“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” —Wendy Piersall
The World Wide Web can be a mysterious and confusing place. Is Google just a website, or is it an all-seeing Internet empire? Does my veterinary practice need active social media accounts to help me reach a wider audience and succeed online? And how important is it for me to optimize my visibility online anyway?
Luckily, I’m here to answer all of your questions and help you navigate the myriad of digital elements that come with running a successful veterinary practice in the 21st century. To answer briefly: Google is both a website and an empire; social media is an imperative medium for most if not all businesses; and search engine optimization is crucial to your success. I’ll be focusing on the latter in this month’s blog and will provide you with three simple and proven steps to improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.
Simply put, SEO means page visibility and your natural page rank across online search engines. SEO can result in an immediate boon to your practice, as a surprisingly large percentage of business starts online with a simple Google search. If you’ve heard me speak before, then you already know Google is the #1 search engine (by far). In fact, in 2014 alone, we collectively searched Google trillions of times. We searched so much that it prompted Google to release a “Year In Search” compilation (which, as a side note, we recommend watching since it just might make your day).
Why focus on search engine optimization and make sure that this element is as fine-tuned as the rest of your business? Well, if you remember our “Safeguarding Your Online Reputation” article, you remember that Google has “crawlers” that comb through billions of Web pages from all across the Internet, algorithmically analyzing, assessing, ranking, and indexing Web pages. They rank pages based on a multitude of factors (known as an algorithm), but the key to a successful page is to leverage the factors that you can control. A better page rank means a stronger reputation and more visits to your website, which ultimately will convert to more pet owners walking in the door.
That last line is the crux, so hang on to the takeaway: a successful SEO strategy can convert for your business and thus provide more money in your pocket. Great! I understand. Now, how do I actually implement this and apply it in real-time?
Top Three Tips to Improve Your SEO
1. Secure as many positive Google Reviews as possible for your business. Again, we encourage you to read our previously published “Safeguarding Your Online Reputation” for a full analysis of Google Reviews; but simply put, this is a crucial element to enhanced SEO. Reviews instantly provide credibility to your business, while bumping you up in page rank.
2. Head over to the ‘Moz Local’ website and register your business. This simple tool will help local search engines and new pet owners find your practice online, all while enhancing your SEO efforts. While you’re at it, go ahead and register your business on Yelp, Google+, and Bing. All of these tools help to enhance your page rank and will allow your business to be recognized easily across each search engine.
3. Make sure your content has a naturally included list of keywords that people will use when they search for you. These keywords shouldn’t be forced or crammed excessively into your website. They should, however, be clear and confident and relevant. A few solid keywords might be “animal hospital,” “veterinarian,” “animal clinic,” and the city or region you’re doing business in. All of these words help Google pinpoint who you are, what you do, where you’re located, and effectively deliver results to users with more accuracy.
This is only a small fraction of what is involved in search engine algorithms (and yes, they are constantly evolving). However, these steps should empower you to claim your listings, dive into basic SEO, and even understand a bit of what works behind the scenes at Google.
Keeping Up with Google: How to Leverage Recent Changes to Enhance Your Web Ranking
“If it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.” —Jimmy Wales
When you work in information technology, keeping up with Google is a lot like checking the weather. You can avoid keeping up with what’s coming if you want, but by doing so you risk being caught off-guard in a downpour. Simply by thumbing through the most prominent tech blogs on a routine basis (in conjunction with setting up a few Google alerts), it’s easy for me to keep track of what major changes are coming about in IT and on the Web as a whole. This month, I want to share with you a major change that’s recently occurred to the Internet-giant Google, and their approach to Web ranking. We’ll explore what you can do to leverage their most recent changes, and explore how to utilize these changes to enhance your veterinary practice and garner more business than ever.
The announcement that Google would be factoring mobile compatibility into their comprehensive Web rankings beginning April 2015, caused immediate shockwaves across the Web. No modern-day business is truly exempt from these changes—that is, unless of course they don’t have a website or use the Internet at all (which is an entirely different issue). Modern, competitive veterinary practices rely more than ever on the Web, and consequently, they rely on Google too. That’s because Google sets the tone for what exists on the Internet as a whole—controlling, monitoring, and distributing an unthinkably large amount of data each day. In fact, Google possesses over 65% of all search market share (yes, feel free to confirm this statistic with a Google search), effectively making or breaking what exists on the Web in any capacity. While it may be easier than ever to start a blog or launch a website, it’s much harder to truly thrive on the Web. This is why my goal is to help you adapt and leverage the absolute latest technological developments to enhance your veterinary practice.
Recently, Google has overhauled their Web-ranking system and is now incorporating the functionality of websites on mobile devices as a major component of Google rankings. I know that pet owners and veterinarians alike use their smartphones more than ever, and Google has inevitably caught onto this trend. If a website is not optimized for mobile, it will now fall dramatically in search rankings conducted on mobile devices to reflect this shortcoming. In other words, if your veterinary practice website is not comprehensively optimized for both mobile and desktop, your business is at risk of losing traction and falling behind the competition. On the other hand, practices that can rapidly adjust may be able to outpace competition that has faltered behind such adjustments. If practices choose not to adapt to the new formula, they risk losing out on a significant amount of business.
The trend of accessible data on the Web is now skewed toward mobile, and Google has fully adjusted to this reality. Comprehensive Simply Done Tech Solutions analytics finds that on average, 33% of all organic (non-paid) traffic generated to a veterinarian’s website is from mobile. It’s important to note that this percentage is increasing over time, and in some cases, veterinary practices actually secure more mobile traffic than they do via desktop. So what makes a good mobile website, and how can you ensure that you’re well equipped moving forward? Look below for some examples of a successful mobile build, and read on for a step-by-step guide on how to optimize your veterinary practice’s website.
A good mobile website strips down the best of a desktop site, and makes it easily available for the user to access on their mobile device. Mobile devices are smaller and more compact, and thus the aesthetics and build of a proper mobile website reflects this. A good mobile site will emphasize big buttons that are accessible on the go. This might mean a tap-to-call button that lets the user call your primary business line with a single finger-tap. The same functionality can be lent to locators and GPS features that can ostensibly bring a new client right to your door. A proper mobile build will show off the best of your brand with a custom color pallet and seamless links to social media. Well-conceived and implemented mobile builds will also boast simple bits of information that any prospective or current customer might need to know (think location, phone number, slogan). Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s look at a simple step-by-step process to adapt your website to mobile, today.
Three Simple Steps for Adapting to Mobile
1. Check your current website’s mobile compatibility with the Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. Simply copy and paste your primary Web URL into the tool to begin.
2. Analyze your results, which is made easy by Google. You might be in good shape with your existing website, or you may receive a “Not mobile-friendly” rating. If the latter rating is given, Google will provide you with several options to help make your website more mobile friendly than before.
3. Based on your results, you may wish to contact your current Web developer, or explore an array of other options. There are many website development companies in the veterinary industry that have an easy approach to mobile optimization.
In an age of rapid digital transformation, keeping up with the breakneck speed of change can be difficult. By staying tuned to https://simplydonetechsolutions.com, you’ll know what changes are coming your way and how to adapt accordingly. This time it’s mobile compatibility, but who knows what lies around the bend. I know that your veterinary practice deserves to thrive now and into the future.