For many podiatrists, the internet is a bit of a mystery. They aren’t sure how search engines choose what information to display on the first page of results, or what their website really needs to be searchable. The good news is that this process isn’t random, and there are ways you can influence it so your website comes out on top: search engine optimization.

What SEO Actually Is

If you’ve worked on internet marketing for your podiatry practice for any length of time, you’ve heard of search engine optimization, better known as SEO. First, let’s cover a quick definition:

SEO is the process of constantly improving and promoting your website to increase the number of people who find it in searches.

There are two parts to website optimization—making your site search engine-friendly and making it valuable and useful to the human visitors who find it. This isn’t some sort of magical voodoo or clever manipulation. Google and all the other search engines use complicated algorithms to determine what content a person is actually searching for, then pull up the most useful information.

To do this, they have to be able to “read” all the content on a website. They use this information to determine if your blog or webpage or any other content fits what the user is searching for. That isn’t the only aspect, though. Engines also take into account whether or not other people have clicked on your pages before, linked to them from other places, and found them useful in the past.

Why This Matters for Your Practice

SEO isn’t an optional part of marketing a podiatry practice online. No matter how brilliant your webpages are or how clever and informative your blogs may be, no one will come to your website if it doesn’t show up on page one of any search results. And it won’t come up on page one if a search engine like Google can’t read it. At that point, you are not marketing on the internet. Worse, all that time and effort you put into making your website great to help you patients and attract new people to your office ends up wasted.

What Your SEO Absolutely Needs

So you know you really need good SEO for your internet marketing. The question then becomes, “What actually goes into optimizing my website?” This is where the process gets a little tricky. Google and the other search engine giants are constantly changing and refining what they look for when they crawl and “read” a website. This is because they are constantly combatting spam and less-than-ethical businesses or marketers trying to cheat the system and get to the top of page one without much work.

This means that what worked for SEO a year ago—or even six months ago—might not work today. Some things do hold true as time passes, though. Great websites are packed with well-written content pieces containing valuable information that actually answers your potential patients’ questions. These sites have pictures, videos, and other visual content with captions so Google can understand what they are. They are easy to navigate so people can find what they are looking for easily.

Behind the scenes, in the “back end” of the website where you set up all your pages, every area has the data Google and other engines need to know your location and what each page is about. The pages are linked to each other so the search robots can crawl easily from one blog or FAQ to the next. You have titles that accurately describe what each piece of content is about and use keywords that people actually search for.

The Top Practices Team that Can Do This For You

All of that can sound pretty overwhelming if you’re a tech-challenged person. Even if you’re not, staying on top of changes in SEO and trying to apply them to marketing a podiatry practice can be a full-time job in and of itself. At Top Practices, we understand the struggle podiatrists face when dealing with search engine optimization and internet marketing as a whole. That’s why we have a team of experts whose job is exclusively to do all of this for you.

The Virtual Marketing Director (VMD) Services team monitors Google and trends in internet marketing, then does all the complicated work of applying best SEO practices to your website for you. They also use tools to analyze your website and make sure it actually works for you (and not the other way around). If you’d like to know more about what the VMD team can do for your internet marketing and practice as a whole, just contact Lori Hibma for more information. You can e-mail her at [email protected] or call (616) 931-1040.