Your biggest competitor down the street is climbing up Google’s rankings and they seem to have a parking lot full of cars every time you drive by their practice. Your practice, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found on Google and you’ve asked your staff to park in various spots to make it seem like you’re busy.
Obviously that sounds like a nightmarish situation, so you take the leap and do some research on SEO and how it could benefit you. Since you’re now headed in the right direction, here are five things you should know as you get started to make sure that you have your expectations set properly and are well on your way to taking over that competitor!
SEO Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
We’ve discussed before that online marketing in general is not all the same. There are a number of factors that can and should come into consideration when developing campaigns. Because SEO is an integral piece of online marketing, you have to first know that it’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. In fact, it’s probably one of the most unique pieces of the whole process!
When developing your SEO campaign, you have to look first at your competition, and then at the algorithms. If you notice that someone is on page one already then you can assume that they’ve done something right. Your geographic location, targeted demographics, and share of the market will determine how successful your SEO campaign will be before you even begin to think about Google’s algorithms. If you’re located in a densely populated area like New York City and are attempting to rank for “primary care physician”, then you may find yourself having to develop a robust, multi tiered campaign that doesn’t show tremendous results until around three months in. However, if you’re looking for results in a less populated area, or something that’s more targeted like a borough or town, then your results might come much faster with less work.
At the end of the day, make sure that you’re taking the proper amount of time up front to do your research and determine what level of campaign best suits your practice. If you’re working with a company who doesn’t ask you personalized questions before developing said SEO campaign then you most likely won’t get the results you’re expecting.
You Can Lead a Horse to Water…
If you know this adage, you know that the horse cannot be forced to drink. This is how you should set your expectations about SEO. Think of SEO as the starting point of a successful acquisition of a patient that has many other variables in the process. Or, if you want to through another analogy in, think of a puzzle in which you’ve got the outside pieces done. It’s not a full puzzle until those inside pieces are placed, and that’s what the “beyond SEO” part of your marketing campaign is.
SEO is to help you get ranking so that someone finds you when searching for something specific. Let’s say I’m searching for a pediatrician near me because I just moved to a new city. I find four practices that are all at towards the top of Google’s results page for my search, so I go searching more about their reviews, their proximity, their cleanliness, their customer service, etc. As you can see, SEO is only part of that. Although it’s very important, SEO does not drive the entire decision of that patient.
It’s important to remember that in order to capture a patient, you have to look at their entire process, or the patient acquisition funnel. Make sure that your practice has looked beyond the search engines and online marketing to stand out amongst competitors. It’ll help you gain more patients in the long run!
Don’t Shop for a Bargain With SEO
If you find a 2020 Ferrari for the cost of a 1989 Honda Civic you’re either the luckiest person alive, or your only going to make it about 20 feet down the road until you’re stranded. SEO is no different! Sure, that $50 SEO package seemed great, and perhaps it got you a lead or two, but do you know what was actually done?
In the world of online marketing, quality is key. Think of SEO like insurance. You might jump on board with a policy that’s really cheap, but when the time comes to actually have to use it because something happens (like a Google update), you’re going to end up noticing that your policy did no good. In fact, you’ll probably end up paying more out of your pocket just to fix the issue. SEO is something that takes time, and if you’re paying an expert for their time, you know there will be a cost associated with it at the end of the day.
We’re not saying that you need to go with highest cost option, but at least compare a few and look for examples of their work. If you notice that they have a lot of clients ranking for search terms comparable to yours, have quality content and clean sites, and aren’t spamming pages with locations all over the place, you’re probably in good hands.
Patience Is a Virtue
As much as you want those page one rankings quickly, so does your marketer. But, SEO takes time, and that’s the name of the game. The general rule of thumb here is 90 days to see any sort of results. Why? Well, it all depends on the search engine!
As we mentioned above, quality is absolutely key. The reason is, search engines like Google are really smart. Sure, you might get away with a ton of spammy back links for a few weeks or months, but at some point Google will recognize that you’ve created a mess and decide that they don’t want it in their results. Then you’re back at square one with no results and that competitor just busting at the seams with new patients. Taking time to build out a good campaign with strong content is going to take time. Then, going about the process of waiting on Google to index those changes will take time. And then, assessing your results and updating your content and adjustments based on what Google has done will take more time. Then you just start that process over and continue it for the lifecycle of your campaign.
Keep in mind, you certainly may see results fast. Long tail search terms that aren’t as popular as your primary keywords may provide you with some results. But, for those core terms, be patient, do the proper work (or have it done for you), and then continue to grow. Of course, don’t just let a campaign go by for years without no results and not ask questions, but you get the gist of patience being ideal!
SEO Is Never, Ever, Ever Done
You’ve reached spot number one for your main search term, so now you’re done and can stop doing SEO! Hooray!
Nope. That’s not the case at all. Unless all of your competition decides to go belly up and remove themselves from all searches, or if Google just decides that they’ve had enough of changing their algorithms, you’re never done. As we discussed above, there’s a cycle that you have to go through for SEO. You or your marketer should know that the competition and market changes. Each month you should be assessing your results and determining your next steps. We’ll go back to the insurance analogy. If you stop paying for insurance, you might be okay, but the second your car gets hit, you’re really, really going to wish you had that insurance.
With SEO, the best thing you can do is hire an agency or marketer, like Practis, that knows what they’re doing and stays proactive with adjustments. If you’re wanting to start a healthy SEO campaign to generate more patients, contact us today!