SEO. Oh sweet SEO.
Search engine optimization.
This is probably the most important and most misunderstood aspect of building a website that converts prospective patients or visitors into actual patients.
The reason SEO, or search engine optimization, is so important is approximately 70% of clicks go to native search results (not ad’s). And, approximately 70% of clicks go to the top 5 results for the keyword which is searched.
So yes, if you search YOUR CITY CHIROPRACTOR and you are not in the top 5 results then it is very likely you are getting next to zero clicks to your website.
And often, being in the top 5 doesn't cost any money at all. You just need to give Google the information necessary to find you. You need to be a relevant result.
Remember that all of your marketing efforts work together. They should play nice. When you have good traffic coming in daily from Google this will help build your email list (a certain percentage of visitors should always convert to your email list via an opt-in).
Then you should use your Facebook pixel to re-target these visitors on social media. Even more advanced marketers could use a pixel from Perfect Audience and begin re-targeting across the entire web.
Personally, this is something I overlooked for a long time with The Evidence Based Chiropractor. But then, I saw Tommy Griffith, SEO Chief at AirBnB and formerly of Paypal, speak and it started to all come together.
I am willing to bet their are a few very simple tweaks you can make to your website right now that will boost your Google rank.
I bring up Google because they account for nearly 85% of search engine queries. For local businesses lets face it- Google is the master and we are all puppets.
The challenge with Google is they pretty much don't release any data on how or why they make any decision regarding search ranking.
But, all is not lost. We (and by “we” I mean people way smarter than me) have figured out the how and why of Google results.
This topic alone could take up thousands of pages in a book, but we will break it down to a few simple keystones you can implement immediately.
Here are a few tools you should be using and we will dive into what each one does.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools, now known as Google Search Console, is ground zero for optimizing your chiropractic SEO. Basically, this tool will show any “problems” with your website.
See, Google can be finicky. If it encounters a problem with your website they know the user experience will not be great.
User’s don't like problems.
Potential new patient’s don’t like problems.
Google doesn't like problems.
And you get slapped on the wrist. Which means you get a lower ranking for errors on your website.
The nice thing is that Google will tell you about every error. But you need to ask. And the Google Search Console is the place to ask. You just quickly enter in your URL and it will give you a variety of tools to look at any problems with your website.
Also, you can upload a sitemap. A sitemap is literally a “map” of your website. This gives Google additional information to easily crawl, or search, your website. That is a good thing because it will give them additional information to match your site to potential visitors.
So, when you first get into the Search Console you will be able to see your Crawl Errors, Search Analytics and Sitemaps. Sound complicated, but its not.
The Crawl Errors are when Google is having a hard time finding content on your site. Essentially, they are “error” which is making it confusing for your content to be found. Not a good thing.
But, you can check your Crawl Errors at anytime and correct them. Thank you Google.
Next we need to look at Search Analytics. Using Google Analytics is one of the best ways to discover the nitty-gritty of your content and its performance. However, Search Analytics is also a nice little tool for you to take a quick look at your progress (or lack of progress).
Finally are Sitemaps. As we reference above, a sitemap is literally a map of your site. It allows Google to quickly find and index the content on your site. The easier you make it for them the better your results will be. So make sure you have an updated sitemap uploaded. Usually you can find them as an extension of your site with .sitemap/xml
Moz is an awesome service company that provides super-high quality web analytics. Basically, they have a tool set that gives you a plethora of information to make your site more Google friendly.
Their suite of tools includes an open site explorer, SEO tool, Keyword search tool and others. Keep in mind some of their tools are paid and not free. And the paid tools are best for professional SEO specialists and marketing types in larger companies.
For most chiropractors they are overkill (they are professional marketing level products) and won’t give good return (they are also somewhat pricey).
BUT, their free tools are exactly what you need to help build a great online home.
Let’s look at a few tools.
The Moz open site explorer tool should be an essential part of your chiropractic SEO toolkit. This tools allows your to research backlinks, finding backlink opportunities and get a fantastic overall feel for your website.
Everything that Moz creates is very easy to use. And Open Site Explorer is no different. Simply enter the web address you want to investigate into the search bar and click search (also great for searching competitor’s sites).
The Moz tool with then create a complete profile of your page including Page Authority, Domain Authority, Inbound Links, Social Media links.
Links to your site are still an essential component of getting great SEO. This Moz tool will help you see where you stand. Also, don't forget that you can pump in your competitors website also and see who is linking to their websites. This will give you a great opportunity to reach out if you have a piece of content which is more complete or more current. In other words, Moz Site Explorer is one of the best “research” tools out there. You can literally build a list of opportunities to improve your sites SEO.
Domain Authority and Page Authority are proprietary Moz stats/numbers that help determine your link authority. They analyze the potential of your page/site based on a variety of factors (including links) and then give you an easy to digest number.
The higher the better. For instance, Wikipedia has a Domain Authority near 100. That’s a nice place to be!
But, do not be discouraged if your Domain or Page Authority is not 100. It may even be around 20. It’s ok. It takes time. But as you develop a ton of links from reputable site (with high domain authority) you will notice that your SEO begins to improve and you will place higher in the organic search results for your targeted keywords.
Checking your page speed is also a really good idea. If you website is loading slow it will affect the ranking, but it will also make it much more likely that a visitor gives up before even reaching your homepage.
In the game of page speed- seconds matter.
Reducing your loading time by literally 1 second can make a HUGE difference in user experience. And when Google is ranking search results it will nearly always choose the faster site to list above the slower site.
And don't forget mobile!
Almost 50% of all web traffic is now mobile. Fortunately a vast majority of website are now mobile friendly. Make sure yours is. This is not an option. You site has to be mobile friendly to compete in search rankings now.
The biggest issue my website had initially was image size. “Big” images can drastically slow down your website loading time. It is really really easy to resize images that load 10 or even 20 times faster. Sometimes the resizing of images will be called “compressing” images. For our purposes its the same thing. Reducing the file size to improve load time.
There are a few other items which can really drag down your page. They are:
Page Speed Drags
Remember, improvements to your page speed work in 2 primary ways.
First, you can decrease your load time. This will help keep people from pogo sticking off of your website, which is a huge killer of SEO.
Second, it will give you an advantage other other pages with similar content.
The bump in SEO for page speed is all about user experience. Google wants happy searchers and quick load times are a big first step.
So there you have it. A few simple steps you can dive into to boost your page UP the ranking chart and get more eyes on your practice and more people in your front door.