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DC Tech Talk: Search Engine Optimization


February 3, 2011
By Stephane Laverdiere DC

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After spending hundreds – and in some cases, thousands – of dollars, your new website is up and operational. You have dedicated numerous hours to writing copy for an “About Us” page and creating content for your website that is specific to your practice.

After spending hundreds – and in some cases, thousands – of dollars, your new website is up and operational. You have dedicated numerous hours to writing copy for an “About Us” page and creating content for your website that is specific to your practice.

Your site is launched, you’re excited, and you sit back and wait for the hordes of people who will visit it. You’re a great promoter, so you embark on promoting your website by telling all your patients about it. You also prompt your patients to visit the site and forward the address to friends to read all those articles you’re paying a monthly fee to access. Your phone number is visible on the site, you have an e-mail address – in short, no stone has been left unturned in the setup of this website.

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Or, so you believe.

Three months go by, and you haven’t received a single call where the caller said “yes, we found you on the website.” Most chiropractors, if they’re honest about their websites, will tell you they don’t receive new patients from this venue. As a matter of fact, the traffic to their website is low, and few people are clicking to read the articles, even if they do visit.

So what’s the problem?

FIRST, AN INTRODUCTION TO DC TECH TALK
The businesses that are going to win in the 21st century are the ones that master the web.

In this new column, DC Tech Talk, we’re going spend some time discussing a number of topics that will be very important to those practice or business owners who wish to dominate the web. Some of these topics will include:

  • How to layout a front page and capture leads
  • Video technology to position your website a cut above the rest
  • Auto responders and drip education systems
  • How to drive your patients to your website on a regular basis without prompting them
  • Chiropractic website design reviews and how to cut costs
  • Our topic for this first edition of DC Tech Talk: search engine optimization, known as SEO, and how to be seen.

We are going to fast track and discuss search engine optimization, since many of you already have websites.

NOW, BACK TO OUR STORY
You find out “the web” doesn’t have web surfers, as you’ve been told, and, furthermore, the web really isn’t a web. It’s more like a bunch of tubes floating around, and we call them tubers. These tubes are not getting caught in your web – instead, they’re floating around from site to site looking for products and services. These tubers like to go to sites such as Google and Yahoo, which are called search engines. These engines push the tubes along to webs (i.e., websites). They will push the tubes to webs that rank highest in the search engines first, sending them to be caught in those webs.

You haven’t been told that when someone goes to an engine and types in “chiropractor” in “your town name” you must appear at the top in order for the search engine to push those tubers to your web any time soon. These search engines only push potential patients to the best sites. (There is a lot of competition and millions of sites – how are those patients ever going to find you?) So, you perform a search on your practice and find that you’re on page 30 and still haven’t found your own site!

You now realize you need something called SEO, or search engine optimization.

ABOUT SEO
SEO is the process of improving the volume and/or quality of traffic/visitors to a website via search engines through what is known as “natural,” “organic” or “algorithmic” search results These are examples of unpaid search results.

There are also paid results. Whether you like it or not, Google now controls almost 90 per cent of online searches. Therefore, one way to rank high is to pay for Google search word ads. Those are the ads that appear in the right hand column when you do a Google search. You set up an account decide what you are willing to pay daily – how much per click – and choose the keywords you would like. This could get expensive very quickly so be careful and monitor it daily to start.

However, here are three do-it-yourself items that will help your organic – or unpaid – ranking.

1. Create a Google Maps Local Listing
Think of local listings as being like modern-day yellow page adds, except that they’re free. Getting your practice listed in the local search results is crucial, not only in regards to gaining more traffic and more new patients, but for the overall authority of your site locally. If you are not at the top of the page in your town for “Chiropractic” how will anyone think you are the local authority for chiropractic? Local search listings include not only your basic contact information, but also a map to your office location, pictures, videos and a link to your site. The major search engine sites you want to make sure you have listings in are Google, local Yahoo, Yellow Pages and Merchant Circle.

There are several ways to rank higher in the Google Maps listings. It’s all about the details – the more detail you provide, the better. Post your hours, specialties, things you sell, and any language(s) you speak.

Post any videos you might have: an office tour, your latest workshop, a commercial from a local cable channel. People like to see who you are and this gives you instant credibility – when they see you, they feel like they already know you.

It’s also about content. Pick four to six patients – some with the best results or those you have been treating for years. Have them write and submit reviews for your local listing. Google loves content, and if your patients have supplied a review, it creates credibility, enhancing your practice’s online presence drastically.

2. Create a Blog
Having a blog is no longer optional – it’s a must-have. Believe it or not, it doesn’t matter if anyone ever reads it. What actually counts in a blog is content and promotion of the blog. You can use your blog to write about your website, your office, yourself, your team, your upcoming community events, etc. Each of your posts must include a link to content that is on your website. More specifically, you should have a title that incorporates your metatag or content on your site. (Metatags are words that are included in your website content that are used for search engine optimization. Your web master would imbed certain key words that describe your product or service in the code of the webpage. They are invisible to the end user but search engines find the words and use them to categorize your website in the tangled web we call the internet.)

3. Create a Facebook Account
You’re a chiropractor and your forte has never been sitting at a computer writing in a Facebook account. An easy tip to help with this, then, is, pay a student to update your Facebook account on a weekly basis. They are online all night long, and are familiar with Facebook, so, why not use them as a resource to update your clinic’s Facebook page. A link to Facebook on your website greatly increases your search engine ranking.And, it’s free!

These are just a few of many tips for website optimization. Do they sound complicated? They aren’t really. A good webmaster can help you with this and can help you understand how and why to optimize your search engine presence. Consulting with someone is always valuable and can bring results!


Dr. Stephane Laverdiere is a 1995 graduate of the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Illinois. He is president and co-founder of Atlas Chiropractic Systems a paperless office solution. He is also founder of an internet video marketing company called ChiroVMail. He can be contacted at 877-602-8527 or slaverdiere@atlaschirosys.com. Please visit www.atlaschirosys.com and www.chiroVMail.com for more information on digital solutions for your practice.


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