Funny how the Internet works. Take some part of your life you’d love to erase and the Internet holds onto it forever, but open up a business that you’d love to tell the whole world about and it’s a never ending battle just to get people to discover its existence. Welcome to the endless work of optimizing a veterinary business website.
As if we didn’t have enough work to do, right? We built the business Facebook page that everyone insisted that we needed. We even let the 20-year-old girl that works in the kennel open up the Twatter, Twitter (whatever it’s called) account. What good did that do? I’ll tell you, zippo. In fact, it may have even taken us into the negative. Now my girls have an excuse to keep their cell phones out and lag behind in their work. “I’m taking a picture for Facebook.” ‘Taking a picture for Facebook,’ my eye.
The days are fast approaching when optimizing a veterinary business website and managing its online reputation is not a ‘when-I-can-get-around-to-it’ job. Changes in how search engines sort through information and the tools to influence search engine results are becoming so numerous, that learning about them all is almost a new veterinary practice position. Consider creating it: Veterinary Online Reputation and Client Service Officer, Apply Within.
In the mean time, business owners still have another year left during which time managing their small business’s online presence is still doable. Here are some things one MUST accomplish when working to increase your online presence.
Build Content: Ever since Google came out with it’s advanced search engine algorithm, the new buzzwords these days are, ‘content is king’. It’s referring to the fact that nothing works better at improving your practice’s visibility than working on content that has three major things going for it:
- There’s a lot of it. As in, the larger your website, the more credible it’s deemed to be by the search engines. Build lots of pages with lots of good stuff for your clients.
- It’s ‘crawlable’. Search engines can’t ‘read’. Instead, they sort through data in a methodical manner in an attempt to compute its relevancy. Teaching search engines more about your content by using correct SEO coding is essential to getting content to do what you want it to do: drive search engine results.
- It’s interlinked. Search engines believe that if other people like it, they should as well. When you post online content on your website, cross post it to your social media sites with the intent of getting people to share it and to drive click throughs to the website. Content hyperlinks that drive readers outside your website and within the website are also influential.
Claim business pages: For better or for worse, most of you have discovered the enormous power of a Yelp in getting your website to rise higher in ranks. Claiming your Yelp business page assists you with visibility, managing reviews, and using Yelp’s direct marketing ability.
Work Google + : Though its no Facebook yet, Google is intent on incentivizing use of the Google suite of tools by giving Google’s most dedicated fans a bigger presence in Internet search results. Building relationships on Google + (creating ‘circles’) and linking your blog to your Google+ page increases the love affair that the Google search engine has with your business. You’ll also start to see pictures of you and your practice start to pop up in more of the search engine results for your blog content, which makes it more likely that people will select you over a competitor.