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10 steps to improve SEO for vet practices

By May 23, 2023 May 30th, 2023 No Comments

As a veterinary practice, moving into the modern age is essential. Even though your business may have been successful in the past using traditional marketing techniques, this isn’t enough anymore. If the thought of SEO for vet practices sends you into a headspin, you aren’t alone. But our article series on vet practice SEO techniques will help you understand SEO and how it can help your practice, as well as give you plenty of tips for getting your vet practice website visible on Google’s search results page.

First, we recommend reading our SEO for vets post. It gives you an overview of the key principles of SEO you’ll need as a veterinary practice. Once you’ve done that, head back over here and we’ll go into more detail about SEO for vet practices and give you some more things to add to your to-do list.

Local SEO, Organic SEO, and SEM – what’s the difference?

There’s a lot of blurb around SEO. We covered a lot in our last blog, but we thought we’d save these for here, as they’re a bit more complex. So what’s the difference between SEO and SEM? And what has organic got to do with any of it?

SEO is ‘search engine optimization’. It’s the practise of tweaking a vet practice website so perform better in search results. SEO can be split into ‘local’ SEO – meaning the optimisation that drives people to find you locally – and ‘organic’ SEO, which is optimising the website to perform better for certain keywords. Both are important for veterinary clinics, although I’d argue that local SEO is slightly more important as most people that need your services will be – you guessed it – local!

Local SEO for vet practices

Local SEO gets you targeted traffic and increased visibility locally. It’s essential for vet practices because most people are going to need to be geographically near you to become your customers. There are some local SEO techniques your veterinary clinic can benefit from, including using directories and local listings, and utilising the tools on Google’s services too. Don’t forget to use location keywords in your content as well!

Organic SEO for vet practices

Organic SEO may be slightly less likely to meet a potential customer, but it’s still important. It helps you to build authority as a trusted voice, and can give great long-term results. The more people land on and like your page, the higher it will rank on Google’s results – both locally and further afield. This type of SEO is even more relevant if you have a mobile clinic, several branches, or are a referral centre, where geography is slightly less relevant.

Your vet practice SEO to-do list

We promised you some actions you can take to improve your vet clinic SEO, so here we go. Remember, not all of these will be relevant to every business, but there’s usually no harm in doing them if you aren’t sure. Some things will immediately start to make a difference, while other changes might take a while – but be patient, they’re all worth doing! And most importantly, they’re (nearly) all completely free!

1.Check your practice listing in online directories

Search for online directories that serve your local area, and make sure your practice is registered with all of them. Many are free, but you may need to pay a small fee to use some.

2. Create and update your Google My Business listing

This enables you to create and edit your online Google storefront. This includes all the great ‘rich text’ results like your phone number and location, that make it so easy for people to find the information they need about your clinic online.

3. Check your online reviews, and manage them

A lot of your clients will check your reputation online before they talk to you. It’s worth seeing what the internet is saying about you. And if it isn’t great, respond (carefully) to negative reviews. You can also ask people who come to your clinic to leave you a review to try to dilute the negative with the positives!

4. Sign up for Google’s Search Console and Analytics services

Google’s Search Console will give you loads of information about who visits your website and how they find you, while Analytics will give you information about what they do when they get there. Both are valuable.

5. Find out which keywords people are using to find you

Use Search Console’s ‘clicks’ data to see what search terms people are using to find you. This is useful – you’re working well for these keywords, so make sure when you’re fiddling with your website you don’t change too much around these words.

6. Find out which keywords people are using but not finding you

Use Search Console’s ‘impressions’ and ‘position’ data to see what people are searching for that your website isn’t showing up in. Not all of these keywords will be relevant, but some will! Make a note of them – these are keyword opportunities.

7. Analyse your webpages for keywords

If you use a service like Yoast, this automates looking at things like keyword density. But you can still do it yourself. Go through each webpage, assigning it a keyword that naturally fits. Then go through the copy on your webpage, looking for places you’ve used that keyword, or places you can use it naturally. Use the keyword as often as naturally possible. Then do the same with your blog, if you have one.

8. Add new pages or start a blog to target more keywords

The chances are good that you’ll have more keywords to use than pages. In some cases, you can add new pages – perhaps you realised your website doesn’t talk about your dental service. But in many cases, a blog post will be a better way to create content that carries your keywords without messing with your website structure or cluttering your menu with too many pages. Plus, there are lots of other benefits of vet practice blogs. Give each new page/post a keyword, and try to use it throughout.

9. Keep updating and posting regularly

Google hates stale content. By updating your webpages and posting blogs at least every other week, you’re keeping your content fresh, and reminding Google you still exist. The bots will check your website more often once they realise you’re posting regularly, so they’ll see all your new keywords and all the hard work you’ve been putting into your SEO. It can be hard to come up with enough blog content to post every other week, but it’s well worth the effort, as you can re-purpose the content for vet email campaigns, your newsletter, or your social media posts.

10. Use internal links

Some websites are like a string, with their pages dotted across the menu. Others are a web of interconnecting pages. Google prefers it when you’ve got a web – so use plenty of hyperlinks to your other pages in your text. On your about page, you might discuss your dental service – so stick in a link to your page all about dentals, or to your blog on dental health. It’s better not to use ‘here’ to anchor your link. This is because link anchors are metadata Google can read to learn more about the page you’re pointing to. Since ‘here’ doesn’t tell Google anything, try anchoring the link to a keyword related to the page instead.

SEO for vet practices – it’s simple

SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. And in the busy world of vet med, keeping it as simple as possible is essential. If keeping your blog running is too difficult (we know you’re busy!), we can devise a content calendar for you and deliver ready-to-upload blog posts as part of our content writing service.

Joanna Woodnutt

Joanna Woodnutt

Dr Joanna Woodnutt MRCVS is a qualified vet, freelance writer, and editor at The Veterinary Content Company. She lives in the Channel Islands with her husband and daughter, as well as their naughty but loveable terrier, Pixie.