Hey, chiropractors. We're ready for another Modern Chiropractic Marketing Show with Dr. Kevin Christie, where we discuss the latest in marketing strategies, content marketing, direct response marketing, and business development, with some of the leading experts in the industry.
Kevin: Welcome to another episode of the Modern Chiropractic Marketing Show. This is your host, Dr. Kevin Christie, and today I've got Part 2 of 3 with Darcy Sullivan. This is a three-part series that we're doing, everything SEO.
I know sometimes it can be a mundane subject or a little bit above our heads as doctors, but it's something you need to be aware of and know. I'm not necessarily expecting you to do it on your own, but you need to have the awareness around it, so that you're doing this and taking advantage of what proper SEO can do for your search and, honestly, churning out new patients to your practice without you having to do a whole lot, other than create content and some things we talk about with that, but it's just amazing when you set this, get it going, monitor it here and there, and update it. [01:08.3]
How many new patients you can get from Google and Search, and the other platforms, anywhere from maybe five to 15 new patients. I know there are some practices that get even more than that, but imagine if you got just, let's say, eight new patients a month from, say, Google and just local search. It really can be a game changer for your practice.
Today, we're going to talk about how to rank for your city and surrounding areas. We're going to dive deep into that and give some actionable steps that can really help you out. If you missed Part 1, that was on “Creating SEO-Friendly Blog Posts,” and I highly recommend going back and listening to Episode 143. Today, we're going to dive into local ranking in your city and your surrounding areas, and some of the key aspects of what you can do for that.
Before we do that, I want to go over the MPI Masters Series Sports Summit with you. I wish I could go this year. I'm highly recommending you go. I was there last year and I presented with Richard Ulm on marketing and grassroots marketing, and then there were other great presenters there that were doing everything around the shoulder last year. [02:20.8]
I was invited back this year. Unfortunately, I can't make it, but, fortunately, it's for a good reason. It's just a little bit too close to my first child's due date, so I am putting a travel ban on myself, and so I can't go this year, but I'll definitely be there next year.
This year it's on March 28–29 and it's going to be in Chicago at the National University of Health Sciences, so it's at the school there in Lombard, Illinois. It’s going to have a great lineup of speakers and it's all around the lumbar spine.
Basically, how it works is you have different breakouts and you would tend to all of them. Some of them might be soft tissue for the lumbar spine. It could be palpation and adjustments. It could be functional assessment and rehab. [03:03.5]
Your presenters this year are Mark King, Corey Campbell and Brett Winchester, of course. Those were the three that were heavily involved in last year's [summit], and then, Jason Hulme as well, who did a great job last year with the functional movement system and really getting you to be able to implement it seamlessly without it being overwhelming.
We're going to have David Seaman there talking about nutrition. Richard Ulm will be there again and Dr. John Rosa. So, that's your lineup. I highly recommend you go. Check out www.MPIcourses.org and you can sign up there. It's a good crowd. It's a ton of information. The best part about it is that it's all applicable on Monday morning when you get there. So, check it out.
I won't be there this year. I really thoroughly enjoyed it last year. I'll definitely be there in 2021. This year it's all about the lumbar spine. Check that out. MPIcourses.org.
All right, without further ado, here's my interview with Darcy Sullivan. [04:04.9]
Welcome to the show again, Darcy. This is Episode 2 of a trilogy. I know we had one come out in January and now we're into February. We're going to discuss local SEO today. Last episode we had, we talked about blog SEO, and we want to really figure out how to rank for your city and surrounding areas. So, welcome to the show today.
Darcy: Thank you. I'm excited to be back.
Kevin: We were chatting before this. You've been a big help to a lot of the chiropractors I work with and even other ones, and so we applaud you for that, and also just providing us a lot of free information on these podcasts and some blogs that you've written. I know we had the virtual summit in the past, so I thank you for that. I think that local SEO is a big topic that a lot of people are going to be interested in today.
Darcy: You're welcome. Yes, I think it's obviously very important for your audience. [05:01.6]
Kevin: It is. Let's jump right into it. What's the first thing they should be considering when it's the local? Obviously, SEO, for those who are hearing it for the first time, is search engine optimization. What should they be looking at right out of the gates?
Darcy: When we're talking about local SEO, this is like the SEO 201 type class. You need to have a good understanding of exactly what basic SEO is before you really dive into local SEO. But to get down to the crux of it, we're focusing on basically having chiropractor, your city, ranking for your city, plus your keyword terms like “chiropractor” or “chiropractic care,” depending on what other services you offer as well, but, really, trying to write specifically for your city, and then, again, the surrounding areas.
