SEO – Organic & Local
It’s not much use having people searching for you if you’re not able to be found.
While a website can get your name and presence out into the world, its success largely depends on whether or not patients can find you! That means having your pages show up in results and listings as the answer they are seeking to their problems.
Search engines like Google have criteria they use to rank pages in their search results. This is also true for local listings that show up in searches—think of the maps and listings that often show up on the top or side of a search.
Approaching your strategy in a way that appeals best to these criteria is what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about.
There are two fields we work with in SEO: organic and local.
Organic SEO: A Results-Minded Website
Organic search results are the “standard” links you see on a results page, outside of the maps and ads. These rankings are based on multiple factors, but boil down to having a reliable website that fulfills patient needs.
A decade ago, you might have been able to get away with having a ton of keywords stuffed throughout your website. But search ranking algorithms have evolved since then, becoming more user-based. Elements to look at include:
Website Performance and Reliability
When a search engine indexes a website, it doesn’t just look at content. It also reviews how fast the website loads, whether there are broken links, and if there are too many redirects and “dead pages,” to name a few items. Finding issues, correcting them, and updating your website appropriately will have a positive effect on rankings.
You can’t rank first for every search ever made. This means efforts should be focused on appearing for the keywords, terms and questions that your patients use. Once these are identified, it’s again not about sprinkling them throughout your website like a lure. Instead, they are the inspiration for creating useful, engaging content that keeps people on your pages. This is the kind of behavior Google now notices and ultimately rewards.
Your website might feel like its own island in the ocean of the Internet, but the connections others make to it are an important part of an SEO strategy. When external websites in good standing with Google link to your site, Google begins holding yours in higher regard as well. Having great content, as we just mentioned above, is an important aspect of garnering such links. It is also worth pursuing opportunities for guest content on other sites, or for being linked through your alma mater.
Local SEO: The Right Information in the Right Places
Local SEO influences your showing in listings, directories, and maps. There are a lot of places where your information can appear, and the goals are to be widespread, accurate, and consistent.
Your practice name, address, phone number, and hours are crucial elements to your local presence. An incorrect listing may make prospective patient unable to reach you, or have you marked as closed during a time you are open.
The more consistent this information is across the Internet, the stronger and more reliable this presence is seen. There are a lot of places listings can appear, however. Our Integrated Local Solutions platform is a great way to maintain consistency. We feed content to online aggregators, who broadcast it out to multiple other sources. Simultaneously, sources of incorrect information can be found and suppressed.
Additionally, your website content can help corroborate your local listings. Making sure your location(s) and hours are properly and correctly mentioned on your website adds to the collective weight and influence of your listings.
Local listings, such as on Google, Yelp, RateMDs, and even Facebook, also gather points for reviews. Ratings and consistency can influence rankings, so it is important to encourage positive reviews from happy patients while also responding to negative feedback in a constructive way. Our Integrated Local Solutions platform can provide up-to-date notifications of new reviews across major listings, so responses can always be timely and appropriate.
On Target and On Top
A good SEO strategy not only relies on technical analysis and strategy, but engaging content creation as well. With firm goals set, studies of keywords and competition, and writing tailored to your patients, VMD Services can set you on an upward path through search results and local listings. Give us a call and let us start optimizing for you!