Every business needs a web presence to attract new customers. Whether it’s a retail outlet, a skilled trade, or even a healthcare service like chiropractic services, that holds true.
As a chiro, you understandably need to draw in new patients to keep your practice running. With a website, the best way to do that is through SEO. It can be complex and time-consuming, so we’ve done our best to put together a guide to SEO for chiropractic businesses and offer an alternative if it’s a little too much to fit into your busy schedule.
Understand the Goal of SEO
Any time you’re investing time or money into a process, it helps to understand what it is, how it works, and why you want to do it. SEO is no different.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process by which you boost and grow your presence online. Through a wide variety of different techniques, you make your business stand out more in your region and make it more relevant to the kinds of search queries your potential customers are searching for. You also spend time focusing on building a positive reputation so that when a user finds you, they see a generally positive set of reviews and are more likely to trust you.
SEO involves on-site and off-site factors since Google can find and attribute data to your business from various sources, including those you own and those you don’t. Additionally, SEO:
- Costs money and time. Organic SEO might be considered “free” SEO in that you don’t need to pay to play, but you do need to invest in it if you want to succeed.
- SEO involves more than just your website. It involves third-party review sites, citation building, directories, news coverage, and more.
- SEO is slow. In most cases, the timeline for tangible results is measured in months, if not years, though this can compound with other kinds of marketing to be sped up.
SEO presents many challenges, some of which are the same no matter what your business is and some of which are unique to your business. As a chiropractor, you face specific roadblocks that other companies might not.
SEO for Chiropractic Businesses
Google has become the #1 resource for most people worldwide, retaining 90% of the search market share. As such, they’ve taken up the mantle of responsibility, in a bare minimum kind of way, to help keep their users from making bad decisions.
Among the many techniques they use to accomplish this is the YMYL algorithm. YMYL stands for Your Money and Your Life. It’s a specific, additional set of SEO rules that apply to companies and websites in particular niches that have to do with health and finances.
After all, if you’re shopping for a box of chocolates, it doesn’t quite matter what source you get them from. You might get good chocolates or bad chocolates, but the chances of ending up in the hospital from a bad box of candy are slim to none.
On the other hand, if Google recommended a site with good SEO to someone looking for financial advice, and that financial advice bankrupted them, there’s a lot more at stake. While Google is largely protected against anyone trying to sue them for it, they still would prefer not to bear the burden of being that unethical.
Of course, they can only do so much. Google doesn’t do fact-checking, and they don’t filter results in a significant way, nor do they tend to make moral judgments. Instead, they focus on factually-provable limits, legal compliance, and other areas.
As a chiropractor, you already are intimately familiar with the challenge you face every day: many people believe chiropractic services are quackery, fraudulent, or otherwise ineffective. Public perception is a significant roadblock you struggle to overcome.
Google doesn’t make a value judgment on the efficacy of chiropractic treatment, which is good! On the other hand, they do monitor health-related topics, and if you make claims on your site that are verifiably false, go counter to legal restrictions, or otherwise violate their policies, they can get your site removed from the index or penalized.
Google will hold you to a high standard, more so than many other kinds of businesses. They won’t remove you entirely or prevent you from advertising, however.
So, how can you perform SEO the right way to avoid tripping a flag and getting your site removed?
Properly Design and Structure Your Website
Your website is, of course, the most critical part of your web presence. Very few businesses can thrive without a website of their own, and definitely not for something that needs to be done in person, like chiropractic treatment.
Your website should have:
- A homepage that describes who you are and what you do, in broad strokes, and provides navigation.
- An About Us page that goes into greater detail about who you are, including how old your business is, how long you’ve been practicing, and any certifications you have earned.
- A series of service pages, describing the various services and offerings you provide. Note that these can overlap as long as their content is unique. You can have a page dedicated to spinal adjustments and another dedicated to spinal adjustments after an auto accident.
- A contact page that lists options for contacting you, including a map, business hours, phone number, and even an online appointment scheduling system, if applicable.
- A blog where you focus on content marketing to build links, authority, and trust.
You can add more to a site, but this is the minimum needed to build a solid presence.
Also, watch out for common mistakes you might make with SEO.
- Avoid overusing keywords, especially awkward keywords. It’s almost always better to write naturally than it is to try to shoehorn in a specific keyword repeatedly. Keywords need to be present but shouldn’t be over-used.
