Top 10 Tips to Starting Your SEO

Best Top Ten Tips for Starting SEO, Search Engine Optimization for DoctorsHere is my Top Ten List to optimize your SEO (search engine optimization) for your website.  Whether or not you’ve built the site yourself, regardless of the type of website, your marketing goals or even your type of medical practice, these are the basic steps to getting your website optimized, indexed and working well.

Start a GMail Account

There are several Google tools available (and for free!).  All you need to do is create a GMail Account.  With a Google account,  you can then set up;

  • Google Analytics
  • Webmasters Tools
  • Feedburner
  • Adwords
  • Adsense

Analytics

Every website should have an analytics tool setup.  Analytics will give you vital information about the popularity of your blog, how many visitors and what they read.  Search engines, such as Google, actually expect you to have analytics installed on your site.  In fact, not having analytics installed has a negative impact on your Pagerank and SEO.

Sign in to Google Analytics with your GMail userid and password.

Webmasters Tools

Webmasters Tools tests your site for “dead” links and other internal errors which may decrease your SEO.  Making sure your have proper 301 redirects and 404 errors handled properly are also important factors of your SEO.

It is here that you will register your website with Google and/or by submitting a sitemap of your site.

Claim FaceBook and Google Plus Pages

Though you know I don’t recommend engaging in social media until you’ve set-up a website, I am changing my recommendation for Facebook and Google Plus (now integrated with Google Places).

In both instances, FaceBook and Google have already created pages for local businesses.  Hence, you have a “page” waiting to be claimed.  Both will be influential in the local search market and you want to make sure the information available to the public is accurate.  At the very least, make sure the phone number and address on these pre-fabbed pages is correct.

An unclaimed page may contain erroneous information about your business and also sends a message to your potential patients that you just don’t care to engage.

Add Title to WebSite

A common SEO “mistake” is a missing Title Tag.  The title tag appears in the tab of your browser and is as important for your search engine optimization as your content and inbound links.  Take some time to create your title.

Your site can contain your name, but more importantly, we suggest adding your location and type of medical specialty.  For instance, Randall Wong, M.D., Retina Specialist of Northern Virginia.  Use keywords commonly used by your patients.

SiteMap

The sitemap is used by the search engines as a “Table of Contents” of all the pages comprising your site.  It is an easy way for the search engines to ensure that all pages have been crawled and then indexed.

Having and submitting a sitemap signifies to the search engines that you are a legitimate website owner.  The search engines regard the sitemap as an efficient way to index all the pages in your site and is an expected component of any “legitimate” website.

I use Google XML Sitemaps on all my sites.

DMOZ.org

Submit your site to the Open Directory.  Websites on the Open Directory are less likely to be black hat or poor quality sites.

Robots.txt

This is another file that is a “must have” from an SEO standpoint.  This file contains those files or pages that should NOT be indexed or crawled by the bots.  Examples could be emergency or contact information, disclaimers, privacy policy statements, etc.

From an SEO standpoint, Google, Bing and Yahoo give a higher value to those sites that contain robots.txt….another expected component of a good website.

Length of Domain Registration

Purchase your URL for at least 2 years, but 5-7 years is better.  This increases the “trustworthiness” of your site and improves Pagerank and your SEO.  The search engines rank older, more trusted sites, too (i.e. the age of your URL is important).

If you’ve purchased the URL for only a year, you might consider renewing now, but for multiple years.

Mobile Friendly

Choose either a mobile friendly (aka mobile responsive) theme if you have yet to build a site or change your present site to become mobile responsive.  We recommend themes by Studiopress as inexpensive, SEO maximized and now mobile friendly.

These are my top ten!  I invite you to share your suggestions!

 

To Your Growth And Success!

Randy

Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization

www.MedicalMarketingEnterprises.com

 

 

5 Reasons Why Your Website Should Be a Blog

Medical Websites Use Blogs to Optimize Web Performance

Your medical practice should have a medical blog, not a website, but a blog.  The modern “blog” has maintained all the features of the former, yet obsolete, webpage, but has unique advantages that best suits it for optimizing your website’s SEO and ranking your pages.

Here are 5 reasons why a Blog should be your choice for a medical Website

1.  Blogs are Cost Effective

Chances are that if you have a website, it hasn’t been updated in a few years.  Every update costs the practice money and noone really understands the ROI (return on investment).

Blogs are about $10/month including hosting!

Blogs are much cheaper than hiring a website developer to make updates.  Plus, re-designing the site isn’t going to improve rankings at all.  It’ll be a waste of more money.

Even if you are a do-it-yourselfer, purchasing HTML generators such as “FrontPage” or Dreamweaver can be much more expensive than blog software.

Blogging software is free.

While we recommend WordPress.org, most larger content management systems are free.

Most hosting companys, including GoDaddy.com and BlueHost.com, will install WordPress on your hosting plan…with the click of a button.

2.  Blogs are Server Based

Server based programs, such as blogs, can be accessed from any Internet connection in the world.  This means they are convenient and easily accessible.  It’s convenient to make changes and post new content, or articles, to your medical blog.  You can do it from your home, office, local cafe, etc.

Ease of use, convenience and accessibility ensure you can follow my 3 R’s of good SEO;

The 3 R’s of good medical SEO are;

  • Relevant Content
  • Refreshed Webpage
  • Regularly Updated

 

3.  Blog Software Designed for SEO and Search Engine Bots

Blogging software, especially WordPress, is designed to be search engine friendly.  The websites created with WordPress are indexed efficiently by the search engine robots.

Well written content (the human part) is just half of good SEO.  You want to publish your material on a site designed to be SEO friendly.  Wordpress is terrific.

On top of WordPress, I recommend taking one step further.  Use “Genesis” or “Thesis” frameworks (these are specific WordPress software packages) to really make SEO a snap for the user.

SEO friendly for the robots and ease of use for you!

4.  Customizable and Professional Turnkey Themes

With the popularity of blogs, web design has become turnkey (you do it yourself with a click).  No more hiring web-designers as hundreds of dollars per hour!  Downloading a theme and installing is so easy…a doctor could do it (look at me!).

Most themes available for WordPress are free of charge.  They are completely customizable so that your “blog” can look and act like your “website.”

Two popular frameworks, best suited for SEO, are Genesis and Thesis.  I switched to the Genesis theme structure because of the 40 or so child themes that provide the design for the site.

Turnkey web design allows you to also change your theme, or look, as easily and as often as you want…and usually it’s free.

Remember, the design of your site has no value to achieving high search engine rankings.  Only your SEO maximized content can get your website in the “top ten.”

5.  Blogs are the Purest form of Social Media

Because of the ability to leave a comment, and hence, start a conversation, blogs are the purest form of social media.  Having a blog makes a clear statement that your practice is willing to engage and attract your patients.

The ability to engage into a conversation will set your practice, and your doctors, apart from your conversation.  Remember, it’s not what you are, but it’s who you are!

To your success!