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Search Engine Optimization: Is SEO Important for Your Veterinary Practice?

You’ve likely heard about search engine optimization (SEO), but do you understand what it means? Do you know why you need an optimized website for your veterinary practice?

If you’ve ever tried to research SEO, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with the plethora of information about how it works, why it works, who’s the best at doing it…it goes on and on. But even with all that information on the Web, the question still remains: Is SEO important for your veterinary practice website?

Some will say that all you need to do is add content to your site, throw in a couple of keywords, and…BOOM. Magic happens and you’re suddenly No. 1 on Google. I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to say about that: It’s nonsense. If that were the case, we’d all be No. 1 in the search engines and on the first page for every keyword terms we wanted, and we’d all be making a lot of money. But it’s impossible for everyone to be No. 1.

I’m here to tell you that SEO is more complicated than that. And it’s more important for your veterinary practice website than ever before.

How many people drive or walk by your practice every day? A hundred? A thousand? Five thousand? And of those, how many people stop in to engage in some sort of business transaction, whether it’s to purchase pet food or to schedule a preventive care exam? A search engine can be compared to people driving or walking by your practice. Some of those people might not need your services, so they’ll move on. But, most of the people who find your practice by searching online aren’t just haphazardly driving by. They’re intentionally driving by and pulling into the parking lot because they need something you offer. They searched for it.

But what if what you offer isn’t known to those people because your practice website doesn’t appear in their top search results? They aren’t even given the opportunity to “drive by” your practice to check it out. If a pet owner is looking for a veterinarian in your area and not finding your practice through online search, your website is serving little, if any, purpose. Especially if your hospital is located in a densely populated area.

When you’re one of many veterinary hospitals in a particular area, the competition is steep. We know this all too well, because one of our clients, whose practice is in New York, ranks No. 1 for “NY bird vet.” Here’s what she had to say about having her website optimized for search:

The SEO numbers
Google is the search engine used most by online searchers. If you want to be found on Google, you must land on or near the first page of the search results. The numbers don’t lie:

  • The first page of Google search results gets about 91 percent of the traffic
  • Page two of the search results only sees 4.8 percent
  • Page three gets 1.1 percent

According to searchenginewatch.com, which I visit daily to learn the latest SEO trends, websites that appear first on a search results page grab 33 percent of the traffic. The second position gets 18 percent of the traffic, and it only goes down from there.

It’s a numbers game, and the numbers clearly show that your veterinary website needs to be optimized and marketed if you’re going to be found by pet owners online. Don’t let them drive by without even realizing you exist because your competition’s website ranked higher on Google.

As an SEO engineer here at InTouch, I know what it takes to rank high in search engines. Let me help you reach the pet owners in your community so they’ll pull into your parking lot, go inside, and do business with your veterinary practice.

 

Photo credit: iStock/oneinchpunch

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