Designing a High-Ranking Optometry Website
You’ve brainstormed, figured out a name and a logo, prepared the message you want to convey, and have the professional services you wish to offer on your optometry website. You’re almost there! Now you have to design a website that can stand out from other optometry websites while ranking high on the first page of a Google search.
But where do you begin? Optometry isn’t an easy market segment to enter. Local competitors fight for new patients and new business every day, and some already existed on the web long before you. This is why you should start with optimizing your optometry website for good search engine ranking, aka search engine optimization, or SEO.
Optimize for Search So You Rank for The Right Keywords
Optimizing your website for search is the most important thing you can do to get a high ranking from Google. In fact, it’s essential to think of SEO and website design as one and the same. Your website design is your SEO strategy.
Here are some of the fundamental things you need to know about SEO for an optometry website that will rank well on Google:
1 – Pages should have a unique title tag with relevant keywords that are not duplicated on another page of your site. This will help you rank for the right keywords (and not compete with yourself)
2 – Keywords should be placed in the first and last paragraph of each page (this is known as the “inverted pyramid” style of writing for SEO). It’s also important to have “natural” language throughout your content and avoid keyword stuffing.
3 – Each page should have unique content. If you have several locations and services pages that are identical, Google will only index one of them, so make sure they are distinct even if they address the same topic.
4 – The H1 heading should include your target keyword(s) but not duplicate the title tag exactly.
There’s a lot more to SEO than this, but these are some actionable steps you can take while producing content to start ranking higher. To learn more, check out our blog post, SEO for Optometrists.
Optimize for Mobile To Make Sure You Keep Visitors On The Site
Optimizing your optometry website for mobile is no longer an option. In fact, Google now rewards sites that are mobile-friendly with higher search rankings.
This is because more people are using their phones to make online purchases than ever before.
And it’s not just millennials who are using their phones to shop online — Gen Xers and baby boomers are joining in on the fun and ease of mobile searching and shopping as well.
Further, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re going to have a high bounce rate and low engagement rate (i.e., people won’t stay on your site very long). This will hurt your site’s ranking even more.
In order to optimize for mobile, there are 3 things you need to do:
1) Make sure your site is mobile-friendly by visiting Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page.
2) Check out this handy guide from Google on how to design a responsive site that works well across multiple platforms.
3) If you’re building a new site from scratch or redesigning an existing one, make sure it has a responsive design that automatically resizes for different screen sizes (e.g., desktop vs tablet vs smartphone).
Avoid Large Images To Lower Your Bounce Rate
One of the main reasons why optometry websites don’t rank on the first page of a Google search is because of large images. Large images take a long time to load, and Google doesn’t like slow loading times.
Large images are also bad for the user experience. When the site loads slowly, users tend to get frustrated or annoyed. They will promptly click the “back” button and leave your site.
And when this happens, it’s called a “bounce.” A bounce means someone lands on your site and leaves before engaging with it—which sends signals to Google that your website isn’t very helpful or relevant for that user’s search query.
The negative effects of a large image are twofold: You lose visitors because of slow load times, and you lose visitors because they aren’t getting what they want (information or products).
Include Videos To Capture and Retain Users
Videos are a great way to capture your audience’s attention and increase engagement on your website. The most important part of the video is the script.
A good script should be around 100-150 words and by no means should it read like a sales pitch. It should tell an engaging story and communicate your optometry practice’s personality while educating patients about how you can help them meet their needs.
The next step is production. Video production can be expensive, but a professional videographer will help you create something that will look great on your site when it is finished.
Like images, you should also take care to reduce load time and make sure the video formatting is compatible with all devices and browsers.
Use A Lot of White Space To Direct Visitors’ Attention To Important Information
The simpler the design, the better. That’s a great general rule. But if you’re going to spend time and money on a website, make sure you invest in a quality design that is built to last.
Your website should have one main focus: to sell optometry services. So you want to make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for on your site. A navigation bar should take visitors from important information to content about your practice, services, and contact information.
A page with lots of content could be overwhelming for a visitor, so consider dividing up the information into smaller areas that make sense and can be easily accessed. If you have more than one page, consider creating subheadings and sub-pages that break down the information into smaller chunks (this also helps Google’s ranking algorithm easily navigate your site).
Make sure your layout is easy to scan and understand at a glance. For example, avoid complex images that need a lot of explanation or illustrations that require scrolling down the page in order of importance; instead, provide critical information near the top of the page or at the very beginning of each section.
Entice people to return by offering them something valuable. A free report or an exclusive offer could be just what they’re looking for when they find your site. If you develop an active optometry community online you can become a “thought leader” in the field, which Google likes because it demonstrates that you’re an expert in the industry and worth ranking higher.
Use Google’s Testing Tool To Further Optimize Your Site
Google’s testing tool is a great way to get insight into how your optometry website is optimized. It is a free tool that allows you to see the speed and mobile-friendliness of your webpage.
This tool is an easy way to understand what your website needs. Google knows exactly what it’s looking for and this tool makes it easy to determine how your site stacks up.
Have a High-Quality, Fast Website Host
A high-quality, fast website host is one of the keys to building and maintaining a high-ranking optometry website.
Website hosts can range from $10/month to $50+/month. It’s worth it to find a more expensive host only when it meets these criteria:
More bandwidth= faster website loading speeds.
- Better security (read: less risk of your website getting hacked).
- Increased availability. Your site won’t crash as often during peak traffic times (i.e. after you just released a new blog post).
Use Keywords Within The Content On Your Website Including Title Tags, Alt Attributes, and H1 Tags
Add keywords to the content on your website, but make sure you’re not overdoing it. Google’s algorithms are excellent at identifying keyword stuffing, so only add them when you can provide relevant and meaningful context. The key to adding keywords effectively is to use them within title tags, alt attributes, and h1 tags.
Title tags: These are located in thesection of your HTML, and they indicate what text will show up as the title of a specific webpage in search engine results. Keep this short and sweet – Google only displays 50-60 characters in search results.
Alt attributes: Alt attributes are added to images with HTML code. They’re useful for providing a description of an image when the image file can’t be displayed (for example, if you have a broken link or slow connection). This is also beneficial for people with visual impairments who may be using screen readers to navigate your website. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that alt attributes are another great place to incorporate some keywords into your site content. Just make sure that it makes sense in the context of your image description!
H1 tags: An H1 tag is used for emphasizing text within a page of text. They signal to search engines that your content is relevant to the query including similar keywords.
While it’s necessary to have content that is readable and entertaining, you have to remember that SEO is what gets people to your site in the first place. Get these basics down while contributing to the greater optometry community with your expert content!
Start With A Good (or Great) Web Designer
Web designers are not all created equal and the wrong designer can cause you more harm than good. Make sure your designer has experience in building and maintaining optometry websites. They should be able to show you examples of their work and provide references for you to contact.
Make sure your designer will build your website on WordPress, which is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It’s also the best platform for search engine optimization (SEO) because it allows you to create a site that follows best practices.
Takeaway: It is possible to design an optometry website that ranks high on the first page of a Google search!
Building a website that ranks high on the first page of a Google search requires a lot of time, patience, and persistence. It’s going to take time for your optometry website to be discovered by major search engines like Google.
However, if you stick with it, persistently working toward building quality content over time and improving your SEO, then you can build a sustainable optometry website that ranks high on the first page of Google searches.
Ultimately, that high-ranking site will become a virtually self-driving vehicle bringing you more and more patients every year.