A Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Search Engine Optimization

When it comes to social media and your online presence, you probably hear the term “SEO” thrown around a lot, but for many, SEO is an unfamiliar term. Here is a PMP crash course in SEO and how you can use it to promote your practice.

What is SEO?

According to searchengineland.com, Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing traffic from the “free,” “organic,” or “natural” listings on search engines. All major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have such results. Web pages are ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment is not involved.  In other words, SEO is the process of raising your businesses’ listing on the search results page.  Think of it like the phone book.  People used to name their businesses things like AAA Consulting to be listed higher in the phone book – now, companies use SEO to be listed higher in search engines like Google.

Why is this important for your practice?SEOppt1


How is your practice doing?

To see where your practice comes up in Google, go to your Google Chrome browser.  Click the button that looks like three horizontal lines (shown below) and select “New Incognito Window” from the drop-down menu.  In incognito mode, your search results will be completely unfiltered and unaffected by factors like your location.  This will allow you to see where your page comes up organically in search results.

Google Toolbar

Now what?

When it comes to search engine optimization, there are many technical ways website developers and content creators can increase search engine rankings. Many of those techniques are out of our hands and wheelhouses, but there are also simple ways to help SEO rankings every day.  Here are a few examples:

  1. Create a Google + Local listing. These often come up before all other listings on Google and the process is free and easy.  Sign up for PMP Course 100 to learn how to optimize your Google+ Local listing.
  2. Create and optimize your social media profiles. The more descriptive an online profile, the better. Include information in every category, even open-ended sections like “Business History” on Yelp, and add links to your other social pages or website.
  3. Optimize your social media content.  Link to reputable sites, refresh content and updates frequently and emphasize keywords using italics, underlining or bolding.  See our blog from last week for the most searched health terms of 2013 and utilize those keywords in your content.
  4. Tweet.  It is a great way to network with other businesses and reach potential clients.  Once you have established your page and gained followers, you can add links to your blog posts to draw more site traffic. Sign up for PMP Course 200 to learn how to fully establish and optimize your social media profiles and create compelling content.
  5. Blog.  Google prefers sites with useful, abundant content, and blogs allow you to create keyword-rich content that can improve your rankings. Sharing and linking in your blog and having your blog shared and linked to will not only improve your SEO, but also promote your business to potential customers.
  6. Use descriptive words when naming your logo file name.  When uploading your files to online profiles or your Basecamp page, ID your logo with keywords instead of names like logo.jpg.  For example, Nashville_obgyn.jpg would be a good alternative.

Stay tuned for more helpful SEO hints!


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