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Expert Advice on Local Drug Rehab Marketing: The Local Search Ecosystem

Posted on Nov 13, 2017 by Jim Peake

Expert Advice Local Drug Rehab Marketing The Local Search Ecosystem - Addiction-Rep

In this installment of our ongoing blog series on “Expert Advice on Local Drug Rehab Marketing,” we want to introduce readers to the “Local Search Ecosystem” and how it plays a part in marketing treatment centers and programs online.

We aim to educate those in the rehab space on the importance and complexity of local marketing and to give a better understanding of how search engines understand locality. To get a good view of how local marketing works as a whole online, we have to first zoom out and get a bird’s eye view of the tangled web of local data, aggregators and popular websites/services involved in local.

The Local Search Ecosystem

Whitespark Local Search Ecosystem Illustration

See The Full Interactive Infographic HERE
(Source: Whitespark Inc. and Tidings Company LLC)

Two highly respected companies, Whitespark and Tidings, recently produced the graphic above as a resource for businesses and SEO professionals. A lot of work went into making this visual representation of how local data, business citations, data aggregation sites, and popular sites and services all connect together to form a local search ecosystem.

Even though the above graphic has simplified the idea of the local search ecosystem into a single image, it may still be daunting or confusing to some. This underscores the complexity of local search and marketing, and should help local business owners – including rehab owners – understand the need for local marketing to be managed by professionals who understand the ecosystem fluently.

NAP Data for Businesses

Returning to the graphic, we see lots of lines in the center of the image that connect back and forth to some of the biggest sites and services online, but what exactly is being shared between all of these sites? The answer is NAP data and business citations.

What Is NAP for Business?

NAP is an acronym for Name, Address and Phone Number. It is the basic information for a business and can include the name of the business, the address of each physical location, phone number for each location, and additional information such as:

  • Hours of availability
  • Alternate contact methods
  • Geographic coordinates of a business location
  • Type of business
  • Website connected to a business or specific business locations
  • Social profiles connected to a business

NAP Citations

Each time the NAP data is listed on a website, this is called a NAP citation. NAP citations can build the overall visibility of your business online and paint a clear picture of who you are (as a business) and your most basic information if they are done correctly.

However, if done incorrectly, NAP citations can send mixed signals to data aggregators and core search engines like Google, painting an unclear picture of who you are (as a business), what you offer, where you are located and your contact information.

Search engines are more likely to give your business visibility online if the engine has a clear understanding of your business. This means:

  • Good Citations = Higher Online Visibility
  • Bad/Inconsistent Citations = Lower Online Visibility

Building Local NAP Citations for Drug Rehabs

For each vertical (or type of industry/business), the citation criteria and needs will change just a bit. Marketing for a drug rehab center is much different than marketing for a restaurant, so when building citations, it is essential to build the correct citations that are needed for the industry.

Primary Data Aggregators for Local Businesses

While the phrase “Primary Data Aggregators” may sound new, you may have heard of the main aggregators:

  • Factual
  • Infogroup
  • Acxiom
  • Neustar
  • Localeze

These aggregators take the NAP information and push the information to other local citation sites. An example is that Localeze can take your business information (NAP) and push that information to Yahoo! Local, creating yet another citation back to your business. These aggregators also push this information to the core search engines, like Google.

While Google may already know a significant amount about your business, it uses this aggregated data in making decisions about what to display in search results. Therefore, for a search query of “find a drug rehab near McCook Nebraska,” Google may use a Yahoo! Local citation of your rehab in North Platte, Nebraska as a factor in displaying search results. That single citation may be enough to convince the Google algorithm that displaying your business is the most relevant search result.

A citation won’t necessarily guarantee your business is displayed in search results, but for location-specific search queries, Google is definitely going to take local citations into consideration.

Vertical Directories for Drug Rehab Citations

One of the biggest myths in local SEO for rehab businesses is that signing up for a one-size-fits-all local citation package will take care of all of the local marketing that a rehab needs.

While it is great to have the basic citations for your business on blanket directories such as SuperPages, and these citations can help to give a clear idea of your NAP, the most powerful citations for an addiction treatment center are citations on industry-specific directories.

In the rehab industry, you might recognize some of these vertical directories such as Psychology Today or Rehabs.com. Data aggregators are not going to push your information to sites like these that will add more power to your citation portfolio.

For real drug rehab local marketing and citation building, you will want to work with an industry expert who knows and understands the vertical as well as relevant vertical directories. Such a professional could ensure that your business has the highest reach and visibility not only online, but in the corners of the local search ecosystem that are specific to the addiction treatment industry.

Challenges to Local Marketing and Citations in the Rehab Industry

Again, we want to stress the fact each industry has specific needs that have to be addressed within local marketing, and the rehab industry has many specifics that aren’t often found in other industries. This can change the rules for local marketing, and in order to market your rehab business correctly, your local SEO should be well-versed in the rules for local rehab marketing.

Some of the challenges and differences for rehab businesses may include:

  • Your potential clients are not local customers: This is the biggest challenge in effective local rehab marketing. With a business like a restaurant, proximity is one of the biggest factors for customers; they want to find a business close to them. With rehab, proximity is not always the leading factor when people are researching and choosing a program. How do you market locally to customers on the East Coast when your facility is located on the West Coast?
  • Multiple addresses for different services: The residential facility where your clients receive inpatient care may be different from the facility where they receive outpatient care, detox services or other phases of treatment. Additionally, your home office may be yet another address. How do you keep the citations clean for multiple addresses and still send the signals that are needed for search engines to understand your business information and what you offer?
  • Your services are not blanket services and have unique factors that need to be understood, such as gender-specific treatment, substance-specific treatment, modality-specific treatment and therapies, etc. How do you extend your unique service offering to your local marketing?

The above challenges are just a few of the exceptions that rehab owners and marketing managers need to take into consideration with a local drug rehab marketing campaign. The answers to the questions and challenges won’t necessarily be found in a local marketing “package” or a local marketing option that is not specific to rehab.

Finding Local Marketing Experts in the Rehab Space

Addiction-Rep has a fluent understanding of the rehab industry and the industry-specific corners of the local search ecosystem. Offering our clients answers to the unique challenges in successfully marketing rehab locations, facilities and businesses is our specialty.

If you are not seeing the results you want from local rehab marketing campaigns, or if you are looking to begin a new campaign or have run into local challenges, contact us for an audit and proposal, and we can offer our local SEO and marketing services to extend the reach and online visibility of your business.

Want to learn more about local drug rehab marketing? Read our previous feature and sign up for our industry newsletter to receive our next installment of “Expert Advice on Local Drug Rehab Marketing.”

Read the Previous Article in This Series

Local Drug Rehab Marketing: Part 1 – The Basics


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