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.

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  1. Joseph Doughty, D.C. says

    Dr. Beck,

    Thanks for this post. I think some of the confusion comes in when doctors are taking advice, reading blog posts and learning SEO and search from experts in non-related industries. Chiropractors deal primarily with “local search”, requiring much different SEO strategies than “global search”. It is too large a topic for Chiro’s and too competitive to DIY. Back in the 90’s, sure, but not any more.

    Another great tool I use to get a clear picture of all the incoming links as well as the number of pages on a website:

    Yahoo’s site explorer

  2. says

    I currently have the #1 and #4 ranked sites for Seattle. I am finding that it is getting harder and harder to maintain top ranking. It is great to have resources like this for inspiration.