Backlinks are an important part of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. A lot of major websites spend a lot of time and money making sure that links to their websites get plastered all over the internet. We’ll talk about how backlinks work and two ways an audiology or hearing aid practice can start accumulating backlinks immediately.
I’ll address a question about using Twitter to market your practice. Personally, I don’t use Twitter much to market my personal practice. I think it can help, but with our demographic, there are a lot of other ways you can invest your time and money online that will likely result in a greater return for an audiology practice.
Here’s a nifty online tool you can use to save some money on your audiology marketing photos – TinEye.com. I’ll show you how in the episode.
I’ll be at AAA in Boston, so if you see me there, please introduce yourself. It’s always fun to meet fans of the show.
This episode of Audiology Marketing Now is made possible by The Virtual Audiology Marketing Symposium. Fifteen presentations from some of the world’s best audiology marketers, spread across 5 days, all sharing their best tips, tricks, and strategies designed to help you get new patients and explode your practice growth. It’s a 100% online event, and you can watch the presentations broadcast live for free. The symposium is being co-organized by Kevin St.Clergy and myself, and it’s really shaping up to be an event not to be missed. The symposium will run the week of Apr 23rd thru 27th, and you can register now – for free – at AudiologySymposium.com.- Coming up on today’s episode: Understanding how backlinks work, a question about using Twitter to market your practice, and a useful website that will change the way you shop for stock photos. I’m Matt Perry, and this is the show that helps audiologists like you get what they really want – more happy patients and more profits.INTROSo let’s talk about backlinks. A topic misunderstand by some and undervalued by many. First let’s define what a backlink is. Loosely defined, it’s a hyperlink on one website that, when clicked on, directs visitors to another website. The prototypical backlink is probably a blogger talking about how cool a particular website is. And they include in their blog post, a link to that website. So their readers can click on it and see how cool it is for themselves.
So that’s what a backlink is. But why are we talking about them? Well, backlinks are an important part of a search engine optimization strategy – or an SEO strategy. Your goal with SEO is to have YOUR website show up at the top of the search results when someone types a particular keyword or keyphrase. For example, “hearing aids in your city”. But the search engines don’t share the same goal of having YOUR website show up at the top. They don’t care about YOUR website, they want to show the most relevant and important websites for a particular keyword or keyphrase – so that their searchers keep using their site as their preferred search engine. Now there are hundreds, if not thousands of different factors search engines consider when ranking websites, and they’re pretty tight-lipped about what they actually look for in a website – so people don’t game the system too much. But we know that one quite significant factor is how many backlinks your website has pointing to it. If you have thousands of different websites around the world, all publishing links to your particular website, the search engines assume that your website must be pretty important – otherwise, why would all of these other websites be talking about it so much. Every backlink is essentially a vote in the world wide web’s popularity contest. You want backlinks.
Now the best way to get a bunch of high-quality backlinks is to do something remarkable and worthy of everyone online talking about. But that’s not exactly an easy thing for a local audiology practice to accomplish. But lucky for us, we don’t need to acquire a thousand backlinks to seem relevant to the search engines. On a small, local level, a dozen backlinks may be enough to give you a bump in the search engine results, and a few dozen can sometimes solidify your place at the top. So in the absence of a spectacular, newsworthy event involving your practice, what are the best ways to get backlinks to your practice website? Well there are number of good ways, but today I want to mention two specific ones that you can start doing immediately. The first is commenting on forums. There are a number of audiology and hearing aid related forums out there, and some of them could really benefit from some comments from good audiologists. Almost every forum these days allows you to setup a personal signature. The signature is what’s attached to the bottom of every post you make within the walls of that forum. Well, if you include a link to your website in your forum signature, every time you post a comment you get a search-engine friendly backlink to your site. How easy is that?
