How to Get Your Podiatry Website Found Online [2018 Edition]

So let’s talk about your website. Maybe you love it and maybe you don’t.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say it’s beautiful. Sleek and contemporary. Eye-catching images and colors. A great logo.

Except there’s a problem. Nobody can find it.

You’re not showing up in search results. The flow of monthly pageviews is at a trickle—at best. Nobody is filling out your contact forms or filing appointment requests.

Why?

It could be a combination of many things. But there’s good news.

Although there’s unfortunately no magic recipe to get to the top of the search results (Google works in mysterious ways), a comprehensive strategy to improve web visibility and traffic can turn an underperforming website into a booming one over time.

Let’s work through some of the possibilities.

Is Your Website Beautiful & Easy to Use?

We know. We just said that looks aren’t everything. That’s still true. We weren’t lying to you.

But they do matter.

More and more, search engines like Google are using customer experience factors to rank websites in search results. That includes things like how long a visitor spends on the site and how many pages they view.

A better-looking and easier-to-use website, with clearer organization and navigation, is generally going to keep visitors engaged longer than something more basic. And that will translate into better visibility over time.

Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile Devices?

You might have the world’s most beautiful website—on a desktop computer. But what happens when you try to access it on a phone?

If it’s ugly, slow, and hard to use, you’ve got a big problem.

In the last several years, mobile traffic has taken over the Internet. Even in an industry like podiatry, we’re seeing half of total web page views (or more) originate from a mobile device.

If your website’s mobile experience is poor, that 50% of your potential patient base is going to be much less likely to convert and much more likely to click away until they find a competitor with a better-optimized site.

But you’ll also start to see the total number of web visits decline, both on mobile and on desktop. That’s because Google cares a great deal about mobile experience and will credit or punish your website accordingly in search rank.

What’s Going on Under the Hood?

Color, graphics, and style of your website are only the surface level. But when it comes to ranking well in search results, there’s a lot under the surface, too.

Specifically, we’re talking about meta tags.

In addition to the customer-facing material on the page itself, your website’s various pages, images, and files all have “meta” information fields that help search engines understand your site better. This includes things like:

If you leave these fields blank, you’re leaving a lot of SEO potential on the table. If, however, you fill them with relevant, keyword-rich copy, you’ll give yourself a leg up.

Title Tags

This text is indexed and displayed on the search results page and at the top of your browser
window or tab when the page is open. It can be different from the on-page headline.

Meta Descriptions

A brief summary of your page content. Google may choose to display your meta description
on the search results page underneath the page title, or it may generate its own.

Image Tags

Images and other files displayed on site also have their own title and description fields. Filling them out not only allows them to rank in image searches, but also contribute to the overall search rank “juice” of the page they’re displayed on.

Are You Updating Your Website with High Quality Content?

Google wants to see evidence that you’re providing real value to your visitors. They also want to see that you’re still out there and active, updating and adding to your site regularly.

One of the best ways to do this is by writing and posting a regular blog on your website. Your blog gives you an opportunity to dig into specific conditions and treatments in more depth and show off a little bit of your personality. This is great, valuable information for patients, and over time strengthens your website’s performance in searches for the key words and topics for the conditions and services you want to promote.

 

Not every topic needs to be directly focused on getting people to book an appointment, though—in fact, you should write frequently on topics that are relevant to your patients and practice in a more general sense. You might talk about effective home remedies for a skin infection, or even a list of local trails or parks great for beginning runners.

You need to think carefully about the lifestyle, interests, needs, and challenges of your patient base. What do they like? What do they care about? How can you use your relevant experience as a podiatrist and community member to help them?

Is Your Content Unique?

 

This one is big in the podiatry industry, as well as medicine in general.

It can be a great benefit for both patients and search engines to provide an “information library” about the kinds of conditions you treat and the services you provide—particularly the most important and profitable specialties at your practice.

