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Why Your Practice Doesn’t Show Up on the First Page of Google

It seems simple: you open your practice and make a website. Then, that website ranks on Google, patients book appointments, and everyone lives happily ever after.

However, it doesn’t always happen like that. Many factors influence how your website ranks on Google, both your own website and your competitors’ websites. 

Since we can’t control what’s on competitor’s websites, let’s look at how you can help make your website show up on the first page of Google.

Keywords

You’ll hear the term “keyword” thrown around a lot by search engine optimization (SEO) professionals. Essentially, a keyword is any search term that you want to rank for. Many of them aren’t individual words but multiple words or phrases.

Google searches like “eye doctor near me” or “emergency eye exam” are both examples of keywords. For your website to rank for target keywords, you need to include these keywords on your website.

For example, if you want your website to rank for “dry eye treatment,” you need to include that keyword. It seems pretty simple, but there is one big caveat.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is an outdated SEO practice that, if implemented today, can actually hurt your rankings. In the early days of SEO and the Google algorithm, rankings were based on the quantity of keywords, not quality of websites. 

So, we ended up with nonsensical websites that ranked but were near useless to humans. Like this:

Get an eye exam from an eye doctor near you. Our optometrists offer eye exams, dry eye treatment, eye disease diagnosis in the Toronto area. Get a Toronto eye exam from our optometrists experienced in eye care and optometry in Toronto.

Today, keyword stuffing is a negative ranking factor, so you have to be careful how often you use your target keywords. Use them sparingly, and always write for humans, not for Google.

Technical Elements

Once you have your target keywords, there are some technical areas where you should implement them. If you work with a web developer, they should be able to help you with this.

These technical elements include:

  • H1s
  • H2s
  • Page titles or meta titles
  • Page descriptions or meta descriptions

In addition to keyword placement, some other technical elements to consider are:

  • Load speed
  • Mobile optimization
  • Schema integration

Unique Service Pages

Having unique service pages is probably the best way to get your practice to rank for individual services. When you have multiple services on one page, it’s harder for Google to understand what that page is about. And ultimately, it also makes it harder for Google to rank that page. 

Whether your practice offers basic or specialized services, each service should have its own page on the website.

For example, if you offer standard optometry services, your service pages could be:

  • Adult & Senior Eye Exams
  • Children’s Eye Exams
  • Diabetic Eye Exams
  • Eye Disease Diagnosis & Management
  • Contact Lens Exams & Fittings
  • Emergency Eye Care

Having all of these services on separate pages makes it a lot more likely that your website will rank for these individual services. 

Location of Optometry Practice on a Map

Location Information

Because most eye care involves seeing patients in person, your website must highlight both your services and your location.

If your practice has multiple locations, each location must have its own location page. This means having detailed location information on the homepage, footer, and a dedicated location or contact page. This will allow your website to rank in multiple locations.

Off-Page Elements

Reviews

While reviews aren’t a direct ranking factor (meaning they aren’t part of Google’s ranking algorithm), reviews still do matter, especially when it comes to Maps rankings. 

Reviews can help you show up better in Maps, and they can be the deciding factor for many patients. Even if another practice appears above you in search results, a patient might choose you with better reviews.

Google My Business

Your Google My Business (GMB) profile is where patients leave Google reviews. It’s also what shows up in Map searches. To show up for location-based and mobile searches, your GMB needs to be optimized.

After claiming your GMB, make sure it has:

  • Accurate business name
  • Accurate address
  • Services listed
  • Service areas listed

Now, You Wait

Like anything good in life, SEO rankings take time. For most practices, it will be at least 3-6 months before you start seeing results. 

If someone promises you rankings sooner, they’re likely using blackhat SEO tactics. While these might show promising results in the short term, you’ll end up back where you started in the long term.

So, your best bet is to be patient, let Google digest your website changes, and the rankings follow.

Our team can help your practice with SEO by creating high-quality content specifically created to rank on Google. Book a demo to learn more.

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Brynn Lowe / Author

As a Content & SEO Specialist at Marketing4ECPs, Brynn spends her days creating content that ranks for eye care practices all over North America. When she’s not at work, Brynn enjoys biking, skiing, and spending time with her dog, Cricket. You can reach Brynn at marketing4ecps.com.

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