Understanding the Changes of Google’s Local Search

2016 has been a big year for Google’s local search, as they have made many changes to perfect their product.  With any change comes implications, especially to healthcare business marketers such as local chiropractic companies, dental offices, and surgeons.

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There are four major changes that have occurred over the past several months to Google’s local search:

  1. No more description edits. Google is no longer allowing description edits to Google My Business.  Google+ still allows this, but probably not for long.
  2. No more additional categories. Along with description edits, google removed the ability to add additional categories such as email, fax, city, landing page URL, icon URL, categories, and payment types.
  3. No more Google+ metrics. Instead of Google+ metrics provided on the dashboard, Google is providing more information on the source of users to your Google My Business page. You can find out if your users came from search or Google maps as well as the actions being taken.
  4. Better critic review support. Now Google My Business allows for greater local critic reviews, enabling them to be published right in the results. There is additional Schema Markup required to apply for critic reviews. Your healthcare organization can respond directly to these reviews through the most recent version of API.

These changes show that Google is serious about perfecting their local search.  50% of Google’s traffic is from mobile devices, and 30% of that is local. These changes also reveal that Google is extremely sure about their crawl data, verifying it several times over.

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What do these changes imply to healthcare companies marketing their local businesses? Well, first it shows that Google is confident about acquiring the data by themselves.  It also shows that Google is successfully yielding information about local businesses, more so than ever before. This is good news for Google users, but it is important to realize that Google is putting themselves at a huge risk. Each piece of information they yield in a search result is a chance for a potential mistake, making them very vulnerable.  The last take away point is that Google has made a huge effort to get critic reviews into its platform.

The actions taken by healthcare marketers are as follows: get your information in places Google will look, make sure the information is easy to understand, implement schema markup, make sure all business information is accurate, implement a review strategy, and earn good links.

Social Media Marketing Strategies for your Healthcare Company That Will Provide the Best Publicity

Did you know that over 40% of consumers admit to utilizing social media when it comes to obtaining information about different healthcare companies?  People use social media to gain information, learn about methods of treatment, engage with providers, and engage with other patients who may share their diagnosis or condition. Overall, healthcare information found on social media is absolutely influencing consumer’s decisions.

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Because of this fact alone, it is imperative for your healthcare company to navigate and utilize social media marketing properly in order to get good results, obtain publicity, and get your information out there.

Below you will find the top three ways you can utilize social media for your healthcare company in order to get the best publicity.

  1. Awards: People like to associate themselves with the ‘best’.  A case study was done on a Facebook post in which a practice posted an old press release.  The PR was all about the practice being recognized in the Top 10 Doctors for that particular area.  The patients responded extremely well, as the post received 105 likes, 20 shares, and 15 comments.  The comments included patients providing praise to the doctors as well as personal success stories. Has your practice received any awards or recognitions?  If so, post about them!
  2. News: In addition to awards and recognition, ‘news’ posts tend to boost publicity as well. A case study was done where a practice posted about a new location opening up.  In the post they encouraged their fan base to promote and share the information.  The surprise?  They did!  If your practice has a good reputation, provides quality care, and great customer service, you should have no problem getting help from your fans to promote new information you wish to share.  They will most likely be eager to help and enjoy doing so.  Brainstorm different news events you could share.  For example, are there local events you are involved in? Are you providing new services?  New renovations?  Relocation?  When you have news to share, post it to social media and encourage your patients to share.
  3. Patient Testimonials. This is one of the best types of content your healthcare practice can post on social media. Patient testimonials are a way to showcase not only your great care, but your great patients and life changing stories.  People will identify with them as well as be more likely to come in seeking the same services.

 

How Healthcare Companies Can Utilize Social Media

In the past, many healthcare companies have avoided the use of social media due to the nature of their business.  They have even gone to the extremes of trying o keep their employees from using it.  Recently, however, many healthcare companies including chiropractic businesses have discovered how to use social media to promote their brand, awareness of what they do, and get the message across to the public, other physicians, and of course their patients.

