We get so many requests about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so we created this detailed post. By the end of this article, you will know everything you need about SEO on your website. We definitely recommend taking a moment to read this post in detail.
The problem is that there is a lot of information and services... sorry I should say "services" that offer to help you with improving your SEO ranking.
SEO Myth Vs Reality:
MYTH: SEO is extremely complex and should only be attempted by experts
REALITY: SEO... it's not "magic", can be done by anyone and does not require investment in 3rd party services!!!
Here is some detailed information that will allow you to make an informed decision about using 3rd party SEO services. Stating the facts, we look after 4500 surgeries and we are not aware of any website that has benefited from these services - despite the claims that they make.
The most important thing to understand is that your website is not a stand alone site - it is part of a system that manages 4500 sites. The way our system handles domain names is completely different from a "normal" site and this leads to some false positives on 3rd party services - thus they are not able to accurately report on your site (again... despite their claims).
Our recommendation is that you focus on the basics before diving in to complex commercial solutions. You will find that you get much better results by ensuring your content is targeted. If I may be so bold, when it comes to SEO - there is nothing major to it. Simply put, it is a set of rules that the search engines ask your site to play by so it makes it easier for them to find relevant content on your site. Google is only useful if it sends people to sites that contain information that they are looking for. If the search engine can't see that info then no matter what you do, your results will never improve.
The first exercise you should undertake is a comprehensive content review. A common example is when practices want to appear in the search results as a "Yellow Fever Clinic". When looking at their content the term "yellow fever" is mentioned once, on one page and is not linked to. The Google bots indexing the site rate it with low importance because it's not talked about.
Next: ensure you sign your "business" up to Google.co.uk/places. This gives more control over your listing. It also helps to legitimise your business with Google - the more they know about you the better. Also, get a number of "trusted" patients to put reviews on Google for you. It makes a big difference.
Continuing the theme of "letting Google know about you" create a Google Analytics account and really get into that. We can't assist you with GA but you will pick it up in no time. You will gain some very useful insights. Once you have signed up, send through the code and we will add it to your site.
Finally, sign the site up to Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). This gives you amazing insight into how Google sees your site. The easiest option here is for us to do it for you and then invite you.
A couple of things to be weary of:
- Check with us before you do sign up to any "system". Many are not compatible with our system
- Please also understand, that with the best will in the world, it is simply not possible to do some things on our system... even if someone tells you "it is basic, anyone can do it". We have a lot of "experts" telling us what our system can and can't do - but the essence of it is that they are not running 4,500 websites with 20m patients coming through it every month.
- Go easy on Facebook. Put patient confidentiality at the forefront. You will know more about this than we do but it's not really the platform for GP Surgeries
- Don't try to do too much on your site. Many practices expend a huge effort on trying to make their site the "font of all knowledge." This is a total waste of time - user logs show that very few people look at content not related to their health or the surgery. Perfect example - local phone numbers and "useful" websites - people won't come to the surgery site for that info - they will Google it.