How can I improve the SEO of my physical therapy website

How Can I Improve The SEO of My Physical Therapy Website?

How Can I Improve The SEO of My Physical Therapy Website?

You're about to put out your 20th article on your physical therapy website, but you're hesitant to publish the piece because of the low probability of it ranking on the first page of Google. 

What's the point, after all? You mutter to yourself. 

It can be tiring to publish posts endlessly without any solid impact on the site’s SEO performance.

Ranking an article on old sites with high domain authority scores is easy. With the right tools and in-depth research techniques, you could make any authoritative site compete with more authoritative sites like Forbes and Wall Street Journal. 

On the other hand, non-authoritative and newer sites are difficult to rank on Google's first page. It's a different ball game entirely, but it's not impossible. 

We have ranked a ton of sites regardless of their Domain Authority. And we will share the down-to-earth but effective steps that have helped us. These tips are tried and tested on several physical therapy clients that we have worked with over the years. 

This guide will teach you how to outrank your competitors and get your articles to the Google featured snippets section.

How to make your site visible on the first page of Google search engine

Sites that rank are the ones that offer the best answers to the frequently asked questions on Google. Your primary task is to retain users on your site and make it easy for the Google algorithm to find the answers in your article. 

You need to make your site user-friendly, well-organized, and optimized. You can do just that by following the easy-to-follow steps below.

1. Perform an SEO audit

An SEO audit can be defined as a general health check for websites. A standard SEO audit is meant to be backed by reliable data on technical performance, site traffic, and site domain authority.

To improve a thing, you must be fully aware of its current state and weaknesses. It doesn’t matter where you are on Google pages or how well your pages perform; an SEO audit will give you a clear picture of pages you need to double down on and those you need to delete or enhance. 

The areas you should look out for in your SEO audit report include the following:

  • Content quality
  • Site structure
  • User experience
  • On-page SEO
  • Keyword density and research.
  • Indexing
  • Competitor benchmarking
  • Site crawability
  • Backlink profile

Any paid keyword planning tool should be able to give an accurate SEO audit, but you may want to spend some time manually reading the content on your website too. Examples of SEO auditing tools include Google search console, Ahrefs, WooRank, SEMrush, etc. 

In summary, an SEO audit shows you your site’s SEO performance, the errors in optimization, and data on local competitors. The complexity of the data obtained per audit relies on the features included with the tool and the level of depth it provides.

2. Do a local visibility audit

The search results of a Canadian user would differ from that of an American user for certain keywords like “best physical therapy clinics near me.” Rightfully so, as all users need to reach the nearest clinics. For such questions, there are no universal answers, only local ones.

You have a higher chance of ranking for the best physical therapy clinics in New York compared to the best physical therapy clinics in USA. The more specific the keywords, the higher your chances of moving up Google search results.

Plus, such searches have higher conversion rates too, unlike general keywords like back pain and leg pain. Hence, slacking off in that regard is like scoring your own goal for your company.

Follow the steps below to perform a local visibility audit.

Open a Google Sheet doc where you can store your data

Don’t commit your results to memory. You want a proper record of this data. Many things deserve your “memory space” aside from audit data. 

We prefer online storage formats to physical ones because physical storage options like paper can get torn or lost, but you can always pull up your data from Google Docs anywhere and at any time. 

Search Google for popular keywords relating to your local area 

These local keywords include “Where can I find a physical therapy clinic in Chicago” and “Physical therapy clinics near me.” 

Check if your site is among the preferred brands on Google. Then, note your position. If you aren’t visible at all, don’t fret. Just document your findings.

Check if you have a Google Business Page profile.

Google Business page is Google’s way of making small businesses easy to find. Influential businesses don’t need a Google Business page as they are featured on popular blogs and Wikipedia. 

However, as a small business owner, a Google Business Profile (GBP) will increase your visibility on Google Maps and help your customers easily find you easily. Your GBP displays your business name, location, operation hours, services, and reviews to your customers. 

Not having a Google Business Profile will hurt your local visibility. If you already have one, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the information is updated and correct.

Know what customers are saying about your brand. If you have no reviews, encourage your customers to drop a review on your Google business profile or other platforms like Yelp

Check for possible Google penalties

It’s easy to fall from the grace of the Google algorithm when you buy backlinks from penalized sites or those that lack authority in your field. Other Google crimes include unexplained mobile redirects, user-generated spam, bad user experience, high user bounce rate/lack of user retention, and bad content.

You can identify these penalties using a manual action report via the Google Search Console. If you find any penalties, ensure you submit a reconsideration request after making corrections.

3. Write content that appeals to people but also ticks SEO checkboxes

Updating your company’s information, mission, and services is not enough to drive your site to the first page of Google. You also need to create a blog page that is updated regularly. 

