Search engine optimization is tricky. To make matters more complicated, SEO do’s and don’ts vary based on whether you’re starting a new website or overhauling an existing brand. While it’s easier to follow a best practices guide if you’re starting from scratch…
What happens when you’ve had a private practice website for years, but want to improve your online presence in search results?
Changing some things are a big no-no, but other tweaks and considerations pay huge dividends down the road. Continue reading for five important SEO tips any established private practice should consider before making changes to their website.
Do Keep Your Location in Mind
Consider how many people are offering your services in the world. Now then… Does your practice mostly cater to a specific neighborhood? Adding directional queues (e.g. West Chicago) also work. The goal is to make yourself highly visible to people who in fact find your practice desirable—both from a services and locale standpoint.
In practice, locale-specific SEO can start with page title, headings, and body text.
“My Private Practice | My Services”
“My Private Practice | LOCATION My Services”
Also, make sure to really hammer home your location (no pun intended) in the text of your pages. Instead of “Psychology Services” as a heading, make it “Psychology Services in My Location” and so forth.
Don’t Change Page Urls
Generic website links aren’t very helpful for search engines when you can string together five or six keywords people in your city people are likely to enter into Google. Consider…
Alas, if you’re stuck with something like the former, it actually makes matters worse to change the link. Search engines like Google index your website and will wonder where the webpage went. A red flag will be raised for what’s called a broken link and your website will take a hit—especially if it happens multiple times during a site-wide SEO revamp.
An alternative? Consider hiring an expert to implement permanent redirects. In other words, tell Google and other search engines your webpage with the generic url will now be located at a really great url moving forward. You’ll get the benefits of better SEO without the risk of a page rankings hit.
Do Add Alt Tags to Images
Even websites with optimized page urls often fail to optimize their image links. While image urls themselves also shouldn’t be touched, you can edit or add ALT tags to improve SEO and ensure people without image functionality turned on (i.e. some mobile devices) still see a description of your image instead of a blank box.
ALT tags don’t need to be joined by hyphens like urls—simply add a phrase most relevant to the image and webpage that’s also SEO-friendly.
Don’t Chase the Big Fish
Unless you’re a hospital, WebMD, or other giant online presence, you’ll likely never rank on the first page for broad keywords like “psychology”. Adding your location, as referenced above, can certainly help, but it’s still really hard to achieve top billing for the broadest of terms.
Instead, drill down to the specifics:
Does your psychology practice, for instance, treat children or adults?
How about couples or individuals?
Do you test for ADHD or treat a specific disorder?
These are the things your future clients are likely searching for and the best way to separate yourself from bigger entities established on the internet. It’s still important to mention the big-picture, but focus on the details as much as possible.
Do Install Google Analytics
A big part of understanding SEO is tracking your website’s metrics. What pages are most popular? Are most visitors arriving from organic searches or direct links from a newsletter, social media post, etc.? Your webmaster or SEO guru can help set this up and generate helpful reports to make the parsing of data a breeze.
Establish a baseline before making search engine optimization changes to your private practice website. Watching these measurable statistics evolve over time not only proves your effort was worthwhile, but is a good practice for any business with an online presence to stay involved and understand the ever-important process of client acquisition.
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