Answering Your SEO Questions
We understand that it's difficult to keep up with and fully understand the terminology surrounding marketing, especially when it comes to the more technical components, like search engine optimisation. To help you understand what it is we specialise in, we're here to guide you with some answers to some of the most common questions we hear about SEO from our veterinarians.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving how your website ranks in search engines such as Google and Bing. In basic terms, it's all about increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. The search engine does this by crawling through web pages, videos, blogs, articles and ranking websites accordingly and based on what is considered most relevant to the users' search. Overall, the purpose is to improve your digital presence and ultimately bring you more business.
Let's simplify the 3 main components of what you'll be aiming for with SEO:
Organic results: Don't think ads - in fact, think of SEO based traffic as any traffic your website receives that you're not directly paying for.
Quality of traffic: Think of measuring quality traffic as people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer and will convert to leads, sales etc.
Quantity of traffic: The more traffic the better - especially if it's quality traffic.
Why is SEO important for vet clinics?
Firstly, 93% of online experiences begin through a search engine - which reaffirms that SEO is a vital part of your marketing strategy. SEO also includes local SEO, which refines the search of the local consumer by prioritising where your clinic is. Utilising geolocation targeting, it's essentially all "near you"/"near me" searches wrapped into one, such as "vet near me" - these types of local searches grew by an astonishing 900% over two years. When someone in your local community has a sick pet and gets on their phone, tablet or computer to search "vet near me", you want to make sure this is where your business comes up, solidifying your market share as the community vet clinic.
Additionally, your clinic is most likely offering a discrete set of services that people will be searching for. For example: "puppy preschool Sydney" or "emergency vet Gold Coast" - the keywords involved are likely to be highly competitive, but also more likely to convert as the searcher needs exactly what you have to offer, which is why SEO can be really critical for clinics to work on. It's harder than ever to attract attention and if you've got potential digitally connected customers nearby, this is the most simple way to get them to your clinic.
For more detailed information on the importance of local SEO, we've got it all compiled for you here: Get Local Pets to Your Clinic With Local SEO
Is SEO something I set up once and leave?
Unfortunately, no. SEO is a component of your online strategy that requires constant attention to keep up with the ever-evolving environment of search engine algorithms. Search engines like Google like to keep us on our toes with updates, which means your strategy needs to keep up, too. These changes occur often in order to reduce the amount of spam and low-quality websites from taking away traffic from legitimate businesses, including small businesses and clinics that could be much like your own.
Is SEO only related to content?
There are a lot more technical components of SEO that extend beyond content itself. However, there is an overlap between SEO and content marketing. Where it overlaps revolves primarily around creating quality content that improves your value to potential clients, as well as ensuring this content is optimised to help the search engines rank it higher. What does optimising content involve, though? Below is a quick list of just a few of the components that factor into content optimisation:
- On-page content - optimised header, images, links to credible internal and external pages.
- Utilise relevant headings in your HTML.
- Keywords integrated naturally into the content is important, but it's equally as important to not keyword stuff, which we'll discuss more of below.
What are the most common errors made regarding SEO?
There are several factors that contribute to errors in SEO, most of which constitute black hat SEO tactics. Black hat SEO are practices that go against search engine guidelines and are generally thought of as unethical - the strategies can also result in penalties. Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO practice which occurs when keywords are used to fill your web pages in a way that is visible to search engines but not to readers, and is a quick way to get your site ignored or penalised by search engines.
Factors such as missing alt attributes, broken images and broken links all are also factored into SEO rankings; though they are not black hat tactics, they still affect how the search engine sees the quality of your website. Additionally, low-quality content that adds little or no value will also be ignored by Google - but what's considered low or no value quality?
- Content that's copied from other sources - also includes content copied with minor adjustments.
- Automatically generated content - this includes using articles written in different languages and translating them through Google translator and then adding them to your site.
Does social media affect my SEO?
Social media can be an important aspect of SEO. Websites that leverage social media as a channel to share their high-quality content tend to receive more traction. This extra data also gives insight to clinics how their audiences are responding and this information can be used to alter future content accordingly.
Is Google Ads beneficial for SEO?
Yes, except this isn't organic traffic as mentioned earlier, rather it's paid advertising. However, it's been known that when a website ranks both organically and paid, this has increased their click-through-rates, implying it's highly strategic to utilise them both.
How long does it take to see results from SEO efforts?
While you won't see immediate results overnight like you do with Google Ads, when done correctly results can start promptly once you've asked Google to re-crawl your website. However, there are many factors that play into your page rank that can often be out of your control and simply just take time. These include backlinks, the quality of backlinks, how competitive keywords are and also the age of your website. So while there are many steps that can be taken towards improving your SEO, patience and continuing to produce quality content for your website can ultimately help you see the results you want.
How do I know if my SEO efforts are working?
One of the most common and popular ways to track the outcomes of your SEO efforts is through Google Analytics. This free tool captures statistics and data that reflect traffic to your website as well as on-site activity. Whatever your goal is with SEO, this tool can help you measure your return-on-investment. For extra help with setting-up Google Analytics, contact your internet marketing specialists here: Contact VMS to Turn Your Vet Practice Into a Success
- SEO refers to improving how your website ranks in search engines
- Local SEO gets nearby community pets through your clinic door
- SEO needs thorough and consistent attention
- Errors can be made that can critically affect your website
- Continued effort and patience are important
- Measure your efforts with Google Analytics
- Paid search does work strategically alongside organic SEO
- Social media presence helps your SEO
We hope this has helped you gain a better understanding of the practice of SEO and how it can benefit your clinic to pay attention to it. For more information or if you're looking for assistance in boosting your SEO rankings, contact your SEO marketing specialists today.