- Avoid relying on multimedia over text. Google has a harder time indexing the content and context of images, video, and audio. Thankfully, it’s pretty rare these days to see a site where the text is all in image form.
- Avoid spam techniques. Google holds chiropractic websites to a very high standard, so if you use any of these, you’re likely to be deindexed in short order, more so than other businesses might for using the same techniques.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of SEO techniques, quirks, tweaks, and changes you can make to optimize your website. The majority of them are small and will have a relatively small impact on your site, and you will be better off spending the majority of your efforts hitting the major milestones first.
Major milestones include building citations, ensuring a properly-handled NAP entry, building a blog, meeting the baseline level of keyword usage and content production, and so on. Which set of factors is most important changes depending on who you ask, but luckily, you can work on all of them over time; very few of them decay, so every optimization you make will remain a benefit indefinitely.
Claim and Optimize Your Web Presence
Once you have your house in order, it’s time to reach out to others and bring them in. In this case, what you’re doing is identifying websites where you can claim a profile and optimize it.
These can include, but are not limited to:
- Google Business Profile
There are dozens more. The goal is to find any site of relevance that your local users might use to find you and make sure to claim, fill out, and optimize your profile on each of them. To do so, do this:
- Identify if your business already has a listing. If you don’t have one already, create one. Some of these sites scrape each other to populate their database, so you may have a listing without having created one.
- Claim and verify your profile. This step typically requires either adding code to your website or sending paperwork to the site to verify business ownership.
- Fill out your profile with relevant details. This includes a consistent NAP listing (Name, Address, Phone), as well as your website URL, any key services, photos, and anything else the profile lets you fill out.
You will also have to decide if you want to pay for sponsored listings on these sites or pay for accounts on some of them. Often, these sites will happily list your profile for free but will promote other local service providers over you if those others pay. If you think enough of your users use that directory, paying can be beneficial. Otherwise, it might not be worthwhile.
Backlinks are links from other sites, typically those you don’t control, pointing at your website. A mention in a local news publication, a link from a review site for chiropractors, or a link from a local blogger who reviews local businesses are all decent examples.
Backlink building is one of the most time-consuming, tedious, and never-ending tasks in SEO, so don’t worry about “getting it done” right away. It’s a job that never ends. Backlinko has an excellent guide on building backlinks in different ways, which can be found here.
Build Positive Testimonials
As a chiropractor, you have to face down widespread misinformation, skepticism about your business and service as a whole, and even accusations of medical fraud. One of the best ways to combat this is to build a robust list of positive reviews from your existing customers.
Building up reviews is a tricky business. You can’t incentivize them, nor can you create them yourself. You have to ask your customers to leave reviews, and hope the reviews are good, while doing everything you can to encourage good reviews.
The truth about SEO is that it’s not a one-and-done event; it’s an ongoing process. SEO requires continual investment as long as you want to keep your business growing. It compounds over time, in fact, so the longer you keep at it, the more powerful it will become.
Unfortunately, this means that if you’re trying to handle everything yourself or hire a few people do to it for you, it’s not a temporary change in responsibilities or a temporary contract. Much like how medical health is often a matter of lifestyle changes rather than spot treatments, so too is SEO a lifestyle.
Scratching the Surface
Here’s the thing; everything we’ve listed above is merely scratching the surface of SEO. There’s a reason why SEO is an entire industry full of companies offering comprehensive services, after all.
While you can do it all yourself, it’s easy to let it become a full-time job, and you probably don’t have the time to do that. You have to learn the ins and outs of SEO, you have to learn enough about website design, code, and copywriting to be able to produce quality content and optimized pages, and you have to keep it going indefinitely. Not to mention the need to stay on top of Google and industry changes that could impact what you’ve done and change everything.
That’s why we offer a range of services to help. Instead of bending over backward (and needing an adjustment, after) to do it all on your own, why not let us help? Our LocalSEO service is explicitly aimed at helping companies with local target audiences build up websites, identify and build citations, and grow a business. We also have a variety of other services, including LocalReviews, to help you build up more positive testimonials and citations.
The truth is, very few businesses can go it alone when it comes to SEO. It’s generally much better to let a professional handle it, so you can focus on doing what you do best: providing the highest quality care you can for your patients.
If you have any questions or concerns about building strong SEO for your chiropractic business, please feel free to reach out and contact us at any time! As mentioned previously, handling SEO on your own can be a challenging and tiring task, and we would be more than happy to assist you with it.