For therapy providers, figuring out how to bring more traffic to your clinic’s website may seem like a hefty task. However, it doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety. When you create a robust marketing plan for your practice, website traffic will ideally happen somewhat organically. For this to occur, providers need to develop a strong online presence using a number of social media platforms, review forums and a well-crafted clinic website. One major benefit of encouraging your clinic to be regularly active on the Internet is that it contributes to search engine optimization (SEO), a necessary tool for your practice to be found when users search online through engines such as Google or Bing.
In general, Google is considered the big kahuna of search engines, and thus often requires the most attention. In the following guide, we cover a basic introduction to the concept of SEO, the specifics of Google’s SEO system and how your clinic’s SEO can benefit from developing a robust Google account.
“With billions of distinct Web pages, finding the most relevant information for a search inquiry can be a rather daunting task.”
An introduction to SEO
SEO simply stands for search engine optimization. Search engines work by identifying unique documents on the World Wide Web using a linking structure, and then indexes them in a massive hard drive. Any indexed information can then be accessed at a later time during a Web search. Of course, with billions of distinct Web pages, finding the most relevant information for a search inquiry can be a rather daunting task. Consider, for example, how long it takes to find a specific book using a card catalog. Now imagine that the library holds billions of books and the desired resources must be accessed and presented in less than a second.
Strong SEO makes it easier for search engines to access this information. How online content is categorized, tagged and structured all leads to search engines having the ability to find it among the countless other documents. Historically, the content’s popularity has played a major role in this process; however, companies such as Google and Microsoft have developed advanced algorithms that utilize a number of other factors to seek out relevant content as well. Each tech company offers some basic insight regarding its respective search engine algorithms, but the specifics are trade secrets and would lose meaning if they were openly presented to the public.
What is Google SEO?
To understand search engine optimization, you must first learn how a Google search works. Google explains that its Web browser essentially functions like a sophisticated index that relies on three processes: crawling, indexing and serving. Crawling is the process that the company uses to seek out Web pages and add them to its index. This is done by using Googlebot, also known as the bot or the spider, a software designed by Google for the purpose of Web crawling. The information is then indexed. Google support services explain it as follows:
“Googlebot processes each of the pages it crawls in order to compile a massive index of all the words it sees and their location on each page. In addition, we process information included in key content tags and attributes, such as Title tags and ALT attributes.”
The last process, serving, is provided when a user enters a search inquiry. Google uses over 200 factors in determining if indexed content is relevant to a specific search, including PageRank, a component in which Google determines the value of individual links.
While this all seems rather complicated – which is exacerbated by the fact that Google keeps its exact system confidential – you’ll be in good shape if your website follows Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If you do not abide by these guidelines, which outline best practices for content creation, technical details and quality assurance, then you risk being filtered out of Google’s search engine altogether.
Google advises business owners to create a website with a clear hierarchy and site map and make sure that it is loaded with useful information. As far as quality goes, it is essential to create a website with users in mind, and to avoid any practices that may be considered spamming or deceptive. In the company’s Webmaster Guidelines, it specifically advises to pay attention to the section regarding quality, which plays a significant role in SEO overall.
Is your website easily searchable in Google and other search engines?
How your SEO can benefit from Google
Creating a Google account is a valuable way of optimizing your online presence. While Facebook may be a more widely embraced social media platform, Google has the distinct advantage of tying in with all of Google’s other services, making it a powerful tool when you are trying to better your SEO.
ZDNet, a leading source of IT news, notes that Google can improve SEO when it is used to its full potential. The first step in this process is to create a robust Google account for your clinic. The second step is creating a marketing strategy for your Google account and then posting on and updating it regularly. According to Business News Weekly, using Google can potentially help you rank higher in search results, integrate Google for Business services and provide customers with relevant business information.
To make the most of Google+, create both a business page and a personal one. That way you can share content on a professional and individual level. Many times this content will overlap, and hence you can strengthen your business page using your personal network. You can also link your Google page to other resources by the company such as Google Maps.
Don’t forget to add a 1: Make sure to add a +1 button on your website, because when users click the icon, it will directly contribute to your website’s search rankings. The 1 button serves as a stamp of approval, so that satisfied customers from your clinic can show their appreciation.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.