DEFOCUS MEDIA HOW TO Attract More Patients BY GETTING TO #1 ON GOOGLE
Getting to #1 On Google
When a potential patient types in your name or your practice’s name into Google’s search field, it’s a given that your website should show up numerous times on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (or, SERP, as it’s called in the digital marketing world).
For example, if your name is Dr. Gregory G. Hom and your practice is located in San Diego, your website and information about you should all but dominate the first page of the SERPs when you type “Dr. Gregory G. Hom” into Google. If you want to try it, go ahead and “Google” his name!
But, what happens if this same patient doesn’t know you and is looking for a local eye doctor? He or she most likely types in the name of your city or town and then adds the phrase “eye doctor” or “optometrist” before or after it.
An example of this scenario if, again, you live in San Diego might be: “San Diego eye doctor” or “eye doctor in San Diego.” Guess what? Dr. Hom’s website is not listed on the first page of Google at the time this article was written. Just a little effort and his site could rise to the top of the search engines.
The most important question to ask yourself, then, if you want your website to attract more patients, is this:
“Is my website listed in the top 3 positions of the SERPs if my ideal potential patient doesn’t know my name or my practice’s name?”
If not, you’re leaving money on the table… possibly, a LOT of money!
Of course, you can pay for ads that will help you climb to the top of the search engines, but this article is focusing on organic traffic, not paid traffic.
Search Engine Optimization
There are two types of search engine optimization (or, SEO):
- On site, as discussed in this article, and
- Off site, which I’ll discuss in a future article.
First Things First – Know Your Patients
In order to get the right patients into your practice, you need to optimize your site with the right search engine optimization. How do you do this? By putting the right content on your site to attract them. This sounds so basic, but is often overlooked by eye care practice owners and marketers.
There are a few other tips to optimizing your site, as discussed in the next section. But, before I list these, one of the most important things you can do to discover what the right content is to attract the right patients is to KNOW YOUR PATIENTS!
Without taking the time to actually understand your patients, to learn about their lifestyles, their occupations, their hobbies and, most importantly, their eye-related problems and pains, you’ll never be able to attract more ideal patients.
When I talk to eye care clients about their ideal patients, I ask them to define those perfect patients that:
- Act as ambassadors for your practice, referring friends and family enthusiastically,
- Are compliant with your instructions,
- Return for their annual eye exams,
- Pay on time,
- Buy multiple products at one time,
- Are nice!
Choose three to five patients that are currently in your practice that fit these descriptions. If you’re just starting out, create fictional versions. In the online marketing industry, we call these ideal patient avatars. Here’s a handy tool to help you create these avatars and a little homework to get you started attracting more patients to your practice by getting yourwebsite to #1 on Google:
- Identify your “ideal patient(s)”: This is a very important step that many optometrists skip. They don’t understand the integral part it plays in deciding the best content to use on their websites. When you identify your ideal patient(s), you’ll be able to use the best keywords that relate to their eye care problems that you’ll solve for them. Click here to use a tool I’ve created to make it easy for you to define them.
- Create 10 to 20, three to five “keyword phrases”: Now that you’ve identified your ideal patient(s), it’s time to create keyword phrases that your ideal patients will most likely use to type into their favorite search engine (most likely Google) to find an eye doctor that can help them. Wouldn’t you love to be the doctor they choose? You can use tools that help you determine the most popular keyword phrases your patients may be using to find local eye care providers. Make sure you rank high for these phrases. Check out my resource page for more information on these tools. It’s worth the effort to spend a little time researching this so you can beat your competition.
- Identify your “unique selling point(s)”: What makes you different from your competition up the street? Why would a patient with a list of eye doctors on their eye care plan come to you instead of any other doctor on the list (besides location)? Make a list of ALL the value and solutions you bring to your patients that are uniquely yours. You want to think in terms of the benefits you bring, not just the features.
Once you identify your ideal patient(s), top keyword phrases, and unique selling point(s), make sure to write them down and keep them handy. Also, when writing your unique selling point(s), try to use some (or all) of the keywords you’ve identified above. You should be using this this information on all of your online marketing platforms (your website and social media) and offline marketing materials.
