New patients are the lifeblood of every physical therapy clinic. Even the best clinics lose clients due to death, relocation, or end of treatment. In today's digital world, the first place most patients look for information on physical therapy and potential providers is online. This is even truer with the skyrocketing use of smartphones and mobile devices--the Internet is always an arm's reach away.
Maintaining high Google search engine rankings is key to consistent web traffic, which in turn will keep your marketing funnel full. You may be familiar with the term "SEO," which stands for Search Engine Optimization. The goal of SEO is to maximize the effectiveness of multiple factors which influence your rankings. There are two areas to consider:
On-site optimization. These are tactics that enhance the content, keywords, accessibility, speed and other components of your website.
Off-site optimization. This refers to improvements in quality links, anchor text, reviews, press releases, social media, citations and other off-site features.
On a regular basis, Google sends "Googlebots" to crawl your website and evaluate it for ranking. Here are some of the major factors that go into on-site optimization.
Meta keywords and description. For every blog post, article and page you publish, you can add a description and Meta keywords. The description is displayed along with the page title in the search engine results, while Meta keywords are specific words and phrases that tell the bots what the content is about.
URL. The website location that appears in the address bar of the browser.
Internal Links. These are links that connect to other relevant pages on the site. The links are made from targeted keywords and lead to pages that add more data or deeper insight to the information on the linking page
Title tag. This is title of the page or post, and is one of the most important facets of on-page optimization.
Body text. The main body text. Use bolded words to direct attention to key concepts.
Keyword density. Refers to the percentage of times your keywords appear on the page. Google has cracked down on poor marketers who used to "keyword stuff" their page with an excessive number of keywords. Make sure they are natural, relevant, have variety and are used with restraint.
Other important on-site factors for maximizing the effectiveness of your website include image tags, outbound link text, and H1 and H2 headline tags.
Off site optimization involves many factors. The most important by far is quality inbound links. Google has made great strides in improving search results in recent years, coming out with a series of "algorithm updates" with names like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, all intended to make it easier for web searchers to find what they are looking for.
But at its core, Google was built to rank sites higher if they have a larger number of inbound links. They look at each occurrence of other sites linking to your content as a "vote" for your site. That is why it is critical to have high-quality inbound links.
Social media. With the rise of social media, Google has increased the influence it has on your rankings. Shared posts on Facebook, tweets and retweets on Twitter, and social bookmarking on sites like StumbleUpon all tell Google you have quality content that should get a boost in ranking.
Reviews. Another key ranking factor is the number of reviews about your clinic on high-profiles sites like Google+, Yelp, and more. Reviews take on even greater importance for local or regional businesses, and most physical therapy practices and clinics fall into this category. Google weighs the links from these sites very highly when determining how high to place a site. Make it a habit to regularly check your online reviews, respond quickly and politely to handle disgruntled clients, and direct people to relevant content you have on your site that can answer their questions. You can also remind happy customers to leave a good review when they get a chance.
These are just a few of the many facets of optimizing your website for good rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo. It takes constant attention, testing and tweaking to get all these gears meshed into a high-ranking website. Our physical therapy websites are built with the goal of helping you achieve top rankings with minimal maintenance.
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