Online marketing for your chiropractic practice can be a daunting project if you're new to it or if you're trying to figure out why your chiropractic office's search ranking needs work. I hear from hundreds of chiropractors every year who are looking for help and advice on how best to build a successful web presence for their practice.
I built my first website for one of my chiropractic clients in 1999, so I have a bit of experience on what works and what doesn't work.
To make your life a little easier, we've compiled a list of over 74 things you need to work on to assure you have a good presence online.
A solid chiropractic marketing strategy will improve your online presence, make it easier for patients to find your office, and, most importantly, get those patients to call and make an appointment.
So, let's dig in!
Your Chiropractic Website
A great chiropractic website is the cornerstone of your entire online strategy. This is where you want to drive all traffic, as your site tells patients everything about your office and makes it easy for them to contact you for an appointment.
Here's what your site needs to have:
- A good domain name. Your URL or domain name is the name patients will see when they access your site.
- Reliable web hosting. Your website needs to live somewhere so that patients can access it. You can't afford to have your site go down regularly.
- Hosted on a fast server. A slow website is going to be penalized by Google, as it creates a poor user experience. Learn more about PageSpeed and why you need a fast website.
- Your site needs to be responsive. That means it works on mobile phones and tablets, as well as desktop computers. About 50% of website traffic comes from mobile devices, so making sure your site looks good on those devices is critical. Plus, Google won't rank your site well if it's not mobile-friendly.
- Good quality photos. Patients want to see what your office looks like and learn about you and your staff. Make sure you get some professional photos to add to your site.
- An "About Us” page. Patients want to learn about you, your training, and your qualifications.
- Your inspiration. People love stories, so tell prospective patients what inspired you to become a chiropractor and why you love your work.
- Easy access to your contact information. Many people are coming to your website to get your phone number, office hours, and street address. Make sure that you have that on every page. You don't want to make patients dig around on your site to find that basic information.
- NAP consistency. Name, Address, and Phone need to match what you have on Google My Business.
- A good quality CMS. A Content Management System (CMS) allows you or your staff to edit, add, and delete pages, images, and videos on your website. Most websites include this, but if you're having a custom site built, make sure that's included. You don't want to have to contact your webmaster every time you need a change to your site.
- A patient newsletter. With the rise in prominence of social media, email newsletters are less popular than they were ten years ago, but they still work as patient reminders, so make sure you site has that functionality integrated.
- A contact form. Some people would rather email to ask questions instead of calling. Make sure that you have an easy-to-use contact form and check it periodically to make sure that you're receiving emails correctly. Also, make sure that your contact form can send notifications to more than one email address. It's ideal if your front office staff and you, the doctor, can get notifications. That makes it less likely for an email to get lost or forgotten.
- An integrated RSS feed. RSS stands from Really Simple Syndication, but the exciting part about this functionality is that it allows you to share your articles and blog posts automatically with all of your social media accounts. It's a real time-saver.
Google My Business
Our online world is centered on Google search and, over the last year, Google has made a strong push into Local Search. The center of Local Search is Google My Business. This is your business listing that Google will use to display your business on Google Maps and in the search results.
The features of Google My Business are constantly changing, so we'll be updating this as the service evolves.
- Setup your Google My Business. The first step with GMB is to make sure you have a profile. Most likely, there's an existing profile for your business, as Google is pretty good about adding businesses automatically.
- Verify your business. If there's an existing profile, or if you've created one, you'll need to verify your business with Google. This is to assure that you actually have permission to manage this listing. This is a critical step. Typically Google will call your office with a PIN code that you'll enter into GMB to verify your business.
- Complete your listing. Fill out every part of your GMB profile, including services, location, etc. The more thorough your listing, the more Google is going to like you!
- Add your office hours. This is a very important step, as it's one of the most commonly searched pieces of information by patients.
- Make sure your location is perfect. Your business address in GMB is so important, as it will help patients find your office and Google will use your address when confirming your business information with citations and directories.
- Add office images. Your potential patients want to see what your office looks like before they make an appointment. Plus, Google rewards listings with more and better photos, as it enhances the Local Search results.
- Encourage patients to add images. GMB allows anyone to add images to any business profile, and that's going to help you if Google sees that you have engaged patients.
- Manage your images. While it's great to have patients contribute photos, make sure that they're good quality and reflect well on you. You can flag images and request that Google removes any that are inappropriate.
- Google Posts. A new feature of Google My Business is Google Posts. This allows you to share special events and blog posts that will show up in your Google Maps listing.
Your website needs to have some written content that will provide useful information for your patients and help improve your Google search ranking. While Google has moved to a more Local Search focus, content still plays an important role in building a successful online presence.