But because this potentially represents many pages and a lot of text, many podiatry-specific web designers and digital markets offer a “shortcut” of sorts—a pre-written, pre-packaged selection of articles on common topics, ready to load onto your website.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

Well …

The thing is, Google can tell when your content is fresh and unique, or whether it’s been duplicated in several places across the web. And it’s going to penalize your site for too much identical copy and bury those pages deeper in the search results.

That’s why VMD Services doesn’t offer those kinds of package deals for our clients. We write all our pages fresh and brand new, just for you.

Although it’s more work, it’s much better for you in the long run for two main reasons. One, your pages can be better personalized with your own unique voice, style, personality and treatment options. And two, the long-term ceiling on your search rankings will be much higher.

Are You on Local Search?

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you, your practice, and any associate practitioners you work with are probably listed with your own pages on dozens of third party review sites. Some of the most prominent include:

For the most part, these listings are created without your knowledge or input. And that can be potentially bad news—especially if, for example:

Names are misspelled

Address and phone numbers are incorrect or missing

Office hours are incorrect or missing

The URL for your website is incorrect or missing

Duplicate listings exist for the same doctor or location

Physicians that are no longer practicing with you are still associated with your location

Even worse, many of these sites and others rely on each other for information and can automatically update, or even generate duplicate “ghost” listings, if they get confused. That means one mistake on a couple of sites can quickly proliferate and clog the net with bad data about your practice.

The good news—and the big opportunity—is that you can claim these listings, gain control of them, and update them.

And that’s something you definitely want to do, since well organized and accurate local search listings can efficiently direct potential patients to your website—or even lead them to call or schedule an appointment directly from the third-party listing!

LOCAL

How Are You Promoting Your Site?

If you’ve been following us so far, you should have a pretty good foundation to improve your organic search rank and traffic flow—or at least an idea of how to get there. But you’re missing another avenue—promotion!

One obvious way to promote your practice is through social media. Your Facebook page, Twitter handle, and other social accounts are a great way to make personal connections with your patients, develop a growing base of followers, and send people to your website. How about sharing some of those awesome, relevant blogs you’ve been writing?

We also strongly encourage you to use your patient database for e-mail marketing. Who better to market to than the people who already know you and value what you do?

Important point: this is not spam, and you don’t want to flood your patients with e-mails they don’t care about and don’t want to read. But relevant, timely, and interesting e-mails can be extremely effective at funneling more traffic to your site and improving patient recall and compliance rates.

For example, you can put all your orthotics patients into a campaign, which automatically sends them reminders when it’s time to re-appoint for an adjustment, as well as helpful information and advice.

Another good promotion option is paid advertising. Now, we’re not talking about buying billboard space or getting on TV or radio, but through pay-per-click advertising (like Google AdWords) or Facebook ads.

With Google, you literally only pay when somebody clicks on the ad and goes through to your website. They don’t click, you don’t pay. You can also set your maximum budget—it could be daily, weekly, or one pot—and the ads will simply turn off when you hit the cap. You also get to bid on the keywords and select your geographic range, so you know how much you’re willing to pay for that click and ensure that only people within a reasonable distance of your office see the ad.

And Facebook? You get a pretty sophisticated suite of tools at your disposal, meaning you can target specific ads only toward users within a specific set of demographic parameters—as wide or narrow as you want to go. Rather than spray-and-pray, you can be confident that a high percentage of users who see your ad are going to be highly interested in the information.

You Won’t Build a Digital Marketing Empire Overnight

Establishing your web presence and improving your search rank and traffic flow will take hard work, and it will take time. There’s no getting around that.

But with solid fundamentals, a good strategy, and some well-chosen advertising campaigns to get you off the ground, you will start to see results. And momentum is everything—once that snowball starts rolling down the hill, it’ll get bigger and bigger, and it’ll become very hard to stop!

So what’s keeping your website from getting found?

If you’re still not clear, or you just want an expert hand guiding the process for you, give VMD Services a call today. We’d love to chat with you about your practice—and how strategic, comprehensive digital marketing can boost your web traffic (and fill your waiting room, too!)

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