Chiropractic SEO: 2017 Guide
Search Engine Optimization for Modern Chiropractors
We are diving deep here, this is not a quick and easy SEO article to read and forget, this is an actionable, usable guide to doing it yourself. You are going to need to sit down and work on this if you want to see results, I know you have been told that the internet is the way to overnight success but it takes some time and effort. Grab a coffee and work on your business!
First, in order to really improve your Chiropractic SEO you’ll want to set up a few things.
First, if you haven’t already, you need to set up Google Analytics on your website. To start you just need to get it up and running on your site so it is tracking you traffic. Ideally you had this set up already so you have a decent history of how you site is performing.
Next set up Google Webmaster tools and connect it to your site. This will give help show you how your site is performing in search and help you make and track improvements.
Finally you should set up a Google Adwords Account, you may have to enter billing information but don’t you don’t need to buy any ads, all we want is the Keyword Planner tool which is free to use.
Finally if you have a WordPress website you should also install the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin makes it easy to optimize your site for specific keywords.
Keyword Research for Chiropractors
Search engine optimization is all about keywords, you need to know what people are searching for related yo your practice. Finding the keywords you should target initially should be pretty easy, most patients searching for a chiropractor will type in chiropractor (city, state) or chiropractor (zip code) or something relatively similar. A combination for chiropractic, chiropractor, chiropractic clinic plus your city name, zip code, surrounding area, neighborhood, or other terms describing your area will be what most practices should start with.
Ranking well for these keywords can give your practice a big boost by making it easier for new patients to find you online. The problem you may have, especially if you are a new practice in the area is most chiropractic clinic websites will rank (or try to rank) for these keywords. This means there will be heavy competition for these terms and it may take longer to improve your rank.
Lets start by doing some research for the big ones, these are the ones that make the biggest difference for someone near you searching for a chiropractor.
You will start off by making a list of likely keywords by combining chiropractic/chiropractor/chiropractic clinic and the your location (city, zip code, county, neighborhood). You can do this yourself or use this tool to generate them for you. Be sure to include any location descriptors that you might use if you were searching for a restaurant near you (without google knowing your location), this could include “city, state” if there are multiple cities with the same name, or other patterns specific to you location. UberSuggest is another great tool for coming up with keyword ideas.
If you are in a large city they may search specific areas (downtown, west, north, ect) along with the city name so be sure to include any of these you think people may use in your initial list we will narrow it down in the next step. You can get some more ideas of what people may be searching for by entering your keyword phrase into a Google search and take a look at “Searches Related to” at the bottom of the page.
Now that you have your list you need to login to your Google Adwords account and find the Keyword Planner tool. Upload or enter your list from above into the tool and take a look at the search volume results. These results will narrow down your list to the top 1-3 keyword phrases for each location (city, zip, ect) based on search volume. These will be the phrases you want to focus on. Optimizing your site for these higher volume keywords gives your site the best chance at being found when a potential patient is looking for a chiropractor.
Now that you have narrowed down your list to a reasonable number of keywords you want to try to pick out your top 1-2 target keyword phrases to focus on. These 1-2 keyword phrases will be are the ones you will focus your SEO efforts on. You can still go after the other phrases later but you need to start somewhere. Sometimes the search volume alone will give you a clear cut top keyword but a many times the top few will be pretty close. So how do you choose? Well you need to analyze your site and the sites of your top competitors.
The first place to start is the search results, this also shows you what you are working towards. Before you search change your browser to private or incognito so the results aren’t influenced by your past browsing history. I also recommend installing the free Chrome Plugin called MozBar which will show you some additional information. Enter one of your top keyword phrases and take a look at the results. Ignoring the ads and map results (we will look at maps and local SEO later). Where is your site? Which sites are on the front page? Write down where your site shows up (ie page 3 result 4) and make a list of your competitors (all the clinics that rank higher) or just screen shot the results starting on page one and going back to the page you are on. If your site is relatively new it may not show up in search yet.
Are all of the results relevant, or are there clinics from other cities or other unrelated pages showing up at the top? If you have installed MozBar you can take a look at the Page Authority (PA) and Domain Authority (DA). The PA shows you how well that specific page ranks and how many links are pointing to that page. The DA will show you how well that domain overall ranks (yelp.com is the domain, yelp.com/boston is a page on the domain). If Yelp or another directory site shows up on the front page it will often have a very low PA but a very high DA. That shows you that the Yelp brand has a high domain authority but the specific page by itself doesn’t have a ton of authority.
Your overall target is to show up first for the highest volume keyword but take a look and see if there are any quick and dirty wins.
- Check each keyword and take a look at the differences in the results, most times they will be pretty similar but maybe your site is on the top of page 2 for one of the phrases and getting just a little boost will move it to page one. This is a great place to start because going from page two to page one could give your practice a boost relatively quickly.