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Social media is primarily used by the younger generation.  Many consumers use it to look up information about different healthcare businesses to find out what they are about, see what other people say, as well as to gain an idea of their popularity on the web.  People use social media to make decisions on what doctors to see, what hospitals to go to, and even what type of treatment to get done based on information gleaned through social media.  Because so many people are so well versed in social media, they expect the providers they wish to see to be equally as competent.

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Patients are using social media to connect with other people who may share a rare disease or condition.  This is a way for them to share each other’s experiences and do so with people they may have never met otherwise.  Physicians use social media to connect with other physicians in order to network, share helpful information, and bounce ideas off of each other.  Because social media is a place where consumers, patients, and other physicians can talk about healthcare issues and even improve health outcomes, the risks have never been as high as they are now.  There are rules, regulations, and compliance issues that must be taken into consideration.

The main compliance issue with healthcare companies is making sure patient information remains private.  Employees must be supervised and online records must be kept secure.  Legal issues must also be taken into consideration, as anything on social media that identifies a patient needs to remain protected.  This goes for comments made as well as any pictures posted. Healthcare companies must make sure they are obtaining proper patient authorization prior to posting any of this information.

As long as these things are being considered, social media can be used compliantly and efficiently by healthcare companies nation wide.  Companies must make sure to put policies in place, follow guidelines, protect patent information, and go the extra mile when it comes to putting safeguards in place for electronic information.

The SEO Playbook for Chiropractors

For a long time, SEOs have been using the same steps to redirect their HTTP sites to their HTTPS sites.  And it’s been working!  Typically, there have been three main concerns when it comes to changing a URL, which are what wind up keeping SEOs from doing so:

  • Using a 301 to automatically redirect loses the same amount of rankings as using an an actual link to redirect. This leaves very little options for keeping the same rankings in a redirect.
  • 302s are temporary redirects, and search engines treat them like temporary redirects. 302s cause a loss in rankings just like 301s do.
  • Migrating from an HTTP to an HTTPS loses rankings, and that’s usually because it involves 301 redirects. So a lot of times SEOs would rather not switch URLs at all.

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Thankfully, Google has been working on some of these challenges.  Google has adjusted the rankings somehow, as only can, and have decided not to penalize any sites for any of the 3XX redirection methods.  While this seems like a really good thing at face value, it is also has its downsides.  Yes, it seems to fix the rankings problems for switching over, but there are still other issues that spring up with the process of switching URLs.

What has happened is that using 301s to redirect has become completely risk free when it is only the URL that is changing from HTTP to HTTPS.  So that is one link, albeit the main one, that is risk free.  The risk free doesn’t carry over to all of the other site redirects.

As far as 302s, Google might be treating them the same as a 301, but that doesn’t mean that other search engines and social platforms.  It’s great if Google isn’t penalizing for 302s, but if Bing, Facebook, and Twitter are (to name only a few) than where’s the victory?

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Regardless, moving your site to HTTPS is probably going to effect traffic, even if Google is trying to make it so it won’t [lose traffic].  Google wants the World Wide Web in its entirety to switch over to HTTPS, so they provided a small incentive in the form of a small rankings boost for doing so.  The problem is that with all of the moving pieces and parts that come from moving a site, all of those pieces and parts open up the potential for something to be done incorrectly, which will result in a loss of traffic and rankings.

There’s going to be risks, no ifs ands or buts.  And the bigger the site, the more issues.  If you can start by moving a smaller site, to gain some practice, that is definitely the recommended way to go.  A chiropractor site is going to be getting very specific traffic, and it’s understandable that you don’t want to risk losing any of that, but hopefully the benefits in the end will outweigh the temporary issues.

