An important part of your online credibility is ever-increasing online visibility — what is your SEO game plan?
The internet has changed the way we shop, communicate and do business. It seems there’s a website or app built to deliver on our every whim, eliminating the need to run out to our local corner store or pharmacy. Everything is virtually at our fingertips. From UberEats’ General Tso’s Chicken to mail-order Covid-19 tests, just Google it (Bing it, Yahoo it or Reddit it…) and watch it magically appear at your doorstep. But you have to find it, and for it to be found, your content needs search engine optimization (SEO) and an SEO game plan.
Every health care practice can benefit from SEO
When it comes to health care, we find doctors, services and health care practices this same way. We search online, read community comments, check Yelp reviews and browse directories.
This is why running a medical practice requires an online presence and marketing efforts to connect with potential new patients. After all, the best health care provider in the world isn’t helpful if no one knows where to find them.
Word of mouth about your business practice has moved from the company water cooler to searchable online community groups, chat rooms, and online directories complete with hashtags, links, opt-ins and landing pages. And it’s never been more important to create an online strategy to reach the people who need your services most. So, where do you start?
An SEO game plan strategy for your practice, regardless of size
SEO means tipping Google’s search engine results in your favor when someone is searching for a product or service you provide.
When someone searches for a chiropractor, ultimately you want your chiropractor business to appear as one of the top 4 results. This way, your practice, rather than someone else’s, is more likely to get a phone call or a click to your website for more information.
While this sounds simple, remember your business is competing for placement with millions of other companies and chiropractors much like yours. So how does Google decide which businesses will show up at the top?
Paid versus organic search
There are two ways Google’s search engine ranks businesses for search result queries: paid search and organic search, the difference being somewhat obvious.
- Paid search results are those listings requiring a fee for the search engine to list their link for a particular keyword. A widely used form of paid listing is pay per click (PPC) where you pay each time someone clicks on the link of your ad. The price increases in accordance with the competitiveness of the keyword.
- Organic search results are pulled by the search engines’ web crawlers that rank your website for relevance. This is calculated based on keyword match in your website pages and the number of links to your website from outside sources. Ranking at the top of search organically is most optimal, because not only is it free, but people are more likely to click on organic search results than those results appearing as paid search.
No company is too large or too small to benefit from an SEO strategy. However, the more important question is, “Where do you want to take your business?” as that will determine your SEO game plan and goals.
If the idea is to expand the number of patients and increase revenue, then a top search result on Google is crucial. If your practice relies solely on referrals and the current revenue stream is keeping up with your expectations, then a more complex SEO strategy may not be necessary for you.
SEO strategies range in size from simple blogging and keywords to hiring an outside marketing company or SEO expert to provide an arsenal of data-driven marketing tactics. Regardless of size, every health care practice should incorporate the following organic SEO practices to optimize search ranking:
- Get Google reviews from happy customers. The first thing potential patients do to learn about your business is to review sites. Learn where your patients are searching to find you, and make sure your business appears there.
- Add fresh content to your blog. Google reads new blog post pages as an update to your website, giving your site preference in search. Adding links in your blog posts to other pages and blog posts on your website also improves your website’s search ranking.
- Write about services your practice offers on your blog. Use actual language in your blog posts that is likely to be input into a Google search browser to find information. This helps pull up your blog post as a result to a search match query leading directly to your website.
- Post new images on “Google my Business.” Keep directories up to date with properly titled images and relevant information, including hours and location. List all services, products and offerings.
- Stay relevant in your community. The world has never been more connected than it is now via the internet. Everything you do in the real world, from volunteering to supporting schools, to sponsoring local events, gets shared online and drives back to your business. Seek outside links from your community to your website.
- Write articles in local newspapers and magazines. Stay out front and center by offering your wisdom as an industry expert. Not only does it keep your name and business practice top of mind, it provides a digital linking opportunity from media outlets to your website, which improves your website’s search ranking.
Grow your practice through advanced SEO strategies
Your SEO budget will be determined by the loftiness of your business objectives. You can start small by buying Google Ads and setting aside a monthly budget, or go big by hiring a marketing firm or SEO partner.
- Buy relevant keywords with Google Ads. Head over to Google’s keyword planner to discover which keywords are best for your practice. Just drop in names of services or products related to your business. The results will give you a long list of keywords, how frequently they are searched, along with pricing and competition level for the keyword. Look for words or phrases that you can ultimately own that aren’t highly competitive or break the bank. Find the balance of relevant words with low competition. You can refine your keyword search on the right to help you narrow down your results. Once you narrow your search, test them out with a Google Ads plan designed to drive traffic to your website. You can also use those keywords throughout your website to help the website get found in search.
- Conduct an SEO website audit. Hire an SEO expert to go through your company’s website and optimize it for search engines. Expect your website content to be optimized with proper title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, links, backlinks, load speed and image titles. Once optimized, your website will run quickly and efficiently, ready to appear in search.
- Hire an SEO firm for a more complex, ongoing SEO effort. If you’re looking to grow your revenue, you’ll need to expand your reach to drive more business to your practice. This requires a more advanced SEO strategy that is implemented for you, constantly adjusted and refined for optimal results. It’s not about the size of your practice or whether your business can support the effort, it’s about the business goals of your company. This is particularly helpful for multi-location practices delivering a high return on investment.
Start building your website search ranking now
Establishing your online credibility is the digital equivalent of building your real-life professional reputation. It’s important to embrace technology as part of your business growth model with an SEO game plan, as old school, traditional methods of getting business leads have gone by the wayside.
Today, patients gain trust in service providers who have online visibility, reputable reviews, and easy-to-access information they need. Once you get your website optimized and start pointing traffic directly to relevant content on your site, you’ll be amazed by the number of views and leads coming to your website, and in turn, through your front office door.
RUSSELL GREENSEID, DC, is a chiropractor, major shareholder and chief of staff at Metro Healthcare Partners in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is a trusted advocate and respected voice in the chiropractic field with a doctor of chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, N.Y. He resides in Short Hills, N.J., with his wife and two sons. Visit metrohealthnyc.com for more information on Greenseid and his multidisciplinary team of professionals.