
Optometrist examination of patient's eye, with a blue iris, eyelashes and sclera.
The first step in creating optimised, helpful, rich content for optometrists is to understand your customers. You will have a pretty good idea of what patients want when they come to your practice for eye tests or glasses fitting. That is a good starting point for conducting useful keyword research. However, the way a patient talks to you face to face can be very different to the way they search online.
This process involves identifying the specific keywords and phrases that potential patients are using when searching for eye care services. By understanding the language your audience uses, you can create content that targets their specific needs and interests. The process involves you putting yourself in the shoes of the patient you want to attract.
You are trying to see the the process the way they see their optical problems. It’s a bit like finding their individual colours in the rainbow of their optical needs. If you craft your website with the wrong colours (keywords); the rainbow (how you meet their needs), might look a bit off!
Keywords can be obvious: such as eye test, optician, and optometrist. But these can also be the most competitive and hard to rank for against chains such as Specsavers or Vision Express. This can be true even when clients are searching on their phones quite close to your practice.
Other relevant phrases for optometrists could be: oct eye tests, eye exams, or eye doctors. Does your practice show up for these searches? There are ways to discover keywords that people use. The simplest way is to carry out searches online and see if the results that come up, are the ones you want to be found in.
As you type in your search phrase, you will be used to Google throwing up suggestions as you type. Those suggestions can be found at the bottom of the final results page.
There are also tools like Google Keyword Planner and Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest (a basic free version is available). These will give you lots of ideas and an idea of how often these searches are used every month. When you hire an SEO services company like ClimbHigh, we use professional tools such as SEMrush, and Ahrefs: to find the most relevant keywords for your business.
We also have a grasp of the longer tail keywords that might be useful for you. Additionally we are always on the lookout for phrases that may be about to come into use. This is why we will question you closely about your business and upcoming developments: in your profession and products.
Long tail is jargon (apologies) for more complex search phrases that suggest the searcher has a better defined idea of what they want… and are getting ready to commit or buy.
Those lists of keywords then need to be gathered together, looked at critically to be sure they are relevant to YOUR practice and grouped into clusters. These groups have to make sense for individual pages of the website.
Yioung child having eye test at optometrists

Content Creation: Putting The Colour Into The Patient’s Rainbow

Once you’ve identified the right keywords and strategised where they are going to be used on the website – the real work starts. The next step is to create high quality content that addresses your audience’s needs. It has to speak to your potential patients in the language that they use… and that’s not necessarily the way you feel comfortable expressing how, you satisfy the searcher’s needs.

This is the point where we strongly advise optometry business owners to use a professional copywriter. They have the artistry to find the delicate balance between the searcher’s rainbow and your voice. Your content should be helpful, informative, engaging, and easy to read. When creating content, it’s essential to consider the following:

  • The length of your content: Your content should be comprehensive, but not too long. Depending on what you are explaining, this could be anything from 500 to 2,500 words or more in length. Don’t just stuff it with the keywords you’ve found. Make sure it focusses on the topic and explains it in language that works for humans!
  • Use of subheadings: Use subheadings to break down your content into manageable sections. People skim read online so headings help to make sense of long reads.
  • Use of keywords: Use your target keywords naturally throughout your content along with the closely related ones and phrases that you have seen other high ranking pages for that topic use.
  • Include rich media: i.e. images, videos, and infographics to make your content more engaging. Again use the media to help the reader grasp what the page is about.
  • Expertise: Google and Bing are both keen that you can demonstrate your expertise in the topic by providing detailed information that addresses your audience’s needs.

Optimising Your Content: Tuning in to Your Patient

The optometry SEO mission isn’t finished there. Creating that high-quality content is just the first step in publishing to the web. To outrank your competitors, you need to optimise your content for search engines with some slightly more technical steps. The essential optimisation techniques include:

Meta data

  • Give each page or blog article a unique, descriptive and keyword-rich title tag: Your title tags should give a clear idea of what your content is about and should include the target keywords in the first 55 – 60 characters. It’s OK to have them longer than this, but front-load the tag with the information the searcher wants to see.
  • Use meta descriptions: The meta description’s job is to craft a “hook”. It’s catchy enough to pique the interest of the searcher and it provides a summary of your content to search engines and users.
  • Use alt tags for images: Alt tags serve two important functions. Firstly they are for visually challenged people using the web. They help those people with poor vision to interpret what an image is about. Secondly they provide succinct descriptions of your images to search engines.
  • Use internal and external links: The web is about connections in the “knowledge graph”. Link phrases from the page content to other pages on your website, where the reader can find out more about the concept, product or service. You can also link out sparingly to external websites and pages to provide helpful sources for readers and more context to search engines.
  • Update or create a Google Business Profile (and Bing Places) listing, to create a business listings within the main search engines to showcase your practice’s location, hours, branding and services
  • Get listed in as many online directory sites as you possibly can… tedious but essential local SEO basics!
  • Try to encourage backlinks: you need to persuade other vision related websites to link to your information. This is often the hardest part and will be dealt with separately

Further Marketing Ideas for Optometrists: SEO Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

In addition to SEO, there are several marketing ideas that optometrists can use to attract more customers and grow their business. To be productive, the SEO approach needs to be in tune with your overall marketing plan. Some of these ideas include:

  • Offering special promotions or discounts for new patients… but you are probably doing that already.
  • Take advantage of our hyper local, digital advertising service to gain prominence where your ideal patients are. Amplify your brand!
  • Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to showcase your practice and engage with patients
  • Host educational events or webinars to engage with potential patients
  • Partner with other local businesses to cross-promote each other e.g. by joining a local business networking group.

Search Optimisation for Optometrists… it’s a Breeze!

By following these essential local SEO practices and following up on just these basic marketing ideas you will improve your visibility to the patients you want to attract. You can create high-quality search tuned content that outranks your competitors on Google search results. This is what catches their eye and attracts new people when those people search for an optometrist.

But… I thought you were an optometrist! That’s weeks you’ve just put in, without treating a single vision problem. Why not let us look after your SEO and digital marketing requirements: while you do what you actually want to do, running your optometry practice.

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