How-To Guide: Evaluate Your Off-site SEO

Internet Marketing for Attorneys, Surgeons, and Dentists

By Bill Fukui, Director of Sales & Marketing

Evaluating and improving your practice’s SEO strategies or efforts shouldn’t be a complete mystery.

We previously identified “How-To” tips to optimizing your website.  Today, we share strategies to assess and boost your off-site SEO.

Most practices recognize there are factors outside your website that impact Google rankings.  The most publicized is attracting credible backlinks.  But it is by no means the only one.  The fact is, there are too many for most practices to devote their attention.

Thus, to make this guide useful, we will focus only on the most important opportunities you need to concentrate on.

 

Measuring Your Website’s Backlinks

The first step in assessing the backlinks to your practice's website is understanding why search engines, particularly Google, consider this an important ranking factor.

Google wants to serve up the most credible, useful and authoritative results in its search results.  This is the core reason it continues to be the dominant online search resource.  Websites and other online resources that contain links to your website are simply validation signals to search engines that your site or pages are recognized by a larger online community.

Measuring Volume and Quality of Links

On the surface, it may appear that the more incoming links you have coming into your website, the better.  Generally speaking, that is true.  But many practices retained SEO agencies that focused on adding thousands of backlinks to their website only to find Google penalized them for trying to manipulate the system (Penguin Updates).  When evaluating your backlinks, it is important to use volume as both a gauge for risk, as well as improvement.

Rather than focus simply on how many websites point to yours, it is increasingly important to assess the quality of those websites and pages.  Websites that are authoritative and relevant (to your industry, location, community, etc.) will have greater value.   

There are a number of paid and free backlink checking websites and programs.  This is one you can use to start:  http://www.checkyourlinkpopularity.com/

Business and Directory Citations

Many of the sources you may find online that link to your website or reference your business are also important off-site signals to search engines.

There are hundreds of business, industry, and consumer directories that search engines use to help validate your business and website.  Some of these have links to your website, but many of them do not. 

Whether they do or not, your listings on these sites are important signs that you are a real business.  It is important that all the information on these business profiles are accurate and consistent.  Ideally, you will want them to match the information on your Google My Business profile. 

There are a number of online resources to check your most important directory listings.  One free place you may want to start is Moz- https://moz.com/local/search

 

Social Media

Another key off-site resource that can boost your SEO results is your social media efforts.

In addition to your website, content, links and business citations, it also looks at your online community.  Typically, high ranking websites also have a growing, active social media presence.

Unfortunately most practices separate the efforts and strategies that they put forth in their website and search marketing from their social media marketing.  In the majority of cases, the person managing their social media has no connection or regular communication with the SEO specialist.

Effective multi-channel digital marketing doesn’t isolate marketing efforts.  Rather, they create synergy between them.  Most practices promote their social media profiles on their website using linked logo icons, but that’s where it ends.

To check the synergy between your website and social media, review your posts on your social media and website blog.  Your high-quality, engaging content needs to be shared across platforms.  I would suggest anywhere from 40%-50% of your social media posts should be linked back to blog posts or website pages.  The value is not only in the link, but the actual visitors that go from one platform to the other.

This can also apply if you are doing paid social media display advertising or retargeting.

 

Reviews and Ratings

We all recognize that online reviews have become an important part of your practice’s reputation and how consumers compare you to other providers.

However, in addition to your consumer brand, online reviews can contribute to the credibility of your business in the eyes of search engines as well.

If you do not utilize a review marketing platform that monitors and notifies you of new reviews, you need to regularly check on them.

Start by searching for the name of your providers in the manner patients or referrals would use.  This will give you some idea of what your prospects are finding and the variety of profiles Google is indexing.  You can also search by business name, but I would start with personal names. 

These are the things you need to be looking for when assessing your reviews:

  1. Don’t get fixated on the occasional “not-so-perfect” review. Of course you need to deal with those, but what you are looking for at this point is the big picture.
  2. Check the most important review platforms (for consumers, as well as your industry), particularly your Google My Business profile.
  3. Identify the average star-ratings and the number of reviews on each platform.  Keep in mind, having a number of reviews on a variety of platforms, rather than having them all on one is probably more advantageous and credible.
  4. See how recently reviews have been posted.  If there are not a reasonable number of more recent posts, or you don’t have many to begin with, there is a need to start implementing a review marketing campaign.

If you would like a professional, comprehensive evaluation, call 800-369-9910 or email us.

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