Customer engagement tips

Keep Your Patients Coming Back for More with Exceptional Customer Engagement

As an audiologist, you understand the importance of patient care. You know that if you treat your patients well, they will come back. If you treat them poorly, on the other hand, they aren’t likely to schedule another appointment with your office.
However, did you know that people crave not only good patient care, but also good customer engagement? And in this day and age, they want good customer engagement both in-office and online.
With this knowledge, you may want to evaluate how your office currently provides customer engagement. This concept must extend to your entire office and team, not just you as the audiologist. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you assess your hearing practice’s level of customer engagement:

  1. Does your office have social media pages?
  2. If so, do you regularly post on these pages?
  3. Do you respond to customer comments or questions on your social media pages?
  4. Do you respond to online patient reviews?
  5. Does your office team know patients by name when they come in for appointments?
  6. Does the staff have the patient’s information readily accessible?
  7. Do you and your team members remember any details about the patient that can make conversation more personal?
  8. Do you send your patients a message or a card for their birthday or holidays?
  9. Do you hold events that patients are invited to, or do you participate in community events as a practice?
  10. When a potential new patient contacts the office, are they treated in a courteous manner and allowed to express any personal preferences about their appointment or treatment?

Give yourself one point for every question that you answered “yes” to. If you scored below 5, you may need to reassess the way your office engages with customers and see what more you can do. You may wish to use the points above as inspiration for ways to improve customer engagement.
The benefits of good customer engagement are myriad. Here are just two of the top benefits of engaging with your customers in an effective way:

  • More new patients – New patients are often the result of marketing and word-of-mouth referrals. If your online presence and marketing demonstrate a high level of customer engagement, potential patients are more likely to choose your office. And of course, if your current patients can provide a glowing recommendation based on how your office has engaged with them, you are more likely to gain new patients through their referrals.
  • More returning patients – It’s no secret that when patients are treated well, they are more likely to come back. Even if you know a customer is satisfied with the care you provide, go the extra mile to engage with them. For example, if a patient leaves you an online review, respond to them (whether the review was positive or negative). A recent study revealed that over 50% of customers expect a company response to their online review within one week, but most do not receive a response at all. Be the one who goes above and beyond.

Now that you understand the importance of exceptional customer engagement—while your patient is both inside and outside of your office—get out there and provide the high level of care and engagement that keeps people coming back for more. To learn more about how you can engage your customers, especially in the online world, please contact us today at AudiologyPlus.

Blank Screen due to Website that can't be found

Invisible Website? This Might Be Why…

Your website is your practice’s digital storefront: it’s what people “pass by” as they surf the Internet looking for the information or services they need. Ideally, your website’s home page offers enough information and value to keep visitors from passing at all, but that’s only half the equation. Getting them there in the first place is the other half.
So how is your website doing? Is it attracting new online visitors each week? Is it translating to increased patient inquiries at your physical location? Do you see your site show up on the early pages of online search results?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, then you might be left wondering where you’ve gone wrong. Perhaps you’ve spent a significant amount of time or money (or both) setting up a sleek and functional website for your hearing practice. If so, you’re likely frustrated if it’s not getting the attention it deserves. Just like the sign outside of your physical practice, your website is fairly useless if it’s not catching the eyes of potential patients moving about online.
Making your website an active vehicle for patient inquiries is a much bigger topic than just getting people to your site in the first place, but it’s hard to deny that it’s the most important step. If your website seems to be invisible online, consider some of the most common reasons below.
Lacking Content
Search engines like Google are looking for websites that offer a good experience for its readers. They also are crawling through websites searching for specific keywords being used in a search query. If your website is lacking in detailed content, and specifically lacking in those commonly-searched keywords relevant to your field, then you can expect your web pages to rank poorly in the search results—potentially ending up too far down to ever be noticed.
Luckily, this is a fairly easy issue to fix: simply add more keyword-rich content to your website. This becomes especially important on main pages like your home page and your services page. Even better would be to create a distinct page, full of informative content, for each service you offer. It’s worthwhile to note that content that has been intentionally (and often awkwardly) “stuffed” with keywords does not fare well in the world of search result ranking. A golden rule is to approach everything content-related on your website with your visitors’ best interests in mind. “Would they like more information about this topic?” Likely yes. “Do they want this information well-organized and not crammed into one long page?” Yes, yes they do. In general, any site that is providing great value and rich detail for their visitors will be ranked better than sites that are not.
Improper Keywords
Keywords are those specific words and phrases that people are searching for on Google and other search engines. It’s possible (and highly recommended) to research the most common keywords related to your field and then target those specific keywords and phrases (called “long tailed keywords”) throughout your website (which we discuss in depth here).
Keyword research is a topic that can go as deep as you want—or have time for. Consider that keyword optimization is its own specialty within search engine optimization (SEO) practices. Fortunately for the world of hearing health, the related keywords are fairly straightforward and obvious. Choosing the wrong keywords for your website might not be so much about using an unrelated word as it is about using too broad of a word. For instance, placing a very common word such as “hearing” throughout your content would be much less effective than placing “hearing aids” or “rechargeable hearing aids” in your content. If you have yet to use keywords to optimize your website’s ranking in search results, be sure to visit this post to get started.
Broad Page Titles
Page titles (also called title tags) are the main text that describes each page of your website. Besides the main content on each page, page titles are the next most important text for search engines. Your page title is what shows up in your browser’s URL bar (or title bar), on the search results page of a query, and in any external links back to your website (i.e. on social media websites, etc).
To make the most of this commonly seen description of each page of your website, it’s important to craft keyword-rich titles that give just enough information about the page’s content. So instead of naming a page a general title like “hearing information,” consider a more descriptive and savvy title such as, “hearing loss and hearing loss treatments.” The latter incorporates two common keywords and also gives more detail about what content exists on that specific page.
Unindexed Website
Search engines are able to effectively search the enormous amount of information online by a process known as “indexing.” This is when search engine software collects, categorizes, and stores information about each website. Websites that have been correctly indexed will be easy to search through when keywords present in their content are searched online. But what if your website hasn’t been properly indexed? Or worse, not indexed at all? You guessed it—your website will be hard to find, so this is an issue you’ll want to resolve immediately.
To see if your website has been indexed or not, simply type “site:yourwebsite.com” (inserting your website’s domain) into the Google search bar. The number of search results should roughly reflect the number of pages your website has. For instance, if your website has 12 pages, you should expect to see at least 9-10 search results. If there’s a large discrepancy, however, your site might not be properly indexed. This can be a tricky issue and potentially related to any number of things like errors in your website’s root files, an outdated sitemap, incorrect URL parameters, connectivity or DNS issues, and more. Unless you feel equipped to explore further, we recommend reaching out to professional help if it seems your site isn’t being indexed properly.

