SEO for Optometrists

How to Get More Optometry Patients from Search Engines

If you’re responsible for marketing an eye care practice with a multitude of innovative and life-enhancing services to offer, such as:
  • Disease & Injury Detection
  • Prescriptions for Eye Glasses & Contact Lenses
  • Eye Exams
  • Vision Therapy
You may be struggling with how to attract a large pool of potential patients.
Research has shown that approximately 75% of people using a search engine, such as Google, click on the top 5 results which enable those businesses to be the most visible and, conceivably, the most credible in the eyes of the searcher.

A well thought out SEO for Optometrists plan can potentially propel you into the top 5.

What Exactly is SEO?

SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, is a proven digital marketing strategy that can assist with your website appearing higher in the search results, facilitating reputation management and credibility, with the hopeful outcome of increased web traffic and a larger number of future patients contacting you to schedule an appointment.

Unfortunately, SEO isn’t an easy process. Making your optometry website rank higher than other optometrists requires a lot of planning and effort.

So How Do I Increase My Web Site Ranking?

There are 4 key considerations for optometrists when it comes to ranking higher in the search results:
  • Keyword Research
  • Backlinks
  • Citations
  • Your Website
Each of these is described in depth below.

1) Keyword Research

Do you know how patients search for your service offerings on Google?
Is someone more likely to search for “Amblyopia treatment” or “Fix Lazy-Eye”?
Are they going to search for “Pediatric optometrist” or “Kid’s Eye Doctor”?

SEO experts use “keyword research” to focus in on what people search for in Google and other search engines. A “keyword” is a phrase consisting of one or more words. The closer the terms on your website match the search – and the intent – of the user, the more likely your eye care practice will rank higher in the search engines.

The goal for optometrists is to increase awareness of your products and services by having your eye care practice appear higher in search rankings, ultimately attracting a specific target audience to your optometry practice.

SEO Keyword Research Tools

There are many free and paid tools that you can use that will give you a good idea of what your prospective patients may be searching for.
Two tools to consider are Ubersuggest (free to try) and ahrefs.

Ubersuggest is a free online SEO tool that can provide keyword suggestions, ideas for new website content, and marketing strategies that perhaps have worked well for your competitors.

ahrefs is paid SEO tool that provides great detail about your website – and your competitor’s websites – so that you can create content that people want to read. ahrefs also provides information about what websites are linking to you and to your competitors. As we will discuss in a moment, backlinks are an important factor for SEO.
Below is a screenshot from ahrefs that shows the search rankings for the four search terms mentioned above.
Screenshot of optometry search term volumes
Search Volume for Common Terms Related to Optometry
You can see that pediatric optometrist has 4,300 searches per month whereas amblyopia treatment has just 1,200.
If we click on the parent topic for amblyopia treatment, we’re taken to the results below, which gives us another 131 keywords to analyze in our research.
Photo of ahrefs results page for amblyopia keywords
Finding Related Keywords for SEO
Try it Now
Go over to Ubersuggest and enter some keywords related to your practice. You’ll undoubtedly find some pretty interesting keywords that you’ll want to consider including in pages on your website.
When thinking about an SEO strategy to energize your website’s eye care content and overall online visibility, it is imperative to find specific words and phrases for which your target audience is searching. Examples may include optometrists, optometry practices, eye care practices, eyeglasses or eyeglass frames (in your local town).

2) Backlink Building

Search engine optimization uses backlink building (links TO your website). Backlink building to your website represents a level of trustworthiness for your eye care practice. From an SEO standpoint, think of backlinks to your website as “votes” for your site.
If several reliable or well-established websites have links to your content then it adds a large degree of confidence, authority, and importance to the eye care services you provide. It also makes you more likely to rank better in search results. If your website has high-quality content then it is more worthwhile for others to link to it.

A popular and effective SEO technique is to look at the backlinks that your competition has coming into their website. You’ll then try to get many of those same websites to link to your website.

