Although search engine optimization may be the last thing on your mind when it comes to running your physical therapy practice, SEO simply cannot be ignored if you want to compete in today’s competitive online landscape.
When we think about the importance of bringing local clients into our practice, it’s easy to ignore the online component of our business. After all, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on local marketing rather than our site?
The fact is that our patients are searching for prospective practices online more than ever, with 89% of users conducting research online before doing business. The question remains, what are your potential patients finding when they type “physical therapy” into Google? If your business isn’t near the top of the list, chances are you have a problem on your hands.
Thankfully, you can take immediate action to help build a stronger local search presence for your physical therapy site.
Understanding the Basics
Without having to do much traditional “research” at all, you can understand which keywords you can naturally rank for. By using geo-specific keywords based on your location, you can set yourself up to dominate local search; meanwhile, you should couple such keywords with the services detailed on your physical therapy site.
For example, you can use the following template to help determine which keywords you should target naturally throughout your site’s content, including your “services” and “about” pages:
1) “Business-type / location” keywords such as “physical therapy Toronto” or “Toronto physical therapist”
2) “Services / location” keywords such as “sports medicine Toronto” or “pain management Toronto”
Brainstorm your services and think about which keywords you could easily integrate into your site. In an age of increased mobile use, such keywords are incredibly valuable to businesses who rely on local customers.
Define Your Niches
To localize your traffic even further, it’s crucial that you define niches for your physical therapy site to target as well. Such niches may range from obesity management to pediatrics, highlighting your practice’s specialization and setting your site apart from the competition in terms of keywords. Brainstorm ideas for keywords and make a list of those which you hope to target, emphasizing:
- Low-competition keywords that nobody else is going after; for example, perhaps nobody else in your area is emphasizing “spinal physical therapy”
- Long-tail keywords such as “Toronto hand surgery and rehab” which may only have a few monthly searches yet represent searchers with very specific intent
While niche traffic may seem relatively small, consider that such traffic is laser-focused on becoming a patient versus simply “browsing” for physical therapy sites. By targeting niche traffic, you can build a stream of new patients that your competition isn’t going after.
Spy on Your Competition
Perhaps one of the most exciting and difficult prospects for local SEO is effectively “stealing” your competitors’ traffic and outranking them for keywords.
Your SEO decisions should be driven by data rather than your instincts. While you could potentially find keywords at a glance by scanning the sites of your competition and making a list, consider instead using free SEO spy tools to do the hard work for you. These tools allow you to see what’s “under the hood” of your competition such as:
- Your competition’s most profitable keywords
- The backlink profile of your competitors
- Which keywords you could potentially rank for versus your competition
While you shouldn’t’ obsess over your competition, you should at least be aware of what their SEO strategy looks like. Rather than trying to copycat their own efforts, you should try to build your site’s organic search foundation on low-competition and long-tail keywords first. After you’ve amassed a following and a steady flow of traffic, you can begin ranking for more difficult keywords.
SEO can be incredibly complicated; however, doing your homework can go a long way when it comes to helping your physical therapy site rank for relevant keywords. If you’re looking to supercharge your SEO efforts and save time in the process, let PatientSites build your site’s local search presence for you.