Search engine optimization: It’s a term that’s thrown around quite liberally in our current digital age. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has some idea of what it is even if they’re not entirely sure how to do it or how it works.
In the plainest of terms, search engine optimization, or SEO, is what you do to your website to make it as visible to search engines as possible. The idea is to make your website one of the very first results when someone searches a term that’s relevant to your website through Google, Bing, or some other search engine.
But today’s discussion isn’t an SEO lesson. We’ve written about SEO techniques before – here, here, and here, for example – but today we’re going to be talking about why search engine optimization is important, especially when you own or are running an addiction treatment facility. In effect, the ten reasons provided below for the importance of SEO to your drug rehab will illustrate the importance of search engine optimization as a web marketing tool and what you stand to gain from implementing a strong SEO campaign.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
Think, for a moment, about the purpose of a search engine. Essentially, search engines serve as a liaison between the user and the user’s destination. In fact, navigating the internet is much like navigating a foreign country… if you’re a blind person. There are no maps to point you to where you need to go. Instead, running a query on a search engine is like having someone to escort you to your destination. Without the escort (the search engine), you’d just be stumbling around in the dark, hoping that you’ll happen upon whatever it was you were looking for.
As you can see, search engines are pretty important. Studies have shown that the majority of web traffic originates from search engines. Social media has also become a critical source of web referrals, and that’s why there’s social media marketing, or SMM. But for our present purposes, you just need to know that when someone is searching for something in particular, he or she is going to use a search engine.
If your addiction treatment center is in Chicago and someone runs a search query on Google for “Chicago drug rehab”, you’d be in the best position if your rehab’s website ranked on that first page of results. In fact, you should really be shooting for one of the very first handful of search results, but being on the first page is good, too. According to research, more than 70 percent of all users will choose a listing on the first page without ever even seeing any additional pages of results.
There’s no overstating the importance of web traffic, which is why it’s so essential that you optimize your website for search engine visibility. Since the majority of your web traffic is likely to be coming from search engines, you want to make your website as visible to search engines as possible.
Getting better search engine rankings isn’t the only benefit of search engine optimization. Another major benefit is that your search engine optimization strategy can help you to keep your site organized and easily navigable.
As someone who’s in the addiction treatment industry, you’re probably aware that there are certain keywords and phrases to which you should pay special attention. These are the search terms to which your addiction treatment center is most closely related and are the terms for which you’ll want to be as high in the rankings as possible. But you can also take those search terms and incorporate them into the navigation of your website.
Let’s use the hypothetic “Chicago drug rehab” from above. If your rehabilitation center was located in Chicago, you might consider trying to find ways of incorporating that keyword into the URLs of certain pages on your website. Or perhaps you want to rank high for “addiction treatment in Chicago”; you might use that search phrase to name a category in the menu of your website’s navigation. By using that term as a category of content, it would also help you to choose what pages and the types of information to keep under that category. In essence, you’re trying to use relevant keywords and phrases in the navigation and layout of your website, which is going to improve your search rankings in a major way.
Search engine optimization isn’t exactly a brand new concept. In fact, the technique has been around at least since the 1990s. However, as the world wide web grew in popularity, the concept of trying to improve your website’s visibility in web searches become more prominent. Nowadays, anyone with a website is at least conceptually familiar with search engine optimization.
Why is it such a familiar term? Because it works. There’s literally no better way to get your drug treatment center website on the first page of search results than with search engine optimization. And not only is it the best and most effective technique we have today, but it’s going to continue being the most valuable tool for web visibility as we move forward. Therefore, optimizing your rehab website for search engine visibility will help you today, tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future.
Advertising can get expensive very quickly. Even the most cost-effective web ads purchased through Google Adwords adds up. Search engine optimization, on the other hand, can cost you very little or even be free.
There is a metric ton of information available on the internet if you’re looking to get started with optimizing your rehab website for search engines. All it takes is, well, a search on your favorite search engine and you’ll find pages upon pages of detailed how-to guides. Alternately, you could pick up one of numerous books available on Amazon and in bookstores that can serve as your beginner’s guide to SEO. Websites like Udemy offer convenient online courses on SEO, too. Even if you want to hire someone who specializes in web marketing and search engine optimization, it’s relatively affordable. And even if you do buy a book, take an online class, or hire a specialist, the amount you stand to gain will vastly outweigh whatever amount of money you put into your search engine optimization campaign.
As we discussed above, search engines are a user’s liaison to the internet. When someone pulls up a web browser, that person is almost certainly headed to a search engine unless he or she has one specific website in mind. But search engines are used for even more than just navigation.