Making sure that your website is easily found online is just as important as having a website at all. At audiologyplus, it’s why we package complete digital marketing solutions instead of just building websites. We know that you’re going to need a lot more to have a successful presence online, so why not get it all at once?  We also have several a la carte services to provide support for businesses that already have websites. If your website or practice could benefit from some enhanced digital strategies, be sure to contact us to learn more.

Keyword Research to Optimize Digital Presence

Choose Wisely: How Keywords Can Make or Break Your Online Presence

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could tailor your website’s content and marketing strategy down to the very words your target market is already using? Even better—imagine you could identify the words and phrases used most frequently by those interested in hearing health? This kind of information would enable you to specifically target potential patients by showing them you have precisely the information and services they’re interested in.
Well, you’re in luck: Not only is this information readily available, but using it within your website and your greater marketing strategy can make all the difference in the number of people you’re reaching with your website and your services.
In digital marketing, this approach is called keyword marketing or targeting. It can quickly become a complex and deeply analytical topic among professional digital marketers, but remains an effective strategy even when just the basics are applied.
Keywords, as you may have guessed, are those specific words your target market is using in search engines like Google to learn more about a topic. The most popular phrases used are referred to as “long chain keywords.” As a hearing healthcare professional, you can discover the most popular keywords and long chain keywords people are using when seeking information about hearing loss, treatment, or hearing health in general. All in an hour or less! This is what we like to call a “digital marketing no-brainer.”
Just what will these strategically placed keywords do for you and your practice? The most important benefit of selecting your words carefully, within your content as well as on the backend of your website’s infrastructure, is it being an effective way to boost your ranking in the results page of a search query. In other words, keyword targeting helps tremendously with your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).
As we’ve drilled into your mind with all of our articles, proper SEO is as critical as having a website is. It’s what ensures that your beautiful website will actually be seen by the people it’s designed to serve. Keywords are a relatively easy and effective foundation of any SEO plan.
Using keywords to your advantage is straightforward: you research the most popular keywords and then place them strategically throughout your website content, metadata (information in the background of your webpages), and everywhere else you’re creating content for your business, both online and offline. After all, these are the words that your potential patients are already using—so why not grab their attention by taking those words out of their mouth and expanding upon them with the answers they need?
Step One: Keyword Research
Your approach to researching the best keywords related to your hearing services can be as shallow or deep as you want or have time for. No matter how far you take it though, there are some basic strategies you should prioritize to ensure that you don’t miss the most important keywords and phrases being used.

  • Category Headers
    Begin your research by visiting some of the leading hearing healthcare websites online, (i.e. www.HealthyHearing.com) and make note of the common navigation items and blog categories. These are naturally going to reflect what your target market is interested in and looking for more information on.
  • Google Search Suggestions
    Type the main word related to your services (i.e. hearing) into the Google search box and then refrain from pressing Enter. A drop-down list of suggested entries will then reveal commonly searched words and phrases related to the main word you entered. For instance, if you type in “hearing” and wait for the suggestions, you’ll likely see that “hearing aids” is the first suggestion. Make note of these.

  • Google Keyword Planner
    There are several software options for a thorough review of keywords and the various metrics associated with them, but one of the easiest (and free) tools to use for entry-level detail is Google Keyword Planner. Simply enter the list of keywords you identified from the previous two steps and hit the “Get Ideas” button. You’ll be shown an incredibly useful list of most popular keywords related to your entries, including the average monthly number of searches.

