Success with local SEO

3 Big Tips for Being Successful in Local SEO

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for location-based businesses, like hearing care practices. Because almost all your patients are from your local area, it is very important that your practice’s website performs well in local searches.
While the concept is easy to understand, ensuring that your practice’s online presence is at the forefront of local searches is not so simple. Many factors go into how Google and other search engines rank webpages on search engine results pages (SERPs).
To simplify the issue, we have identified a few key tips to help you be successful with local SEO:

  1. Provide your practice’s information to Google.

Have you ever searched for a business on Google (or another search engine) and found a variety of responses among the results? For example, perhaps you found the business’s main website, as well as a listing on a third-party site. Your search may have also turned up mentions on social media or an unclaimed business listing.
Make sure people who search for your practice online find the right information, not a hodge-podge of any mention of you on the Internet. To do this, you need to provide your own information to Google. You can make sure you have uploaded or created the following information for your practice:

  • Website content that includes your office location, services, and products
  • Supporting information about your practice on other websites
  • Image content
  • Video content
  • Social media content
  • Local business listing content (including a complete Google My Business listing)

On any other websites or platforms that feature information about your practice, make sure that information is accurate and up to date. If you receive reviews on these platforms, respond to them in a timely manner.

  1. Fight back when necessary.

While Google might seem all-knowing, the tech giant can make missteps. Operating on such a global level means that sometimes, things slip through. While these might seem small in the grand scheme of the Internet, they can have a real impact on your business. In certain cases, it may be necessary to fight back against issues that are damaging to your practice’s online presence. These may include:

  • Having your reputation targeted and attacked by competitors or members of the public who post fake negative reviews of your business
  • Being outranked online by businesses that violate Google’s guidelines
  • Having Google experiment with local features that have direct negative effects on your business

These other and other types of issues should be fought. While it’s important to choose your battles, if something is impacting your business, do not be afraid to speak up and make things right.

  1. Become a local business force independent of Google.

While providing your information online and fighting against wrongful practices can help your local SEO performance, you can also benefit from standing out locally—offline. Focus on listening to your patients, meeting their needs, exceeding their expectations, and beating the competition in every way you know how.
It is also important to take advantage of other avenues for advertising (which may make their way back to your Google ranking), such as print and TV news, local business organization newsletters, school newsletters and papers, and any form of publication surrounding non-profits, charities, or government.
With these simple steps, your business is well on its way to becoming a local force to be reckoned with. To learn more about how you can succeed in local SEO and grow your business, please contact us at AudiologyPlus today. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, we are here to help.

