SEO Basics for Veterinary Practices
By now you’ve invariably heard about the importance of SEO, or search engine optimization. This is the process by which a business can work to improve the way their website is ranked in the search engines. Veterinary practices are no exception. Nowadays, people aren’t turning to the newspaper or Yellow Pages when they want to find a vet. They’re going online. Veterinary SEO will help ensure that when they do, it’s your practice that they’ll find. That said, let’s go over some of the basics of SEO – what it is, how it works and how you can leverage this powerful tool for your veterinary practice.
What is SEO?
In simplest of terms, SEO is what you use to get your website to appear as high up as possible in the search engine results. For instance, if someone were to Google the term “veterinary clinic in [your city name]”, SEO would help your site to show up in the results, improving the chances of that person reaching out and becoming a client. The goal is to get your veterinary practice website to show up on the first page of the search results, and this is accomplished by optimizing your site and the content within it through veterinary SEO.
What Determines Ranking?
There are a number of factors that go into how a search engine views, analyzes and ultimately ranks your veterinary practice website in the search results. Search engines, like Google, use something called crawlers (sometimes called spiders or bots), which are essentially automated programs that monitor all of the content on the internet. These crawlers send information about each site to the search engines, where it is then indexed and ranked. Crawlers are constantly scanning as new content is added to the web, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to have a blog that is regularly updated with fresh content.
Important SEO Components
SEO can be a pretty complex subject, but there are a few basic components that everyone should know about. The first component, and probably the most important, is keywords. These are the words, phrases or terms that people most commonly use when searching online. For veterinary practices, these keywords typically include things like “vet in [your city name]”, “[your city name] vet clinic”, etc. Once you’ve identified which keywords are used most frequently to find a veterinary practice in your area, you must then strategically place these keywords throughout the content of your site. This simple veterinary SEO technique will improve the chances of your website being found in local searches.
Another important component of veterinary SEO is links. Search engines like Google view links as a form of authority. Websites with authority tend to be ranked higher in the results. So, the goal is to get a number of quality links to your website from other reputable websites. Producing quality, engaging content is a great way to get others to link back to your site. It’s also important to include links within your content. For example, when you are creating a blog article, along with keywords, it should also include at least one link that leads the reader back to your veterinary website. This will show Google that you are an authority on veterinary matters and will improve how your site gets ranked in the search results.
An Important Note about SEO
One thing that’s important to remember is that when it comes to SEO, less is more. While keywords play a big part in how your veterinary website gets ranked, too many of them can actually get your site penalized by the search engines. Likewise, it’s not the number of links you get, but the quality of those links that will help determine pagerank for your site. Too many of either thing can result in your website being viewed as SPAM.
Of course, you may feel more comfortable working with an expert when it comes to veterinary SEO, which is fine. However, now that you understand the basics, you can begin to apply these simple techniques to your website and blog. Once you do, you’ll begin to see an improvement in your veterinary website’s ranking, which will ultimately help you grow your practice.