Kevin: Yes, so very local. I think some of you might think that's obvious, but there are a lot of businesses that aren't local. [06:05.6]
Darcy: Yes, and the way that I think it’s best for us to chat about it is we'll talk about some actions that you can take off your website, which is off-page SEO, and then we can chat about some ways on your website, where you can help to add in some local keywords and improve your local SEO ranking of your website.
Kevin: Okay, to summarize that, there's off-website stuff you need to do and there are some things on your website you need to do. Let's do the offsite first.
Darcy: Okay. First, SEO has grown. It used to be SEO with some kind of crazy coding thing you just did on the backend of your websites and that was it. Then, along came social media and along came all these other elements that now play a role as well.
The first one that I want to talk about is the Map Pack. That’s when you're on Google and you see the top three. They're also called the local pack, but they're the set of three businesses that are in the results that are pulled from Google Maps. [07:14.8]
So, when we talk about this, we're talking about even above where you put your website to rank, and the key to ranking in the Map Pack is to focus on your Google My Business profile. If you have not gone in and completely optimized your Google My Business profile, stop what you're doing and do that right now.
Kevin: Yes, absolutely.
Darcy: Yes, it's pretty easy. As you go through, it asks you questions. Just fill out as much information as possible.
Kevin: It's almost like a second website, right?
Darcy: Really, it is, in a very different way. But, yes, it is, and Google favors Google. It wants to put its information above your website, so you’ve got to play the Google game. Again, one of the ways to do that is to really go through and make sure that you completely optimize your Google My Business profile. [08:21.0]
Kevin: Let me ask you a couple of questions on that. Images are important now. I know it's important from, say, the end user. They're looking at it and they want to see nice pictures, see your office and friendly staff, and stuff like that. But does Google put some weight into that as well by having a fair amount and some compelling images?
Darcy: Yes, you want to do your best to provide as much information as you can, which does include images, but it also includes making sure that every data point that you can fill out that you have. So, you want to make sure you've the category section. You've got everything filled out that you possibly can to optimize it. I know that some people are like, Well … I'll wait till I get pictures or better pictures, but I would suggest that, if you have something you can work with, to go ahead and use that. [09:14.1]
Another thing that's very important on Google My Business and any other listings you have online is your NAP. Your NAP is not the kind that we like to take midday. NAP stands for your name, address and phone number. This is extremely important, especially if you've ever moved locations.
You have to make sure that everywhere, your address is listed the same way online, because that is a sure indicator to Google and the other search engines that you're a legit business. If you've got three different versions of your address floating around there, it doesn't provide the same consistent information and, again, it disqualifies you almost as being a real business. [10:06.2]
So, you want to make sure that, if you have changed locations, you've done a search online to make sure that all of your listings are updated. If you don't know how to update them, you can use a service like Whitespark, and they'll go in and do what we call a citation—again, a citation is the NAP, the name, address and phone number—off a website, like if for some reason you've had an old website and you have redirected, or you didn't redirect it for some reason and maybe it's just gone, and it would be fine if it was redirected, but you do want to make sure that it's consistent with the listings, that every URL that you have listed is the same URL, that you're not switching those up.
Again, Whitespark does have a service where, if you have moved, if you haven't cleaned up those citations, you can go in and do that, or, even worse, if you had worked with somebody before who had set up a Google My Business account or profile for you and then you've got two, you want to make sure that you consolidate those down into fun. [11:18.1]
Kevin: I’ve had both those issues in the past. In 2013, I moved just different suites because I purchased the one suite and moved into it. I didn't know about that service, but I had to go in and get rid of all those old different suite numbers and it was a lot.
Darcy: Yes, it can be a lot. Sometimes it's easier just to have a service go in and clean it up for you, especially if they're maybe through accounts somebody else set up with you if you were working with a marketing agency years ago and you're like, I don't know passwords.
Kevin: Yes, exactly. Perfect.
Darcy: Yes, and then, as it relates to Google My Business and overall, and I think you guys do a really good job of talking about this. It’s, obviously, the online reviews. [12:04.4]
Kevin: Yes, that’s a big one.
Darcy: That's a big one and it's a huge signal in regards to SEO and saying, Hey, this company is legit. People like them. People are talking about them. And, obviously, that's for Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, the local listings.