Search engines help us to find or choose products and services. Take addiction treatment as an example: If you query “drug rehab in Chicago”, chances are you’ll see multiple facilities from which you can choose. To narrow that down, most users are going to use the search engine to find reviews and more information about the individual treatment facilities. Search engines are as much about finding information, choosing products or services, and looking at reviews for help with making purchasing decisions as they are about navigation.
In effect, search engine optimization is about predicting user behavior. We know how the average person uses a search engine, so what search engine optimization helps us to do is put our businesses, products, or services in the best position to be found by the target audience. So SEO isn’t just making you visible; it’s making you visible to the people who are most likely to need your addiction treatment services. When the majority of your audience is interested in your drug rehab, you stand a much better chance of visitors who found your rehab via search engines turning into admissions.
At this point, you should have little doubt left as to the importance of search engine optimization for your success. There’s no getting around the fact that the average person looks to the internet to find the products and services he or she wants to use. It’s become common knowledge that search engines have a pretty prominent role in the purchasing process. Virtually everyone business and every website is implementing search engine optimization in their web marketing strategy, which is even more reason to be using SEO. You can guarantee that as effective as it is, all your competitors are going to be using search engine optimization techniques on their websites, their web content, and in social media. If you’re not using these techniques, you’ll garner much less web traffic and, therefore, have far less success than the competition.
Search engine optimization is a form of inbound marketing. By definition, inbound marketing refers to a marketing technique wherein you use various types of content (blog posts, podcasts, videos, ebooks, newsletters, etc.) and search engine optimization to attract customers. However, of all forms of inbound marketing, search engine optimization is the most successful. And here’s why.
Compared to the number of people around the world who could potentially be interested in your drug rehab, your regular visitors constitute a very small number. They are the people who are either past customers or considering becoming customers. However, you stand the best chance of converting prospective visitors into clients by attracting individuals who are querying keywords related to addiction treatment. The idea is to attract as many of those individuals as possible since this is the group that is both largest in terms of numbers and the most likely to be interested in your drug rehab. Rather than creating content for repeat visitors, search engine optimization is how you attract that group of individuals who are querying search terms that apply to your drug rehab. This is also where you stand gain the most success and growth.
With each type of advertising, you’re able to reach only so far. Print advertisements are a prime example of the limitations of ads because you’re only able to reach the people who consume that specific printed publication; there’s very little opportunity to garner interest from the population of people who don’t read that publication. There are similar limitations to other forms of advertising, even digital ads.
However, search engine optimization broadens the reach of your drug rehab by a huge margin. For one thing, most forms of advertising are limited in scope, but there is a very diverse, global audience who could be searching for the keywords for which you’ve optimized for rehab website. As well, there are dozens of keyword combinations that are similar to the keywords for which you’ve optimized your website, so you’re likely getting exposure with a much broader audience than you’ve even intended. And you can optimize your website for many different keywords and phrases, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to how expansive your audience could be.
Here’s an experiment: Choose a keyword – any keyword that comes to mind – and run it in Google. When the results come up, take note of the top handful of results. Do you notice anything about them? Compare them with the results toward the bottom of the page or even the results on the second page. What sticks out to you when you compare results on the top of the first page versus the bottom or the second page?
The answer should be that the first handful of results are the most credible. In a number of cases, some of the first search results include Wikipedia, WebMD, Forbes, Business Insider, and a number of other well-known web publications. The reason that these websites get the “premium real estate” in search results is because Google has determined those websites are both relevant and trustworthy.
Incorporating keywords into the layout and content on your rehab website isn’t the only way to improve your search ranking. There are other techniques such as internal and external link-building, which have their own effects on one’s search engine ranking. However, the takeaway here is that being on that first page of search results, or – even better – being with the first handful of results, not only gives you the absolute most amount of exposure, but it also gives you credibility. Whether consciously or unconsciously, users see the results at the top of their searches and assume that those are the highest-quality and “best” results on the list. There’s this unspoken understanding that a search engine provides the better of the results toward the top, which is why most users will choose websites listed on the first page. So it’s incredibly important to implement a search engine optimization strategy because having a high ranking is like having Google or another search engine vouch for your credibility.
We mentioned previously how inexpensive search engine optimization is and how profitable that makes it. We’ve also told you that it’s relatively simple to implement, requiring only some web research, a book, an online course, or a hired expert. Now that we’ve reached the bottom of our list, we’re going to conclude by telling you that once you learn how to maximize your search engine visibility, you’ve acquired the easiest, most useful, and most profitable web marketing tool that exists. In effect, you just learn the fundamentals of search engine optimization one time and you’ll have this tool in your marketing arsenal for life.
When you’ve never optimized a website for search engine visibility, it can seem like a daunting task, especially considering the importance ascribed to SEO; however, it’s a form of marketing that’s arguably the easiest to learn. In fact, it takes only a little time, patience, and persistence to optimize your online presence and ensure the success of your drug rehab.
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