Not enough time has passed to write some sure-fire ways to make the easy switch, but there are definitely some tips to take into consideration:

  • Keep in mind that risks are inevitable
  • Most search engines still prefer 301 redirects
  • When redirecting, try to keep every other element the same as it was before, except for the URL
  • There are several benefits for redirecting URLS when it comes to SEO, and they are especially helpful when it comes to chiropractors, where the material tends to be more complicated and technical as it is
    • Improving the site structure
    • Including primary keywords in the URL
    • making URLs easier for the consumer to read

 

The Key to SEO for Chiropractors

SEO for chiropractors is more than just a one single tip or helpful suggestion.  Instead, try looking at it like a key, which will unlock an entire door full of potential and possibility.  To be more specific: the key is client education.  Client education might be one category but, like I said, it’s a doorway opening up to so much more.

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In order to talk about client education, we need to talk about the client.  The thing about the client is that the client doesn’t know about SEO!  SEO is such a specific genre that most people have absolutely no idea that it even exists.  Instead of pretending like SEO is some big secret, or a behind-the-scenes operation, it’s time to start educating the client and bringing them into the process.  For example: when it comes to Chiropractic SEO, there is going to be a lot of competition.  This effects the whole process and time frame of optimization.  It can take months for a new website to move it’s way up in Google search, even if it’s a sharp site that took a lot of money to create.

You see, clients assume that good SEO is going to get them to the top no matter what.  In actuality, there are so many factors that come into play that this is not a realistic expectation at all.  This is where client education comes into play!  It would be impossible to team up with a client who has a set idea of how things are going to work and will wind up looking.  The client needs to be accurately informed in how SEO actually works, and this is what will allow the process to go more smoothly.

Let’s look at SEO for chiropractors.  The focus absolutely needs to be on local results.  There is no point in ranking high in cities other than the one which the business is located in.  Give your client this example to help it all make sense: tell them to think of their business like an ice-cream store.

Tell them to Google “ice cream stores” and they will watch results for their area pop up.  This is because Google knows the basic location of where the search is being made, and is going to pair you up with results that are close by.  It wouldn’t give you answers for Dallas or Memphis if you are in Indianapolis.  What good would ice-cream in Dallas or Memphis be if you want to eat it in Indianapolis?  Now fill in the blanks for the company.  A chiropractor office doesn’t need to rank high in any other location than the one it’s in!  Hopefully your client will recognize the validity in this.  And hopefully you can see that client education is the key when it comes to SEO, even SEO for chiropractors.

What good would ice-cream in Dallas or Memphis be if you want to eat it in Indianapolis?  Now fill in the blanks for the company.  A chiropractor office doesn’t need to rank high in any other location than the one it’s in!  Hopefully your client will recognize the validity in this.  And hopefully you can see that client education is the key when it comes to SEO, even SEO for chiropractors.

Influencer Marketing and its State in 2016

Influencer marketing has already proven to be extremely popular.  It is huge, and it has been established to be good and work well.  It is a type of marketing that places its emphasis on key leaders to drive your company’s message to the larger market.  Instead of marketing to the mass market, you can hire, pay, or inspire key influencers to get the word out for you. 

For example, in your Chiropractor SEO, perhaps you find someone well respected within the industry.  A relatively famous doctor or actor that can speak on your behalf.  Have them endorse your brand through social media posts or short videos that speak about your practice and what you do.  This will absolutely drive people into your office because of the power of the influencer.

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So, where does this leave the current state of influencer marketing in 2016?  Vine, the social media site where 6 second videos can be uploaded, used to be a very large platform for influencer marketing.  However, over the past year about 52% of the main Vine influencers have left the platform.  Vine has also dropped to #135 in the App store, where Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are all in the top 10.  It is safe to assume that Vine does not stand strong within influencer marketing today.  Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube do, however, with Instagram ranking the most popular in Sarah Ware’s book (the CEO of Markerly).  It has a young population, more advertisers than Twitter, and a strong influence on different brand’s site traffic.  If you were looking for an outlet for your Chiropractor SEO influencer marketing, Instagram would be a wise choice.
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More and more folks are becoming rapidly aware of influencer marketing and all it entails as it quickly escalates in growth.  Although more popular, it is also a more costly approach.  Costly is a relative term, however, as it all depends on the scale of the marketing campaign.  For example, the Superbowl ad can cost up to $5 million dollars.  While you are more than likely not going to spend that much money for your Chiropractor SEO, it is worth understanding the cost.  Sarah Ware says that this avenue is greatly worth it, however, if you are willing to spend the money and go about it in the smartest way possible. 

