It’s 2016 and you’re not alone if it feels like everyone is a blogger. There are fashion, lifestyle, parenting, sports and even cat bloggers. Over the last few years, ECPs have stormed the blogging world and made a significant impact on the profession (In the Blogoshpere, invmag.us/11161).
Starting a blog for your practice can have very real effects on your bottom line. With the right focus, your blog entries can increase your search engine optimization ranking and move your practice to Google’s first page in a search of eyecare providers in your area. This drastically increases the chance a patient will make an appointment with your office.
In order to increase SEO rankings, you must accomplish two things: mastery of content and maximized blog architecture — terms digital marketing companies use to scare you into thinking you need them. Here’s what you need to know to achieve SEO success on your own:
Mastery of Content
The key to productive blogging is quality writing using keywords that potential patients use to search for eyecare or optometry. Write articles people will be searching for consistently so your name moves to the top of search algorithms.
QUALITY IS A MUST: Your blog entries must be engaging. The longer a person stays on your page, the better you’ll perform in analytics. It’s imperative that every entry is informative, useful and visually impactful. Ask yourself: “Will my content solve a problem?” “Is it tailored specifically for readers?” “Do the pictures make sense?” “Are they colorful and vibrant?”
CONSISTENT CONTENT: When did you last update your website or social media? Search engines love new material. Having a blog allows for consistent material creation. One or two articles a week will grow your SEO ranking quickly.
KEYWORDS: Keywords are how search engines link searchers to your articles. Ask yourself: “How would a patient ask this question in an exam?” “Which words or phrases would they use?” Apply the same ones to your post. It will help connect searchers and new patients to your website. For example, one of the most popular posts of all time on Eyedolatry is about conjunctival cysts. Hundreds of people daily find the article using the keywords “clear bubble on eye.” I doubt anyone but an eye doctor searches for “conjunctival cyst.” Know your target audience vocabulary!
Search engines love websites that are streamlined for mobile devices and encourage readers to spend time on the site. Your website design needs great crawlability, speedy loading and high quality links.
CRAWLABILITY: Spiders and crawlers are the programs that search engines use to index websites. For your site to maximize its SEO, it needs to be in a language that these programs understand. In simple terms, indexing your blog articles for easy search makes them bot-friendly. Create separate pages dedicated to topics you cover frequently; archive links to all the articles written on that topic. Spiders and crawlers love list links, so programming them into your blog improves your SEO.
WEBSITE/PAGE SPEED: How many times have you visited a page that took forever to load? Most readers will abandon a slow site and go to the next. Search engines love speedy sites, giving them higher rankings. Some key elements to increase site speed are a fast server, responsive design, compressed images and adding a cache system.
ON AND OFF PAGE SEO: Link building is an important factor in ranking. To move up in rankings, your article needs to include high quality links to relevant sites and other websites linking back to you. Search engines look for links that add value. You may hear reference to On and Off Page SEO Balance. On Page SEO is what you control; your articles, keywords, website design. Off Page SEO is increasing the authority of your domain so more external sites link back to you. The more great material you post, the greater chance you’ll have outside domains link to you. Your social media counts as Off Page SEO so make sure to post links on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to boost your Off Page SEO rankings yourself.
This article originally appeared in the November 2016 edition of INVISION.