In this guide I'm going to walk you through how to create a successful website and online presence for your Podiatry Practice.
At the end I'll be busting a few myths about blogging, link building and content marketing that are often recommended by inexperienced search engine optimization agencies and contractors. Spoiler ... you don't need any of them.
So sit back, buckle up and here goes.
Now you might be thinking "I've got a website, what's step 2?". This is a big mistake made by many Podiatrists.
When I say "awesome" I'm not talking about search engines just yet. I'm talking about something which looks great and loads fast in any device from the smallest smartphone to the widest desktop screen - and they can come pretty wide these days!
So ask yourself honestly:
Why do you need positive answers to all of these:
Now if you're starting to think "Yes, OK, mine isn't the best website" then you need to take action here before you do anything else. There is no point trying to Search Engine Optimize a Podiatry Practice website which is fundamentally flawed.
The great news is you don't need to have any technical skills to make it happen these days because of instant website services like Squarespace or website platforms like WordPress (so long as you marry it up with the right host - something we'll cover here).
Start now by reading my Setting up a Search Engine Optimizable Podiatry Practice website to get the fundamentals in place now before you SEO.
OK, your website looks great for potential Patients but are Google and Bing going to understand it?
And if they understand it will they believe it?
You're trying to persuade search engines that you have a Podiatry Practice website but to achieve that you need to understand how Google and Bing think. They use a process known as Entity Salience Analysis when deciding what a website is about. Don't worry, its not that technical.
With Entity Salience Analysis search engines look at multiple signals coming from each of your pages and from your website as a whole. The more of these signals that there are and the closer they match the more confident Google and Bing become that you are who you say you are - a Podiatry Practice.
To learn how to make sure you have all the signals in place and you are using them correctly read my How to SEO your Podiatry Practice website tutorial ... no tech skills required!
A huge amount of Google searches for a Podiatry Practice like yours will lead to Google showing a map at the top of the search results ... and underneath it 3 Podiatry Practices. Bing does the same. So how do you become one of those magic 3?
It isn't rocket science:
I've lost count of the businesses owners I've met who approach Google My Business and Bing Places in a half hearted "OK, I'll just get my business on there because I have to".
Hey! This is your chance to be on the first page of Google! ... tomorrow!
Heck, a lot of people go straight to Google Maps to find a Podiatry Practice which could mean your listing is more important than your website ... so make it sparkle!
OK, not more important than your website ... just as important. Chances are once they find you on Google Maps they'll click through to your website to find out more and if your website doesn't look the part you'll lose potential Patients like a leaky bucket losing water.
Once you have registered your business with Google go to Google My Business ( https://business.google.com/locations ), select your business and then select 'Info' from the left hand menu. This is the area you want to make sure is as complete as possible.
Most of these are real basics but be absolutely sure they are right or there will be times that Google doesn't show you in its search results when it could:
There are endless places where people leave reviews but I'd focus first on the one that really matters, Google Reviews, because that's the one Google's going to be looking at when considering both your website rankings in general and your rankings on their maps.
They also won't hound you with sales calls as Yelp! tends to do because they have no 'Premium' option for you to trade up to.
But how to get those 5 star feedbacks? You try every time you make any type of contact with your Patients such as:
And don't be afraid to just be honest. Explain you are trying to build up your Google Reviews and why you are doing it. Patients that are happy with your Podiatric Treatments will be ready to help.
Eh? For some internet searches you're just never going to rank on page 1 of Google ... you might not even rank in the first 10 pages. But what if you could have links to your website on the website pages which are in Google's top ten?
Its usually not as difficult as you might think. So often Google's top 10 are:
The first type (directories) are easy but once again fill out your entry with the same care and attention as you used with Google My Business and Bing Places. You're not going to get potential Patients clicking on poorly presented listings.
The second type (bloggers and press media) are straightforward as well, just reach out and ask! If you have a rock solid block of positive reviews (remember Step Five?) its going to be hard for a blogger or journalist to refuse. They are trying to build authority themselves and if its obvious your business belongs in their "8 Best Podiatry Practices in Riverdale (2020)" piece they'll want it there for their own reputation's sake.
And if you want to sound a little swish as we get towards the end ... this activity is known as "Barnacle SEO"!
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram ... where should you be and how on earth can you manage them all?
The answer is: Pick one or two and make them count. Half a dozen slap dash profiles with almost empty content will do you more damage than good.
As a Podiatry Practice I would definitely go with Facebook and Twitter, just like with your Google My Business and Bing Places entries, put aside some quality time to fully set up each account - Photos, descriptions, company details, location, opening hours, contact details, back story, etc.
With Facebook especially there is a huge amount you can add so don't skip any of it, especially as people sometimes search Facebook instead of Google!
Then make sure you post something once a week just to give potential patients confidence because they see you are an active, modern business.
