the definitive guide
to veterinary websites
BY: MIKE HAMILTON // INCEPTION ONLINE MARKETING, OWNER
When it comes to veterinary websites, figuring out all of the details is like juggling and solving three Rubik’s Cubes at the same time. Although the internet can be a complicated and challenging place, the basic principles are quite simple. In the guide below, I do my best to explain both internet marketing and veterinary websites.
The Design of Your Veterinary Website
Your website design is vital to your site. One aspect that many veterinarians overlook is the client's actions. As service providers, we can often get caught up solely focusing on telling potential new clients all of our services without considering one thing… Do people want to know this? In most scenarios, clients are more concerned with seeing your picture first rather than the services you provide.
social media marketing integration
More than likely, at some point in your online marketing journey you have been told that the key to new clients is social media marketing. Although this may not be as prevalent lately, many social media gurus have been preaching that Facebook is the missing link in generating tons of new clients. The social media aspect is vital to the completion of your online presence, but don’t believe the hype. Social media is important have for Google to see your social media connection, however, it will not be the easily done, driving force behind getting clients in the doors like many believe it is.
In the past and currently, veterinarians are finding success through Facebook marketing. But what is often unseen about this success is a large local following that they have generated over many years. This is where the difficulty comes in. If you’re thinking this sounds hard, that because it is. It may just be so hard that it would not even be worth dedication time and money to for many offices.
Although Facebook may not be the greatest for connecting with new clients, staying in touch with current ones is a breeze. Your clients love when you take time to share what you know with them. It isn’t necessary to post everything you know in the veterinary field, but better to post a mix of veterinary information as well as inspirational, funny or helpful tips. Creating a stronger connection to your clients like this is a great way to ensure that the next time the have veterinary needs, they come and see you.
Google Plus will not be the social media that generates you new clients, but it is very useful in other areas. Your organic Google rank in your local area is massively based off of this. An entire article could be written on this topic, but a quick overview is that it is vital to find a professional. Our team here at Inception Online Marketing took a year to master the program so your chances of doing this yourself is slim. Without a top ranking site in your area, how many potential clients are you losing?
LinkedIn is a great place to talk to other professionals, however is not the place to find new clients. So what’s the purpose you may ask? Having this account helps you in the eyes of Google because they like to see you having confirmed and active accounts on social media. Generating connections to your profile will also likely raise the weight of your account in Google. This will give you more authority and benefit you and your site.
Personally, I believe Twitter should be on the bottom of your priority list. Although some potential new clients may be generated from it, the layout and mechanics of the platform doesn't really allow for strong relationships with clients. In my years of experience I have yet to find a veterinarian who has had clients come in because of Twitter. In most cases, Twitter is just time consuming. This is still important to Google and therefore you should have an account, but I would not focus too much time into it.
Of all the social medias, YouTube is on of if not the most important one. It allows your clients to get to know you and begin to trust you. They are also a great way to boost website rank. Video series on topics such as pet care or healthy diet options for animals are a great way to get people interested in you. Also, posting video testimonials to YouTube and placing them in your website will greatly help your site. Not using YouTube is a vital mistake due to the power it has on Google and your site rank.
Pinterest is the newest of all the social media platforms. Many veterinarians are attempting to make use out of it, however I do not see many results in generating new clients. Like many things, if you put enough time and effort into Pinterest you will see results. But, I do not think that the results will be able to outweigh the time and effort needed bring in the clients. Pinterest is still an area that we are looking into to be able to utilize it in the best way for our clients.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is the process of trying to get your site noticed by Google. Your site, along with all others in the veterinary field in your area are trying to get in front of the same clients. Because of this, Google needs to make the decision of whose site to show to the people who are searching. Google wants to make sure that their users are happy with the results they get so they will put the highest quality site first.
Google has continually improved on its ability to search for quality. Each time a search is made, Google checks hundreds of factors to determine the quality of the website. Understanding what it looks for and how to optimize for these things has become a full time job. There is no definitive answer for what makes a site the highest quality it can be. The day someone finds this answer, is the day Google will no longer exist. However, there are a few things which I have figured out on this subject that Google is likely looking for on your site.