Kevin: I know it's impossible to answer it because the Google algorithm is always changing and it's kind of secretive, and things like that, but do they put any weight on, say, frequency of reviews, like getting new reviews at all?
Darcy: You do want to make sure that you are getting new reviews and you want to make sure that you're not getting them so chunked together, like getting 100 on one day and then zero. I think you've talked about this before about your methods of gathering those, so that they are pretty spaced out.
Kevin: Definitely. Then, I guess the other question is, and I know there's not a magic number, for a local chiropractor in a moderate sized town or whatever, what would you say is a fair amount of Google reviews to have? [13:12.6]
Darcy: I would say, look at your competition and look at what the top one or two spots, how many they have, and to get a couple more.
What also is more important—not more important, but also important—is that you want to make sure that, when somebody leaves a review, you reply to the review.
Kevin: Okay, that’s a great piece of advice.
Darcy: Yes, and you want to do that pretty quickly. Even if it’s a negative review—we have a blog post about how to handle that—there are ways of adjusting and adjusting the way somebody interprets a negative review by the way that you reply.
Kevin: Can you share? Not right now, but when you get a chance, can you share that in the closed Facebook group?
Darcy: Absolutely, and I'm going to get back. I'll give a non-chiropractor example really quickly. [14:05.3]
A couple of years ago, and there was this mountain ski resort and they had one of the guys who left a review. It was a one-star review and it was like, This slope is too hard. They turned it into a whole advertising campaign that was like, Bob says our slope is too hard, and it has a guy wiping out.
Another example that I know is another local business where what they did was they replied to the negative review, correcting, being like, Well, that's not our location, because sometimes when people leave bad reviews, they're just wrong.
Kevin: One of the disclaimers for chiropractors is you can respond that. You’re just going to have to leave some of what we call PHI, but basically the health information or any of this stuff that would be a HIPAA issue. You don't want to put that in there. You don’t want to say, Mary, your neck was the worst neck I've ever seen and you had this, and start to ramble on and stuff. It's just one of the things we have to be careful of. But you can reply to a Google review. Just be a little [cautious]. Don't be too informational. [15:21.3]
Darcy: Yes, that's a great comment there, but you do want to make sure that you are taking time to respond to what people are saying online about your business.
Kevin: Perfect. How about comments? Or not comments. I know that people can ask questions now. Is that being utilized by anybody? Is Google carrying weight on that? I know it's almost like you can start to communicate now.
Darcy: They are, and you can even start them on your own. If you feel like nobody's asking questions or that they're asking the wrong questions and you want to highlight specific questions that you want people to know the answer to, you can start by asking your own questions and then answering those. [16:05.7]
Kevin: Perfect. What’s next?
Darcy: Next I want to chat about your actual website. Okay, so we've talked before about general SEO when it comes to your website and on your blogs, but I want to get into more detail about the local SEO factors.
Sometimes when a chiropractor puts out their website, the only time that their location or their city is even mentioned in the site is just in their address, and that makes it extremely difficult to rank or that extended location, any of those extended location keywords, when you're not providing Google that information to grab onto.
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Kevin: Where do you put that in addition to just the basic areas?
Darcy: One thing for sure is your homepage. You want to make sure that your title tag, your meta description includes those locational words. In regards to your city, you want to make sure that that's included there. You also want to make sure that, throughout your website, you're including your city keyword without it looking like, Hey, we're just trying to shove this there. [18:10.4]
There are ways to do it right and there are ways to do it wrong, and we'll start with the ways to do it wrong. I'm sure you've all seen, if you go to a specific chiropractor's pages, where they have city, name of the city, chiropractor, and name of another city, chiropractor, that are surrounding it, so that they've got these separate pages that are just shoved full of city-focused keywords, so that they can rank in that specific area. That's not how to do it.
There are easy ways, as you're writing copy to work on your site, to work in the name of your location, active individuals and city, fill in the blank. “Here in Chicago, our chiropractic care, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.” So, there are ways to work it in without sounding like you're trying to hammer it. I think that that's one thing that you definitely want to consider when you're looking at the copy on your website, making sure that you're using your location keyword. [19:14.9]
Kevin: Okay, perfect. I know you had me do that in the past.
Darcy: Yes. Now, some of my other … I don't want to say tricks, but some of my other tricks would be as I know one time we looked at your website and you had had an event, and the event had actually passed, but that event page, because you had put that content actually on your website, was ranking for that location. I had suggested to you, Don't remove it. You can put past events and have a link going to that page. But if people are getting to your page, your website, even if it's not your home page because of quality content like this, you don't want to just get rid of it.
