That's a great question and one that online marketers, social media gurus, and web developers hear all day long. The answer can seem elusive or far too technical for the average person since there are thousands of pages of books (and ebooks) that cover this subject, with Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines frequently changing their hundreds of algorithms that determine ranking.
But there are some things that are fundamental for the lay person, chiropractor, staff, or social media manager alike to implement. Most simply, there are two important things that will help you rank well in the search engines: links, and producing good quality content. But how to create, present, and share that content as well as generate a host of quality links to your website is a far greater challenge.
In this two-part series, we’ll cover the 20 cornerstones of achieving a good SEO ranking for your chiropractic website and blog.
Note: these are not in order of importance.
1. Link internally
As you write your website’s copy, blogs, and lay it all out, you’ll want to include plenty of relevant internal links, which are links to other pages and content on your own site. This keeps web visitors engaged, spending more time on your blog, and highlights the logical and useful chain of information you’re laying out to the search engines. You can link to pages, blogs, images, videos, Q and A’s and the like. But don’t try to jam in internal links just for their own sake, because links that are redundant or don’t make sense can actually hurt your page ranking.
2. Make sure your blog and website are mobile-friendly
2016 was the year when mobile traffic first passed desktop traffic for internet use, thanks in part to the release of Google's new Mobile-first indexing. The simple fact is that consumers – including your audience- prefer to search on the go. In fact, almost 80% of time spent on social media is now on mobile devices, and we're expected to have 6.1 billion additional smartphone users by 2020. Smart brands will make sure they're set up and optimized for mobile use first and web second, as well as explore the possibility of a mobile app if it's a good fit.
This shouldn’t take you a whole lot of time or expense, as most major web and blogging platforms these days have mobile-friendly versions where you can check and alter the structure, appearance and function of your mobile site.
3. Use local identifiers and NAP (name, address, phone number)
While the web grows exponentially every year, it’s more important than ever for brands and webpages to focus and target their market by “going local.” That means highlighting where you do business whenever possible, as well as what it is you do. So instead of competing with every single chiropractor in the U.S. for search engine superiority, you’ll only be taking on others in your region, city, or even neighborhood.
Since Google rolled out their “Pigeon” update, they want you to add local identifiers as well as NAP (basic contact information that helps pin down your location). Considering that local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to their store or location within a day, and at least 50% of mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, adding these identifiers and plenty of local keywords will improve your rankings quickly and significantly.
4. Content is king
Years ago, companies and brands paid big bucks for search engine optimization services that tried to boost their rankings, which often worked – temporarily. But Google and the other search engines changed their algorithms so it’s nearly impossible to artificially pay for a higher ranking.
These days, Google and the other search engines reward well-written, informative, helpful, keyword-rich content.
So creating that content is essential. That definitely means having a great blog that you update frequently, as well as other inbound marketing tools:
Customized images, memes, infographics, etc.
Email marketing and email newsletters, etc.
Podcasts, webcasts, etc.
White papers, special reports, and guides.
There is no substitute or short cut for creating this content, so do it right, and the search engines will recognize and love you for it.
5. Include trust signals
How will a visitor know that you are a credible expert in your field? Called "trust signals," these are icons that convey just that to your audience – as well as the search engines. By adding partners logos, certifications, badges, awards, professional designations, charitable organizations, etc. to your website (with the respective links) you'll create a deeper connection with your visitors, as well as rank higher with Google and friends.
6. Add large, prominent social share buttons
Is it stupid-simple for readers to share your blogs on their own Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and other social media accounts? Are social media links to check-in, like, follow, share, etc. prominent on every page? Social sharing is one of the most important ways for you to get your content out in the world – and create plenty of back links – so make it easy to do just that.
7. Guest post to generate backlinks to your site
The best way to generate powerful backlinks is to write guest posts and content for other people’s websites, blogs, and social media pages. It will greatly benefit them, too, since everyone needs more content and you’ll instantly add credibility and authority to their site. Simply research the top 100 websites or blogs that complement your field (like natural health, fitness, etc.) and send them an introductory email, offering to submit a guest post and inviting them to do the same if they wish. It’s a job easily and inexpensively assigned to staff or an outside marketing firm that will yield huge results for your website’s search ranking.
8. Give testimonials in exchange for branded links
One great way to create valuable links back to your website or blog is by leaving testimonials for other related businesses, services, and professionals. Leave a few sentences extolling their virtues, but also introduce yourself, where you are, what you do, and include a link to your website or blog. These can be in the form of text, video, images, or all of the above.
You can also utilize this strategy by commenting on other people’s blogs related to your field, creating links.
9. Focus on solving problems, not pitching products
With recent alterations to their algorithms of how they rank content, search engines have essentially grown "smarter." What they're now looking for more than anything else is usefulness to the reader – not just keywords or links, etc. So make sure your web copy, blogs and all of your content focuses on solving your audience's problems and challenges with concrete, specific instructions – not just talking about yourself or selling - to rise in the rankings.
10. Voice search functionality is growing in importance
If you want to stay on the cutting edge of social media search capabilities – and therefore improve your ranking – make sure you are optimized for voice search function. With Microsoft, Google, and Apple launching Cortana, Google Now and Siri, respectively, more and more people are searching online with voice commands. Research shows that we’re not just using voice searches while driving, but also frequently while watching TV (36%), with friends (24%) and while cooking (23%). For teens and younger generations like Millennials, the rate of voice search is almost double those numbers.
It's pretty basic to add speech recognition HTML to your website (but something you probably want to outsource), but instantly you'll separate your site from all those without it.
Look for 10 more great tips on boosting SEO in part two of this article!