Regularly can be once a month, fortnightly, weekly, or daily. However, we recommend you update your blog section daily to increase your domain authority. 

Two factors are necessary to increase your site’s domain authority, namely:

  • Quality of posts: Generally, longer posts are more detailed and considered high-quality. The standard length of an SEO post is 1,500 words. It can increase depending on the complexity of the topic, the length of your competitor’s stories on the same topic, and the writer's discretion.
  • Organic site traffic from social media and emails: Promoting your articles on social media can drive traffic to your site properly. The traffic juice gotten from this method tells the Google algorithm that your site is highly influential.

The ultimate challenge is to balance creativity and keyword optimization. You need to find a balance and practice regularly. 

Unoptimized content serves as a deadweight to our site. All unoptimized content should be taken down, optimized, and updated. All dead backlinks should also be removed.

Updating old posts can give them a “freshness boost” and help them rank better. To further help the posts, use the Google search console to speed up their indexing. 

Go to the console platform, then input your URL into the top field that reads, “inspect any URL in https://www.yourwebsite.com.” 

Then, tap the “request indexing’ button. This method will help Google crawlers find your page in no time.

4. Enhance high-performing pages

High-performing doesn’t necessarily mean millions of visits every month. It means your best content that drives in the most number of leads for your business. If a post performs without a push, imagine how well it could perform with a social media ad, guest post backlink promotion, or Google Ads campaign.

You can find your best posts manually, but the best way is to head to your Google Search Console. Then, go to the “performance on search results” report. Sort the pages by their position so you can have an idea of the high-performing and average posts.

This Google Search Console account will also help you find the keywords you are ranking for. Once you know the high-performing pages, the next step is to enhance their chances of dominating Google search page. 

Follow these five steps to improve your page’s chances of ranking higher:

  • Focus on adding more value for website visitors.
  • Determine the search intent of users and make sure your web pages meet that intent.
  • Information without order is counterproductive. Format your articles in an easy-to-read manner so your readers can follow along easily.
  • Try to include media materials like video, pictures, or GIFs.
  • Ensure you link your pages. If an article further talks about a topic not discussed in detail in the current topic, link to it using the most suitable anchor words.

5. Target Google-featured snippet spots

In an attempt to make Google search results in line with the users’ search intent, they put the best answers to frequently asked questions in a series of special boxes. These featured snippets are fetched from the content found in the first ten articles in search results.

The higher your post ranks, the easier it is to get into the featured spot. However, you need to structure your content in a certain way to qualify for the featured spots. 

Take the steps below to have a higher chance of becoming one of the few featured posts.

Hunt for unanswered Frequently Asked Questions

The newer the question or problem, the higher your chances of getting more visibility (especially when your website is pretty new). Uncharted zones are the key to sustained dominance because they aren’t crowded.

To identify featured snippet opportunities, you need to conduct in-depth keyword research. Go for the keywords that are just booming in your niche. Google Trends is our favorite tool for finding keywords that aren’t densely used. It also offers global trending searches and currently trending keywords.

The best part of using Google Trends is that it is free and accessible. You can choose the timeframe you want your research to cover and the geographical region you are interested in. For instance, you can use the location filter to see what people are talking about in Austin.

Proffer easy-to-read and brief solutions

Users want answers as fast as possible. Placing the solution to a targeted question at the rear of the body is not a good SEO practice. It frustrates users and increases your bounce rate (an indication that users don’t find your article useful).

Clarity and conciseness are the two common factors shared by most featured posts. You need to proffer a simple answer and put it first.

When you need to explain advanced concepts relating to the question, do so after giving a satisfactory answer.

Order your content using subheadings

When users expand the featured icon for more information, Google can turn the subheadings under the question heading into a list-based featured snippet. It’s impossible for the algorithm to know that a group of listed solutions belong to a heading if they aren’t subgrouped.

For instance, if you are discussing the question, “What are the causes of back pain,” you can use the question as your H2. Then, place the answers under H3 subheadings. That way, you let the Google algorithm identify the solutions to this question.

Please note that the heading of the subgroups must be consistent. Don’t put one recommendation in H3 and put another in H4. 

Mounting blocks of paragraphs without proper formatting is bad SEO and writing practice. Subheadings help people navigate your content and skip the parts that are of no use to them.

If they have to zoom through your content to find their answers, your site frustrates them. Many users do not have the patience and time to play Sherlock Holmes when other sites provide accurate answers with less stress.

Offer more than required

If your competitors covered parts A and B of a particular topic, you must go the extra mile to outrank them. Make your answers comprehensive yet in-depth.