Woman records video on her phone

How Video Can Skyrocket Your Practice’s Online Presence

Optimizing your digital marketing strategy for your hearing practice means making your website as visible as possible online. And in 2018, creating video content is one of the most effective ways for increasing your presence in the digital realm.
The idea of creating video content, however, makes many people cringe. Either they don’t want to be on camera or they expect the video creation process to be overwhelming or expensive. While getting past a camera-shy attitude looks different for different people, it’s helpful to understand why you’d want to reconsider putting yourself in front of the lens. And fortunately, these days, making videos that are useful, engaging, and highly shareable doesn’t have to mean hours of time or hundreds of dollars. Just take a look at the incredibly popular “live” videos (like Facebook Live or Instagram Stories) and you’ll quickly see that a smartphone combined with a few shared thoughts or vistas are enough to do the trick.
The main point you need to keep in mind as you consider bringing a video content strategy into your overall digital marketing plan is this: people online really like videos.
Truly, they love them. On Facebook alone, posts with videos get 135% more engagement than text or image posts. Further, YouTube, the most popular video platform on the Internet (and second most popular search engine) has more online viewers during prime-time TV hours than any television network!
It’s simple: times have most certainly changed, and online video is the way to go for bolstering your marketing efforts. Beyond the ballooning stats about people engaging with video online are a few more persuasive reasons why video content can, directly and indirectly, boost your practice’s visibility online.
Let’s take a look at each of them to better understand how you can take full advantage of this leading-edge approach.
Improve Your Website’s SEO
Perhaps the most important benefit of video content marketing is its effect on your website’s overall SEO, or search engine optimization. It’s a known fact that Google ranks websites with a variety of media types on them higher than those that don’t. Given the estimated projection that 80% of all internet traffic will be represented by video within the next year, it’s no surprise that search engines are favoring websites with video content along with the typical text and image formats.
To fully optimize your videos for search engines, it’s important to include all relevant and important keywords for your content in the video description and meta tags when adding it to your webpage. We dive more into keyword research here and recommend it for all of your content marketing efforts (be them through text or video).
Uploading a transcript of your dialogue along with the video itself is another way to bolster its SEO properties. Not only does a transcript enable an increase in the number of keywords you can use for your video, but it also makes the content accessible for viewers who aren’t in a position (or prefer not) to turn the sound on for your video. Transcripts also let search engines understand the relevancy of your video, making your content more easily searched and listed for related queries.
Increase Your Reach
Video content continues to garner increased attention from online users across the globe, with websites like Youtube showing over a billion hours of video to viewers every single day. People are more likely to click on interesting or informative video content than any other type of media—and they’re also more likely to share it on their own social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, or even their own blogs.
The more views your videos get, the more valuable they’re rated by search engines. And, you guessed it, the result is better ranking in related search results. Over time, this strategy can really pay off, so creating highly-shareable video content is a rapid and low-cost approach to expanding your reach online.
It’s also wise to host your video on an external website like Youtube or Vimeo, instead of only having it on your website’s blog. You can still embed the video onto your website (which we recommend), but it will actually play through its hosting site (or through a widget) when someone clicks on it to play. This alone can relieve your website of the heavy data-load that storing videos creates, which can quickly slow your website down.
Most important, though, is the effect of the link to your website that you would put in your channel’s description. By hosting your video on a third party site, you gain the space to add a valuable link to your website (called a linkback) in your profile area. Link-building—the process of gaining links to your own web pages from high-quality and popular external websites—is a critical element in any SEO strategy. As you endeavor to create a strong online presence, improving your visibility in search results should remain a top priority.
Increase Your Appeal—and Your Impact
Online analysts and digital marketing experts have been actively evaluating and debating the reasons for video’s high appeal. The inquiry ensues, but one aspect that everyone agrees on is the relatability of most video content. This is most easily seen in the rapid rise of the aforementioned “live” video features available across various social media networks, where editing capabilities are minimal and the results are raw and unpolished. The trends seem clear: people want to watch others who they can relate to and feel connected to. We saw it with the surge of interest in reality T.V. over a decade ago, and we’re seeing the same trend play out for online content.
This is where your content can really shine. Videos created and shared by knowledgeable hearing professionals have the combined effect of being informative and useful, while also disarming and encouraging. At a time when an estimated 80% of people with hearing loss are currently untreated, standing up and sharing helpful information about treatment options and patient outcomes can be transformative for people silently suffering from hearing issues.
The stigma around hearing aids and other treatments persists, and educating people about the realities of life after hearing aids is a crucial part of absolving these stubborn barriers. Sharing this information through video content is ideal—especially when delivered from a real person that viewers can get to know, trust, and watch anonymously online until they’re ready to get the help they need.
Allowing your viewers to learn from you while you simultaneously share your personality, warmth, and knowledge is an excellent way to begin building rapport with a significant number of potential patients. Marketers have long known that familiarity breeds trust, but sharing helpful information along with a dose of your presence goes even further in developing a base of loyal followers.
 
Navigating the waters of content marketing can seem daunting at first, especially when it comes to creating videos to share your message and knowledge. It helps to put any tendencies towards perfectionism aside and remain focused on simply helping as many people as possible.
This perspective shift will encourage you to prioritize your time so that you get as much helpful information out as fast as is reasonable, without getting hung up on how “polished” your video may or may not seem. Remember: the more of the real you people see, the more of them you can expect to see… through your office doors.
 

Woman happy about SEO tactics working for her hearing practice website

7 SEO Strategies to Get Your Hearing Practice Found Online

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.
Press Record
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.
 

woman with growth curve

How Much Can Your Hearing Practice Grow?

The traditional trajectory for business growth has long been displayed as a slow and steady rise of leads and sales. For decades, that classic, gentle upward slope was the hard-earned result of several marketing approaches: physical mailers, newspaper and other print ads, billboards, and radio or TV airtime.
But things have definitely changed. And these days, that gentle curve can look a lot more like a leap to the top.
The Internet and the incredible number of people now using it has completely revolutionized the way businesses market themselves to potential customers. The good news is that it’s often cheaper to advertise online and also much easier to analyze the effectiveness of any online marketing efforts. The flipside is that digital marketing is a rapidly changing landscape, making the learning curve for it nearly as steep as the potential it offers.
Luckily, specialized companies have swiftly formed to meet the need of businesses interested in marketing online. We created our digital marketing firm to specifically address the needs of hearing healthcare practices — the result of spending over two decades in the industry and acquiring a strong sense of what hearing professionals need to successfully leverage their presence online.
However, a surprising fact remains: the majority of hearing professionals have yet to take advantage of the immense potential that digital marketing holds for their practices.
Hearing professionals, on the whole, tend to keep quite busy serving their patients’ needs and staying abreast of the latest developments in hearing science and technology. There is also a pervasive sense of overwhelm among them when it comes to creating a website and digital strategy that generates much more than it costs. At AudiologyPlus, we get that. It’s why we’ve specialized in making effective online marketing easy to achieve for any level of savviness in computers or marketing.
The truth is, few hearing practice owners realize that adults age 65 and older are currently the fastest growing demographic on social media. Or that 95% of Internet users only click on websites showing up on the first page of search results.
Most hearing professionals have taken the time (and spent the money) to get a website for their practices, but few realize that just having a website is no longer enough. Your website needs to be part of a larger digital strategy for it to translate into actual patients through your door.
And once it is — the opportunities for growth are limitless.
Consider how many people in your community are currently in need of hearing services, but have yet to receive them. You’ve heard the stats before: 36 million Americans (and rising) are suffering from untreated hearing loss. With more than 93 million Americans looking for health information online each year, can you imagine if your website and services were what some of those online searches turned up? How many people reading about you and the information on your website would end up giving your office a call to learn more?
The quality of your website and digital strategy makes all the difference when it comes to whether your online presence is helping your business or not. Your website needs to be optimized to be found by search engines like Google. Your content needs to be keyed into what your target market is actively searching for online (i.e. what they actually want to know). And your reputation on various review websites, like Yelp and HealthGrades, needs to be actively monitored and managed. You don’t have to do this on your own, but you do need to be sure it’s done right.
At AudiologyPlus, we’ve created top-of-the-line digital tools, such as our proprietary ReviewMe website plugin, to deliver the results our clients are looking for. With over 20 years in the industry, we know where your potential patients are active online and what they need to see on your website to become your current patients.

