It seems that SEO (search engine optimization) is still riding a wave of popularity. If you’re a practice owner, you need to know what SEO is and how it can help bring more patients in your doors. Here are the basics of SEO and some tips to guide you on building your digital presence.

What does SEO encompass?

SEO means that you are doing things to make it easier for search engines to understand your website, and you are vying for top spots in online searches. SEO encompasses lots of concepts and tactics to boost your digital reputation, but keep in mind that you have to improve these metrics honestly. Some of the old practices were dishonest or questionable at best and should not be used. Hire a professional who knows how to build your web presence credibly and in a way that will give you lasting results.

What can good SEO do?

Good SEO can help your website rank high for your target web searches. Let’s say that you want to come up on the first page when people are looking for an optometrist in their area. Do that search yourself and see where you appear. If you’re not on the first page, your SEO might be lacking. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of competition in your area, you may need to do more than just optimize your website to appear high in valuable searches.

What can bad SEO do?

Bad SEO can do a lot of harm. Some people who pay untrustworthy companies to do their SEO will find out the hard way that a website’s rank can be severely downgraded if “black hat” tactics (things that look like spam or are known to be dishonest) are used. Not only will you see your rank start to fall, but some companies have persistently performed or paid someone to carry out SEO schemes that are against search engine terms to the point that they can get de-indexed. The worst case scenario is de-indexing, which occurs when your website is completely removed from the records of a search engine. It still exists, but people can’t search for it.

How can I help my SEO?

SEO is great to ensure that your website is performing at its best, but it’s not the only factor that helps drive visitors to your site. Your SEO can be perfect, but if people aren’t talking about you and aren’t interested in your site, you will lose web traffic. Make sure to generate regular content, work with professionals to lay out a good website, and always be thinking about how to continue building your reputation online and off.

Samantha Toth is the resident marketing rockstar for Innexus by Innereactive Media, specializing in websites, social media and marketing for the eyecare industry.
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