By Daniel Rostenne
Search engine optimization (SEO) can spur practice growth by publicizing your full range of services to patients while helping potential new patients to find you.
1. Keywords. Understand the most important keywords toyour practice. “Optometrist” is a good keyword, but the name of a drug you prescribe to patients is not. Put yourself in the mind of the person searching and understand what they’re looking for.
2. Keywords in content. Your site content has to reflect the keywords that are important to you, or you won’t get any traffic for those keywords! For example, if you optimize as a pediatric practice, your homepage should have headlines and content publicizing that specialty.
3. Links to you.Links to your site are like votes. The more links you get from different sources, the more votes the search engines see for your site.
4. Update. Keep your site up-to-date. Why should the search engines put your site at the top of the search results when you haven’t updated it insix months?
5. Be truthful. Don’t bother cheating by putting a phrase on your site to get hits, but which has no relation to anything offered on your site or in your business. You’ll get caught, and possibly penalized. Be honest in your efforts to optimize your site and the rewards will follow.
SEO Affects Your Growth
SEO is the process that results in a web site ranking at the top of the search engine results for specific searches. You have to know what you want to be ranked for to achieve results. If you’re an ocular allergies specialist,you should optimize using the keywords”ocular allergies,” along with your geographic area, so people looking for an eye doctor specializing in ocular allergies in, say, Oklahoma City, will finda link to your practice first when doing aGoogle search.
Understanding what SEO is, and how to use it, is a key practice growth–and revenues–driver. One of our clients, Barry Nolt, OD, of Edmonton, Alberta, reported to us: “We get over 10 new patients a month that found us on Google, sometimes we get a few a day.” Without optimizing your site for the search engines, you won’t get this business. Tennew patients a month represent thousands of dollars in business a month. If half of those remain as long-term patients, you’re adding serious income to your practice.
Daniel Rostenne notes how the practices he works with easily recoup the money they spend on SEO consultation.
$249 per month
Each New Patient
Typical growth Following SEO Consultation
At least 2 new patients per month, with at least one per monthcoming back for a second visit=$300
ROI Calculation ForEach New Patient
Eye Exam $: _____
Additional Procedures: $_____
Glasses / Contacts: $_____
% of patients that refer others: _____
% of returning patients: _____
SEO is broken down into the areas of site structure, content and incoming links. Most ODs have the ability to make changes to their web site themselves, but don’t have the technical skills toensure the site’s HTML code iswell suited for the search engines. Most ODs can figure out where to get good links from (different product providers, associations anddirectories), but they lack the time tofind those links and come up with ways to bestuse them to improve SEO. In addition,most ODs need help with their overall SEO strategy. An outside company such as EyeCarePro,which specializes in working only with optometrists, already has the experience, the strategy, the skills and the list of sites that can link to a practice, saving the ODtime that isbetter spent managing the practice.
EyeCarePro provides a complete SEO solution that includes writers, technical staff and analysts that explain the whole process to the OD. We write content for the practice,make surethe underlying site structure is search engine friendly, obtain numerous links for the practice and ensure that a steady supply of new optometry-related articles are added to the site to keep the search engine robots busy.
As a rule of thumb, practices typically assign a value of $100 per new patient. Whether the practice is doing SEO on their own, or they’re hiring an outside firm such as EyeCarePro to do the work, they need to track their costs, and track the number of new patients obtained from the search engines to determine the ROI. EyeCarePro’s search engine optimization services are $249 per month. With two new patients a month, and at least one of them coming back as a return patient, the practice has recoveredits investment in SEO. As the traffic to the web site grows, it will generate more new patients a month, improving the ROI as time goes on. The longer a practice does SEO, the greater the ROI, and the more chance they’ll keep doing it. Our experience has been that if practices get over the learning curvehump and turn SEO into a cash flow positive effort, they tend to keep doing it for years.
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DanielRostenneistheCEOofEyeCarePro.net (eyecarepro.net)an AOA Preferred Providerofweb services, specializing in web site design, social media and search engine optimization. Daniel can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org (412) 532-6542.