Content Optimization
Now that you’ve successfully identified the most searched keywords and phrases for your specific field, it’s time to place those gems into your content. The trick here is not to overdo it. In fact, content that has been “over-optimized,” as it’s called, by placing too many keywords within it not only looks contrived to the reader, but is even recognized as such by search engines, which penalize content that appears “spam-like.” Unfortunately, this can actually harm your overall SEO strategy and should be avoided.
So the rule here is simple: keywords should be placed wherever they naturally fit in. Luckily for the hearing healthcare field, it’s nearly impossible to write valuable content for prospective patients without mentioning the most popular hearing-related keywords (i.e. hearing aids, hearing loss, etc.). Working in those long tail keywords requires a bit more finesse, but if you focus on keeping your natural tone throughout your content, they will fit in seamlessly as well.
No content should be left un-optimized: website copy, blog posts, metadata (page titles, page descriptions, image titles and ALT text, and so forth), any social media profile descriptions for your business, social media updates, and even offline marketing materials are all excellent options for using those trending keywords for your field.
It’s important to remember that your approach to marketing your services is to not only demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in hearing health, but also to appeal to potential patients with the kind of language they can relate to. There’s no better way to do that than to incorporate the words they are already using.
As a digital marketing firm, we liken keywords to gold. They can be incredibly valuable and, at times, can take some sincere digging to unearth the very best ones. Our approach to content and website optimization involves a multi-layered keyword strategy to ensure the best results possible. If you think your website and overall digital presence could benefit from professional optimization, contact us to learn more about how we can help.
 

Successful hearing practice owner

Using the Digital Frontier to Build an Unstoppable Practice

Perhaps you still remember that day you first opened your office doors. Looking at those empty rooms was like looking at a blank canvas. And like the rest of us, your mind took off with all of the possibilities. You had finally reached a pivotal moment in your journey towards helping people hear better and now all you had to do was set up shop and wait for your future patients to walk on in.
And maybe they did. The most proactive amongst us had been building up a strong network of referrals before opening their own practices. Others worked on building a local reputation throughout the setup stage, but either way, the playing field eventually evened out for all of us. Fast forward a few years (or a few decades) into running our practices and it’s not uncommon to encounter a plateau of new patient inquiries.
As professionals eager to serve the needs of aging adults, this plateau is a lose-lose situation. So many of our potential patients remain unaware of the many options waiting to help them improve their lives through better hearing. In order to offer effective hearing solutions to this population in need, we must first get them through the front door — be it our physical or our digital one.
It’s no secret that the landscape for promoting our practices has changed dramatically over the past decade. Physical mailers have largely been replaced by targeted emails, newspaper ads by Google Adwords. This trend is in response to the rapidly increasing numbers of people going online to research everything from the latest movie reviews to, yep, their hearing complaints and the local professionals who can help them.
Despite some lingering doubts about how active Baby Boomers are online, consider that about 82% of them regularly spend time on Facebook. More broadly, a Pew Study found that 47% of Internet users search for information about doctors or other health professionals online before pursuing local services. And that was in 2013!
It’s hard to deny that the Internet is the new frontier for marketing our practices, and those of us who are still using techniques from even just 5 years ago are making a costly mistake. This new frontier evolves as rapidly as it transfers huge swaths of data across the planet. To navigate its shifting terrain, we need to build our digital marketing approach on strategies that evolve with it.
In many ways, taking a fresh look at your digital marketing plan is a lot like looking at that empty office you first walked into. The canvas is blank and the possibilities are larger than ever. For the first time in history, a hearing professional in Arkansas, for instance, can relatively quickly establish herself as an authority in the field, offer valuable information and advice to anyone (anywhere), and attract a consistent stream of local patients to her physical office. She can do this by making some important decisions about how she markets her practice’s website online.
Notice that the key phrase here is her practice’s website. Marketing online involves various strategies to bring people to your digital front door: your website. While many hearing practices recognized the need for creating a website years ago, far fewer have realized how important it is to ensure that their website is readily visible to anyone looking for similar services or topics online. When this critical step is overlooked, even the most beautifully designed websites are effectively invisible, and well, useless.
A successful digital marketing strategy for promoting your website online begins from the ground up. It involves a website designed with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind — meaning that the website will be configured to show up higher in search results for related search queries. It means that images, pages, content, and website structure are all optimized for the best ranking by search engines, like Google. From this foundation, several simple and advanced techniques outside of your practice’s website can then coalesce to promote your services and knowledge to a wider audience online.
It’s important to remember that the more eyes looking at your website, the better. Even though you may draw in avid readers of your blog who are too far to make you their primary hearing care provider, their activity on your website significantly helps boost your website’s ranking in search results. This is one way to naturally boost your website’s visibility to any local potential patients searching online for things like “hearing aid provider,” or other phrases related to your services.
The world of digital marketing is nearly as vast and complex as the Internet itself. It’s why people pursue complete degrees in the subject and it will only continue to grow in sophistication and targeted effectiveness. As a hearing healthcare professional, your task is to provide complete hearing care to those in need, not to become an expert in digital marketing. But in order to reach the largest number of potential patients, you do need to make smart decisions for your practice’s digital marketing strategy.
As a leader in digital marketing solutions for the hearing healthcare industry, we understand the nuances of the populations you serve. It’s why we built all of our digital tools from scratch to specifically target the unique needs of today’s hearing practice. If you’re ready to see where the online frontier can take your practice, contact us today to learn more.

