Here are nine Google ranking factors that you, as a chiropractor, should be aware of. Strategic implementation of these SEO triggers position your chiropractic website on the first page of Google faster.
1. Page Load Speed
From talking to thousands of chiropractors over the years, not many understand just how much “page load speed” affects the overall ranking of their practice website. This is simply a measure of how fast your pages appear when a prospective patient clicks on your website after finding you online. I’m not going to get all technical about this since you can analyze the speed yourself at this link.
2. Author Rank
This is something I’ve been warning chiropractors about since 2011. Google places weight on whether you’re a recognized and trusted author or not. Do you have a history of publishing great content that gets shared? Not only that, are those that are sharing your content REAL authority figures in a related market?
Yes, that’s right. Not all shares are created equal and your rankings will reflect this. You need to be intimately familiar with “author rank” if you want to have a chance scaling the great wall of Google nowadays.
You need to know how to become an authority in Google’s eyes, including how to create and distribute your content so it goes viral and gets shared. It’s one thing to create a stellar piece of content, it’s a whole other ballgame to get eyeballs on it. This is a big reason why Social Media Elite has been my best selling training program for years. It shows chiropractors how to flood their websites/content with local traffic.
3. Mobile Friendliness
Many marketers, consultants, and web developers are considering April 21st of 2015 “Mobile D-Day!” This is when Google is expected to roll-out a heavy algorithm update that will reward the mobile friendliness of a website. Meaning, if your site is easy to view, load, and interact with on a smart phone or tablet, you’ll rank higher on Google.
Conversely, if your website doesn’t fit the search engine’s mobile ease-of-use criteria, then it doesn’t matter how popular you are, your rankings will drop. Not sure how your chiropractic website ranks in terms of mobile compatibility? Use Google’s analyzer tool here:
If, according to Google, your site turns-out to be a train-wreck on mobile… get it updated ASAP! Do not roll the dice and hope this thing will blow over. It’s not going to.
4. Bounce Rate
This is basically the percentage of visitors who traffic your website, then leave (bounce) rather than continuing-on to look at other pages within the same site. A page with a low bounce rate indicates that it effectively causes new visitors to view more pages and continue on deeper into the site.
A high bounce rate can mean that the website isn’t doing a good job of holding the continued interest of visitors. That’s not always the case, though.
Interpretation of the bounce rate percentage should be relevant to your website’s objectives and conversion definition. For instance, certain pages of my website have a high bounce rate because we send thousands of Facebook visitors there monthly via advertising.
Our goal for those landing pages is to offer a free PDF report in exchange for a name and email. If you recall, we spoke in detail about this in earlier chapters.
The landing pages convert at over 30% so they are a success at getting prospective new customers into our funnel. That’s their sole purpose… period. The bounce rate on them is very high, though, sometimes over 75%. You can see a landing page example at:
5. Social Shares
Social media has changed the way we communicate and Google recognizes this. Hence, the reason social activity DOES play a factor on how your chiropractic website ranks online. Social shares are things like Tweets, Pinterest pins, Google +1’s, Facebook shares / likes, Stumbles, etc.
If your website, blog, or content is good then others will feel compelled to show their friends. Websites with more quality shares can expect to rank higher on Google.
Remember, though, the person sharing your content matters! If they are an industry influencer in Google’s eyes, they carry more weight and will benefit you greatly if they take action on your content.
Links are still king online. In a previous blog post, I gave guidelines on how they should now be built. Ignore this advice at your own peril. Backlinks should be a mix of earned, natural looking, general, and anchor text. Just an FYI… no more than 5% of your overall link profile should be anchor text.
Ideally, you want them to come from a variety of online properties like blogs, images, forums, videos, press releases, social bookmarks, articles, etc.
If you recall, links are like votes in the search engines.
The more quality links you have, the higher your site will typically rank. The person / company linking to you matters a lot as well. Always strive to get high quality links from relevant authority sites online, as not all links carry the same juice.
7. Website meta data
“On-page” SEO is still a big deal and many chiropractors don’t fully have their websites optimized from this angle. Ideally the primary keywords you’re targeting should be in the meta title and meta keywords of the website. You’ll also want to mention those words on the corresponding site pages, too.
The meta-description should be a compelling headline of sorts that makes other web-surfers want to click on your listing. Make it benefit rich. No need to stuff the meta-description with keywords.
While we’re on this subject, that reminds me. In a local market, having the keywords in your website address (AKA domain name) can also provide a slight competitive advantage. If your domain name doesn’t have them, it’s not the end of the world. If we’re strategic with our content marketing, we can overtake competitors regardless.
8. Dynamic, Unique, and Diverse Content
The original content you create is supposed to attract people like a magnet, provide value, and maintain interest. If it doesn’t accomplish this, then it’s failed in its primary purpose. You must think bigger than just your website or blog. Yes, they can be your home but you must create consumable content in every medium available to you like online video, info-graphics, press releases, articles, podcasts, etc.
Google wants to see link diversification and THEY FAVOR IT. They also give advantages to websites that have consistent unique content getting churned-out.
This is also a way to position your practice and brand in every nook and cranny online. You want to just blanket your local market so that anywhere a prospective patient goes, they see you and your content.
It’s about setting-up multiple streams of traffic that consistently feed your chiropractic website.
9. A Working Site Map
This should be standard on every website, but it isn’t. A site map makes it easier for Google to crawl your pages so they can get indexed on the search engines faster. Look on your site and see if you find one. If not, contact your webmaster and let them install it.
Aside from the ranking factors we talked about, I wanted to share with you a Google ranking killer that’s causing many chiropractic websites to sink like the Titanic. What is it? Two words. Canned content.
Duplicate website content is flagrant foul and you’ll eventually get slapped for it. I’ve written extensively about this. Also, if you syndicate another person’s content on your blog, then you MUST give credit to the source or risk being slapped for duplicate content.
Check immediately to see if your chiropractic website company has published the same content on your site and hundreds of others. CopyScape.com is a great place to quickly run an audit. You might be stunned by what you find!
Be creative and resourceful. If writing is not your strength, then delegate by hiring a ghostwriter.
Implementing these points above will keep you ahead of the curve while maximizing your SEO efforts. You’ll be able to continuously rank at the top of Google rather than plummeting like so many chiropractic websites have done.
Don’t fight the trend any longer. You must adapt to the new SEO guidelines or you risk getting stomped-on this year.