- Articles on the conditions you treat. This is the basic information you need to have on your site. Patients are looking for answers to their health problems and they want to find articles on your site that describe how you can help. At ChiroHosting, we provide you with a complete library of articles on the most common conditions, so that work is taken care of for you.
- Keyword targeting. You need to make sure that the articles and blog posts you have on your site are targeting the specific keywords that your patients are searching for.
- Blog posts. Blog posts aren't as important as they used to be, but they still play an important role in building your search ranking and providing content for your social media accounts.
- Long-tail content. The most common searches patients will use to find your office will be "Chiropractor Your City," but a significant number of people will be searching for specific solutions to health problems, like "Sciatica Treatment Your City." We provide a complete set of articles specifically targeted to help you appear in the search results for these specific phrases/keywords.
- Chiropractic Videos. People love watching videos online, and it's important to have videos on your site that discuss how you can help people improve their health. You can shoot your own videos and add them to your site, or you can use our library of chiropractic videos.
Social Media Marketing
You can't ignore social media as part of your online marketing. With so many millions of people using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you have to have a profile on these platforms and keep them active.
- Facebook. Love it or hate it, a huge number of people use this platform every day. A Facebook profile helps you stay in touch with patients and provides a great way to share information and get referrals from patients.
- Twitter. Twitter isn't as useful of a tool for chiropractors as Facebook is, but it still has some value. If you're active on Twitter naturally, it can be a good resource.
- Instagram. This is the perfect tool for sharing photos with your patients. If you have a lot of events in your office, it's a great way to engage with your patients.
- Share images. Social media is about images and videos, so share photos of your office and encourage patients to do so, too.
- Be active. There's nothing worse than a dead social media account. You need to post regularly. If you need help with posting, check out our Automated Chiropractic Social Media product.
- Respond quickly to patient messages. Patients will contact you through your social media accounts, so make sure that someone is checking those regularly and responding to patients promptly. Facebook tracks your response time to queries, so you'll want to respond to Facebook messages as soon as possible.
Backlinks have always been an important way to improve your website's credibility and search ranking. Google assumes that if real sites are linking to you, your site must provide valuable information and content.
Here are some of the ways to improve your backlink profile:
- Share links with local massage therapists.
- Share links with other chiropractors in your community.
- Share links with attorneys. If you do personal injury cases, you can provide links to attorneys you work with and have them link back to you.
- Share links with other natural health providers, like yoga or Pilates studios and gyms.
- Seek out local business directories. If you have local business groups or websites, contact them to see if you can get your business listed there. This can be a good source of website traffic and a quality, relevant backlink.
- Guest blogging. If you can find a site that's looking for quality content that fits your area of expertise, see if they need an article from you. You'll get your name out there and get a backlink to your site.
- Help A Reporter Out. This is a service that connects online authors with sources. Say a writer is looking for quotes or information regarding health or chiropractic, you can be quoted and get a link to your website.
- Donate to local charities. By helping out in your local community, you'll do some good and you'll often get a link to your business on the charity's "Our Sponsors” page.
Citations and Directories
This is an important aspect of chiropractic marketing that takes some work. There are literally hundreds of online directories that provide information about local businesses like yours. By getting a listing on these directories, you'll make it easier for patients to find your office. In addition, Google will use these directories to confirm your business information.
Even better, when patients do a search for "Chiropractor Your City," your listing on these directories will often appear in the Google search results, garnering you more web traffic...and more new patients.
Here are some of the key factors when building a quality citation profile:
- Use your NAP. NAP is "Name, Address, and Phone." You need to make sure that this information is identical to what you have on your website and in Google My Business. Incorrect information will hurt your search placement and confuse patients.
- Confirm your existing listings for NAP. Many online directories will automatically create listings for your business, and these often have the wrong information. Make sure that any listings out there are correct so you don't confuse patients.
- Update your information if something changes. If you move, change your phone number, or change your business name, you'll need to go through all of your citations and update that information.
- Get some help! Citation management is a lot of work. We provide this service for chiropractors with our Citation Management Service. We'll check your current directory listings, correct information, and add you to new directories.
Here are some of the most common citations you need for your chiropractic office:
- Yelp! One of the largest business directories in the world and one that shows up very high in the search rankings when patients are looking for a chiropractor.
- Facebook. Google will often use Facebook data when showing local businesses.
- WellnessDiscover. A directory of natural health care professionals that you need to have a listing on.
- HealthGrades. A large directory of health care providers and reviews.
- YellowPages.com. This is another common directory that shows up in the search results.
