Recently I received an email from a practice in New York that had let its search engine optimization, or SEO, slip very dramatically during the last few years. I asked if they were still using the same SEO Company and they said they were not because a colleague confirmed their suspicion that SEO and web were not a good return on investment in New York City.
Unfortunately, their friend/colleague made an uneducated judgment that affected their practice in a big way. Since stopping SEO, most of their keywords such as “cataracts,” “LASIK,” “ophthalmology” and “glaucoma” dropped to page two or three on a Google search, and this caused more than a 40% decrease in web traffic. Why? Because the monthly $500 fee for SEO just wasn’t worth the return on investment.
With the growing number of generation X and Y people becoming our patients, nothing is more important than the web. And don’t forget that the Baby Boomers use the Internet in a big way, too. See my past blog: The silver surfers are hitting the Web.
What is SEO?
SEO is a tactic that increases the visibility of your website in a search engine’s organic search results. This allows your website to pop-up for people searching for keywords such as “cataract surgeon” or “diabetic retinopathy treatment” during a Google, Yahoo or Bing search. SEO consist of more than 200 pieces to a puzzle that make up Google and Bing’s search engine algorithms. The main points consist of relevant, unique content; proper title/meta tags and backlinks from other websites — or, as most SEO folks say, the 3 Cs: content, code and connections.
How is your website SEO doing?
At Stubenbordt Medical Marketing, we use SERPS.com to track our clients’ keywords. There are several tools out there, but this is the one we like the most. They offer a free 14-day trial, which I highly suggest trying. Simply watch the introduction video, enter your keywords, geographically tag them and wait a few hours for the first report. If your keywords are not ranking 12 or higher, then you’re not on page one. The goal is not only to be on page one, but to also be in the top three results of a search.
Choosing an SEO company
SEO takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s best to hire a company that knows what it’s doing vs. trying to do it yourself. Usually the company will work with you to come up with a list of 20 to 40 keywords that would benefit your practice the most. They will send you monthly reports showing the progression of keyword rankings and website traffic.
You don’t have to use a company that has a specific background in ophthalmology, but it’s important to choose a company that has a proven track record in a competitive market and in a competitive industry.
Most companies are going to charge between $300 and $1,500 a month for SEO, depending on the size of your market and the amount of work that would be involved.
Top three reasons to keep SEO strong
- It works. Most of the white hat “legal” SEO tactics from the past 10 years still work. Although Google keeps changing its SEO algorithm, the basic 3 Cs continue to work well.
- It is cost-effective. If you compare marketing dollars spent, SEO still has one of the highest returns on investment compared to every other marketing medium. Sure, pay-per-click might be better for driving patients directly to your website, and social/review sites might keep your online image healthy, but SEO is the foundation for all web marketing.
- Your competition does SEO. According to Google Trends, searches for “New York ophthalmologist” has increased 100% in just the past 2 years and 300% since 2009. When my New York client and friend stopped doing SEO, he lost years of work to keep him ahead of the competition. However, now the competition is ahead of him.
The intent of this article was to make readers aware how important their SEO is for maintaining and growing their practice. Administrators and doctors need to be aware that their SEO may be dwindling or perhaps even non-existent if little to no SEO tactics are being performed. Again, try SERPS.com and see how your SEO is doing.
For more information, visit www.stubenbordt.com.