Chiropractic SEO is one of the most important elements of your practice growth. Without giving it attention, you may be missing out on a pool of potential clients locally searching for businesses like yours on search engines like Google, Bing and Duck Duck Go.
In this article, I’ll walk you through:
Wondering where your chiropractic practice ranks locally?
Before we dive into the rest of this article, let’s test the strength of your SEO and establish a basepoint:
Starting with a simple question, a keyword is the word, term or phrase someone types into Google to find your website. Keywords can be informational or transactional.
Here are a couple of examples of what I mean:
Here, the searcher is looking for information about whether a chiropractor can or can’t treat sciatica. The search is informational, and they are not looking to pay for a service. Just a simple answer to their question.
Versus the example we started with:
Here, the searcher is looking for a service in their local area. A chiropractor in Brighton. This is called a transactional keyword, as they are searching for something they want to pay for.
Informational keywords are great for building your brand nationally, but the real value of SEO for a local chiropractic practice lies in their core transactional keywords.
We will be using the term ‘chiropractor brighton’, which has around 750 local searches each month, as an example throughout the rest of this article.
When people search for a chiropractor in your area, within the search results, your practice may show between three different areas.
Each is individually influenced and managed during your SEO campaign, and each area has a different click rate (the number of clicks each area generates).
Using our Brighton example:
The above figures, of course, change monthly and locationally, but these are rough industry averages. Let’s dive into some more detail on each area.
Ads aren’t shown for every search, but if they are, they will be shown first on the results. To rank here, you have to pay money to Google. Google charges you for each and every click your ads generate.
This real estate often turns into a bit of a bidding war. The practice that pays the most and refines its ads the best gets the most clicks. Simple. (Although very few truly optimise their ads, so optimising your ads alone will see good results).
The downside of ads on the local level is they only get between 2-10% of the clicks for a search term (depending on the market). Users nowadays are aware that they are ads and focus their clicks on the organic results below.
Below the ads is what is called the ‘Google Map Pack’. Here, Google shows 3 businesses (this used to be 5). Getting into this map pack is based on three core metrics:
The map pack is highly valuable and attracts around 40-50% of clicks for a local service search. If you haven’t got a Google map listing, you can set one up easily and quickly here: business.google.com. Note you will need to have an active Google (gmail) account to set your listing up.
Once you have your Google business listing set up, get to work on asking your clients to review your practice. Ask them personally for the review, emailing your client base never works.
And finally, although Google is the biggest search engine worldwide, attracting around 90% of search users, the hot second is Bing which attracts 2.5% of users.
This tool lets you see historical data of search engine usage, which shows Google’s long-term domination in search.
So setting up your business on Bing is also important. Conveniently, Bing allows you to import your Google Business profile into their business profile tool, called Bing Places. You can do that by using your Google account to sign up for Bing Places here: bingplaces.com and then import your Google listing. Simple.
Also interestingly, Duck Duck Go, a growing search engine due to its great privacy settings, use Bing Places for their map pack.
And finally, the last piece of the ranking puzzle lies in the organic results, or SERPs (Search Engine Results Page). These are the results that follow below the map pack.
The SERPs attract around 40-50% of clicks on the local level and around 80-100% of clicks on the national level (when there is no map pack shown, usually for informational keywords).
Influencing where you rank in the SERPs is where the bulk of your SEO campaign work lies. This result focuses on the strength and optimisation of your website, and this is what we will spend the rest of this article discussing.
There are three core areas that make up your organic SEO campaign. They are:
Let’s dive into what each area is and what you need to do to optimise your website for each area.
Technical SEO is generally work taken on by your website developer or designer.
Google robots crawl (read through and click on all the buttons) your website to determine what it’s about, look for new content and ultimately, decide where to rank you.
When a Google bot lands on your site, it expects a long list of criteria to be properly implemented. To oversimplify what it’s looking for, you could summarise this as a good user experience. Aka – a safe, secure site that is easy to use, understand and navigate for the user.
Google’s ‘customer’ in this sense is the person using their search engine. They want to rank the most user-friendly relevant sites at the top of their engine to keep that customer using their product (Google).
This is why things that halt the user, like pop-ups and pushy chatbots, are a no-go when it comes to the UX of your site.
Your site must be lightning-fast. Google doesn’t want its user waiting for more than a few seconds (under 3) for your page to load. This is the shortcoming of most modern all-in-one site builders like Squarespace and Wix.
I used Squarespace for many years, and it used to be great. Over the years, though, the platform became more and more restricted with design and SEO flexibility. The biggest SEO frustration being slow load speed.
I have built around 50 Squarespace sites in my time. And none of them load fast enough to pass Google’s speed and site quality test (more on this in a minute). In fact, you can’t get a blank page to load in less than 7 seconds.
Can you do anything about Squarespace and Wix’s slow load speeds? Nope. In being an all-in-one website ecosystem, you are restricted to their way of doing things.