I know that chiropractors focus in different areas. Some people are in cities where they're just focusing on their city keyword while others need to focus for surrounding cities as well, and I think that you can do this through a couple of different ways. [20:17.0]
One, if you work with the corporate, if you're a corporate chiropractor as well, you could do a write-up—as long as you have permission from whatever corporation you're working with—do a white paper or testimonial type “This is how we went in and this is how we help this company,” but focus on their location, stating their location in the copy, so you could use that as a blog post, but then it doubles almost as a sales piece or a sales black hat.
Kevin: That makes sense there because I know we were doing a fair amount of that in the past, so we tried to highlight some of the companies we were working with and things.
Darcy: Yes, but that gives you the opportunity, because sometimes people are like, What kind of content can I develop around a city or an area that's right next to me or not exactly in the target area that I'm really trying to focus on? [21:14.9]
You can do things like I just mentioned. You could also, let's just say, you went to a park that was in a target area that you wanted to get more clients around, and you could do film, three short videos on how to do specific stretches. Then, when you did, obviously, put them on YouTube, but also use them on your blog. You could do a page about “these stretches that we did at this location” and highlight it that way, so that you're not creating pages that are “chiropractor, city we don't exist in.” You're doing content that helps your audience.
Kevin: I think we spotlighted someone in my area when you audited everything and I was like, I didn't know this guy had practices in those adjoining cities. It was like he basically had Boca Raton, and then Delray and Boynton. I was like, I didn't know he had them. Why would he have practices that close together? [22:16.8]
Kevin: But it wasn't. He just was trying to capture as many towns as possible. That would be your black hat SEO, right?
Darcy: It would not only be your black hat SEO, but it's like if one Google update doesn't get him, the next one will, because the whole idea is that each of your pages needs to be totally unique content, not just a switch out of a name of a city. It might work one day, but I guarantee you, in the long run, it's not going to work. And it just looks shady. Let's be honest.
Kevin: Yes, it was pretty obvious, too. Perfect. Anything else with website stuff?
Darcy: Yes, I think other content ideas, if you're trying to give them some of those local keywords, are a lot of your chiropractors either work with gyms or they work with triathlete/triathlons or they work with other groups within certain cities, so you can highlight the content in that direction. [23:13.9]
Kevin: Let's just give an example. For me, I'm a sponsor and work a lot with the Boca Raton triathletes. I could spotlight some of that onto the website, and the name of their group is the Boca Raton Triathletes, and that could probably benefit me on my website, right?
Darcy: Absolutely. And you could do a blog post about a specific event or how you did the sponsorship. You could definitely jump into it from that angle or I know some chiropractors partner with gyms. If you have gyms that are in this specific location, what kind of training are you doing there? What are you providing? Any of this stuff, you see, it double serves, so 1) it provides information that your target audience and people visiting your website actually want, and 2) it provides you a move up in the direction on Google. [24:11.3]
The problem with the person that we mentioned whose name we didn't mention, that chiropractor that had all the different city pages that were done kind of black hatish, was that was not providing actual value to your audience.
Kevin: Correct. I’m kind of getting ideas here as we're talking. Two things off the top of my head is the Boca Raton Triathletes, and then, obviously, I do a lot with the XPE Sports for the clinical director, and you and I have talked about that before. Right now, we're working with a bunch of college guys for the NFL Combine and I've worked with them since 2010, Boca Raton Triathletes since 2011.
I could probably spotlight that on my homepage with their permission, which I know I have, and I could have their information on there, but I could also probably write a really well-developed blog about the NFL Combine and XPE Sports. They get a lot of traction locally, so that can help out my local. [25:07.5]
I could probably do the same thing for the Boca Raton Triathletes, do a nice robust blog about that, have some of the club owners’ testimonials and some of the things that we've done with the group, and put that on there. That can ultimately help out or SEO. Is that what you're saying?
Darcy: Yes, I love those ideas. You mentioned another one, testimonials. Instead of just leaving your testimonials on Google My Business, Yelp or Facebook, you can also include them on your website that states the person's location. We’ll take Boca Raton, for example. You have a testimonial from “Dan R.” who's in Delray. There's no reason that you can't say Dan R., Delray Beach, Florida, so that you're able to work again some of those city words in without it being done in a trashy kind of way. [26:02.6]
Kevin: Okay. Does Google have any feed at all, feed the Google reviews into your website, or do you just have to copy and paste?