- Check if there are any non-practice websites in the top results, is a yelp page or other review/directory site ranking towards the top for one or more your keyword phrases? Do a Google search for Boston Chiropractor and (when I wrote this) three (3!) of the front page results were Yelp pages. If this is the case in your area it would be worth taking the time to optimize your Yelp page to be at the top when someone clicks through to the Yelp list. There will be an article on improving your Yelp listing coming soon, so be sure to get on our free email list!
- If one of your keyword phrases shows a non-relevant page or two on the front page you may be able to easily jump past that site fairly quickly. This doesn’t happen often but can happen in smaller or low competition areas.
After taking advantage of any easy wins you are going to want to dig a little deeper into you competitors. Go back to the search results for one of your top search phrases and start looking at your competitors. Check out their websites and see what they are doing well and what you could improve on (not sure what to look for? Jump ahead to the on page SEO optimization section for a sec). Look at the chiropractic clinic’s on page SEO but also look at how the site is laid out and the general appearance. Is there anything on that site that you could do better? Does it look like they are optimizing for a specific keyword?
The next step is to get back to the search results and use the MozBar tools to dig into your competitors.
Pick one of the top clinic pages that is showing a decent number of links, click on the Link Analysis button on the right hand side of the MozBar and take a look at the inbound links. These are webpages that are directly linking to your competitor’s website and thereby improving their SEO and search ranking. Most of the time you will see most of their links are coming from directories (sites that list a bunch of clinics or businesses information).
If your competitors are getting most of their links from directories you can copy their strategy and submit your chiropractic clinic’s information into those same directories (following the general rules in the local section). Be sure to look at the spam score next to the links: lower is better and if the gauge is red don’t worry about trying to get a link from that site. Keep a file with all of the “good links” that your top competition has. We will focus on these in the Local SEO and Link Building sections.
Repeat the steps above for each of your top keywords and determine which looks like you have the best chance at improving your rank. Start with the keyword that your site is the closest to the top result. If your competition is ranking well for one of the keywords but isn’t optimizing for it you might be able to move past them by focusing on that keyword. Next do any of your keywords have competitors with a lot of links that you aren’t able easily match? You might want to skip that keyword for now and focus on one of the others. If the results for each keyword seem about the same go ahead and pick the highest search volume keyword (or your favorite).
On-Page Chiropractic SEO
Now that we are done with all that boring research we can get to the fun part! Just kidding, this part is still pretty boring if, like me, you would rather be treating patients.
Caution-Before you start: if you are already ranking in the top spot for a major (high volume/high conversion) keyword don’t start making changes on your homepage to try and target another keyword, this could hurt your current ranking. Instead make changes to further optimize your homepage for that keyword you rank well for and then focus on some of the external factors coming up in the next section. Feel free to add some of the other keywords into your homepage since you can rank well for multiple similar phrases but don’t remove that current keyword and replace it with another. An example would be if you are ranking number two for “Boston Chiropractor” don’t switch it out to “Chiropractor 02111” but go ahead and add 02111 into you site like changing the phrase “Chiropractor in Boston” to ” Chiropractor in Boston 02111″ where it makes sense.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for chiropractors is all about making it easy for Google to find and read your site. How you set up parts of you site change how Google views it and how it determines if a page is relevant for certain keyword searches. So following some basic guidelines will put you in the best position. We will go over the most important aspects of On-page SEO for Chiropractors to get you started.
On-Page SEO for your clinic’s homepage
- Start your title with your target keyword. Using our example from above your title should be “Boston Chiropractor: Clinic Name” instead of just your clinic name or “Clinic Name: Boston Chiropractor”. You can tell what your title is by looking at what is displayed on the tab in your browser. If it doesn’t start with your keyword change it or have your “web guy” change it.
- Keep your title short and to the point. Your title should be under 60 characters so it shows up properly in Google. Limit your title to just your top keyword and your clinic name.
- Make sure your title is using an <h1> tag, this tells Google it is a headline and important. If you use WordPress or something similar it will probably do that for you. If not instructions are a short Google away.
- Make sure you have a couple well place images on your homepage, this keeps potential patients on the site longer and makes the site look better overall.
- Include Alt Text in your image- Write the Alt text like it is a caption of the photo and include your keyword.
Keywords and Content
- Use your keyword phrase in headings and subheadings (make sure they are tagged with <H2> or similar tags. Most of the time this can be done by using the heading 1, heading 2, ect formating options in WordPress or similar sites without trying to code anything yourself.
- Use your keyword phrase in the first 100 words on your homepage.
