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Social media isn’t everyone’s favorite these days. From spreading bogus conspiracy theories to fomenting political violence, that’s certainly not what was intended when Zuckerberg and others created these platforms.

In a way, the role of social media with businesses or, in your case, medical practices is probably closer to what the whole concept of social media was meant to be. After all, practice Facebook and Instagram pages allow patients to see a more laid back side of your practice. They allow patients to get to know you and your staff outside of the office. They allow you to tell them about new treatments you may be offering. You can run legendary contests, post favorite holiday recipes, and even promote an upcoming open house.

It’s all fun, away from the anger and misinformation prone to personal social media feeds. Practice pages on social media are great vehicles for increasing your visibility and retaining your patients.

But do they help you with search ranking? Customer practices assume that since their Facebook, Instagram, and perhaps Twitter or Pinterest feeds are not part of their practice website, they do not affect the site’s performance in search rankings. It’s true in a literal sense, but these handy social media pages play a role in research.

Here are some ways your social media is affecting your search rank.

More visitors equals better rankings

Obviously, the amount of traffic that reaches a site tells Google how popular and genuine the site is. How does your social media presence affect your site traffic? By sharing and, to a lesser extent, linking on your social media pages to your practice website.

Let’s say you are a dentist and you post an article about in-office teeth whitening on your practice’s Facebook page. This post could be popular with your patients who browse your Facebook page to share it with their friends. Many readers of these shared posts will visit your website to determine if they want to take advantage of your special offer. This improves your ranking in organic search.

Your social media profiles rank alone in the search

Although it’s easy to forget because they are so different from a typical website, social media pages are actually websites. As such, they rank on their own in search. This is why you will sometimes see a Facebook page appear in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), often just below the local pack.

If you post interesting content on your practice Facebook page, it will give potential patients an overview of your practice. As with shared posts, there’s a good chance the person will move on to your actual practice website afterward.

Shares can broaden who sees your content

With organic research, there are no accidental findings. Google provides what it thinks are the most viable pages that meet the searcher’s query. This means that your practice website can only be found by a potential patient if it ranks for a keyword or long tail query in the search. No one can just stumble upon your practice website.

This is not necessarily the case with your social networks. If someone has shared your content on social media, many people may be exposed to it who otherwise would not have searched for it directly. This is especially true if the person sharing the content has a lot of followers or, at best, is a celebrity or influencer.

People search their social media pages

This aspect of social media is proving to be a problem for personal web pages and society. People stay on their social media pages and search. This is because these social media feeds have a built-in robust search capability. This is essentially how people got stuck in the proverbial rabbit hole of fake stories and false conspiracy theories on Facebook. They never leave the site to find other outlets for factual information.

This aspect needs to be cleaned up on the personal side of these flows. But for businesses, research capability is a great way for a potential patient to learn about your practice. Searches can be located in your region or at another specific location. That’s why it’s important to optimize your social media pages and content with keywords and how-to titles you want to be known for.

Reviews can help with research

When a social media site appears in a SERP, it will also have the average rating and number of votes. In addition, it will often include an excerpt from a review, such as « I recently received a dental implant from Dr Brown, and was delighted to … »

This can make a visitor click on the link on the social media page and then perhaps move on to your practice website. It’s like ranking in organic search, but you did it through your social media pages.

Social media for your practice is social media as it should be

Now you can see that while social media practice pages don’t have a direct impact on your website ranking, they still play a role in search engine optimization. Social media makes searching easier by improving visibility and getting more people to potentially come in contact with your content. This drives traffic to your site, which impacts your search rankings. So while this might seem like the perfect place to let your firm’s hair down, so to speak, your social media pages can play a role in your overall organic search rankings as well.

If you have any questions about social media and your practice, contact your Advice Media representative and ask us, call us or fill out a contact form.

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