As an example, in the screenshot below from ahrefs, you can see the website that link to lenscrafters.com. Well-known popular sites like Oakley, Ray-Ban and Sunglass Hut all link to LensCrafters, and help raise its profile from an SEO standpoint in Google and Bing search engines.
ahrefs results showing sites linking to LensCrafters.com
LensCrafters Competitors Should Try to Get Backlinks from Sites That Link to LensCrafters.com
Sites that consider themselves direct competitors to LensCrafters should reach out to many of these same sites to try to get them to link to their site as well.

3) Citations

Another technique which can help with search engine optimization is to be listed in a business directory, such as Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, Bing, etc. which includes a link to your website, company name, address, phone number, reviews, maps, photos and posts.
Citations are online references to your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and can contribute significantly to obtaining superior results in SEO as it adds additional credibility. All it entails is submitting your contact information to a directory which, in turn, earns you a citation (a link). It is pivotal that your NAP remains consistent throughout each platform!

4)Website

Your website must be search engine friendly in order to do well in SEO. The key considerations for a properly optimized website are shown below:

Responsive

Your website must look good and function properly on all devices (which is called “responsiveness”). So it must load properly on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Working well on smartphones is extremely important from an SEO standpoint.

Try it Now

Is your website responsive? You can try it using one of the many tools available online. Below, we’re using a free website called Responsinator to make sure everything looks ok on a Smartphone.

Responsinator Responsiveness Tester
Your Site Must Function Properly on a Smartphone in order to Rank Well

SSL

Your website must have an SSL certificate. Google is on record as saying that having an SSL certificate is a ranking factor for SEO.

Try It Now

When you load your website in a browser, you can tell it is secure if there is a padlock in the URL address bar – as you can see below for the American Optometric Association website.
Screenshot of SSL Padlock
All Major Browsers Use a Padlock to Indicate that a Site has an SSL Certificate

Optimized On-Page Code

Your website must have the proper onsite markup to do well in SEO. To change your website markup, you’ll need to be able to edit the code on your website.
Title Tag – The title tag is one of the most important ranking factors in SEO. Title tags let search engines know what your website is about. You can see your title tag content by hovering over the browser tab.
How to View a Title Tag
Title Tag for the American Optometric Association Website

Meta Description Tag – The meta description tag isn’t believed to officially be used as a ranking factor for SEO by Google. However, often times the meta description tag will appear in search engine results. You can use the tag to describe pages on your eye care site, and encourage prospective patients to click.

Meta Description Screen Shot for
Sometimes Meta Descriptions are Featured on the Search Engine Results Page

H1 and H2 Tags – These tags are headings that appear in a web page. Often times they appear in larger font than other text on the page. They are essential for SEO and should be highly descriptive and often times contain your targeted keywords for that page.

URL – The url address of your web page should be descriptive of the content on the page and should probably contain a keyword or two.

Page Speed – The amount of time it takes pages on your site to load is a crucial SEO ranking factor. The most simple page speed tool to get a quick check on your site is Pingdom Website Speed Test (https://tools.pingdom.com/). Focus on the most important statistic: the page speed. Letter grades aren’t nearly as important as how fast the page loads.
A general guideline for optometrists is to make sure your practice’s site loads in less than 3 seconds – preferably under 2 seconds.
Pingdom Page Speed Results for PearleVision.com
PearleVision.com Loads in Under 2 Seconds - Which is an Acceptable Load Time
Broken Links – The site for your optometry practice should be free of broken links. These can be a negative indicator that your site is broken or poorly maintained. A free tool to check for broken links is Online Broken Link Checker.

The Bottom Line: How to Have SEO Success

Interesting and relatable content, inclusion in business directories for your eye care practice coupled with quality backlinks and citations on related websites will not only be beneficial to your overall results and visibility on search engines but will also raise awareness in your local area to the eye care services you offer to your patients. Word of mouth by happy and satisfied patients can sometimes be just as effective as digital marketing, making search engine optimization a great return on investment (ROI)!

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