Keyword Tracking: How Do I Know If My SEO Efforts Are Working?
Have you been working on your own Search Engine Optimization for a couple of months and just aren’t sure if it’s worth the effort?
Or have you been paying someone else to do “SEO” for your private practice website but have just been told to be patient and wait a few months to see results?
Maybe as you’ve looked through this page you’ve found yourself wondering how you’d even know if the money you are spending is giving you a good return on investment?
You Want Results
Imagine that whoever answers phone calls for your practice is keeping busy with double the calls you have coming in right now. At the end of each call with someone new, you ask the question, “Where did you learn about our services?” Time after time you either hear, “I just did a Google search” or “My doctor told me about you so I looked up your website.”
Your services are easy to find, because you show up on the first page when potential clients use a search engine. You (or someone you designate) are keeping an eye on how your website ranks for search terms your ideal clients are actually using. You feel confident that when algorithms change and your site starts to crawl you’ll catch it quickly and make changes to keep your site showing up. Why? Because you want to serve more clients. You know that by making it really easy for clients to find you when they are looking for services you provide online, you are expanding your reach and making a bigger impact on your community.
There are Several Ways to Measure the Results of SEO Work
Several times over the last few months I’ve heard a similar story. A private practice owner has a website they like but it’s not showing up very well on Google. Few people are finding their website. So they see an add for SEO services. The company makes their services sound top notch and the practice owner, knowing very little about SEO themselves, agrees to their fees. They’re now spending hundreds of dollars a month for vaguely defined “SEO services.” They don’t notice much a of a difference in calls coming in and when they search for “Counseling in _____” they’re still on the 10th page. But they’re told to be patient. SEO takes time to work. Trust us. But they don’t trust their SEO provider anymore. In fact, they have no idea what they’ve spent money on and aren’t even sure they’re much better off than they were when they started.
It doesn’t have to look like this! Whether you are learning to do your own website optimization, keyword tracking, or paying a Search Engine Optimization specialist, there are several ways you can measure the return on your investment.
Keyword Tracking and Your Rankings
Do some keyword research, and come up with a list of keywords that you’d like to rank for. Now decide on some method for tracking these keywords. I started with just using a good old Excel sheet. Across the top I listed about 20 keywords I wanted to rank well for. Over time I added more and more to that list (I now track over 60), but if 20 is a pretty good number of keywords to start with. Then about once a month I would add a date to the lefthand side and manually track each of those keywords writing down what page they showed up on and if they were at the top, middle or bottom of the page. This was pretty time consuming, but effective.
There are also paid keyword tracking tools you can use. My favorite is the Brighter Insight tool from Brighter Vision. My main reason for loving this tool is that it’s really affordable ($15/month if they are managing your website or $20/month if you aren’t already a BV customer). Some parts of the tools work better than others, but the keyword tracker works really well. It gives you a quick picture in graph form of if overall your rankings are increasing or decreasing. Then it lists out all of your keywords and the exact position you rank for. You can see exactly when they ran the search (it happens automatically every day) and a snapshot of what the results looked like.
Lastly, you can just look on Google Console occasionally. This way, you see exactly what searches people are actually running and what your average position is.
Ask New Clients who Call
In my Mid Missouri private practice, we ask every single new client where they heard about our services. A very large portion tell us they found us through a Google Search which re-affirms the worth of having a well ranking website as part of our marketing plan. However, I’ve also found that they often look at our website when they were referred by someone else. It’s common to hear, “My friend recommended you guys, so I searched for you online and looked at your site.” Or, “My doctor told me about a couple of places and I looked at your website first.”
If you want to track your progress by asking new clients, here are a couple questions you may choose to either ask in an intake call or include on your intake paperwork:
- May I ask where you heard about our services?
- Have you had a chance to visit our website yet?
- Do you mind me asking what you typed into Google when you were looking for a therapist?
Just Look at your Number of Intakes
One of my former SEO Consulting clients recently told me that in the months since I first started teaching her to optimize her private practice site their monthly intake calls have tripled! She attributes this largely to the effort she’s put into optimizing her site. And that makes sense to me, because she went from being on the 10th page in a competitive, large metropolitan area to the first page of Google for several keywords. However, I will caution you here that there are other factors that impact the sheer number of intake calls you get each month. For instance, are you also reaching out and building relationships with new referral sources? It is a slower (or faster) time of year?
Ultimately, this is what we want to see happen as a result of marketing efforts, right? The goal is to fill your practice with your ideal clients. Just last week I sent out a series of e-mails to current Simplified SEO Consulting clients saying, “Hey I can tell from my side of things that your site is getting a lot more visitors. But the big question…are those visits resulting in more calls?” If any of those practice owners come back and say that no, despite a huge increase in traffic it’s not resulting in more calls and ultimately more clients we’ll need to re-evaluate. Are our efforts getting their website in front of the wrong people and we in fact need to target different keywords? Or does their website need a change to be more appealing once visitors are on the site?
The number of intake calls is a key performance indicator all practice owners should be keeping an eye on and it ultimately does reflect the impact of all marketing efforts combined.
SEO Consulting with Measurable Results
If you’re ready to get serious about your private practice website’s search engine rankings, let’s set up a free consultation today. Together we’ll come up with a way to track and measure the results of our work before we ever get started. I believe it’s critical that we know if you’re getting a good return on your investment so we can change tactics if you aren’t seeing results. I also promise that you’ll know exactly what service I’m providing. If you participate in 1:1 SEO training sessions, you’ll be able to describe very specific steps you’ve learned you can take to improve your website’s rankings. Or if you choose one of our Done for You SEO packages, you’ll have a list of the specific steps I’m taking to improve your SEO for each page I’m optimizing.
You can get measurable SEO results and feel more confident in your company’s online presence. But you have to take the first step to invest in your company’s future by developing your own SEO plan, and there’s no better time than the present.
I look forward to helping your website move up through the ranks of Google search results like I’ve helped so many other private practice owners before you. Schedule your free pre-consulting call today!
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