AdobeStock_60443642-min-1350x900

Why a Website Isn’t Enough

Recent surveys have found that just under 4 billion people are currently using the Internet. This comprises nearly half of the global population and marks an incredible 17% increase in users from 2016. In this “age of information,” it’s no surprise that people across the world are hankering to get online.
As a business owner, there’s truly no better time to have an online presence. Gone are the days where ecommerce businesses ruled the digital domain; these days people are perusing business websites to learn about services, products, background information, and much more. Websites now serve as a platform for more than just brand recognition–they’ve become a vehicle for delivering valuable content and building trust with an audience you may have never encountered otherwise.
With over 1.2 billion websites currently live online, the question you now need to be asking is this: is having a website enough? The answer, quite simply, is no.
There are currently dozens of free website building applications on the internet, accounting for the rapidly growing number of sites, and unless your website is built with visibility in mind, it will quickly be buried in the vast sea of similar information and websites online. More specifically, it will be lost to the distant pages of a search result.
Digital marketing experts talk about search result ranking with intensity and sincere focus. And there’s good reason–research has shown that 91% of searchers don’t go past the first page of the search results and over 50% don’t look past the top 3 results. Given these stark findings, having a website that’s built to be noticed by search engines is the first and most important approach to creating your presence online. You can’t expect your market to find you with just any website–you need a website that’s equipped with effective search engine optimizations (SEO).
The good news with SEO practices is that most of the tactics for optimizing your website for high ranking in search results will also ensure that you have a better website overall. For instance, search engines like Google prefer websites that are mobile-friendly (meaning they have a specific layout for smaller, mobile devices) over those that are not. Considering that the number of users accessing the internet on mobile devices surpassed the number of desktop users nearly three years ago, having a mobile-friendly website is a necessity for multiple reasons.
The same is true for websites optimized for speed. Surveys have found that for web pages that take more than 30 seconds to load, 40% of visitors leave the website and 80% of them never return. Search engines take this into account and penalize slow websites by ranking them low in their search results. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve a website’s loading speed without compromising the quality of its content or overall design.
These are just a couple of examples of “organic SEO” techniques for improving your website’s visibility naturally. The organic SEO toolbox is a large one, including other strategies like proper meta-tagging, keyword placement, page organization, internal linking, and many more. These methods employ a natural approach to getting a website noticed by search engines and, when done correctly, will set your website up to organically improve it’s search result ranking over time.
When an organic SEO approach is combined with external SEO tactics, your visibility online improves rapidly. Because let’s face it: an invisible website is a waste of time. Investing the time and effort to boost your search result ranking makes maintaining a website worthwhile. Only then can it pay you dividends through increased traffic to your site and patients to your office.
Improving your visibility using an external SEO approach can be more complex than the organic tactics used when building and maintaining your site. The most critical and common external SEO factor is ensuring that your website is linked to by quality websites. “Quality website” is a phrase Google made popular when outlining its guidelines for quality ratings of websites. In their guidebook (previously only available to their search quality raters), they describe the various factors that define a “quality website.” Suffice it to say here that a welldesigned website incorporating organic SEO tactics as mentioned above would meet their requirements.
External hyperlinks to your website from other quality websites bolsters your search result ranking in the same way that recommendations or references from qualified professionals improves your personal reputation. This approach is commonly referred to as “link building” and is one of the most important elements in search engines’ algorithms for website ranking. If your website is being linked to by an increasing number of other well-designed sites, you can expect your ranking to steadily rise in the search results.
It’s important to note however that not all links are created equal. This is where link building can get tricky, as you need to ensure that the right websites are linking to your website. In fact, links to your site from websites that are deemed “low quality” by search engines can actually have a negative effect on your ranking, as your website’s evaluated quality diminishes merely by association.
Another important element with link building is that precise language is used when referencing your website in the link itself. This is referred to as the “anchor text” and best practices suggest keeping it as relevant as possible to the page on your website that it links to, without foregoing necessary keywords. Search engine optimizers use a wide array of strategies for creating valuable external links for their clients’ sites, with results that speak for themselves.
Many of us have heard others say (and perhaps even said ourselves) that time feels as though it’s speeding up. While people tend to chuckle at this and blame aging, research is beginning to suggest that technology is indeed speeding up our perception of time. Perhaps this is why it feels like just yesterday having a website (with a textured background and border, no less) was all we needed online.
Times have quickly changed and it’s clear that our websites need to change with it. For a complete (and free) audit of your marketing strategy, feel free to reach out to us today. For help with improving your approach to mobile marketing, this free guide is a helpful resource to browse.