On Site Search Engine Optimization
According to Google’s own search dictionary, Search Engine Optimization is:
“The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”
So the question remains, how do you optimize your site to appear high (preferably, on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions) on the list of results returned by a search engine?
For simplicity’s sake, I’m including the following list of some of the best practices for optimizing your site for search engines along with a link to my resource page to learn how to do this yourself (depending on your knowledge of web design editing), or to pass along to your web designer.
Here’s the link to my resource page you can refer to when you want to dig a little deeper into how to optimize your website so you can rise to the top of Google. Many of the tools I mention here are listed on this resource page along with their links.
📌 OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE WITH THE FOLLOWING TIPS
(If you’re not comfortable with performing some of these tasks, contact your web designer.)
- Create blog posts using the results of your keyword research. Focus on ONLY ONE keyword phrase per post. Make sure to include your keywords in the title of the posts, the post’s URL (eg. “yoursitename.com/your-keyword-phrase”), any headers in the post, the first paragraph of the post (preferably the first sentence), 4 to 6 more times in the post, and in the last paragraph of the post. If you can bold or italicize the keyword phrase every now and then, and include it in at least one bulleted point, even better. These are just generalizations. Just make sure your content is all about the keyword phrase title you’ve used.
- Be consistent with your content. It’s better to post consistently once per month or once per week than seven times one month and not-at-all another month. Carry a notebook around with you and every time you have a spark of inspiration about a blog post title, write it down and refer to it when you are ready to create your next post. If you have a smartphone type them in your notes app or record them using the voice memo feature.
- Optimize each page and blog post on your website. You’ll read or maybe have even heard about more basic SEO techniques such as meta descriptions and meta tags. Of course, you’ll need to add these (if you’re not sure how to do it, send your web designer the keywords you want to add to each page and post – remember, you’ll want them to be specific for that page or post and not generic). But, the search engines have changed their algorithms to expect a lot more from the content on a website. To rise to the top of Google, you’ll need to create content that is user-friendly, answers the questions your readers may have, is unique and trustworthy, and is long enough to cover the topic as completely as possible. Believe me, the search engines “know” when you’re just gaming the system with careless content!
- Speed up your site. If your site is slow, you’ll actually have a hard time making it to the top of the search engines. Check out the resources here for tools to help check your site’s speed and tips on how to speed up your site.
- Go mobile. Make sure your site is optimized for the mobile experience. This is more than just making sure your site is “mobile optimized.” For example, if you have important links you want your site visitors to easily click, such as your phone number, make sure you create a button that’s easily accessible with the visitor’s thumb. If the link is difficult to click on a mobile device, your visitor will often move on to another site.
- Secure your site. If your site doesn’t have the “https” at the beginning of your URL, your site is not secure in the eyes of Google. As of July 2018, some of your browsers will actually warn you if a site is not secure. This is important from both a search engine’s perspective and a prospective patient’s perspective. The process of securing your site is not that difficult, and your web designer can easily make this happen. Give your readers peace of mind and secure your site.
- Add “Alt” tags and title attributes to your images. This is a great way to get ahead of your competition, as many website owners don’t take the time to perform this extra task on their sites. Even better if you can occasionally add your keyword phrase or phrases to the images where appropriate.
- Add internal links and external links. The search engines look to see that your website contains a fair amount of links to other pages on your site (called “internal links”) and links to other websites (called “external links”). It’s even better if you can make a small percentage of these links have the keyword phrase as part of the title/description of the link.
These are many of the main search engine optimization tactics you’ll need to perform on your site in order to rank well for your keyword phrases when trying to attract more patients to your practice.
More to Come
There are many more digital marketing strategies you can do to improve your presence online, get found by your ideal potential patients, and attract more of them into your practice. Stay tuned as I’ll be showing you in this series of articles the best online marketing strategies to stand out as an expert in your area and grow your practice with ideal patients.
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