In For your practice

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SEO. What is it? Where does it come from? Despite COVID – or because of it – many people are looking for a health practitioner to get them through. But they need to find you first…usually through SEO.

What is SEO, exactly?

No, SEO is not the twin sister of Neo from The Matrix. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Google is a search engine (as is Yahoo, Amazon, Bing and YouTube). If someone is looking for what your offer on Google, but they don’t know about you, can they find you?

*Note: You’re not on the first page of their search results? Chances are, they won’t see you.

This is not just about your business name.

Just to be clear, if you type into Google search your practice name and see you are on the first page, be relieved. Not excited. Just relieved. That’s just a first baby-step in the world of SEO. For real SEO traction we aren’t talking how your name ranks. We are talking about how you rank if they a typing in:

  • their health problem (e.g. migraine), and/or
  • a health modality (e.g. massage), and/or
  • a geographic location (e.g. your suburb)

How does SEO work?

Imagine Google is a good-hearted socialite who “just LOVES SEO”. She knows heaps of people and loves to bring them together. Google is a Connector, as Malcolm Gladwell describes in his book The Tipping Point. But Google is also very busy. In order for her to introduce you to her friends, you need to ‘talk Google’s language’. You need to give her information about you she is more likely to understand. Then she can start singing your praises – not to everyone. That’s a waste of energy. To the right people. The ones who are looking for someone just like you.

What does Google need from me for SEO to happen?

  • Keywords & phrases
    These are the words and phrases people type in to find you on a search engine.
    e.g. Someone might type into Google: ‘counsellor New York’. If you don’t have these words on your website, then Google will not be able to find you to recommend you for this search.
    These words and phrases can be in the title of your webpage and they can be in the text too. They can also be in your meta tags (see next point…)
  • Meta tags
    Meta tags are ‘bite-sized’ content descriptions that help tell Google (and other search engines) what your web page is about. These descriptions aren’t seen on the page. They are in your website coding. Coding that helps search engines like Google.
    Imagine you and Google are at one of her parties. You are both in the kitchen for a quiet word (meta tag time). This is your opportunity to tell her a bit about yourself so she can go out and match-make for you.

So what do I do now to amp up my SEO?

  1. Make a list of key words and phrases
    – Geographic areas: Suburb, surrounding suburbs and the main city closest to you (or that your are in
    – Your key modalities (and any sub-terms relating to your modality): Some modalities in natural medicine aren’t well known, so people aren’t likely to search for them – this means they will be less popular as a search term, but also less competitive (e.g. ‘massage’ is better known than ‘lomi lomi’)
    – Conditions: Consider including health conditions you treat into your list, but be careful if you are a registered practitioner with restrictions on the use of conditions There are many different ways you can improve Google’s ability to find you and put you in the right categories. The simple way is to type in search terms you think people might be likely to use to find you.
  2. Test via Google Keyword Planner
    Set up a Google Adwords account (don’t worry you they will ask for credit card details but you don’t have to run an ad or spend any money). Using the Google Keyword Planner helps you to assess whether the keywords you think are likely to be popular are. For instance you might want to write an article that uses the keyword
    ‘Reflux’ however using the Google Keyword Planner you find that the term ‘Heartburn’ is far more popular so better to use. Check out this article that shows you how to use Google Keyword Planner
  3. Put your keywords and phrases on all your web pages
    Make sure each page of your website has different keywords as this will increase your exposure. Don’t just focus on your home page.
    How you do this depends on what your website set up is. Research (Google) this or ask someone who is familiar with your website platform.
  4. Update your content regularly
    This is something Google loves because she is not that interested in listening to the same information over and over again. Having a site with a blog/articles will help enormously. Each article is a new page with hopefully new keywords which will pique Google’s interest.
  5. Title your image files with keywords
    Say you have a photo you want to put on your website. It might have a file name like: ‘248uytvd.jpeg’. Change that title to include keywords. E.g.: ‘headache_remedial_massage_sydney.jpeg’ This will further improve your exposure on Google.

Don’t be afraid of SEO

If you find this aspect of technology daunting, don’t hide from it. Expose yourself to more and more information on Search Engine Optimisation. There are loads of articles and videos that can help you become more familiar with SEO.

The more you read and watch on this the better you will be able to optimise your website – and be found by those who need your help.

Author: Jeff Shearer, Ethical Practice
10+ years helping natural medicine practitioners to greater practice success
(whatever ‘success’ is to them)

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