AdobeStock_60443642-min-1350x900

Why a Website Isn’t Enough

Recent surveys have found that just under 4 billion people are currently using the Internet. This comprises nearly half of the global population and marks an incredible 17% increase in users from 2016. In this “age of information,” it’s no surprise that people across the world are hankering to get online.
As a business owner, there’s truly no better time to have an online presence. Gone are the days where ecommerce businesses ruled the digital domain; these days people are perusing business websites to learn about services, products, background information, and much more. Websites now serve as a platform for more than just brand recognition–they’ve become a vehicle for delivering valuable content and building trust with an audience you may have never encountered otherwise.
With over 1.2 billion websites currently live online, the question you now need to be asking is this: is having a website enough? The answer, quite simply, is no.
There are currently dozens of free website building applications on the internet, accounting for the rapidly growing number of sites, and unless your website is built with visibility in mind, it will quickly be buried in the vast sea of similar information and websites online. More specifically, it will be lost to the distant pages of a search result.
Digital marketing experts talk about search result ranking with intensity and sincere focus. And there’s good reason–research has shown that 91% of searchers don’t go past the first page of the search results and over 50% don’t look past the top 3 results. Given these stark findings, having a website that’s built to be noticed by search engines is the first and most important approach to creating your presence online. You can’t expect your market to find you with just any website–you need a website that’s equipped with effective search engine optimizations (SEO).
The good news with SEO practices is that most of the tactics for optimizing your website for high ranking in search results will also ensure that you have a better website overall. For instance, search engines like Google prefer websites that are mobile-friendly (meaning they have a specific layout for smaller, mobile devices) over those that are not. Considering that the number of users accessing the internet on mobile devices surpassed the number of desktop users nearly three years ago, having a mobile-friendly website is a necessity for multiple reasons.
The same is true for websites optimized for speed. Surveys have found that for web pages that take more than 30 seconds to load, 40% of visitors leave the website and 80% of them never return. Search engines take this into account and penalize slow websites by ranking them low in their search results. Fortunately, there are several ways to improve a website’s loading speed without compromising the quality of its content or overall design.
These are just a couple of examples of “organic SEO” techniques for improving your website’s visibility naturally. The organic SEO toolbox is a large one, including other strategies like proper meta-tagging, keyword placement, page organization, internal linking, and many more. These methods employ a natural approach to getting a website noticed by search engines and, when done correctly, will set your website up to organically improve it’s search result ranking over time.
When an organic SEO approach is combined with external SEO tactics, your visibility online improves rapidly. Because let’s face it: an invisible website is a waste of time. Investing the time and effort to boost your search result ranking makes maintaining a website worthwhile. Only then can it pay you dividends through increased traffic to your site and patients to your office.
Improving your visibility using an external SEO approach can be more complex than the organic tactics used when building and maintaining your site. The most critical and common external SEO factor is ensuring that your website is linked to by quality websites. “Quality website” is a phrase Google made popular when outlining its guidelines for quality ratings of websites. In their guidebook (previously only available to their search quality raters), they describe the various factors that define a “quality website.” Suffice it to say here that a welldesigned website incorporating organic SEO tactics as mentioned above would meet their requirements.
External hyperlinks to your website from other quality websites bolsters your search result ranking in the same way that recommendations or references from qualified professionals improves your personal reputation. This approach is commonly referred to as “link building” and is one of the most important elements in search engines’ algorithms for website ranking. If your website is being linked to by an increasing number of other well-designed sites, you can expect your ranking to steadily rise in the search results.
It’s important to note however that not all links are created equal. This is where link building can get tricky, as you need to ensure that the right websites are linking to your website. In fact, links to your site from websites that are deemed “low quality” by search engines can actually have a negative effect on your ranking, as your website’s evaluated quality diminishes merely by association.
Another important element with link building is that precise language is used when referencing your website in the link itself. This is referred to as the “anchor text” and best practices suggest keeping it as relevant as possible to the page on your website that it links to, without foregoing necessary keywords. Search engine optimizers use a wide array of strategies for creating valuable external links for their clients’ sites, with results that speak for themselves.
Many of us have heard others say (and perhaps even said ourselves) that time feels as though it’s speeding up. While people tend to chuckle at this and blame aging, research is beginning to suggest that technology is indeed speeding up our perception of time. Perhaps this is why it feels like just yesterday having a website (with a textured background and border, no less) was all we needed online.
Times have quickly changed and it’s clear that our websites need to change with it. For a complete (and free) audit of your marketing strategy, feel free to reach out to us today. For help with improving your approach to mobile marketing, this free guide is a helpful resource to browse.

Laptop computer at the natural forest background, spring flowers and leaves are on the keyboard. Photo depicts notebook computer in the woods, blurred forest green plants behind. Freelance concept.

