Search engine optimization (SEO) can literally make or break your online marketing success. When done right, people find out about you and your services easily and quickly. With the wrong approach, however, expect a website with little traffic and even less return on your investment. There’s no denying the need for effective SEO strategies and you don’t need to wait for an SEO expert to come along to get started. Take a look at the current 7 SEO strategies leading the way and begin boosting your website’s visibility today.
Choose Titles Wisely
The foundation of a successful SEO strategy is having content people actually want to click on. Your website will struggle to rank well in search results without these clicks, and ranking high while being continually passed over is useless. The key to getting clicks is selecting the best titles for your content. People tend to click much more often on titles that elicit an emotion instead of simply stating the facts about the content within. While it is still important to include select keywords in your titles, it’s better to avoid overloading your title with them at the expense of conveying a sentiment with it. Remember: long titles get looked over so each word needs to be carefully chosen. Keep it short, sweet, and relatable for the most attention. Here’s an example of what we mean:
- Keyword-rich, dry title: How Modern Hearing Aids Treat Sensorineural Hearing Loss (states the facts)
- Emotive title: Get Your Life Back with Modern Hearing Aids (elicits hope)
Lobby for Links
Any SEO expert will tell you that the algorithms used by search engines are always in flux and being developed further. But some metrics have maintained their importance over the years and having backlinks to your website is one of them. Backlinks are exactly what they sound like: hyperlinks on other websites that direct people to specific pages on your website. Google set the bar higher in recent years by tuning their algorithm to rank websites with “high quality” backlinks higher in the search results than those with “low-quality” backlinks. High-quality backlinks are links that exist on websites holding a high rating in Google’s view: they get a lot of traffic, they deliver in-depth and quality content, and they have high user retention and engagement rates.
As a hearing practice, one of the most reliable ways to increase backlinks to your website is through business directories. This can be a cumbersome and time-consuming task, but is often worth the ranking boost it provides. Guest posting on other websites is another tried and true method for increasing links to your site (since the writer bio for those articles typically includes a link to your website), but it’s important to seek out reputable websites. Getting an article on a low-quality website and linking to your site from it can actually work against your ranking rather than improve it. One of the best ways to get great backlinks is to simply provide stellar content that people want to reference. Embeddable images and content with unique statistics or pieces of information are often cited by other writers on the Internet, and those links back to your site can add up quickly.
Engage Your Readers
In-depth and engaging content serves several purposes at once: it pulls readers in and keeps them on your page, it increases the chances for people to link back to your articles, and it establishes your knowledge and authority on the topic at hand. Search engines like Google have become very smart in analyzing user behaviors, and pages that offer the most detail and comprehensive information tend to rank higher in search results than pages that require readers to learn more elsewhere. This is, in part, due to the “dwell time” each visitor spends on your page.
Google’s new RankBrain technology pays special attention to the average dwell time for any given page, and adjusts its ranking of that page accordingly. If people are clicking on your page in the search results, but not staying very long due to insufficient information, then you can expect that RankBrain will take notice and begin moving that page lower in the results. While long-form blogs posts are not entirely common, they are beginning to rise in the literal ranks of content online. If you have an idea for a blog post, consider ways you can elaborate on any details mentioned within it. Aim for at least 1000 words or more to achieve the kind of dwell time and user experience that will ultimately boost your SEO.
Worth Your Time: LSI Keywords
Use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords throughout your content. LSI keywords are contextually related to your main topic, but aren’t necessarily synonyms for it. By having them placed throughout your content, search engines (and online users) see your page as offering complete information on the topic. For instance, if you’re writing an article about the importance of professional cerumen removal, your main keywords would be earwax and removal. The LSI keywords would be words like ear blockage, impacted earwax, q-tips, earwax buildup, and the like.
Deciphering the best LSI keywords to use can be as simple as conducting an online search for your main topic and looking at the “Searches related to…” section at the bottom of the page. There’s also a handy free online tool called LSI Graph that can help you decide on the best additional keywords and phrases to use throughout your content. Just remember to place those words and phrases naturally in your content, as awkwardly inserted keywords stand out and tend to repel a loyal readership.
Mobilize Your Website
People are accessing the Internet from mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, more than ever these days. In fact, recent surveys have discovered that the majority of people online at any given time are using a mobile device. Because of this, Google announced last year that it’s moving over to a “Mobile-First Index.” This means that Google (and likely other search engines in the near future) will consider the mobile version of your website your main site, instead of the desktop version. This is important since it’s not uncommon for people to hide different pieces of content (or worse—leave them off entirely) behind drop down features to save space on their mobile-friendly layout. Not all hidden content is treated equally by Google, however, and much of it runs the risk of not being recognized at all by the search engine’s “crawling” or scanning of your site. While this move to a mobile-first index is still in the works, it’s definitely something any savvy website owner wants to be prepared for. After spending the time to create detailed and rich content, you want to make sure that it is all displaying on your mobile site to avoid it being lost to the oblivion of unsearchable information.
Above all else, your website needs to be mobile-friendly to compete in this new online landscape. Not sure if your website fits the bill? Try using Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to see how your website ranks. If it could use improvements, Google’s tool will even give you some tips on how to make your site more adaptable to mobile devices. Don’t let these tips go unnoticed, or else your website will quickly be unnoticed too.
You’ve likely already seen us promote video as a valuable medium for content sharing (we did so here and here), but this time, we’re making a bold point: use video content or get left behind. A strong claim, we know, but the statistics are even stronger. Consider that YouTube is the second largest search engine used online (second only to Google) and only hosts video content. Or take a look at this shocking projection: networking giant, Cisco, predicts that within the next 3 years, video will make up 82% of all online traffic. This staggering claim comes on the heels of their 12-year-long project using industry analytics from a variety of metrics. In other words, it’s a well-informed prediction and more reason than ever to overcome inhibitions, turn on your camera, and offer valuable information that you know your future patients want and need.
As a hearing professional, the best part of using video to share your content is that you get a chance to showcase your personality, knowledge, and warmth all in one place. This is the kind of content and information patients are craving. They want to know who can best provide them with the knowledge and quality care they need. Plus, videos have a much higher click rate across platforms than written content does, so it also naturally boosts your visibility online.
Don’t Ignore Voice Search
As 2018 approached, digital marketers across the Internet were hailing “voice search” as the next big thing for SEO. This claim is debatable, but there’s definitely no doubt about it’s rapidly accelerating use. With Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Home becoming increasingly popular, it’s no surprise that recent surveys have found that 40% of Americans perform at least one voice search online per day and that 20% of all Google queries are placed by voice.
These trends make a strong case for optimizing your content to be found by voice searches. Having your page listed on the first page of the search results is a must for voice searches, as they only respond to queries with information from page one. Even better is to have your content actually featured on that first page. This requires the right combination of engaging content with a high click rate and dwell time, a specifically pertinent topic (keyword matching), and the classic effect of time. You can also include a question and answer in your content to help target common voice queries for your niche. For example, you could ask and answer the question “How much do hearing aids cost” in your post in anticipation of the commonly searched question. Don’t overthink these voice searching strategies too much though; if you remain committed to creating valuable, in-depth content on your site, voice-search optimization will naturally become a part of it.
Competing in the digital landscape is all about getting found and delivering value. You’re already achieving the latter in your daily hearing practice, so why not translate some of that patient satisfaction to the online realm? Putting a little extra time into carefully selecting your titles, proposing articles for online publications, recording some videos, and the like can translate into a significant increase in the number of people you get to serve. Don’t ignore the potential that effective SEO holds for your practice, and consider contacting us for professional SEO services.