Are you investing in SEO for your private practice? You should be - and here are the most important Google ranking factors.
Private practice SEO is an integral part of any practitioner's website and marketing strategy. Websites that rank well in search results drive plenty of visitor traffic, so by investing in their private practice SEO, psychology, dental, chiropractic, accounting, and other practices can put themselves in a great position to get more clients at a very low cost. Below, we put together a quick guide of Google ranking factors that apply for 2021. While these are universally important to all websites, they will be very helpful when examining what will affect your private practice SEO, as well:
"On-site" private practice SEO factors:
Keywords in the page title
One of the most important elements in indexing is the title. This principle has been in force since the beginning of Google. The title allows you to define the subject of the content and match it with the relevant search results.
Keywords in content
The content that is added to the website (descriptions, categories, news, blog entries) should contain appropriate keywords. It is important to use the thesaurus as well, and for the keywords to appear in variations.
This is a very important element. Think of it as a headline of a newspaper article. H1 should be used only once per page, and its content should be relevant to the topic of the page.
H2, H3 Headings
Using these headers will help understand the structure and hierarchy of content not only for Google's algorithms but also for your readers.
Keywords in the ALT attribute
We use the ALT attribute in images added to the page. ALT allows robots to understand what the graphics show. In addition, you will create an opportunity for the image to be found by the Google Images search engine.
Content length and quality
The longer the content, the better for your private practice SEO. However, there must be a substantive value behind it. If the content quality is low, Google may simply ignore it. Research also shows that pages with content over 2,000 characters have a greater chance of being listed on the first page of Google search results. It's important to find the right balance between content length and quality.
The uniqueness of the content
For search engines, fresh and original content is very important. Avoid duplicating content (both external and internal) at all costs.
Use of canonical links
If you have identical content on several pages, apply a canonical link to one of them. This is how we will signal to Google which page should be indexed.
Internal links in the navigation
These links help the crawlers to establish the site hierarchy and the links between the individual pages of the site.
Internal links in the content
Internal links in content for Google are important for a simple reason - the more links to a given page from different places on the site, the higher the page is rated by Google robots. Compared to links in the navigation, links in content are much more time-consuming - you have to add them one at a time.
Page loading speed
Google favors fast websites in its ranking algorithm. This applies to both desktop and mobile websites and will become an ever more important ranking factor after the Google Page Experience algorithm update. To test the speed of your website you can use the tool: https://www.gtmetrix.com.
People search for information more often on their mobile devices than on their PCs. For this reason, Google has implemented the Mobile First algorithm, which evaluates the website's mobile version. If the website has a poorly optimized mobile experience, it will be penalized by a drop in its search engine rank.
In addition to the previously mentioned headings, it's worth using bolded text, bullets, enumerations, sub-headings, and tables. Text can also be enriched with multimedia materials - videos, photos, infographics, etc.
Older articles or blog entries should be updated and expanded with new content, as Google likes fresh content, so it is worth adding the "updated date" after each refresh of articles.
Publishing of video material
According to Cisco research, in 2021, the video will account for 80% of all internet traffic. Users are more and more willing to watch movies than read articles. It is the video that helps most in making purchasing decisions. No wonder Google favors video sites.
This is information in the form of a script added in the code of the page. They will allow the search engine to better understand what is on the page.
The robots.txt file tells Google which places on your website robots can reach and which to avoid. Its proper setting is crucial for SEO, so make sure it's applied correctly and has no negative bearing on your private practice SEO.
This is a map of all the pages of the website that we want Google to visit. A sitemap allows you to better index your pages on Google and for Google bots to move around your site.
When changing the URLs of existing pages, you should always add a 301 redirect leading from the old to the new address. If the old page also had a redirect, it should also be corrected. We know from private practice SEO tests that Google can go through a string of up to 5 redirects.
A well-optimized site is a secure site. That's why it's so important to have a valid SSL certificate as a part of your private practice SEO. Having HTTPS also inspires trust among users and makes your website credible.
This is the name of pages that, by themselves, do not bring anything positive for the user or Google robots (e.g. a doorway to other pages). One, two or five such pages will not negatively affect the positioning, but if it is a systematic problem (e.g. hundreds of categories with one or two products generated by faceted navigation), it should be eliminated.
The Google algorithm pays attention to whether the website has contact details and how easily they are available. An internal document for Google raters (Google employees manually entering websites and evaluating them - for the purposes of algorithm verification) clearly states that if the data is hidden, it may be an indication that the website is used to trick or deceive people. This is only our guess, but entering the contact details takes little time, and is a significant plus for private practice SEO.
Keywords in the URL
This is an element that is of less importance at the moment than it used to be in the past, but is still one of the ranking factors. Make sure not to force your keywords into the URL, it should be natural.
Spelling errors on the site
The existence of spelling errors, typos, etc. may negatively affect your private practice SEO.
"Off-site" private practice SEO factors:
Both the quantity and the quality of the external links are important. The more valuable the link, the better for Google search ranking. External links should be natural and lead to both the main domain address and individual subpages. The value of links can be checked using SEO tools, for example, the highly regarded Ahrefs. Subscriptions like these can be prohibitively expensive (for example, the just mentioned Ahrefs tool is $179 per month) so this is where a marketing agency can step in to help with their own subscription.
A valid link profile should contain the appropriate number of "do-follow" and "no-follow" links. The distribution of clean links and those placed on the anchor is also important.
Authority and age of the domain
Domains with a long history have greater authority. The older the domain, the better. Nearly 60% of sites in the top 10 Google search engine results are more than 3 years old. Domain authority is also tested in terms of links leading to it.
Brand popularity on the Internet
According to some studies, Google can recognize memories of our company's brand as a link to it. In this case, the text without the link acts as a command and our site will be rated better. It is not known how important it is, but it is always worth trying to talk about our company.
Before we take over a domain, let's check its history. Let's avoid domains that have a shameful history. Google has saved all the addresses of subpages that ever existed on the website, so we must remember about them. Old URLs changed as a result of changing the page template should be redirected to new equivalents or display a 404 page with this HTTP response code on them. This is important even for addresses used several years ago.
Google has never officially disclosed all of their ranking factors, so the above list is a compilation of the most important ones that were identified and tested by our SEO specialists here at Sparktribe. If you take care of each of the elements listed here when looking at your private practice SEO, your website will have a good chance of getting into the coveted top 10 Google search result listings.
Questions? Feel free to reach out to us to chat about your SEO, and see the full list of our private practice marketing services for businesses just like yours. We are based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and work nationally and in the U.S.
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