Why Your Website Should Go Organic

Type “SEO practices” into your favorite search engine and you’ll quickly encounter a wide array of tactics that website developers use to improve website visibility in the search results of online search engines, such as Google or Bing. Despite the fact that many website owners ignore the need for optimizing their sites for high ranking by search engines, in an ever-growing landscape of websites for similar topics, this can mean an effectively invisibility website – no matter how sleek or useful it is.
Having your website listed near the top of search results is important for growing your business or brand, as studies have found that the first link in the list of search results gets more than 17% of all clicks, with a steady decline in clicks moving down the list. Just think, how often do you really click over to the 2nd or 3rd page of search results? Chances are, not often.
While some search engine optimization (SEO) strategies require advanced knowledge and skills, many of the more useful and flexible strategies are not only easier to understand, but tend to be more reliable over time. These practices, generally referred to as “organic” or “natural” SEO, are what we prefer to focus heavily on when developing websites at JV Innovations. They can take more time and effort to put into place, but their durable and consistent results make it worth the work.
Organic SEO is named such because the tactics it represents are built into the sites themselves and continue to grow and improve with the website over time, just like an organism would evolve and grow naturally. Due to the unpredictable nature of search engine algorithms, organic SEO methods rely on more stable search engine ranking criteria that are foundational and unchanging. This is because the organic SEO approach focuses mainly on strategic content and targeted web design to naturally drive traffic to your site based on relevant information, link building, and keyword matching.
Instead of paying search engines to put your website at the top of search results, why not invest those resources into building a website that will yield long-term and cumulative SEO results instead? The problem with simply purchasing a sponsored position at the top of search results is that once you stop paying the monthly fee, you effectively make your website invisible..
By incorporating organic SEO into your website’s structure and making it your prime marketing strategy, your site’s ranking will continue to remain high because your quality content and SEO-friendly web design will always be a part of your site. Moreover, many people tend to skip over those sponsored listings at the top of the search results, as they expect the first organic listing to be more relevant to their search. An ideal approach to improving your ranking in search results is actually a combination of using both sponsored positioning in search results (for a more immediate boost in ranking) while simultaneously incorporating organic SEO practices into your website (to create a more enduring effect on ranking).
The benefits of a content-oriented approach to SEO are twofold: your search engine ranking naturally improves while you effectively establish yourself and your website as a helpful and informative resource. Providing website visitors, and potential future clients or patients, with helpful (keyword-rich) information not only keeps them on your pages longer (helping to boost your ranking), but it also does the most important job for you: helps convert website visitors into actual clients or patients. Establishing yourself as an authority in your field through the vehicle of strong and useful content will serve your practice and your brand indefinitely.
The idea behind organic SEO is simple: the more you can do within your website to increase traffic to each page, the better your ranking will be. Providing well-written, keyword-rich content and building websites with appropriate tags and metadata are some of the ways we implement a successful organic SEO plan for our clients’ sites. Like most effective strategies, an effective organic SEO approach must be multifaceted. We work on organic SEO from all angles; outside of the websites we build (i.e. link building) and within the websites themselves (i.e. meta-tagging various elements).
We also focus heavily on clean, SEO-friendly web design. It’s important to consider how search engines are indexing each page of your website and to organize, label, and tag each page accordingly. When building a website, there are many areas where specific keywords can be included to boost the site’s ranking, and we prefer to use all of them. Details like design responsiveness and accessibility, as well as a website’s speed and functionality, all make an impact on how well the site ranks in search results. The more of these details that are addressed, the better the results.
After all, if you’re going to take the time to design a website worth visiting, why not make certain that it will be seen?

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Successful SEO in an Evolving Landscape

