Hey everyone, Ryan here.
Today we’re discussing a super-important topic; one I get asked about constantly…
How to make sure your practice appears at the top of Google when potential clients are searching for surgeons in your city.
Just to clarify, we’re not talking about buying Google ads here – that’s a subject for another day. I want to tell you about the NATURAL search listings, and what you need to do to be at the top of them.
How to be One of Google’s ‘Recommended’ Surgeons and Get a Top First Page Listing
Many surgeons find this whole subject rather confusing, and quite frankly have absolutely no idea why Google doesn’t seem to favor their website and recommend it highly to potential clients searching the web.
Luckily, getting one of the top few spots on Google’s front page is definitely more ‘science’ than ‘art’ – it is certainly a process than can be learned and followed. You just need to know what the search engines are looking for, then give it to them.
On that subject, you also need to know what doesn’t matter for search engine rankings…
Things Google Likes to Pretend Effect Your Website Rankings, When They Actually Don’t
Unfortunately these things just don’t matter in online search results…
1. How Good of a Surgeon You Are
Even if you’re the very best surgeon in your city and the undisputed ‘go-to’ expert, it doesn’t mean you’ll rank #1 in Google – you may not even appear anywhere on the entire first page. Harsh but true.
2. Your Experience, Qualifications or Credentials
Again, these just don’t matter – sorry. I’d feel confident about creating a brand new website for a ‘nobody’ surgeon just out of medical school, and then securing them a top search engine ranking in almost any major US city. They’d appear above the most experienced experts in a matter of months.
3. How Happy Your Clients are With Your Services
You could have a 100% satisfaction rate and the happiest client base in the world, but that won’t put you at the top of Google. Do online reviews count? Yes, a little. They’re mostly important as proof and testimonials for people considering working with you though – not so much for search rankings.
**Bonus** – Just because you spent tens of thousands of dollars on a flashy, eye-catching and absolutely beautiful website that doesn’t mean Google will give you any love either. Sorry again!
So What Does Google ACTUALLY Care About If You Want to Be Top of Their First Page?
OK, here’s what’s working right now if you want a top ranking:
1. Explain What You Do and Why You’re Good, But Don’t Try Too Hard!
Here’s what I mean…
Say, for example, you’d like to rank super-highly when someone is searching online for a phrase such as “rhinoplasty surgeon New York” then obviously you need a page on your website about that.
Write about rhinoplasty, what the procedure involves, benefits, recovery times and costs etc etc. Give some feedback from happy clients. Also mention you’re a New York based surgeon and maybe some boroughs or surrounding areas you take clients from.
Fairly common sense, right?
What you don’t want to do though is try ‘too hard’ to please Google and try fit as many words and phrases related to rhinoplasty/nose jobs onto the page as you can. This used to work YEARS AGO, but it hasn’t for a long a time.
The tactic is now referred to as over-optimization and will actually cause you to rank lower than you would have if you’d just written a natural, logical article about nose surgery in NY.
Write for your readers. Don’t write for Google. If they think you’re putting in too much effort to please them and practically saying “look at me Google – I should definitely be your number 1 nose surgeon in NY” then you won’t get any love!
Play it cool; don’t be needy 😉
2. Your Site Must Be Fast and Be Fresh
So from point #1 above we know your website content needs to be useful, relevant and not written in a way that’s designed to fool search engines.
The next thing it really needs to do is load quickly. Every one hates slow websites, slow internet.. and basically slow anything in life. Google has told us that site speed has a direct impact on how well a website ranks in their results.
If your site is slow to load, it is holding you back and probably costing you new clients from the web. Simple as that.
Aim for a load-speed of less than 2 seconds – check your’s here for free: http://gtmetrix.com/ and speak to whoever built your site if it scores badly!
Make sure your website content is ‘fresh’ as well. This means you should make updates to it and not leave the thing sitting stagnant for years! It sounds like a lot of effort, but it is really isn’t.
Want to know the easiest way to keep your site fresh and up to date?
Start a simple blog. You don’t need to update every page constantly, just add a blog article once or twice per month – show Google (and potential clients) that your site is actually alive and still breathing. This will definitely affect performance in a positive way.
3. Most Importantly… Get High Quality Genuine Links to Your Website
This is the big one.
Google is basically a massive popularity contest – just like high school.
‘Popularity’ is measured by the number of other websites that recommend yours by linking to you. It’s not all about how many links you have though – what you really want is links from the cool kids; the ones who are looked up to and respected by everyone else. Again, just like high school.
Of course what I’m talking about here is making sure that other high quality, popular and authoritative websites link to yours. (these are the equivalent of the ‘cool kids’)
Google then sees this as evidence that your practice is trustworthy, of high quality and deserving of a high ranking in their search engine listings.
The more authoritative links you have from other trusted sites, the more love you’ll get from Google.
So, what kinds of sites do you need links from?
Here are some examples to get you started..
- -Good business directories: Yelp, Yellow Pages etc
- -Industry associations
- -Local and national newspapers
- -Local community sites (libraries, local councils etc)
- -Health blogs
- -Health forums
- -Other surgeons, or medical professionals
- -Other local firms you do business with
There are of course many others, but that list alone should give you more than enough quality link opportunities for your needs.
**Another Bonus** – Make sure any links you acquire appear ‘natural’ to Google. By this I mean that the text used to link to your site should mostly be either your practice name, your own name or your web address.
Don’t be tempted to collect a whole load of links to your site using the link text “plastic surgeon new york” or anything else obvious like that.
This is another tactic that USED to work, but will now do more harm than good to your site.
Summary – Getting Top Rankings From Search Engines
– Write good relevant content that is helpful to potential clients and not designed to fool Google
– Make sure your site loads quickly and is updated with fresh content each month (start a blog)
– Get high quality natural looks from other trusted sites
Apply those three rules more effectively than your competition and you’ll be well on your way to achieve top search engine rankings in your city.
Until next time,
Ryan & the SurgeryBloom Team