We take pride in simplifying the process of digital marketing for our clients. We want you to keep doing what you do best — while we handle your online success. Work with us to see what’s possible.

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.
 

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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.

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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.
 

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Online Reviews & Their Role in Your Practice

Shopping online has become a popular practice, with everything from groceries to furniture being available for online purchase and next-day delivery. The rapid rise of online purchases even has some experts warning of the complete extinction of brick and mortar stores in the not-too-distant future.
Dire predictions aside, it’s hard to deny the usefulness of making purchases online: they’re fast, easy, can be done in your pajamas, and offer you a quick comparison of similar items. Perhaps the most useful of all, however, is the ability to peruse online reviews of the products you’re considering. And you better believe those online reviews are there—they’re everywhere.
Online reviews have been increasingly reshaping the consumer’s relationship with product manufacturers and service providers alike. And it’s showing no sign of slowing down. A BrightLocal survey found that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation—despite the fact that these reviews are coming from complete strangers.
It’s not even uncommon these days to see people looking up online reviews of products that they are physically shopping for in a local store. Crowdsourcing information on products and services has become the norm because nobody wants to be in the dark about a helpful warning or tip on a given item or provider.
As a healthcare practice, online reviews can present a unique set of challenges. It can often be frustrating to read a negative review from a patient who was given legitimately good service, but didn’t hear the result he or she had hoped for. A lack of appreciation for the technical background and professional obligations a provider has is common, and these are difficult details to communicate once a stone has already been thrown. Indeed, critics have often likened popular review websites, like Yelp and Healthgrades, to the bathroom walls. Anonymity can easily breed exaggeration.
Despite these challenges, it’s clear that online reviews are on the rise and consumer reliance on them is increasing as well. And the good news is that there are real benefits to be had. First off, service providers who acknowledge and work with the power of online reviews notice their search rankings in search result pages soar rapidly as more people leave them reviews on different websites. Additionally, even though negative reviews can be frustrating and difficult to accept, they at least offer a chance for the provider to give a professional reply—often giving the provider the last word. All in all, the increasing use of online reviews means more marketing happening on your behalf, and at no additional cost.
The most important thing to remember about online reviews is that they begin with that first handshake and end with your last keystroke. Of course you want to always offer services that leave patients satisfied and engaged, but even more, you want to reply to the reviews you do end up getting—both the good and the bad (especially the bad).
Your responsiveness on the most popular review websites, like Yelp, Healthgrades, Google, and Facebook, says a lot about your practice to prospective patients. It’s their little window into the type of person you are and the professionalism you practice. It’s also a free and easy way to give yourself an indirect introduction to literally thousands of potential patients who peruse those pages.

At this point, you might be thinking about time. As in, who has the time to monitor their online reviews like this? The answer to this varies, but for busy professionals who don’t want to let their online reviews lay fallow or, even worse, work against them, online services often become the next best option. There are numerous services that claim to not only manage your online reviews, but to even increase them, and our sound advice is always: buyer beware.
It’s important not to take for granted how sophisticated online shoppers are these days. Fake reviews often stand out as an awkward attempt at self-promotion and can quickly have a negative effect. It’s also important that the response you make to a critical review is well-written, understanding, and professional. In other words, it needs to be in your voice. If considering an online review-management service, select one that ensures you will be notified when your direct response is needed. Your future patients will appreciate it.
Approach this new landscape of search-before-you-choose healthcare with the sense of opportunity it provides. Never before have local providers been able to reach such a wide range of interested patients so easily. Never before has a provider with one angry patient been able to reply to his or her negative experience. And never before has the internet paved a way for healthcare practices to soar above the rest with a long tail of glowing reviews. You too can launch your practice to new heights with proper online review management.