For those of us that can remember life before Google, we might recall search engines like Yahoo! and Alta Vista helping us navigate the rapidly growing number of websites online. Back then, search engines like these were unique in that they searched web pages solely based on content. In other words, web pages with the most relevant content and matching keywords for a search query were shown first in the search results.
Google drastically changed that approach towards the late 1990’s by introducing a multifaceted algorithm for selecting relevant pages for a given search. This algorithm is ever-evolving, remains somewhat elusive, and is a main factor in Google’s immense popularity worldwide.
Google’s algorithm is increasingly complex these days due to their introduction of RankBrain in 2016, an algorithm-generating artificial intelligence system that is effectively learning how to better serve Google’s 1 billion monthly users. Arguably the most sophisticated search engine technology to date, RankBrain ensures that the underlying algorithms directing Google’s search results are changing nearly every day.
So how can we be sure that we’re taking all the right steps for effective SEO if the standards are constantly changing?
The answer lies in the foundation of Google’s approach to page ranking. Despite the rapidly changing details of how Google ranks a page in their search results, there remain a few core elements of their approach that continue to heavily influence page ranking. While there are many resources professionals can use to keep their website on Google’s “good side” for SEO, even the average site owner can improve their website’s SEO amidst this new RankBrain landscape of constant algorithm updates using some simple strategies.
One of the most reliable and effective ways to boost your website’s page ranking is by increasing and improving the links directing users to your website. Referred to as back linking, these back links (also called inbound links), have been a major element of how Google evaluates the quality of your site’s content. The logic it uses is simple (even if it’s algorithms are not). The idea is if popular and quality websites are linking back to your content, then it’s likely that your website has relevant content worth showing to other users online.
Back linking is an effective SEO strategy for improving your visibility online, but it needs to be done correctly. Beware of online services promising to garner you hundreds of back links for $9.99. The key element of Google’s back linking algorithm is that it’s evaluating quality back links. That is, back links from quality websites.
The opposite of this is also true: websites with back links from spammy or low quality websites are penalized in the search results. Quantity is important, but not over quality. Not according to google.
So how does Google define a “quality website” then? There was a time when this information was somewhat vague, but Google helped clarify its designation of “quality” by releasing their search quality rating guidelines at the end of 2015. These guidelines are what Google’s human rankers use to evaluate websites. Their evaluations are then compared to Google’s algorithms’ rankings and if there isn’t a match, then the algorithms are improved.
It turns out that what creates a “quality website” in the eyes of Google is actually fairly straightforward:
Good Content
Pages that contain “a satisfying amount of high quality main quality content” are considered to be high quality pages. What determines whether the content is high quality or not is based on the topic of the content. Scientific content is expected to be clear, accurate, detailed, and complete with references. Shopping content, on the other hand, is expected to be more brief but provide links to relevant products. Suffice it to say that creating high quality content is intentional and takes time.
Error-Free
A website with broken links, images or pages that don’t load (or take too long to load), and any tools or widgets that aren’t working properly will quickly diminish your site’s quality rating in the eyes of Google. It’s page rankers want to see a website that is well-maintained and regularly updated.
Positive Reputation
Google rankers are encouraged to review the online reputation of the businesses from each website they review. User reviews in articles, review sites like Yelp, and even statements made in public forums are considered, as well as more formal ratings from places like the BBB. The bottom line is that Google aims to provide users of its search engine the best user experience with its results, and that includes shielding them from potentially negative interactions with businesses or individuals with a bad reputation online.
Well Designed Page Layouts
This one is fairly simple. A website with clear and straightforward page organization will be rated as higher quality than one without it. The main content is expected to be prominently displayed and any ads or secondary content should not distract from the main content.
Contact Information
Google likes to see “About Us” pages or information, as well as contact information and customer support, if applicable. Again, this goes back to Google’s emphasis on the users experience on your site and with your services.
Those are some of the most salient elements of a high quality website from Google’s perspective. Of course, there’s much more for the SEO experts to comb through as their full report is over 150 pages long.
There’s no question that Google revolutionized the way users search for and discover information online. More surprising has been how they’ve influenced the way website developers and owners create and deliver their content. In the vast landscape of online information, sophisticated searching tools are imperative. We want our sites to be found, and we want to deliver our content. Our page rankings demand that we stay rooted in the fundamentals of SEO as we endeavor to keep up with the pace of Google’s rapidly changing protocols.

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Using Blogs to Boost Your Practice

As a healthcare practice that’s recognized the importance of being online in order to thrive as a business, you’ve likely also learned how imperative it is that your website is actually seen by potential patients searching for services like yours. Simply put: there’s little use for a beautifully designed website that’s effectively invisible.
Making sure that your website is visible is a massive topic. There’s good reason why professionals exist solely to execute this goal (i.e. SEO experts). However, there are also a number of ways that you can boost your website’s visibility without needing to hire additional help. This approach is often referred to as “natural” or “organic” search engine optimization (SEO), since it relies on a more organic (and free) approach to getting your website ranked higher in search engines’ results pages.
Of all the natural SEO techniques, our favorite is simply to provide rich content on your website on a regular basis. Yep, we’re talking about maintaining a blog.
Blogs are powerful for generating traffic to your website for a number of reasons. First off, they greatly increase the number of relevant keywords on your website. Keywords are those specific terms and phrases your target audience uses to search for your services. Ideally, you want keywords to be strategically placed throughout your website so that search engines, like Google, rank your website higher than the thousands of other similar websites.
Blogs also expand the amount of content that your website covers, making your reach more versatile. For instance, you might not want to dedicate an entire page on your website to cochlear implants if you don’t specifically work with them, but you could easily write a blog post about them to help educate your audience. This way, you’ve added important keywords related to cochlear implants to your website in case there does end up being someone who is searching for, say, a hearing test for a cochlear implant pre-evaluation. Your blog post on the topic increases the odds that this local patient will end up seeing your website in the search results. In other words, blogs are great for helping you extend your reach.
Blogs are also an effective way to connect with and engage your audience. Not only are you offering valuable educational material about hearing healthcare through your blog articles, but you’re also giving prospective patients a sense of who you are and what you know. Blogs are well-known for their ability to help build trust and authority among an audience of people you may have never met.
By now, you might be wondering about the usefulness of developing an audience online if your patient base needs to be local anyhow. After all, your online audience could very well be spread across the globe.
In this case, it’s important to realize that online popularity often translates to immediate credibility. When a local potential patient lands on your website and sees many comments below a blog post, that alone helps build their trust in you and your practice. It’s social proof that this author is worth reading. Furthermore, the more people reading and engaging with your posts, the more likely it is that someone will share your blog on social media or directly with friends. This not only boosts your ranking in search results (making it easier for locals to find your website), but it also can have an incredible effect on your popularity and online authority in your industry.
Have you ever seen the aftermath of a piece of content that went viral? The term “viral” itself implies an uncontrollable spread and is used to refer to online articles, videos, or audio recordings that have been shared thousands, if not millions, of times. As you might imagine, the original source of that content is often inundated with web traffic. This sort of event is rare, but can have a lightning effect on your website’s ranking on search engine results pages and on your business as a whole.
Simply put, blogs are an excellent way to boost your website’s visibility without having to spend a dime. As a hearing healthcare professional, it’s also an effective way to demonstrate and share the unique knowledge you’ve gained through study and experience. The myths around hearing loss and hearing treatment are ubiquitous and stubborn. Peeling them back to reveal what’s really possible can actually happen — one engaging blog post at a time.

