You’ve probably noticed how much we love to talk about blogs here on LifeLearn’s veterinary marketing blog (go figure!) – but we like to think there’s a good reason. Blogs have all kinds of benefits for your veterinary practice website; they can increase awareness of your practice, give you a platform to share your knowledge and expertise with your community, and show off your practice’s personality.
This alone makes a blog a great strategy for your website – but did you know that it can also help with your website’s ranking on search engines?
How can a blog help?
It helps keep your website updated.
Let’s face it: there are more neglected and abandoned websites out there than even Google can shake a stick at. That’s why search engines are constantly checking the time stamps on when websites are updated.
Publishing blog posts is a very logical and natural way to update your website frequently, which is a signal to search engines that it’s being taken care of and is a good place to send web users. A new blog post even every couple of weeks will show those ‘bots that things are happening on your website.
Tip: It’s not enough to slap up that minimum-effort type of post that happens in the last 10 minutes of an exhausting day. It’s essential that the content you put on your blog is of a high enough caliber that your visitors will want to stick around and read it.
This doesn’t have to turn into a huge time-sink for you, though. We’ve got some strategies for writing high-quality content without spending all day on it!
It increases the number of pages on your website.
This is the real secret to SEO. The more content you have, the more the search engines will have to crawl and index. This helps give the crawlers a better understanding of just what your website is about, and which types of searches it should rank highly for.
It also gives you the opportunity to branch out on your keyword use. There are two main complications with SEO:
A limited number of pages means a limited number of keywords you can use.
Because of the way search engines function, you can really only optimize any given page for one or two keywords without diluting their effect. If you try to optimize a website with five pages for everything a pet owner could possibly be looking for, it just won’t work very well.
You can only use keywords so many times.
Keyword stuffing is when you go a little overboard trying to pack your keywords into one page. It’s usually identified by keywords that show up in a list or group, or even seem forced in a selection of copy. Search engines can identify when this is the case, and they may assume that you’re trying to trick them into giving your site a higher ranking – which usually just has the opposite effect.
Because blog posts are generally about a single topic, they’re useful for incorporating a range of keywords into your site without running the risk of overdoing it – and by increasing the number of pages on your website with blog posts, you’re giving yourself more room to use your keywords and to include different keywords without affecting your current ones.
Blogging comes with benefits (for SEO).
There are a couple of benefits that your practice can get out of a blog as an SEO strategy:
It’s great for direct SEO…
…which means anything that search engines can see and use in their algorithms to rank your site on search engine results pages (SERPs). This is your blog’s content, as well as any keywords that you’re using.
It also helps with indirect SEO…
…which means anything that influences your visitors to behave in ways that tell search engines that your site is a good resource. This includes:
- Inspiring longer visits. If people click on your site from the SERP but go “back” almost immediately, this tells search engines that the content on your site is either irrelevant or not good. By bringing folks in with quality content that they’ll want to read, you can influence them to stay longer than a minute or two – which tells search engines that your site is a good place to send people looking for that type of information.
- Encouraging inbound links. When people think that a website has quality content, they’re much more likely to include links to that website in their own content as a reference. Search engines see these links that direct users to your site as votes of confidence in your content. You can also put inbound links to your own site in your blog posts, which helps search engines understand what your site is all about.
Tip: It’s important to play by the rules when creating your content.
It needs to be unique and original; search engines love content that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the web, and penalize duplicate content, so make sure it’s your own work.
It needs to be relevant; if the title, keywords, meta description, and body of the post don’t agree on the subject matter, search engines won’t like it – and trying to trick them will backfire!The bottom line? A blog can be a great SEO strategy for your veterinary practice website – and what’s even better is that you don’t have to focus specifically on the SEO aspect for it to work! Sure, there are a few things you’ll need to check off the list to make sure you’re getting the right attention from search engines, but as long as you’re writing high-quality content on topics that interest local pet owners, posting on a regular schedule, and sharing your posts, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of having a blog – including SEO!