Darcy: I would suggest copying and pasting, just because you have more control over it.
Kevin: Yes, good idea.
Darcy: What happens is the next one isn't that, yes.
Now, something you mentioned with sponsorships. We talked a bit about, once people have the foundation of their website in place, gaining backlinks to your website, and I think that some people get overwhelmed with this idea.
For local SEO, there are some really easy ways that you gain some local links and those include things like sponsorships. For example, I spoke at a college five years ago. I got .edu links that are coveted. They're really good. So, I have links to my website, .edus, because of a topic I made five years ago. I'm still getting credit for it and the website is still getting credit for it now. [27:09.9]
But you can see how doing small things like sponsorships or getting involved in your community, having backlinks from them, and a backlink means that a source is linking. It has your website listed on its website and is linking to your website. Especially, let's just say it was a chiropractic university or something. They're linking to you and what this says to Google is, Hey, wow, this source sure is good. It’s an extra high five from Google, credibility level.
Kevin: Yes, you do like to have other people have your site linked on theirs and then obviously would link theirs on yours.
Darcy: You don't have to have theirs on yours. [28:00.5]
Kevin: I gotcha, but maybe it's going to help. If it helps them, it’s good reciprocity.
Darcy: It is, but I do suggest, if you have a link that is not on your website that's listed on your website, open it in a new window because there's nothing worse than having somebody on your website and then them leaving, getting distracted and never finding you again.
Kevin: Good point. Perfect. What's our next strategy?
Darcy: Those are the biggest takeaways of what you should really focus on, on your website and off your website, when it comes to local SEO, especially when you're just getting started. I don't want to overwhelm anybody with too many ideas at once.
Kevin: Yes, and that's not our goal for the podcast either. It's like, let's start having the conversation and the audience can hear it, understand that there are things that can be done, but I don't necessarily want my chiropractors doing it all themselves and trying to know all the nitty-gritty of it, but just to start understanding and be aware of what you can do, and then have an expert like yourself do it. I always recommend you and I always recommend chiropractors delegate out things that they're not unique yet. [29:12.0]
Darcy: I think it's important for them to understand, though, what they're getting involved with and I think that, when we talk about stuff, especially, how we just talked about local SEO, it should all make sense. So, if you are partnering with somebody to help assist with your marketing efforts, just make sure it makes sense and overlays with any other marketing goals you have.
Kevin: Perfect. Great information. I want you to share that one blog that you wrote?
Darcy: Yes, I’ll get that [crosstalk 29:39.9].
Kevin: Yes, and then what I’ll do is, if you share it in that group, I’ll take it and post it in the show notes as well, because I think that will be helpful, for sure.
Kevin: Any other words of advice or recommendations for our chiropractors?
Darcy: Again, Google My Business.
NAP. Make sure, everywhere, it's the same online. [30:00.9]
Focus on your reviews.
On your website, make sure that you're actually mentioning your location and that it's not just in your contact information.
Focus on community involvement, and then including that community involvement or highlighting it on your website.
Kevin: Yes, I think that's a big takeaway for me that I can improve on that. We do a lot of community involvement. I recommend chiropractors do a lot of community outreach, community involvement. Start to put that on there and get that going, and make your website shows how much you're involved in the community.
Then, one of the things we spoke about on Part 1 of this three-part series was blog SEO, and so make sure you're blogging and that you're putting it on there. I touched base on a couple of ideas I'm going to run with now after this episode. Consider doing some blogs around some of the connections you have in sponsorships or collaborations, right? Obviously, listen to the episode we did on blog SEO.
Then, in our next Part 3 of 3, which will be released in March, what we're going to be talking about—and I really love this topic, actually—is making old content new again. [31:13.5]
We're just going to try to revive some of your old website content. That’s something that I do strategically when I know, for instance, this month of January that we're recording, I've got so much going on with the beginning of the year and the NFL Combine stuff, and it’s just a lot, so I'm repurposing some old content. Luckily, we've been doing content for quite a while now, and so it's going to be new content for a lot of people.
Darcy: That’s great.
Kevin: Great. Thank you for your time, again, and I look forward to having you on very shortly again for Part 3.
Darcy: Awesome. Thank you, too.
Thanks for tuning in today. Please be sure to check our redesigned website at www.ModernChiropracticMarketing.com. Stay up-to-date with our blog, where content is regularly added by Kevin and guest contributors. You can also access our library of podcast episodes there. Go to www.ModernChiropracticMarketing.com and subscribe to the podcast today.
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