Can people FIND your practice website on Google?
Do you have a website for your practice? How does it perform compared with other sites when clients (or prospective clients) search for it? Have you googled your own practice lately?
Today, I would like to chat about organic (or natural) search results. This is what is displayed to you in the main search results after you enter a search term into a search engine (like Google). As Google accounts for a mammoth 93.62% of the search engine market share, the term “Google” has become a genericised part of our vernacular.
I have an activity for you:
1. Open up a new browser window (i.e. get ready to Google)
2. Type in your allied health discipline (e.g. psychologist) and then your town/suburb – where does your practice rank? At the top of the first page? The second? Further down?
3. Repeat step 2, but now replace your town/suburb with a slightly broader region (e.g. city or region). Where do you rank now?
4. Try repeating steps 2 and 3 with a keyword other than your discipline – an area of specialty for you (e.g. PTSD or post-natal depression). Where do you rank for this search?
You might be able to repeat the above with other terms that potential clients may search for – remember they will likely not be searching using clinical terms – they will be using everyday language. For example, it is unlikely that someone would be searching for “plantar fasciitis”, however they may search for “sore heels”.
The final part of the activity is to Google your practice name itself – a direct business search – for this one, you should be at the top!
What are your findings? Do you rank well for some searches, but not for others? Do you rank well for everything?
How can you help your ranking?
The process of exactly how Google ranks your website is highly complex, however, here are some simple areas that you can focus on to start:
On-site (internal factors):
Technical/code stuff – for example, the <Title> tag on your website. The <Title> tag is required in all HTML documents (i.e. your website pages) and it defines the title of the document. It’s what is saved when you favourite or bookmark a page from a website, and what appears at the top of the browser window. It’s really important what you have in yours!
Main body – the main part of your website – your use of certain words, position and emphasis and also tags assigned to images (this last one is important as Google doesn't "read" images when crawling for content that matches a search query).
- Website design - the structure/layout of your site, the number of indexed pages, and frequency of updates (Google doesn’t like static sites, so things like blogs help keep content fresh).
Off-site (external factors):
Quality, credible links in from other sites (e.g. if you wrote a guest article for another business or organisation to publish on their website and there was a link provided back to your site).
Social media activity (keep posting and encouraging interaction with links back to your website - not every post though!).
Next week, we will look at some handy tips on how to structure your website in a way that search engines understand.