Use lists and tables

The organization of site content helps people and algorithms easily find the answers. If you want the Google algorithm to feature your site in the featured area, you must make it easy to find.

Optimize metatags

Meta tags are brief bodies of HTML codes that provide information regarding a site’s content. Algorithms use meta tags to comprehend your article.

Enhance page load speed

The best page load speed is 2 seconds. A page lingers for over 2 seconds before loading is a big turnoff for users. The algorithm punishes sites that take long to load. Ensure you increase your page load speed to 2 seconds.

Use Question keywords

The featured section was created to help users find the right answers to their most troubling questions. Using question keywords will help you hit the nail on the head. You don’t have to modify the question. Just use it as it is and give it your best shot.

You can compile the questions people ask you during your sessions. You can also shop for questions in the “people also ask” sections of Google search results.

Use Longtail keywords

While shorttail keywords offer the most traffic, longer ones are easier to rank for. The newer the long tail keywords, the higher your chances of ranking for them

If your site is new, focus on the longtail keywords instead of their shorttail counterparts. 

Longtail keywords are longer than 2 words and ultra-specific. They also offer high conversion, and their users are most likely ready to take purchasing actions.

Build backlinks

Backlinks tell Google that your site is worthy of mention and a force to reckon with. They build your site’s domain authority and inevitably push you up the search results.

However, your search engine visibility can be negatively affected when you get backlinks from penalized and unrelated websites through black hat methods. 

You can get more backlinks by:

  • Making content people would want to share or use as references in their posts.
  • Posting data-driven content that would force the benefitting sites to mention you and link to your posts when writing.
  • Detecting trends before they become popular and being among the first brands to write about trending topics. 
  • Using services such as “help a reporter out” (HARO) to contribute quotes and recommendations for backlinks.
  • Guest-posting on other authoritative physical therapy websites and linking back to your resourceful posts for more information.

The Google Algorithm is your friend

Most business owners do not want to deal with the SEO part of their website. 90% of them hate adding “boring” keywords in an article to make it rank. And that’s the first blockade stopping millions of websites from seeing in the light of the day (from ranking high on Google).

Your perspective on SEO will determine your attitude towards it and your strategy.

There are two ways to view SEO:

  • The toxic perspective: A boring keyword game used by Google forces website owners to play to the top of every search.
  • The content growth perspective: A way of organically connecting your content with the best audience for your business.

I get it; no one wants to input unending keywords into articles all day. However, if you want to satisfy your users’ needs, it’s necessary that you get accustomed to the terms they are interested in and provide quality information on these topics. 

Mindlessly inputting keywords to bulk up your page content will only result in unreadable articles and plummeting Google search rankings. 

The trick is to kick off your research by hunting for relevant keywords that prospective patients would search for. For instance, if you write an article on “why you should see a physical therapist before your leg pain gets worse,” you can compile a list of keywords using Keyword Surfer, SEMrush, or Google Keyword Planner. 

In three minutes, I have compiled 5 keywords — achy legs, leg pain causes, sore legs, why do my legs hurt, how to get rid of my leg pain immediately, leg muscle pain, types of leg pain, leg pain treatment, how to stop the pain in legs, causes of leg pain.

It’s simple as ABC. You don’t have to stick to the filtered keywords; you can be creative. A glimpse into your keyword planner app will help you see the bigger picture.

How can SEO help my physical therapy business?

Asides ranking on the first page, optimizing your site content can help you in many other ways. Below are several benefits of using an SEO keyword planner like SEMrush or Google Keyword Planner before writing your heart-melting articles. 

  • Tells you what your users are searching for in the past or present
  • Points out salient parts you haven’t discussed in your article
  • Helps you develop content ideas to fill-fledged articles or listicles
  • Informs the Google Algorithm that your content is what searchers are looking for
  • Gain site traffic organically 

Optimizing your article keeps you in check anytime you’re slacking off or drifting from the topic. It’s easy to go off-topic without having guidance on what type of keywords you need to include, so Google knows which terms to show your page for, which is where these SEO tools come in handy.

Key Takeaways

  • User-friendly sites have better chances of getting on Google's first page than sites with bad user experience.
  • Go for relevant longtail keywords when creating your blog articles
  • Nothing beats good content and consistency.
  • Simplicity will help you rank higher. Complexity drives users away.
  • Always place a simple and concise answer first before an advanced explanation.

Final Thoughts

Align your page with search intent and cover the topics in detail. Having filters that help clients narrow down their choices can boost your user experience (which tells Google’s algorithm that your site is useful and relevant to its users). Check what your competitors are doing when you search for your important keywords in Google to know how much and how well you would need to write to outrank them for those chosen keywords.