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If you pay a contractor a certain amount of money toward Instagram ads, for example, they must guarantee a certain amount of ‘reaches’ in return.  Estee Lauder’s Instagram following went up 18% the day after appointing Kendall Jenner as their ‘new face’, so you can absolutely see the value in influencer marketing.

3 New Ways to Target Pinterest Users

Pinterest has been around for several years now, and is widely used amongst the population for a number of resources.  Not only do people search for recipes and home improvement ideas, but they also are searching anything from ‘how to’s’ to ‘where to’s’ when it comes to particular services.  Do not neglect Pinterest as a possible source for potential clients to arrive at your practice, and incorporate these three ways into your SEO for Chiropractors for good measure.

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Until recently, Pinterest ad targeting has been pretty simple.  There were limitations placed on options such as device, gender, language, and location.  However, Pinterest is about to undergo a makeover and receive new features that have log been available for sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.  There are over 100 million monthly active users on Pinterest, and all of them will be able to be reached in these three new ways:

  1. Customer List Targeting. This is very akin to Facebook’s Custom Audiences.  You will be able to upload a list of all of your current patients and customers through their email addresses or their mobile ad ids and Pinterest will use a software that will match your list with its own database.  This will enable you to use your SEO for Chiropractors to reach your current customers already present on Pinterest.  You will then be able to serve ads that will only reach them.
  2. Visitor Retargeting. This way of reaching Pinterest users will enable you to reach people who have once visited your site, but perhaps have not returned.  Now you have a way of reaching them again in order to further influence them to come to your practice or visit your Chiropractic website.  Pinterest will have an actual visitor retargeting option that can be used by adding their conversation tag to your site.  You will be able to then tag people who have: added an item to their bag, landed on your homepage, signed up for your email list, or checked out. This method has been shown to increase CTR by 3x for other businesses who had access to this and implemented it into their SEO for Chiropractors.
  3. Lookalike Targeting. Facebook calls this same technique Lookalike Audiences. This method helps you reach a specific group of people who share similar traits and behaviors of those in your current customer list. You will specify those traits and behaviors in a particular audience and Pinterest will know who to reach.  This particular method has been shown to increase CTR by as much as 30x for those who have gained early access to it.

Google Making Significant SERP Changes

Google has recently implemented new changes in its SERPs and many are wondering how this will implement Chiropractic SEO.  As you are probably aware, the worldwide web is constantly in flux, yielding to popular demands in order to be the best functioning version of itself.  It is important to stay on top of these changes, be aware, and most of all understand how it may (or may not) influence your business.

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First, lets dive in and discuss what is actually taking place.  Google has made a paramount change to its search engine result pages by extending the length of titles and descriptions.  This was not something that was announced outright, however.  It was originally noticed by Ross Hudgens and he made a statement about it on Twitter.  It was then reported by Jennifer Slegg via the SEM Post.

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Previously, title tags on Google were allotted 50-60 characters.  They are now allowing up to 71 characters.  The resulting 10-21 character difference allows for another word or two to fit into a title.  In addition to this, the meta descriptions below title tags are now allotted an additional 100 characters, equivalent to an additional line of words.  This is wonderful for your Chiropractic SEO, as you will now be able to include even more information to grab a user’s attention.

You do need to be aware, that by Google’s admission, anything they implement is considered A/B testing.  Because of this, this change could be reversed at anytime.  Therefore, it is important that you do not base your Chiropractic SEO efforts on these numbers alone, at least until you know whether or not this change will be permanent.

