What is SEO and Does it Matter?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It involves a set of keywords you use on your web pages that help your website appear near the top of a Google search (or another search engine like Bing or Yahoo).
While critical to the reachability of your website, SEO isn’t as simple as getting it right once, giving yourself a high five and moving on. Just like most things in the tech world, it all changes quickly. What worked a few months ago might not work anymore.
Previously, if your SEO plan checked all of the boxes, your website would move up in ranking. Google’s algorithms have become so sophisticated that determining your search engine ranking position (SERP) is becoming virtually impossible. Search results are now hyper-customized to each individual. This is particularly true with geo-local searches. For example, if you searched for “Functional Medicine Practitioner, St. Louis, MO” today, you would likely find practitioners near you. Whereas previously you might have seen results of a Functional Medicine Practitioner from Washington who paid money to rank high in that search. This change in algorithms makes the opportunities that we used to have within traditional keyword rankings almost extinct. That said, SEO matters now more than ever.
Does this mean when someone offers to manage your SEO for several hundred dollars a month that you should jump on the offer? I say, no! As a small business owner, there are MUCH better ways for you to spend your marketing dollars. If your website is set up correctly, you can tell very quickly how you are ranking and what to do to improve your SEO health. (If you need help with this, reach out, I will show you how.)
Meanwhile, here are some tips and techniques you can use to be sure your SEO is working to drive more patients to your location.
Is your website mobile friendly?
Did you know:
- Internet usage on mobile devices outweighs desktop usage
- Google reports more internet searches on mobile devices than ever before
- 80% of internet users own smartphones
- If your website is not optimized for mobile, you are potentially losing 57% of your potential patients
Your SEO ranking by Google and other search engines increases dramatically when your website is optimized for mobile and tablet viewing.
What to do now: Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to ensure that your website performs as well on smartphones and tablets as it does on desktops. If it doesn’t, contact us, and we will help you determine a plan of action.
Have you checked out your GMB?
A “Google My Business” (GMB) page is vital in helping patients find you. Be sure to use both your name and your practice name. Think about how patients talk about you; they likely say, “I see Dr. XYZ” rather than I go to “Get Well Now practice.” Your patients are probably searching your name rather than your practice name. Having a GMB page allows you to control the information Google reports about your practice in its search results.
What to do now: Update your Google My Business page and be sure it is optimized with your practice name, your name, the correct address, hours, website and phone number.
Are you consistent with your NAP?
Your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) are important SEO indicators for Google and other search engines. When you have inconsistencies in your NAP, you are at risk of search engines distrusting your business. If your NAP is consistent across your GMB page, website and other online directories, Google will recognize and validate the information you have provided and increase your SEO rankings.
What to do now: Test your listing score with this free tool from Moz Local. Don’t like what you see? Give us a call, and we will help you map a plan of action.
Are you key on your words?
To rank well in SEO, make sure you are using SEO keywords that are related to your industry as well as your location. Do extensive keyword research to find the most appropriate and effective keywords for your business.
What to do now: If you are not sure how to research keywords that are optimized for your business, you may want to reach out for help. Simply changing what terms you are using on your website, in your blogs and online directory listings can have a significant impact on your search results.
Are you staying fresh?
Google loves fresh content. You can keep your website fresh by posting blogs regularly, updating your website copy and posting regularly on your social media. Your potential patients are not only searching for your business on various search engines. They are expecting to find you on multiple social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and more.
What to do now: Use a social media content calendar and ready-to-post wellness content to make it easy to stay fresh and relevant. Learn more here.
Are your reviews on point?
84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation.
Search engines feel the same way. Search engines rank local businesses higher based on the number and rating of reviews they accumulate. This is true for not only Google reviews, but reviews from other trustworthy sites, as well. Having reviews on multiple sites will help potential patients feel comfortable engaging with your practice.
What to do now: Ask your patients, including family and friends, to leave a review on each specific platform you are trying to build.
Start today using the above techniques, if you get stuck or have questions along the way, reach out. We are happy to help.