You don't need to even think of your own post. Just follow your favorite Journal or a leading figure in your field and share something they post. Its the added bonus of showing your current and future patients that you keep up to speed with developments in your industry.
The only other two I would consider are Pinterest and Instagram but only if your podiatric treatments are unusual and photogenic. If there is nothing truly remarkable about them (visually) then your images will never get shared on Pinterest and you'll never build a following on Instagram.
In other words you'll waste time you could be using for other SEO activities.
I mean this in many ways:
Now that you are all set up we just need to make sure both Google and Bing know about your website (in SEO jargon we need to know if it is "indexed").
In Google search "site:yourdomainname.com" and see if your pages are listed.
If not then in Google Search Console:
In Bing do the same search "site:yourdomainname.com" and see if your pages are listed.
If not then in Bing Webmaster Tools:
Perhaps once you have finished all seven steps here you'll be more than happy with your patient numbers or perhaps you will be saying "OK, this is better but I still could handle more". If its the latter then these tools, which are all free (except Pingdom), will provide the basis to identify how you can go forward productively. But that's a story of more advanced SEO.
So what to avoid?
I mean do blog if you enjoy it but don't blog just because everyone who you ask about SEO says you need to blog. It just isn't true.
How can every Podiatrist run a blog and have something interesting to say? And even if each one did how would that benefit their business? How is having an article about something Podiatry related becomes incredibly popular in Europe going to help your Podiatry Practice in Riverdale.
Blogs do have a role in SEO and that's why those who have lived in a text book and haven't done real life Search Engine Optimization for a local business successfully think its important. But I'm telling you for Podiatrists it isn't and if its not something you enjoy doing you are highly unlikely to get any SEO benefit from it that also benefits your business.
This is the thing where people tell you that you must create lots of 'great content' and then go running around contacting bloggers and others asking them to link to it.
No ... just stop! Its the same blogging mistake pushed by people who have eaten one too many SEO theory books. Are you really going to produce some Podiatry related content that will rock the world? Maybe ... but probably not (no disrespect!).
And besides you are a Podiatrist, not a writer. Yes, some people are great at both but don't worry if you aren't. Steps 1-7 of the what to do tutorial above are more than enough for most Podiatrists as long as they are done right.
Don't waste your time struggling with content, spend it on Steps 1-7.
Yes, what I've covered on this page is a lot of work when you sit down and think about it. Wouldn't it be easier just to pay a few hundred bucks for one of those "guaranteed ranking" schemes?
Well, they might rank you for a short while (long enough to get their bill paid) but by using Black Hat SEO (techniques that breach the terms and conditions of search engines) on your website you will have lined it up to get banned from Google and Bing not too far down the road.
Sitemaps are special files that you can upload to Google and Bing which list all the pages on your website and inexperienced Search Engine Optimizers will jump around and tell you its a must do activity.
But if you have a standard Podiatry Practice website its only going to have a few pages on it - the home page, a page or some pages about your various Podiatry Practice, perhaps a page with testimonials on it and a page with contact details.
Tell Google about one of those pages (which you will have done when you registered with Google Search Console in Step Seven) and it will find the rest immediately.
Sitemaps are for highly complex websites where the crawler robots from Google or Bing might get bogged down 'over there' when you need them to see the new content 'over here'.
Once again banging on about Sitemaps is the rhetoric of those who understand SEO theory but don't do it in real life for Podiatry Practices.
In some ways this goes back to blogging. I've seen blogs where the Podiatrist is so stuck on what to say they create posts about new receptionists and stuff. They literally become a slave to their blog which sucks time they could be using for something productive.
Content without purpose doesn't have to be just about blogging. It can be general information like articles as well so before you go anywhere near creating content ask yourself "How will this benefit my Podiatry Practice?"
If you pick up any "How to SEO" guide they usually start with "Choosing keywords". My generic How to SEO your Website Guide does! But its not aimed at local businesses like yours (and it says so!). Now OK, if you are a blogger and you want to start ranking for certain words you are going to have to do some research.
But you aren't! You are a Podiatrist, you run a Podiatry Practice at a certain location and you offer Podiatric Treatments like bunion removals, heel pain relief, nerve entrapments, Podopaediatrics, Podiatric Rheumatology, Podiatric surgery, etc.
Your Practice might employ Podiatric Nurses, Podiatric Hygienists, Podiatric Surgeons, etc.
So these are your keywords:
Make sure Google and Bing understand those things and you are going to rank for potential Patients in your area. You don't need to research if people actually search these and how many times a month they search them. In any population people want Podiatric Treatments. You just need to make sure you are ranking in your geographical area.
Location is the critical one. Just go to Google now and start typing in 'Podiatry Practice' and you'll notice one of the top auto suggestions Google shows as you type is 'Podiatry Practice near me'. Yes, Google does know where you are so it can do that sort of thing!
But getting your location right was covered in Step 2 of the things you should do so you're good to go!