Overall, this change has gone relatively unnoticed.  It was first implemented back on May 4, and only recently has anyone started mentioning it in the SEO realm.  Of those who have noticed, they feel that it has been a positive change so far.  This is a great take away, especially if the change is here to stay! One way to find out how it has impacted your Chiropractic SEO specifically is to measure your CTR from before May 4th and up until now.  This will yield you some sort of an idea of either a positive or negative change.  In the meantime, take advantage of this positive change, letting it benefit your Chiropractic SEO as much as possible, and hope it’s here to stay.

One Small Word, One Huge Difference on Google SERPs

Many people wonder about the true importance of keywords and how they effect SEO for chiropractors.  For example, do various combinations matter?  What about match type? The focus of this article is to show you how just one word can alter the entire results page provided by Google.  Hopefully, by the end of this, you will feel confident on how important your keywords are, if you are utilizing them effectively, and know that your SEO for chiropractors is operating to its fullest capacity.

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Someone recently ran a test on this exact thing where they first searched for ‘HD TVs’ and then they added the word ‘best’.  For the search that was ran with only ‘HD TV’ in the toolbar, the results were primarily in-store only ads.  Google automatically assumes that local inventory must have an overall greater impact on this type of search.  When the word best is added, ranking bubbles show up in the search.  Now the user is able to view how other users have ranked the specific products.  Here, google makes the assumption that the user wants to view how other people rank HD TVs, because of the addition of the word ‘best’.  In the third set of results, product ranking stars are included.  This is similar to the ranking bubbles, as Google is assuming that the user must be inquiring on feedback from other users.

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The overall data concludes that people are responding at high interest levels to these keywords.  Because of this high reaction, the cost of these queries is much higher as well.

So, what’s the overall take here for the impact on your SEO for chiropractors?

Well, the focus is less about the inclusion of your keyword, and more on how you support your robust listings and support the data.  You want your overall product and service rankings to be robust.  In the previously mentioned test, there were three sets of results that came up.  Although TV brands were repeated in the results page, not one product overlapped with another.  This goes to show that having a large amount of products and services available for Google to rank is a must in order to receive high impressions from users.

For your SEO for chiropractors, make sure you are using high quality keywords as well as providing a high volume of content and services that Google can rank in order to be displayed amongst SERPs.

Understanding the True Value of Technical SEOs

In order to effectively utilize your Chiropractic SEO to its fullest potential, make sure you fully understand the true value of Technical SEOs.  Technical SEOs are the people implementing your ChiropractiC SEO day after day, and a good one will have this knowledge base as well.  Perhaps it is you, or perhaps you employ someone.  Either way, it is best to be fully educated.

Technical SEO vs. Technical SEOs.

The practice of technical SEO is following the best possible SEO guidelines.  Sadly, this is rarely done well.  Almost anyone can follow a basic technical SEO guideline, but to be a truly valuable technical SEO you must have experience, a drive to fully understand all the ins and outs, as well as the desire to fix any problems that may come your way.  A valuable technical SEO has ran almost every problem imaginable, and knows how to properly troubleshoot it.  If they come across a problem they haven’t seen before, they will do everything it takes to overcome it.  This is the type of person you want on your team running your Chiropractic SEO.

What Sets Technical SEOs Apart?

A great technical SEO will not only know how to effectively troubleshoot problems and overcome new problems, but they will also know how to properly communicate these issues to other people.  They can explain them in a way that makes sense to everyone involved and build confidence in their clients.

For example, you can name almost any technical element of a website and a great technical SEO will be able to tell you a number of ways things can go wrong, how they would fix it in that specific situation, how long the actual fixing will take, and the impact that this change will make on your overall Chiropractic SEO.  From there, the technical SEO will be able to tell you how to prioritize that specific problem in regards to any other things on the radar.

If you really want your technical SEO to go above and beyond, take note that they should also be allowed freedom.  A great technical SEO will always find a faster and better way of doing things when given the freedom to play around with these issues on their own.  This will only improve their overall output quality and benefit your Chiropractic SEO in the long run.

In addition to all of this, you must know that a good technical SEO has future success in mind.  They are leading the way in new areas and going over and above to accomplish innovative projects that set the framework for the future of the industry.