Harnessing the Power of the Internet So More People Find Your Practice
By Gary Leung, PhD
It's pretty much a given that every practice needs to have a Web site. But the flashiest site in the world won't help you attract new patients if no one can find it. If you have a Web site that isn't getting many hits, it's time to revisit your strategy for directing the right people to your site. The good news is that there are plenty of simple, cost-effective things you can do to attract new patients to your site and more importantly, to your practice.
Reaching the Top of the Rankings
Have you searched for your practice lately using Google, Bing or Yahoo? On what page does your site show up? If it's not the first page, how can you be sure people find you before they find your competitors?
Search engines crawl all the Web pages in cyberspace and bring back relevant results to the searcher. Unfortunately, in many cases, your home page will appear on the second or third page of someone's search results, which means potential patients can't find you. If so, your Web site, no matter how well-designed, is virtually useless from a search perspective.
How do you convince search engines to put your site at the top of a search? Start by discovering the terms people use to find chiropractors in your area. Fortunately, Google offers free access to its database of searches. Use Google's "Adwords Keyword Tool" and type in the name of your town along with a basic keyword for your practice. (For example, if your practice is in Toronto, type in "Toronto chiropractor" or "Toronto chiropractic.") The results show not only exactly what words people use to find chiropractors in your area, but also how many times this search is performed every month.
Next, make sure those words appear on your Web site. One of the best ways to do this is by publishing regularly updated blogs or articles on your site that use those search terms. For example, if "orthotics" is a common keyword, write a blog post about the benefits of orthotics and how chiropractors can prescribe them.
Keep in mind that you don't want the entire world to visit your Web site; you want local patients who are most likely to require services from your practice location. That's where Google Places comes in handy. When someone searches for "Toronto chiropractor," Google Places pulls up a list of relevant Web sites. Getting listed is free, and you can list all kinds of neat information about your practice, including operating hours, pictures, special events, coupons and more. Go to Google Places to sign up for an account and list your practice.
The Art of Article Marketing
You're a health expert. The Internet has made it easy for everyone to publish and share information in their various areas of expertise through article marketing. Article marketing is an extremely powerful form of Web promotion. Done properly, you can multiply your Internet footprint by orders of magnitude with relatively little effort.
The concept behind it is simple: Businesses write short articles related to their respective industry, then release those articles for free distribution to an online magazine. Just Google "article directory site" to see how many sites are out there.
When an article is well-written and published on the right article directory sites, people will see it – and since many sites allow you to publish a link to your Web site within the article, those same people will find your practice. But make sure you focus your contributions to reputable health sites; putting your content on a blog for plumbers is probably not going to do you any good, and may even hurt your reputation.
Article marketing also helps improve your site's all-important search-engine rankings. Having articles about your business online will help search engines see your clinic is being talked about. It's just another tool you can use to get your Web site on the first page of a potential patient's search results.
As more and more people use the Internet to search for health-related services, an increasing number of people will be searching for the services your practice has to offer. Make it easy for them to find you and watch your practice start to grow.
Dr. Gary Leung is the president of Primacy Medical Inc., a Canadian company providing health professional services such as Health Local (www.health-local.com). Prior to founding Primacy, Dr. Leung spent more than 10 years in the space and aerospace industries and five years as a manufacturing and IT consultant for Fortune 100 companies. He holds a doctorate in engineering from the University of Toronto.