(This post was originally published on November 30, 2013, and has been updated to be even more accurate!)Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a simple checklist to help you optimize your website for search engines? We thought you’d say yes, so we put together this printable SEO Checklist for Veterinarians to help you with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Here’s the text version of our checklist:
1. Title Tag
Your title tag is one of the first thing search engines look for – and one of the first things potential visitors see. The title tag is the text that displays in your browser’s heading, as well as the title that shows up in search results. That makes it important to make the title tag descriptive of the page’s content. Google also recommends that you include your name after the page’s title, e.g., “Team Page | ABC Veterinary Hospital.”
2. Page Content
After your title tag, search engines scan your content to make sure it’s relevant. Being relevant means more than just writing about topics customers are interested in. It’s also writing about those topics in client-friendly language. Instead of clinical terms, use words that your customers would actually search for. For example, instead of writing “feline,” use the word “cat.”
3. Keyword Density
Include your keywords liberally throughout your content, but only where they really fit. Search engines can actually recognize when you’re adding in keywords arbitrarily and can penalize your ranking. Always create the content on your site for the readers, not for search engines. However, given the choice, try to place keywords as close to the top of the page as possible.
4. Meta Description
Your meta description is the sentence you see below page titles that display on the page of search results. It won’t necessarily boost your ranking, but it can compel a reader to click on your link rather than other results they see, so make it catchy. Try to limit your description to 150-160 characters, and make sure different pages have different meta descriptions that directly relate to that page’s content.
5. Page URL
Whenever possible, include keywords or key phrases in your URL, and place them as close to the beginning as possible. Also, use hyphens between words rather than spaces or underscores.
6. Image ALT Tags and File Names
Don’t overlook your images! Include keywords in your image file names so search engines can recognize what your image is displaying. Don’t include irrelevant keywords in your image ALT tags – making your image accessible is more important than adding keywords. However, if your image is relevant to the content of the page, you’ll find yourself including relevant keywords in the ALT text anyways.