5 Reasons Your Chiropractic Website Doesn’t Rank Well

Every chiropractor wants to get new patients from the internet. As they should. It’s easy, inexpensive (compared to other marketing) and relatively easy when you know what you’re doing.

After getting a website, the first question to ask yourself is “where does my website rank on Google?”

I speak to many chiropractors who have had a website for years, but they still do not know where they rank on Google’s “organic” search results. The term “organic” simply means natural, as opposed to paid ads.

In this picture to the left, the area marked in red is the section for paid advertising. The middle section of the page that is not marked in red is the organic search results. These results are based on Google’s complex algorithm for determining which website is most relevant to the searcher.

If you pay someone to run your website, the first thing you should measure is how many new patients you are getting from it. The second thing you should be tracking is where it ranks in the organic Google search results.

To do this, go to google.com and search for the term “chiropractor”.  As long as you’re in the area you practice in, your practice should come up. You really need to be in the top 3 search results to get new patients from your website. If you’re in the top 5 results you’re doing well. Below #5 and your website is not effective at all (except for a yellow page type listing for existing patients to look up your phone number.)

If your website is not in the top 3 listing, let’s look at the top 5 reasons why?

1.) Your website is new (under 6 months old).

Google is not simply about first come, first serve. But they are a wary of new websites. I’ve worked on sites that rank highly within 2-3 months, but this took a focused effort of giving Google exactly what it wants to see. So it might take a few months for a new website to rank highly. But you should still be doing everything right that in 3-6 months it will rank. It’s easier to set things up right from day 1 than it is to go back later and fix it.

2.) You are in a very large city (1 million+). Not a suburb, which in this case is considered a small town, but your practice is physically in a city like New York, Dallas, etc.

You can still rank in the top 3 in a larger city, but everything has to be done right. The competition is obviously much bigger. Sometimes you can choose a specific neighborhood and rank well for that, like” North End Boston” or “North Dallas”.  If your prospective patients are typing in these terms when they go online, you would be better off setting up your site for that neighborhood. Also, many patients are not going to drive across miles of traffic to see you, so it may be a better use of your time and money to focus on your local neighborhood.

3.) Your site is not optimized for certain keywords.

Keywords are what people type in when searching for help. The most obvious ones are chiropractor, chiropractic, etc. But there is a long list of keywords you want to rank for. Some others would be back pain, sciatica, decompression, and so on. Many chiropractors will pay thousands to Joe Computerguy to “optimize” their websites. Problem is that Joe Computerguy is optimizing the site for 1999 standards, messing with meta-tags and met-keywords. This is website basics. To rank high on Google you’ve got to play in the big leagues and optimize using the newest technology.

4.) You’re still using an old website layout

Moore’s law says that the amount of computer technology out there doubles every 24 months. But you wouldn’t know it looking at some chiropractor’s websites. Many doctors have websites for their office that look exactly like websites we all ad in the late 90’s. Technology has drastically changed with regards to websites, making it not only easier to build a webpage but much more inexpensive. Google loves a dynamic interactive website with regularly updated information. In areas where all the other chiropractors have outdated sites, you can just straight to the top of Google simply by updating yours.

5.) You don’t have enough backlinks

Google keeps a count of the number of websites linking back to yours. The site with the most backlinks, taking into account #4 above, will usually rank first on Google. To see how many websites you have linking to you, use a free checker like Backlink Watch. Run a few of your top competitors through there too. Do they have more backlinks than you do? If so you need to start building some more.

By constantly working on these, you’ll have a website at the top of Google in no time. Then you’ll be ready for some heavy duty chiropractic Adwords campaigns.

Does Anybody Read Those Long Ads?

Often doctors will ask a spouse or front desk CA to look over their ad before it goes to print. A common response these parties give when looking at a long copy ad, like the ones picture on the left, is “who’s going to read all that?” Sometimes these answers will influence the doctor’s decision to run the ad or not.

A professional marketer might ask the same question, but in a slightly different manner saying “is long or short copy more effective?”

Let’s take a look at what some of the best marketers over the past 100 years have said.

David Ogilvy, famous ad marketer, in his book Ogilvy on Advertising said:

“Long copy sells more than short copy, particularly when you are asking the reader to spend a lot of money. Only amateurs use short copy.”

Victor Schwab, How to Write a Good Advertisement

Mr. Schwab tells the story of Max Hart (of Hart, Schaffner & Marx) and his advertising manager, George L. Dyer, arguing about long copy. Dyer said, “I’ll bet you $10 I can write a newspaper page of solid type and you’d read every word of it.”

Hart scoffed at the idea. “I don’t have to write a line of it to prove my point,” Dyer replied. “I’ll only tell you the headline: ‘This Page is All About Max Hart’.”

Jay Abraham, marketing expert says:

Should your letter or E-mail be long or short? Make it long enough to tell a complete, informative, and interesting story.

Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerilla Marketing Handbook with Seth Godin writes:

Don’t be afraid to use lengthy copy. It’s been statistically proven time and time again that ads with more copy draw better than those with less.

Claude Hopkins, author of the classic book Scientific Advertising writes:

Some say, “Be very brief. People will read but little.” Would you say that to a salesman? With the prospect standing before him, would you confine him to any certain number of words? That would be an unthinkable handicap.”

As you can see, all of these marketing giants recommend a longer copy ad over a shorter one. Why? Because it works. More specifically, because long copy allows you to have all the effective components in the ad (like the important ones I mentioned in “5 Secrets to Powerful Chiropractic Ads“).

So who’s going to read all that copy?

A patient who’s looking for a doctor that finally understands them, that finally can relate to their problem, someone that has expertise with their condition that they’ve been suffering from. Put these elements in your long copy, niche-specific ad, and I guarantee patients will read it.

