Search is a rapidly growing market. Although the industry has only a brief history that dates back to 1993, people utilize search engines every day in their quest to find relevant information online about services and products. In 2011, Google – one of the Big Three search engines, alongside Yahoo! and Bing – logged an average of 4.7 billion searches per day. This number represents a 7,800% increase in Google search traffic from a decade prior. Given that Google only controls 65% of all search traffic worldwide, it's no stretch to see the incredible scale of search engine usage.
Currently, search optimization is a marketing focus employed by businesses that want to draw prospects to their Web sites, grow brand name recognition in their market, and better position themselves for success over their competitors. As a health care professional, the value of search as a tool for accomplishing these business-growth strategies, and linking your practice to a continual stream of new clients, cannot be understated.
To understand how search engine optimization is a benefit, it may be advantageous to know that the mission for Google is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." In short, the primary goal for Google (or any search engine) is to provide their searchers the best possible results – based on any given keyword or phrase. For searchers, a competent search engine is a link to millions of terabytes of data on the Internet. Search has become such an integral part of our lives that people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds have evolved to become highly competent Web searchers. As search is our connection to the information, data, and content we require in making everyday business decisions and consumer choices, we have become inextricably linked to search. As such, those who have something to say about the value of their services over that of the competitor down the street are best served by leveraging the power of search optimization.
Whether you are orthodontist, plastic surgeon, therapist, or any other practicing specialist in any field of medicine, it should be known that there is a credibility factor in appearing in search engine results—especially in the top search results. It is easily assumed that medical professionals who have taken the time to build Web sites for their practices want to be found. A Web site without traffic is just art and copy. Web sites are meant to attract, inform, engage, and convert site viewers into patients or clients. Therefore, without traffic, a Web site is functionally useless. Presently, 83% of all web traffic starts with a search engine query. Search engine optimization traffic accounts for anywhere between 65% to 85% of all current search traffic. In addition, more than 40% of search engine queries contain some local intent.
Two of the main search engine optimization goals for any orthodontic professional is to grow site traffic and improve keyword rankings for the long-term. As you can imagine, an orthodontist that has optimized their Web site for local keywords—as well as service keywords—has an advantage over competition in the local market.
Competitive orthodontic professionals position themselves for search engine success in their markets by leveraging search engine optimization techniques that help them enjoy a greater success in both the search markets and the competitive markets as well. If search engine rankings hold the largest potential for directing traffic to your Web site, then your search engine optimization budget should be larger than your marketing budget for any other advertising mediums.
It should be known that search engine optimization gains can be short-lived if you fail to build the proper foundation. An experienced search engine optimization advisor will conduct keyword research, as well as figure out how your budget, goals, and site will best fit together.