How to Use SEO to Grow a Practice With Free Traffic
Wouldn’t you love to get more free leads hitting your website day after day? Using SEO to grow your practice is a smart strategy if you want free, organic traffic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your website to appear in search results when your prospective patients look for you online.
Imagine how easy it could be if ideal prospective patients got in touch with you to book appointments automatically — without you having to shell out money for paid advertising.
You can get prospective patients to find you and come to your practice on their own but only if you build your online presence the right way.
A tree falls in the woods…or why your practice website needs SEO
A search engine is programmed to give the person searching for something the best, most relevant results possible.
It does this by reading a website and finding words that most closely match what people type into the search engine to find what they are looking for — this is called the search intent.
If your website is not optimized for search, it will be almost impossible for your prospective audience to find you on the web. It’s like that tree in the forest that nobody can hear fall.
For a strong SEO strategy, you need to start by thinking about why your patients come to you for help.
You can optimize your website for search results by knowing what a potential patient would type into a search engine and adding those specific keywords into your web pages.
Dive into a patient’s thought process to use SEO to grow your practice
What are your potential patients looking for? What is the biggest problem that your patient is trying to solve? You need to put yourself in your patient’s shoes to understand what they might type into a search engine.
For example, if you help patients recover from sports injuries, your patient might look for a “physical therapist” or “sports and rehabilitation therapy” or “sports rehabilitation physical therapy.”
If you’re a functional medicine practitioner who supports women’s hormonal health, your potential patient might search “functional medicine for hormones” or “functional medicine gynecology” or “functional medicine women’s health.”
You can brainstorm a list of potential search terms or phrases that your prospective patient might use. Then you can plug your search terms into a keyword search tool to find the exact phrasing that people use in their queries.
You might find that people are searching specifically for “Texas physical therapist” or “Functional medicine gynecologist in Atlanta,” and that you can use that exact phrasing in your copy to rank higher in the search engine results.
Once you have a list of keywords and key phrases, you can start updating your current web pages to include them in your visible and invisible content.
SEO your website titles and meta descriptions
It’s easy to start improving your search results by updating the hidden parts of your web pages — for example, the title tags and meta descriptions.
The title tag is what shows up as the page title in the search engine results, so a longer more descriptive title will help your page get found. The meta description shows up in the search results as the summary of what the page is about. A well-thought-out description can help increase more clicks to your page.
Going back to the sports injury example above, if “sports and rehabilitation therapy” is the best ranking keyword, you can have your tech team update your service page’s title tag and meta descriptions.
SEO your page headline
When someone lands on your homepage, what is the first thing that they see?
Is it a generic headline that just says, “Welcome! We’re glad that you’re here!”
Or do you address their needs directly and dive straight into how you help them?
You can SEO your page by changing the headline to specifically address your prospective patient’s biggest problem. When you spell it out and let them know that they are in the right place, your pages become much easier to find in a search engine.
Amplify SEO with more relevant page content
Once you have your keywords or key phrases, you can sprinkle them into the text on your content pages to help improve your overall SEO site rankings. But remember — your first priority is to write for humans, not for robots. You don’t want to overstuff your pages with keywords so that it becomes impossible to read – and drags down your site rankings.
In the earlier days of SEO, it was common to keep adding the keyword or keyphrase over and over again throughout a page to increase rankings. But since then, the search engines have wised up, the algorithms have changed, and they can tell when a page is overstuffed — and will punish your page with lower rankings.
Use Content built for SEO to grow your practice
Do you write a blog or write guest posts on other sites? Are you a frequent guest on podcasts or on web summits or online events? Do you have your own YouTube channel?
Now that you have a list of target keywords or keyphrases, you can use them to build out SEO-friendly content that will drive more traffic back to your website.
If you have a blog that you update frequently on your own site, the search engines will take note of any updates and rank your site according to the changes. When you focus your content on your specialty, the search engine algorithm will rank your site higher in its search results.
When you write guest content or do guest interviews on other people’s websites, ask if you can get a link back to your website along with your post. And when you post new videos to your YouTube channel, make sure to link back to relevant pages on your website
Search engines look at backlinks from one site to another as “votes” that the linked site has valuable information — which ultimately helps your search results. Building these backlinks are worth the effort to increase your SEO rankings.
Healthy & Strong SEO to grow a practice doesn’t happen overnight
Just like any healthy new habit, knowledge, or skill – it can take time to boost your search engine rankings with an SEO strategy. That is why it is most important to start wherever you are and build slowly through consistency.
And as you know, when you put in the effort, it can be well worth the results – enabling more patients to find you through organically searching the web. If you rank well, and if you maintain your strategy, you can get an endless stream of new prospective patients coming to you.
Please be aware that there are certain advertising guidelines and restrictions that Designs for Health customers must adhere to. For more information please contact your Health Educator.