So, what is the best website builder (CMS) for SEO? A well-built WordPress site.
WordPress, in short, is a blank canvas. You can literally build what you like on their system. Letting you optimise every little bit of your website, including making your site blazing fast.
I will go into why WordPress is the best CMS for SEO in depth in a future article. In the meantime, you can read this article by one of the figureheads in the SEO world, Nathan Gotch.
To test your site’s usability, SEO strength and speed. You can use pop your site into this Google tool: pagespeed.web.dev
Content SEO is in relation to the words and imagery on the pages of your site. You have two areas this can apply to.
Your general pages. Like your home, contact and about pages.
When working on your website’s content SEO, you need to start by mapping out what pages you can rank. For a local business, your service pages are the only ones I would advise optimising for SEO. And if you are in a small town with one clinic, that page should usually be your home page.
If you have multiple service areas and clinics, I would recommend dedicating one page per search term. Ie, if you are a chiropractor in Brixton, you may focus your home page on ‘chiropractor Brixton, and have another service area page targeting ‘chiropractor South London’, then another targeting ‘chiropractor london’.
Reason being, those three terms all have different intent.
The second area content SEO applies to is your blog. These are the pages on your site that have the potential to rank nationally for your informational keywords, like ‘what is chiropractic’.
However, ranking for the term ‘what is chiropractic’ is of no use to your business if you are in London and the searcher is based in Plymouth.
But – this is where a little something called Topical Authority comes into play. Topical Authority is fast growing in the SEO world and something very few SEOs truly understand.
Think of it this way. Google wants to show the best results at the top of its page. For you to rank at the top of Google for the term ‘Chiropractor Brighton’. Google needs to see you as the authority as two things:
To achieve topical authority for those two topics, your blog must cover a broad range of SEO focussed topics related to chiropractic and being in Brighton (with relation to health).
When you rank nationally for hundreds of these SEO optimised posts, you achieve topical authority and are rewarded with a high position on Google for your core keywords (chiropractor Brighton).
A backlink, to put it simply, is when another website links to your website. Imagine it like a referral in the physical world. Just as a recommendation from a well-respected colleague or patient can boost your clinic’s reputation, a backlink from a respected website can boost your website’s reputation in the eyes of search engines.
There are two main types of backlinks you might come across: content backlinks and citations.
Citations, also called business directory links (think Yellowpages, Yelp etc) are low-value backlinks. They are very easy for anyone to get, and so carry little weight in helping your SEO efforts.
I use Bright Local, a citation-building tool, to build my client’s citations. They charge around £1-2 per citation and save you a lot of time signing up for all the major business directories (a tedious task!).
Content backlinks occur when a website links to your content within its own blog posts. For example, imagine you have an amazing blog post called:
‘What is a chiropractic adjustment’
Another website may write an article called:
‘What is a subluxation’
And then they choose to link to your article within their blog post. Their link may look like this within the blog post:
“Chiropractors use a technique to fix subluxations, this technique is called an adjustment, you can click here to read more about chiropractic adjustments.”
Now, in an ideal world, people would naturally link to your website. However, the chances of a good site linking to you are extremely low.
This is where backlink building comes in. Backlink building is a practice of reaching out to websites and asking them (for a fee) to link to your website.
Now, not all backlinks are created equal. It’s here we talk about the term ‘DR’, which stands for Domain Rating. This is a score from 1-100 (100 being the highest) that Google uses to indicate how ‘trustworthy’ a website is. The score is made up of how many good backlinks you have.
If you want to check your backlink profile and your DR, I use a great tool called AHREFS.
Relevance is another key component in your backlink-building efforts. A plumbing site linking to a chiropractic site holds little relevance. Whereas the NHS, an authority in the health space, linking to your site carries a lot of relevance. Google wants to see high DR, niche-relevant sites linking out to your content. Here is an example:
A backlink from a high DR website like the NHS (DR 92/100) would be incredibly valuable because the NHS is a highly respected and relevant source in the health field. On the flip side, a backlink from a low DR website that has nothing to do with chiropractic care or health (Ie, your mate’s plumbing website) wouldn’t carry much weight.
It’s a bit like the difference between getting a referral from a well-respected health consultant versus a recommendation from a random person who knows nothing about healthcare.
In essence, backlinks are digital recommendations. The more high-quality ‘referrals’ you get, particularly from highly respected and relevant sources, the more attractive your website becomes to search engines and potential patients alike.
In this guide, I’ve shed some light on the intriguing world of SEO for chiropractors. We’ve been through everything from local SEO, picking out the right keywords, to the need for a user-friendly website design, crafting engaging content, and the power of backlinks.
I hope you’ve found this guide useful and that it’s helped you gain a firmer grip on how SEO can be a real game-changer for your chiropractic practice. Still, believe me, we’ve just tipped the iceberg of what SEO is and how Google works.