- Use related keywords in your text, this means don’t use just chiropractor but include similar keywords like chiropractic clinic and others. This also helps the content sound natural and not like you are trying to stuff one phrase in over and over.
- Link to other pages on your site. This could be a contact us or about us page but it is good practice to link to other relevant pages.
- Add these towards the top of the page to help reduce your bounce rate. This will help your rank and keep potential patients on your site longer.
- You can also mention “back pain” in your content and make “back pain” a clickable link to your page about back pain treatment (you get the idea).
- Also link to relevant pages on other sites. The least you should do is link to your social profiles and google maps.
- The faster your page loads the better it will rank. Check your speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights and follow the instructions on how to fix any issues. Also be sure to check the mobile speed section for any issues.
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly and responsive or it will be penalized by Google, not to mention everyone trying to find you on their phone!
- Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to make sure your site looks good on smart phones and tablets.
- Extra Credit: Get more detailed analysis of your site with Vary’s Mobile SEO tool.
These key points will work on your homepage and other pages although you may be targeting different keywords for a blog post or condition page (think low back pain or similar terms).
Local SEO: Getting your chiropractic practice to rank in your area.
While most of what we have done so far is intended to help your practice rank well for local keywords this next section will work on ranking well for local results in general, including when someone searches in Google Maps or similar apps.
First things first, you need to write out the name, address, and phone number (NAP) along with the homepage URL for your clinic. This seems pretty basic but you need to be sure that whenever you enter this information online you enter it exactly the same way. If you abbreviate East to E on one page and use East on another it can mess with the results and rankings. Also be sure to check the same for your business name, if you include LLC in one spot you need to include everywhere you put this information out. Save this NAP information somewhere that you can reference it in a year when you are adding your information somewhere.
Done with that? Great, let’s get started.
- Set up your Google My Business account. Check out this guide for a step by step guide.
- “Contact Us” page that has your NAP from above.
- NAP should be in your footer (bottom bar of the website) site wide.
- Phone number should be front and center and someone on a mobile phone should be able to click on it to call your clinic.
- Build local citations for your business using consistent NAP and URL. This is an extremely important step and Moz has a great guide here: How to get citations .
- Be sure to target the Top Citations for Your City and the Top Citations for Chiropractors.
- Check for any duplicate listings or inconsistent information using Moz Local (free to use the tool, you can pay them to make improvements).
- GET REVIEWS! Reviews have some of the biggest impact on your ranking in Google Local (Maps), Yelp, and even impact general search results. You know what is even better than all that? They also improve the chance of a visitor converting to a patient, and that is what this is all about. You need to get REAL REVIEWS from REAL PATIENTS. Do not pay for fake reviews, write reviews for your own service, or ask people friends and family who aren’t patients to write reviews. It isn’t easy to get reviews and that is why we offer our Review Automation Service .
Links are important for SEO, it shows Google that other sites think you site is important. Getting good links to your website can be difficult and time consuming.
Most of the important links you should have gotten in the last step when you were building local citations but we should also look back at your competitive analysis as well. After all those sites are ranking well already, we might as well try see if we can do what they are doing. So go back to the competitive analysis section again and find out what sites are linking to your competition, is there a way for you to get a link from those sites as well? It could be as simple as submitting your information into a directory you missed in the Local SEO section or you may be able to write a short press release and get it published on their site. Other times it could take a little more work like writing an article for a blog or building a relationship with another business owner.
Additional Link Building Strategies
After you are done with the Local SEO section and did what you could to get the links your competition is getting its time to get a little more creative.
First check for any local business listings on city or county websites, chamber of commerce, ect.
Next think of any organizations your or your business are a member of, do any of them have a directory or a page dedicated to listing member’s information? If they do make sure your practice info is posted.
Finally you can check out the websites of local businesses that may have a page on their site dedicated to listing businesses that they like or work with. If you have a personal or business connection with one of these businesses reach out and see if you can get on their site and be sure to return the favor.
Chiropractic SEO: 2017 Guide
So that’s Chiropractic SEO, simple right? You can get more in-depth and technical than I did in this guide but most practicing chiropractors just need to get started. We focused on optimizing the homepage for people actively searching for a chiropractor because that is the area that will have the biggest impact on your practice. Remember that search engine optimization is not an overnight process so it will take some time before you start seeing results.
If you followed this guide and your homepage is as optimized as it is going to get you can use the same process for optimizing other pages on your site for new keywords. If you want more information and tools be sure to check out our Tools and Resources page. This guide is a combination of information from multiple sources and written for the average chiropractor. If you need more details or want to dig a little deeper check out Neil Patel, Moz and Baclinko.
We will be going over other keywords that chiropractors can target along with how to go after them using content marketing and social media so be sure to get on our FREE email list if you want to stay up to date.