But here’s an even easier method. Leave comments in the comments section below blog posts. A ton of websites allow you to leave comments. And prior to posting your comment, most websites ask for your name, email address, and a website. If you provide a website (which is always optional), when your comment is published, your name becomes a hyperlink to your website. Leave a comment, gain a search-engine friendly backlink to your site. And you know . . . I just happen to know of a fantastic website for you to leave comments on. There are quite a few people watching this show these days – Episode 9 was watched by over 600 people. And 95 percent of the comments I receive are from spammers – people who understand the value of a backlink. So here’s your chance. Let us know what you like, what you don’t like, why you watch the show, why you’re never going to watch the show again, what kind of marketing has worked for you, or what you want me to talk more about. Comments are always welcome and they’re a great way to quickly accumulate some backlinks for your practice site. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section, below the video, at the bottom of the page, at AudiologyMarketingNow.com.Ask MattToday’s question comes from Bob in North Carolina. Bob asks: How much “twittering” do you do in your marketing (if any). And if you are, what are some of the typical tweets you send out? That’s an excellent question Bob, and one that comes up a lot when talking about social media. There’s no denying that Twitter is a big deal. While Facebook is the king of social media right now, Twitter is the very independent and powerful queen. But that’s to the general online market. Our kingdom is a little different. When we look at demographics, our market skews older and Twitter users skew younger. Therefore, at this time, I personally do not use Twitter much in my personal practice-building efforts. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to do. It’s probably a good thing to do. But in my opinion, there are so many better places to invest your time, that unless you’re mastering those already, it’s probably best not to spend too much time on Twitter – which is very easy to do.
If you ARE going to use Twitter, it’s VERY important that your content be of at least decent quality – which is NOT always easy to do in our industry, in 140 characters or less. But one way to use Twitter, which requires very little time and effort would be to announce via Twitter when you post a new blog post, or a new online article, or a new video to your YouTube channel. You can tweet out the headline, along with a link to the content. This is a great way to use Twitter. A horrible way to use Twitter is to bombard people with useless comments like “Waiting for a table Chilli’s right now – Love me them Baby Back Ribs” or “What’s up with the Bachelor this year?” That’s how not to use Twitter to market your practice. And probably equally ineffective is bombarding your followers with tweets like “For the best digital hearing aids available, visit Hometown Hearing” or “We love our patients. To become one, call us for a free consultation.” People didn’t follow you to be hit up with advertisements. And they won’t stay followers very long if that’s all you give them. But provide them with useful, relevant information and develop a relationship with them – as a human being – and they’ll keep listening – and eventually, they’ll make their way to your office as a patient. So the bottom line – Twitter can help, but make sure you’re mastering the other stuff first. And if you’re going to use Twitter to market your practice – make sure you do it the right way.
Tools of the Trade
You may have heard me talk about stock photos in the past. Those of you who have gone through my “Places For Audiology” course have heard me talk about them a lot. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a stock photo is a professional photograph that is available to purchase the rights to for commercial use. They’re also called royalty-free photos, because they can usually be used many, many times without requiring you to pay a royalty for each use. In most cases, you pay a few dollars to download it, and you can use it as many times as you want. They’re great – and unless you have the budget for a professional photographer and models every time you want to use a photo in a brochure, direct mail piece, or blog post – I highly recommend you check them out. Two great stock photo directories to start with are istockphoto.com and sxc.hu.
But here’s another great tool to use with stock photos. It’s called TinEye and it’s found at tineye.com. TinEye is a “reverse image search engine”. So you know what an image search engine is. You go to Google, type “man in a suit”, click “images”, and it displays a bunch of pictures related to “man in a suit”. Well with a reverse image search engine like TinEye – you find a picture of a man in a suit, and then you either upload it or type in its URL, and the search engine returns images very similar or identical the one you already found. TinEye claims that it can be used to (quote)“find out where an image came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or if there is a higher resolution version.”(end of quote) But it can also be used to find cheaper versions of stock images. Here’s how:
Let’s say you find a particular stock image that you want to get your hands on, but you’ve found it on a site that wants more money for it than you’re comfortable paying. Well enter that image into TinEye, and it will show you all the websites that host that image. Some of them will be from people who have purchased the rights to use the stock image for themselves, but others will be from sites that sell stock images – some for quite a bit less than others. Check it out at tineye.com.
And so we come to the end of another episode. Thanks again for watching – hopefully, you’ll be able to take some of what we talked about today an apply it to help you grow your practice. In fact, why don’t you tell us what specific action steps you’re going to take next – in the comments section at the bottom of the page at AudiologyMarketingNow.com.
And when you’re done that, don’t forget to head over to AudiologySymposium.com and register for the upcoming Virtual Audiology Marketing Symposium. Trust me – it’s gonna be good.
I’ll be running around at triple-A in Boston, so if you see me – please don’t hesitate to stop me in my tracks and introduce yourself. It’s always fun to meet fans of the show.
And be sure to tune in next time to learn more modern marketing strategies designed to get you more of what you really want – more happy patients, and more profits.