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Digital Marketing Trends for Healthcare Practices

 
The relationship between patient and healthcare provider has been an eternally evolving one. The changes to this dynamic in the last decade, however, have completely transformed it. Never before have patients come so equipped with information (accurate or not) to their appointments. And never before have health providers been so poised to market themselves on such a broad stage. Prospective patients can literally get to know you before the first handshake — if you’re doing things right.
Welcome to the age of digital marketing for the modern healthcare practice. With nearly half of the entire human population online, and no sign of things slowing down, it’s no surprise that the online terrain is the new frontier for the promotion of your practice. This can seem odd to some since, especially in the field of hearing healthcare, it’s imperative to actually see your patients in-person. But the truth is that the Internet equalizes the playing field. Prospective patients down the street are just as accessible as those across the sea. Not to mention that getting attention on your practice’s website from anyone — no matter where they live — will significantly boost your website’s ability to show up high up in the search results for someone local looking for hearing help.
It’s important to recognize that having a presence online (aka owning a website) is not the same thing as having a digital marketing strategy. Millions of beautiful (and expensive) websites languish in the online oblivion. If your website has not been optimized by an effective digital marketing strategy to actually be seen by online searchers — well then, it’s invisible.
Certain strategies can ensure that the website you’ve invested in, and the services you’re proud to provide, can easily be found by prospective, local patients. Many healthcare providers across all specialties have become keen to these strategies are actively using them to their advantage.
Below are some highlights of these current trends in digital marketing for healthcare practices.
Location-based Marketing
Perhaps one of the more interesting areas of rapid development is that of location-based technologies and the increasing number of ways it can be used. Information gathered from people “checking in” or enabling location detection on their mobile devices yields an entire world of geographical data. Marketers like Google recognized early on how useful this data was and have developed sophisticated ways of targeting specific groups of people based on location. Healthcare professionals, in particular, appreciate this new option for ad targeting since their interest is in having patients physically come to their offices. Being able to refine who your Google Adwords listing, for instance, shows up for based on where they live makes your investment more effective and efficient.
Video Streaming
Online trends have continued to show user preference for video content over written content. It’s simple: video content grabs attention much better than text does. Internet-savvy healthcare professionals have taken note and offer regular video blogs (called vlogs) to engage with their audiences. Video is useful on many fronts: it conveys helpful information in a short timespan, it allows prospective patients to get a sense of your personality, and it can be uploaded to the second most popular search engine on the Internet: Youtube. Having your content spread out on different platforms (i.e. on your website and also on your Youtube channel) can radically boost your rankings in the search results of an online query. This, in turn, is how your new patients will find you when they type in “hearing loss treatment in XYZ city.” The more content you’re producing supports more visits to your website. And the more people visiting your website helps to naturally boost your website ranking in the search results.
Blogging
Don’t get us wrong — vlogs haven’t completely taken over the domain of blogs… just yet. Many people are simply too busy to create consistent video content, or are perhaps too shy for the camera. Fortunately for them, blogs are still a reliable content marketing strategy and an informative way to stay connected with your audience. Blogs are also very useful for promoting your website’s listing in the search results, since each blog is bound to be replete with keywords people are using to search for your services online. It would be pretty hard to write a blog about tinnitus without mentioning “ringing in the ears” and “treatment,” for instance. That said, it’s a helpful tip to think about how patients are typically searching for help online, and then to use that exact phrasing somewhere in your blog.
User-Friendly Website
Healthcare websites should be designed with mobile users in mind. With over 80 percent of Internet users owning a smartphone, and Google’s preference for mobile-friendly websites in its recent algorithm update, having a website that loads to mobile devices quickly and in an optimized way is essential. Healthcare practices who have sought services to optimize their rankings in search engines (as in search engine optimization or SEO) have learned this early on. Having a well-designed website that conforms to the best user experience possible is an effective way to boost your website’s ranking on the results page. It also keeps people on your website longer.
If much of this information is news to you, don’t be overwhelmed — these trends are just getting started and so can you. Digital marketing is a specialty in itself and just like getting hearing help, getting the digital help you need can make the whole process that much easier. We’re here when you need us.