You’ve heard it a million times: the way people search products and services have changed. They go to Google whenever they need information about a product or looking for an answer to a question. As a result, search engines have become the main door businesses can access potential customers and get them interested in their offers.
The same stays true for physical therapy clinics.
By now, you’ve probably understood that if you want to attract more patients and grow your practice, you need to invest in SEO.
So, you’ve launched your first SEO campaign. You’ve optimized your website, you’ve created content, and you’ve started building links. But, in spite of all your efforts, you haven’t seen any increase in traffic.
What did you do wrong?
Here are some of the mistakes you probably made and what you can do about them.
Mistake #1: Your Goals Are Unrealistic
You need to dream big to succeed. You’ve probably heard this old saying before, and it is one of the most common pitfalls physical therapy fall into when first dipping their toes into search engine optimization. Of course, who wouldn’t love to get hundreds of thousands of targeted visitors right from the beginning? However, the reality is that SEO is a slow process and it can take some time to show results. So, you need to be patient.
How to Fix It: Whenever you set a goal, make sure it is within reach. Consider „I will reach 1.000 new subscribers in two months”. It is an ambitious goal, but it’s definitely attainable. Now, consider “I will reach 100.000 subscribers in two months”. It is daunting and unrealistic.
Mistake #2: Your Budget and Timeframe Are Unrealistic
Most physical therapy clinics want immediate results. At the same time, they are not willing to make a significant investment in their SEO efforts. The problem is that there is a lot of bogus information out there promising inexperienced business owners that they can get tens of thousands of hits in one month if they just follow their tricks or buy their programs.
Don’t fall for that.
Any SEO professional will tell you that SEO can generate great results, but only with the right time investment. Most of the times, you can see results in four to eight months. However, there are a lot of variables that could determine how fast you’ll see an increase in traffic and conversion. If you physical therapy clinic’s website is new and you’re just now starting to create content, it might take a while (around six months.)
How to Fix It: If you set a short timeframe for your SEO efforts and you are unwilling to make the necessary investments, then your campaign will most likely fail. So, better think of your SEO as a business investment. Your strategy will begin to compound over time and gradually deliver results.
Mistake#3: Your Website Is Outdated
There are a few aspects of your website that might cause your physical therapy business to rank poorly:
- Your Website Is too Confusing: If your website architecture is too complex and it requires prospective patients to click a few times before landing on the page they’re interested in, then that might be the reason behind your big bounce rate.
- Your Website Is too Slow: Site speed is one of the most important ranking factors. Just by improving the load time of your physical therapy clinic’s website, you can improve your ranking.
- Your Website Isn’t Mobile: Google has made it clear that they will favor mobile-friendly sites in search results. So, you’re losing valuable search traffic by not making your website responsive.
How to Fix It: First of all, you need to improve your site’s design. Make sure it follows a logical order and that navigation is simple and intuitive. Second, improve your site’s speed by cleaning up your code or resizing and compressing images. And, last but not least, make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Mistake #4: You Still Haven’t Nailed On-Page SEO
If you are new to search engine optimization, you’re probably still trying to figure out what you need to do to make your physical therapy clinic’s website rank high. Here are some of the things that might miss from your strategy:
- You Have a Poor URL Structure: As already mentioned, a weak structure is confusing to both your users and search engines.
- You Don’t Have Any Meta Tags (or They’re Irrelevant): A mistake worse than having no meta tags is creating tags that aren’t relevant to your business.
- You Have Broken Links: Your SEO strategy isn’t going to be effective if you have broken or irrelevant links.
How to Fix It: Make sure that your URL structure is clear and straightforward. Your URL should be guessable, so just follow a logical order when creating them.
If you want to increase your chances of ranking high in search results, you must include the primary keywords in your title tags plus your physical therapy clinic’s name. Keep it short and sweet – no more than 60 characters.
Lastly, review your links and make sure that they are relevant to your business. Remove any broken links. Create natural-looking anchor text, but without over-optimizing them.
Mistake #5: Targeting the Wrong Keywords
Optimizing for the wrong keywords is one of the most common causes of an SEO campaign’s failure. An excellent way to determine if your campaign is targeting the wrong keywords is to look at your website’s bounce rate for organic search traffic. If your visitors hit the “Back” button without looking around, then what they’re searching for is not in line with what they’re finding on your website.
How to Fix It: When you create a list of potential keywords, get into the head of your patients and try to think like them. Ask yourself “Is this keyword relevant to my website?” “Will people find what they are looking for on my site when they search using these specific words?”
Avoid using generic head terms and concentrate on long-tail keywords.
Mistake #6: Focusing on Traffic Rather Than Conversion
Traffic is important. Without visitors, it’s difficult to increase the number of patients that go through your clinic’s doors. But, getting thousands of hundreds of hits every month won’t matter if no one converts.
But, wait! Doesn’t more traffic equal more conversions?
Not necessarily. If you want to convert visitors into patients, you need to acquire the right type of traffic.
How to Fix It: Focus your search optimization efforts on your best-converting keywords. Run tests and analyze your top-performing keywords. If you are getting traffic from keywords that aren’t converting, remove them from the list on focus your efforts on the ones that are working.
Mistake #7: Your Content Is Thin
Your content is probably one of the most important components of your website. You can get all the factors right, but if your content is of poor quality, your SEO campaign will continue to fail.
In the aftermath of the Panda algorithm update, websites with thin or duplicated content have seen a dramatic decrease in traffic. Moreover, nowadays Google is using RankBrain, a machine learning algorithm to understand user intent better and deliver relevant search results. In other words, if your website content isn’t helpful, Google might push it down in SERPs or ignore it altogether.
How to Fix It: It should go without saying to you need to create original content. But, if every topic you want to write about has already been covered by others, try to come up with a new perspective.
Another excellent tip is to create content that is more comprehensive than the number one result. So, if the top article result is an article about “TOP 5 treatments for low back pain”, you should write “TOP 10 remedies for low back pain.” Read the number one result carefully to see if the author didn’t miss something important. If it did, then fill in the gaps. Studies show that people prefer comprehensive content that is +1,500 words or even longer.
Mistake #8: Not Tracking Data to See What Converts
It might seem obvious, but you will be surprised to find out how many physical therapy clinic owners fail to measure the effectiveness of their SEO efforts. Another mistake they make is that they measure the results of the strategy based on one data point. You need to look at the data collectively to understand the big picture to be able to make fixes.
How to Fix It: Make a habit of checking analytics. Look at rankings, organic traffic search, bounce rate and conversions to see what needs to be tweaked and what works.
Mistake #9: Overanalyzing
Too much of Analytics can kill your creativity. Sure, data is important, but this doesn’t mean you should spend every hour of the day analyzing traffic, trends and conversion rates.
How to Fix It: Schedule your work over clear time frames. Decide how much time you are going to spend analyzing, create a content calendar and a posting strategy.
2017 is expected to be a crucial year for SEO. Important changes, such as RankBrain, mobile-first indexing, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and the latest algorithm updates will impact your SEO efforts dramatically. Your old strategies will, most probably, become updated. Your physical therapy clinic’s website might take a big blow if you’re not adapting to the new SEO landscape.
If your SEO campaign is failing, try to review some of the factors above to identify the culprit. Or, if the topic of SEO is too overwhelming, we here at PatientSites.com can take care of it for you. Contact us to find out what we can do for you.