The Top 5 Local Search Ranking Factors for Physical Therapy Clinics in 2024

Do you know how to get your local physical therapy practice to rank higher in search engines?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that patients will likely use a search engine (and over 90% of them will use Google) to research “physical therapy near me” before booking their first PT appointment with you. In fact, in 2024, a whopping 81% of people research local options before booking their first service. 

So, if you want your clinic to thrive (and who doesn’t?), you need to understand the secrets of local search.

At PT Marketing Pros, we specialize in assisting physical therapy clinic owners in getting found online by crafting data-backed methods to rank higher in Google Search. But, above all else, we’re here to help give you an edge whether we partner together or not – so let’s dive into some key factors that will help your clinic get ranked at the top of your local search results. 

The Importance of Implementing Local Search Ranking Factors

To be clear – no one knows Google or Bing’s actual algorithm other than the titans themselves, but we are very aware that these search engines rank content by analyzing various elements of your clinic’s online presence. These ranking signals help search engines determine your practice’s relevance according to relevant search terms, searcher behavior and other influences. When businesses like physical therapy clinics cater to a location-based audience, they use local search factors to improve their performance and attract nearby customers. 

Physical therapy practices fall into the category of local businesses that must tailor their digital presence to meet nearby searchers’ needs. By incorporating the following optimization factors into your marketing plan, you could improve not only your digital performance but also your patient outreach. 

According to a survey of local SEO experts conducted by Whitespark, local search ranking factors include everything from Google Business Profile signals to On-page SEO. We will discuss each of these search factors in more detail below.

What is the difference between “Local Pack/Finder” and “Local Organic” results?

Local Pack/Finder search results include the interactive map results that will appear in a local search. For example:

Local Organic search results include the regular search results that appear below the local map listings. For example:

5 Factors to Determine Local Physical Therapy Search Rankings

1. Google Business Profile Optimization

Since Google Search is by far the most used search engine, an optimized Google Business listing presents a strong first impression to potential patients. When they use Google to search for your clinic name or physical therapists in their area, they’ll discover your Google Business profile with accessible contact information. Your profile also appears on Google Maps when an app user inputs relevant search terms to find a clinic. 

Optimizing your GBP involves:

  • Creating a new profile or claiming an existing one
  • Adding updated contact and address information
  • Listing the specific services your clinic offers
  • Hours of operation and other pertinent data

Your Google Business signals should align with what your clinic provides and how it operates. For example, your profile should reflect any changes in business hours. Otherwise, confused and frustrated patients may choose a different provider because of such inaccuracies. 

2. On-Page Website Optimization

By optimizing your website, search engines can more effectively crawl it and determine where your clinic website appears in relevant searches. 

Here are a few ways you can improve your website for searchability:

  • Inbound and outbound links: Link building improves your clinic’s domain authority. Internal and external links demonstrate your knowledge regarding a specific subject. 
  • Technical search engine optimization: Technical SEO refers to how you implement keywords into website link addresses. Adding search terms related to your services and locations helps search engines determine where and when your website appears. 
  • Keywords used within the content: A smattering of local and industry-specific search terms throughout your website copy ensures potential patients understand the services provided and whether they can easily access them. 
  • Mobile-friendliness: How does your website layout translate across mobile devices? Most searchers use their phones or other portable technology to find information about nearby businesses. A website that doesn’t translate well into mobile formats deters potential patients from booking an appointment. 
  • Content relevance: Do the images, videos and copy accurately and uniquely reflect your therapeutic services and service areas? Your content should distinguish your clinic from other similar providers, promising a personalized experience for each patient.

3. Searcher Personalization

How do you envision searchers interacting with your GBP and website? Which elements encourage them to book an appointment at your physical therapy clinic? Often, potential patients seek specific information before choosing your services. 

For example, they may peruse your positive and negative reviews to learn more about the experiences of current and previous patients. Foster transparency and trustworthiness by responding to all reviews politely. Doing so demonstrates how you care for each patient’s experience. 

You can also implement local search ranking factors such as drafting and publishing unique content throughout each webpage. Use reviews and patient interactions on Google Business and social media accounts to learn the language your patients often use when discussing your services. Having clearly defined calls to action within the page layout will ensure site visitors can conveniently book an appointment.   

4. Behavioral Metrics

Searcher behavior translates into numeric data. Pertinent metrics that influence your search ranking include:

  • Click-through rate: If you launched a Google Ad campaign for your clinic, you want to earn a CTR between 5% and 20%. The CTR is the number of times the ad appeared in searches versus the number of instances the searcher clicked the ad link. 
  • Clicks to call: When a potential patient browses your website on a device that allows call connections, they may click a call button to contact your clinic from your website. 
  • Dwell time: Dwell time refers to how much time a searcher spends on your site pages before navigating back to their search results. Longer dwell time indicates strong site and content relevance.

5. Location Citation Information

Although Google Business is integral to your overall location search relevance, other business listings can also influence where your clinic appears online. Additional profiles also help Google confirm your name, address and phone number. This confirmation makes your clinic appear more consistent and reliable to Google Search, boosting your clinic’s ranking. 

Create profiles on listings like:

  • Yelp
  • Bing Local Business
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Yahoo! Local
  • Moz

Update all connected listings regularly to ensure accurate and consistent NAP information in each area. 


Give Your Clinic a Boost in 2024 with PT Marketing Pros

Balancing your clinic duties with marketing efforts may seem intimidating. If you’d like help getting your clinic to the top of Google, reach out to the local search professionals at PT Marketing Pros! Our team can help you implement a search engine optimization plan that will help you get found online. Call 314-677-7383 or book here to schedule a free strategy session.


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