Here are a few cases where patients did respond to the ads. (This does not mean you’ll get exactly the same results as they did, as it’s likely yours would be within the range mentioned here.)

“We placed the your ad one time in our local Sunday paper at a cost of $331.50 for a ¼ page. We actually got a flood of new patients…19 with just one ad…amazing.” – Dr.’s Brian and Jessica Bell, Dickinson, ND
“We ran the ad in February and have still not collected the insurance money on these patients. So far, we HAVE collected $15,402.11!!!” – Denton James, DC, Ft. Worth, TX
“Last month we ran one of Dr. Beck’s “NeuropathyDr.” ads and we had 94 new patients, 82 started care.” – Dr. Richard Merritt, FL (recently stated on a NeuropathyDr call with Dr. John Hayes, Jr.)

So the point is save your short copy ads for the yellow pages, but use long copy in the newspaper, in direct mail and online.

Weight Loss and Chiropractic Marketing

Do you have a weight loss program in your office?

It’s no secret the “weight loss” market is a huge industry. Wikipedia reports that “between $33 billion and $55 billion is spent annually on weight loss products and services.” And this is not just a U.S. trend, but one seen in Western Europe ($1.4 billion in sales for 2009), Canada, and Australia. Weight loss has even gone prime time with the popular TV show “The Biggest Loser” where individuals and families compete for the greatest % body fat loss.

IBISworld, a market research company, made an interesting statement in their 2009 report on the weight loss industry. They said:

IBISWorld estimates that about 70 percent of American's dieting attempts
are of a self-help nature.  Although often short-lived, these diet fads are a
positive trend for this sector as Americans ultimately turn to professionals
to help them meet their weight loss goals.

Notice what they are saying. Most people try a weight loss program or diet on their own at home, but because these are “short-lived” the person seeks professional help. As professionals we must be asking ourselves if we should be in the weight loss industry as well.

Another fact to consider is that obesity (defined as BMI over 30) has become an epidemic in America. Obesity is the #1 cause of Type 2 diabetes and 55% of those who are obese will end up with diabetes according to the CDC. Heart disease and cancer are closely linked to obesity as well.

Done right, it can certainly help patients live a healthier life. In addition, your office can be seen as a holistic health clinic, not to mention bringing in a potential revenue increase. Also, it would not take much in to convince an overweight person they need a weight loss program because the media and their MDs have already done quite a bit of the work.

Taking everything into consideration, adding a weight loss program to your practice by year’s end could be a smart move.

I’ve kept this post short because I want it to be more of a discussion. Let’s here what you think.

If you’re already using a weight loss program in your office, comment below and tell us what you think are the pros and cons? If you’re not using a weight loss program in your office, what concerns are keeping you from doing it?

**UPDATE: We’ve had many comments that are simply advertisements for a weight loss product or service. These will be edited or deleted. No phone numbers, links, etc. will be allowed in the comments. This a discussion for chiropractors, not an opportunity to advertise products.**

Decompression Tables in Liquidation

Axiom Worldwide, LLC, the maker of the DRX and DRX9000 decompression tables appears to be in liquidation.

What does this say about the current decompression market in the United States?

Not much in my opinion. There are too many questions left unanswered to determine what the cause of their bankruptcy was.

Was it caused by the recession, meaning less sales on their part? Was it due to bad management, hubris born of success, or their recent troubles in Canada? Did it have something to do with the FBI raids on their office back in 2007?

We simply do not know.

What I can tell you is that if you own a decompression table, many people will be trying to use this as a marketing ploy to scare you. One company sent out an email to some chiropractors, trying to scare them into “buying” publicity websites so as to drown out the negative publicity for DRX tables on Google. I’m sure others will soon follow, using fear to motivate you to waste money on useless marketing.

So if you own a DRX table (or any kind of decompression table), what are you supposed to do in light of all this negative news?

As far as marketing your practices goes (which is my specialty, not law), I’m recommending my clients focus on growing their practices and getting more new patients. Decompression offices are still overflowing with new patients, as the need for such treatment has not dropped off and likely will not as the population ages.

Here’s one thing I would NOT do if I was your shoes…

I wouldn’t be using old outdated advertising that talks about “NASA claims”, “FDA Approved” or even mentions the name DRX or DRX9000. You see, that’s the problem with promoting the name of a piece of equipment instead of your practice. If the name of the equipment gets a bad rap, you’re up a creek without a paddle. But if you market your practice as designed to help people who are suffering with herniated discs, sciatica, etc., and a company goes bankrupt or gets bad publicity, it doesn’t affect you.

When I first started looking at decompression tables, I was told the DRX table was the only “true spinal decompression table”. That they would be patenting the term “spinal decompression” soon and no one else could use it. One prominent marketer (at the time) even had ads written for his clients. I personally would not be making this claim any more either, as it is likely not going to go over well with the current news about DRX tables.

Keep marketing the results of your table in an ethical and professional way. This is why testimonials are so important. You’ve seen patients get better. You’ve seen them get well, preventing back surgery or a lifetime of dangerous medications. So you know decompression works. The problem is not if it works or not, but how we market it. Do we make hyped up claims or simply use educational advertising with condition-centered copy?

Decompression is about results for the patients…not about any specific table.

Over the past few years I’ve proven educational ads focused on patient results provides the best results. This is why I write non-hyped up ads. NASA and walking on the moon has nothing to do with decompression tables, and it never has, therefore I don’t put those claims in my ads.

In the end, I’m sure all of this will blow over and be a thing of the past. But what about your practice? Will your practice be thriving or barely surviving at that time?

If you are thinking about getting a decompression table, but have not yet, I urge you to read my previous article on this entitled “Decompression Marketing Solutions“.