Review Building and Reputation Management
Reviews have become one of the most important factors in creating a good ranking for your chiropractic website in Local Search. The philosophy for Google regarding reviews is that if your office has many five star reviews, that indicates that patients are happy with your care. Google wants searchers to be satisfied with the search results, so they'll display chiropractors with a better review profile before other offices.
Here are some of the things you need to work on related to reviews:
- Analyzing your review profile. The first step is to determine what reviews you have online and where you need work. We provide a Free Chiropractic Review Analysis that helps you with this.
- Get more reviews from patients. A key step to getting more patient reviews is to ask for them! We show you how to do this and we also provide a Chiropractic Review Building service that integrates into your website which makes it easy for patients to review your services.
- Managing negative reviews. Nearly every business will get a negative online review at some point, deserved or not. There's an art to dealing with negative reviews, and we cover that here.
- Yelp! Reviews. Yelp reviews are viewed by many potential patients, so it's key to have a verified Yelp profile and to respond promptly to all reviews, positive or negative.
- Facebook Reviews. Another place where patients will see your reviews.
- Google My Business Reviews. If you work on building reviews in only one place, this should be your focus. Google directly uses GMB reviews in ranking local chiropractors.
Pay Per Click Advertising
For doctors with a larger practice or for those who are trying to jump start their online marketing, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be a profitable way to drive more traffic to your site. While PPC can provide a good ROI, you need to make sure to follow some basic guidelines and track results so that you can see what works and what doesn't work.
There are only two online marketing platforms that you need to worry about for your chiropractic office: Google Ads and Facebook.
Tips for Google Ads:
- Limit your ads, geographically. You don't want to pay for ads seen by people not in your direct marketing area.
- Carefully combine headlines and keywords. You'll get the best results when you create a specific headline for each keyword.
- Monitor results and make adjustments regularly. It's tough to know what's going to work when you first get started, so make sure that you're looking at your click-through-rate and cost-per-click and comparing that to the number of calls you're getting to your office. Your goal is to get the most new patients for the least amount of money.
Tips for Facebook Ads:
- Again, limit your ads geographically.
- More detailed targeting. Because Facebook knows everything about us, you can laser target ads to specific individuals. For instance, using demographic targeting, you can create an ad on the benefits of chiropractic for golfers, and then show that ad only to people five miles away who enjoy golfing who make over $70,000 a year.
- Target your own patients. With Facebook, you can upload your list of patient email addresses and create an "Ad Group" and then show specific ads just to those people. It's a way to get extra exposure for special events or news items that you want to share with existing patients.
Tracking and Analytics
A key to any marketing program is to track results and see what patients are doing on your site and where they are coming from.
- Keep it simple. There are all kinds of detailed tracking services, but they simply provide more information than you need for basic site analysis. For most offices, you simply want to see how much traffic you're getting to make sure that there aren't any radical changes in traffic that might alert you to a larger problem.
- Google My Business. Google My Business provides some of the best analytics that you'll need, showing you how many local people are finding your site and visiting.
- Facebook Insights. Another great tool that shows you how patients are using your Facebook page.
Things to Not Do
While there are a lot of things you need to do to build your website's credibility and web presence, there are a few things that you should absolutely not do.
Here are some of the things to avoid, as they can seriously hurt your ranking:
- Don't pay for backlinks. Natural backlinks are good and will help you build your search ranking. Paid backlinks are easy to buy, but they're links from poor quality sites, they won't give you any ranking benefit, and Google can actually penalize your site.
- Don't send spam. It's very easy to buy email lists of "patients" and send them emails, but it's bad for a number of reasons. First, it's illegal to send unsolicited emails to lists of people who haven't specifically requested emails from you. Second, these lists are full of fake email accounts that won't garner you any new patients. Buying email lists is a waste of money.
- Don't keyword stuff. Once upon a time, you could trick search engines into ranking your website by adding tons of keywords to a page. The search engines were very primitive and you'd rank highly with this technique. This hasn't worked for ten years, so avoid any company that does this.
- Don't steal images. Google images makes it so easy to find a photo you like and add it to your website. Don't do this. If the image is licensed by Getty or one of the other major image license holders, you could be hit with a fine for $800 or more for each image. At ChiroHosting, we provide a complete library of licensed images for you to use on your site, or you can purchase your own images very inexpensively through BigStock or Dreamstime.
- Don't steal content. First of all, stealing articles from another write online is wrong and illegal. Secondly, Google knows that you've stolen the content and won't rank your site as well, because the article you stole already exists online and Google knows the original source. Let ChiroHosting do the writing for your or hire someone to create custom content for you.