What are keywords? These are the words, phrases and terms people search for on Google. For example, if there is a veterinary office located in Chicago, people are likely to search “veterinarian Chicago” to find what they are looking for. Your veterinary website should be optimized to populate search results for these keywords in your city.
Keywords also should be intertwined in the content of your site. On top of this, content pages dedicated to a specific keyword can be beneficial, with the keywords scattered within.
Marketing Your Website?
So now, you have your veterinary website and keywords as well, but how do you market it. Using different terms, how are you going to get new clients from your website? How are you going to get people to see your awesome site? Let’s discuss this.
Paid Advertising for Veterinarian Marketing
When searching Google, have you ever noticed the small Ad mark next to the first few results? This is because of Google Adwords. The offices whos results you see have paid Google in order to improve their rank. But, is that really worth it? That answer varies based on the city.
Including Google Adwords, there are a few pain advertising options:
- Google Adwords
- YouTube Promoted Ads
- Facebook Paid Ads
- Google Remarketing Ads
In different situations, each of these can work better than the others. Doing research and finding what works in your area is vital. Paying for ads blindly is a quick way to waste money. We at Inception Online Marketing will help you narrow down the direction of tour ad campaign to save you from wasting time and money while also generating quality new client leads.
Veterinary Video Marketing
One of the most effective yet unused marketing techniques is video marketing. The reason these are effective because when people come to your website, they are not looking to read a bunch of articles. However, they will take the time to watch a video. Videos allow you to explain your message, introduce yourself, and begin to gain their trust all at the same time.
Starting to create videos does not take much. A $75 camera and a few talking topics and you’re ready to begin. Your office could benefit greatly by creating weekly videos and using YouTube to promote them.
Veterinary Reputation Marketing
Due to its importance, reputation marketing in the veterinary field will be something everyone will be doing within the next few years. Your reputation is a very fragile thing and can be easily destroyed by a few unsatisfied customers who write negative reviews. Picture this, every time someone searched for your website or business, they were meet with negative reviews and unhappy clients. This would quickly turn away many if not all potential new clients from your office.
On a site like Yelp, one or two bad reviews can destroy future business and it can be hard to recover from here. It is very difficult to hide or pull down a negative Yelp review. To prevent this situation, you must be proactive. ASking current, happy patients to write reviews for you is a necessity. If you begin with a good and solid online reputation, the bad reviews that are bound to come will hardly affect your office.
Google Plus Local
Does Google services such as Maps, Places and Plus Local confuse you?
If yes, you are not alone. However, your website rank relies greatly on you knowledge of these services. Your Google Business listing must be completely filled out, and your account confirmed. Without a neat Google presence like this, any local website will struggle against yours. At Inception Online Marketing, our team can do this for you, but if you wish to do it on your own, make sure to do your research.
Tracking the Health of Your Website
Keeping an eye on your website is now easier than ever. Google has helped to do this by creating tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. These tools allow the users to track the traffic to their site as well as any problems that are occurring. Understanding and learning how to properly use all of the tools Google has to offer is about as hard as getting through veterinary school, however, the information is out there if you ever choose to learn it.
Many other companies will try and keep you website unassociated with a Google property. They do this because they believe that if your business is not connected with Google, it is much easier to hide shortcuts and loopholes. But this way of thinking is incorrect because Google can still see everything. No connecting a Google account to your veterinary website could result in big losses for you. If Google identifies an issue with your site, there is no way for them to reach out to you to inform you to fix it. Your site could be getting penalized without warning or understanding why.
Finally, I believe I have reached the end. This article will be continually updated as time goes on and as I learn more about SEO. If you still have questions about this topic, or about anything else associated with a veterinary website, we at Inception Online Marketing Websites are here to help. Although online marketing is very involved, it will be worth it in the end. In today’s market, just a website won’t do. Let the expert at Inception Online Marketing help your website perform to the best of its ability.