Website ranking on Google and other search engines directly correlates to growth and profitability for any business. As an example, research by Infront Webworks shows that:
- The average #1 organic listing on page one of search engine results receives almost 30% of all clickthrough traffic.
- Only 8.5% of web traffic bothers to look at any organic listings past the first page.
- Overall, 90% of clickthrough traffic goes to organic listings that appear on the first page of Google search results.
In other words, in a highly competitive market, search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to ranking your veterinary practice website higher on search engines in order to attract more clients and grow your practice.
Here are three things to know to help increase your ranking in Google and other search engines:
1. Keywords Still Matter to SEO
As components of page titles, content, image tags, and many other elements of your website, keywords are words and phrases frequently searched online by pet owners, and don’t be misled. While keywords don’t have the same rock-star level of significance to SEO ranking as they once did (which has led some “SEO experts” to proclaim that keywords no longer matter at all), keywords still matter to Google ranking.
In choosing keywords, relevancy is a guiding rule of thumb.
If it’s flea and tick season, for example, include timely and relevant words and phrases like “tick protection” and “protect pets from fleas” in blogs and other content. Also, listen to questions that clients may ask when visiting your practice. If you notice that clients are asking a common question (e.g. “When do I switch from puppy food to adult dog food?”), it could be your reminder that you’ve forgotten something of timely interest, like National Puppy Day, which presents a timely opportunity to post puppy-related information.
The watchword for keywords is fluidity. They’re not a checklist that you only need to complete once. Just as pet-owner interests change, so too your keywords must change to keep step with those interests. To assist you with that, there are many keyword research tools available like Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, and SERPs.com to help show you what keywords pet owners are searching for at any given time.
2. Faster Websites Help Increase Your Ranking
If you’ve ever abandoned a website because it loaded too slowly, you’re not alone. User satisfaction with any type of website is now measured in seconds:
- According to the Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay in web page load time causes 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and a 7% loss in customer conversions.
- According to research by Google, a two-second drop in web page load time increases the chance of a bounce by 32%. (A “bounce” is a visitor who leaves a website after viewing only one page.)
- The same research shows that a four-second drop in web page load time increases the chance of a bounce by 90%.
Search engines like Google are businesses. In order to keep people using their services, companies like Google are focused on providing the best user experience possible. So, Google is continually adjusting its algorithm to rank faster-loading websites higher on search engine results pages while dropping slow-loading websites down the page.
In other words, the slower your website performs against competitor websites, the worse it gets in terms of customer satisfaction, search engine ranking, and missed opportunities.
3. Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
If your practice website is not fully optimized for mobile devices, Google clearly stated the SEO cost for mobile-unfriendly websites in a Jan. 10, 2017 update on the Google Webmaster Central Blog:
“Starting today, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.”
To quickly find out if your practice website is mobile-friendly, Google provides a simple tool: The Google Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Visit the website.
- Key in your practice URL.
- Click “Test URL.”
That’s it. In seconds, the Google Mobile-Friendly Test will tell you whether your practice website is mobile-friendly or not.
While keywords, website load speed, and mobile-friendly designs are key elements to SEO, they do take time to implement. Moreover, SEO requires ongoing adjustments to keep your practice website ranking high, and that can detract from time spent helping patients.
That’s why we recently introduced LifeLearn SEO Extreme, search engine optimization for veterinary websites.
SEO Extreme is not an additional task to add to your day. SEO Extreme works for you as a time-saving service to:
- Improve your online presence
- Rank your practice higher in search engines
- Adjust your SEO to keep your website ranking high
seo, Veterinary Marketing