You’ve probably seen the word “organic” plastered across signs at the grocery store and heard it tossed around at hip restaurants, but what about in terms of marketing? Organic search refers to search results that are generated from search engine optimization rather than paid advertising.
The results generated on a SERP (search engine results page) are determined by Google’s algorithm, which uses a set of criteria to rank web pages by its perceived value to the user.
Value isn’t determined by the monetary success of a web page or piece of content, but instead is gauged by the usefulness of that collateral to an audience. Is a web visitor able to learn valuable information from your page? Is it entertaining? Or does it give them everything they need to determine if your practice is right for them? These are the qualities that really matter to your audience.
While a web user and the algorithm may use different methods to judge your page’s value, there are things you can do to appeal to each. Try out these three ways to increase your organic search traffic and outreach to both current and potential clients.
1. Social Media
With 77% of Americans on social media, your business should be, too. Social media provides you with a cost-effective and efficient way to communicate with your audience, provide valuable content, and increase engagement with your brand.
Your social media pages also increase the likelihood of your practice populating on Google’s search engine results pages when users are looking for local businesses like yours. In fact, your social media pages can actually help you get on a SERP multiple times!
Decide on a Platform
Before signing up for a platform, decide which are right for your business. Since 68% of Americans and 60 million businesses are on Facebook, this may be an excellent place to start. This platform is generally used by individuals who want to share content with their friends and explore businesses within their communities.
When it comes to social media, consistency is key. You are bound to see better results when you post content regularly rather than when you only post sporadically. This will increase brand recognition as well as provide you with opportunities to interact with your clients outside of the office.
To get an in-depth explanation of what you should post to which channel at what times, check out our free social media calendar.
Respond and Engage
While on social, be sure to respond to comments and messages to spur more engagement with your audience. A general rule of thumb is to try and respond to all messages and comments within 24 hours. A faster response time will draw the attention of Facebook, which will let users know how quickly you tend to respond to messages when that user navigates to your page.
Don’t reserve your responses for just negative feedback. Be sure to engage with users that are positively reacting to your content so that they can get to know you and your practice a little better. This will increase their trust in your practice and your brand.
2. Blog Content
Like social media, blog content should also be posted to your website regularly. Not only will great content be beneficial to your client, it will also signal to the algorithm that you are active on your website.
Become an Authority
When blogging, choose topics that relate to your practice’s purpose and highlight your specialties. The more you write on a particular subject, the more the algorithm, and your audience, will see you as an authority on those subjects.
Try to plan out your blog schedule a month in advance so you can use company updates, specials, press releases, and holiday themes in your content.
Keep your audience in mind when you write content for your site. Be sure to include high-quality images that help illustrate the purpose of the blog. Captions and image alt text (the title of the image inputted into the back end of the site) should clearly communicate the contents of the photo. Include keywords in this text when possible to appeal to Google’s algorithm.
Many people skim content instead of reading a piece word-for-word, so be sure to draft descriptive headers that are easy to follow. Again, implement keywords into headers and the body of the text to help your SEO rankings. Be careful to avoid keyword stuffing. This blackhat tactic refers to the practice of placing an excess of keywords into content to manipulate search engines. If Google spots this faux paux, they will penalize your page by either decreasing your search engine ranking or deleting the page altogether.
Remember, your blog should be aimed at providing value to the reader. Honoring this intention will help create engagement with your current and potential client base while establishing you as a leader in your industry.
3. Online Reviews
Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth marketing. An incredible 92% of people read online reviews before making a purchasing decision! That’s a lot of chances to make a good impression.
Set Up Accounts
Firstly, set up accounts on relevant review sites. This may be popular sites like Yelp and Citysearch or niche sites tailored to your industry. We highly recommend creating a Google My Business Listing and enabling reviews on this platform. This listing will help you rank higher on SERPs, provide your contact information to web users, and enable clients to direct to your office from the maps function.
Ask for Reviews
Next, encourage your happy clients to leave you reviews on your preferred platforms. The best time to ask for this favor is directly after an appointment. Practice the language you would like your staff to use when asking for reviews to make the whole process more comfortable. You can also send automated emails following an appointment requesting an online review.
Respond to Reviews
Be sure to respond to all reviews, the good, the bad, and the downright rude, in a polite and professional manner. Responding to positive reviews lets your loyal clients know you value their patronage and their decision to take the time out of their busy schedules to provide feedback for your business.
While not always a pleasant thing on your to-do list, responding to negative reviews gives you a chance to correct any issues the user may have had with your practice. Sometimes, a disgruntled client won’t come back to your business no matter how well you handle the problem. However, potential clients will be able to see that you and your staff put genuine effort into providing a solution.
It’s okay to ask for a little help…
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’re here for you. To learn more about which marketing strategies are best for your practice and industry, give us a call.
Looking for more resources like this??
Below are links to additional resources to help you learn how to reach your business goals.