Every time Google makes another change to its search results ranking algorithm, it can affect your hard-earned time spent ranking your practice.
How do you secure your website ranking? The way the fortune 500 companies are preserving their online presence is by building relevant backlinks. You might be thinking, "Stephanie, I'm not a Fortune 500 company; I'm not even a company of 5." But let's adapt your mindset a bit. When you look for a mentor, teacher or advisor, whom do you typically want to choose? Most want someone who has experience, knowledge and success achieving what you hope to achieve. So, why not learn what the Fortune 500 companies are doing and mirror a strategy for your own practice?
One of many things I have learned in 15-plus years of working with health care business owners is that you have one common need: to get more customers coming through the door. However, the majority have no way of knowing how to make that happen. I have heard of strategies such as lighting a candle and saying a prayer, word of mouth, postcard mailing, handing out flyers, running ads, and more. Those may have worked the best in previous years, and by all means continue them if they are working, but online is where your new customers are spending time these days. Understanding what to look for and how to use the online tools will mean greater potential for success.
Backlinks can also be called incoming links, inbound links, in-links or inward links. A backlink is an incoming link to a website or webpage. Today, backlinks are significant in search-engine optimization (SEO) because the number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page. Search engines often use the backlinks as indicators for determining a website or webpage's ranking, popularity and importance. Since the SEO companies figured out ways to "game the system," known to some as linkspam, search engines continue to adapt their systems for ranking. Therefore, you need to make sure your backlinks are relevant to your target audience when you are using them to build your practice.
A backlink may look like an image, a piece of text such as "CLICK Here" or a URL. Backlinks can also be embedded in videos or infographics. To make this easy, a backlink can pretty much be anything you can click and be taken to another website or webpage. In order to have relevant backlinks, you need to find sites that have authority and of course, are relevant to your website or webpage.
Where do you find relevant backlinks? The best places to get backlinks are from sites like Squidoo, Wikipedia, governmental sites, forums, blogs and educational sites. Another great way to build powerful backlinks is by guest posting. Guest postings can be a powerful tool to backlink to your website if done properly. (Honestly, how to guest post could be a whole other article, so I'm going to provide the basics here.)
Guest postings, such as guest blogging or published articles, establish you as an authority in a specific market. Guest postings can be articles you have written and have published in other communities to drive more traffic to your website. Guest postings such as writing articles or guest blogging are some of the highest-quality backlinks in a search engine's eyes.
The biggest rule to remember is to target a specific audience. Get engaged in those communities and figure out if the forum, blog site or article publication site is a good fit for your practice. When you find a forum that offers the target audience you desire, one of the first things you will need to do is to create a forum profile. You want people to engage with you; therefore, you will need to optimize your profile to get the best benefit. Key points to keep in mind when creating a profile on a forum are:
- Upload a photo or avatar of yourself so the people on the forum can see your personality and what type of person you are.
- Enter your home page URL on your profile.
- Include an instant messenger, Skype or other social media information you have on your profile.
- Add interests that relate to the other people on the forum.
- Include all relevant information such as address, phone and e-mail, exactly how it is listed on your website.
The point is to complete as much information as can on your profile for the forums. Another special note that most miss is the signature box. The signature box is how you will be identified when you make a post to a thread. Include your website URL in this signature box. That way, every time you post on a thread, your website URL will appear in your signature automatically. You can also hyperlink the name of your website back to your website or blog to build subscribers.