Veterinarians: Think bigger than blogging

Veterinarians: Think bigger than blogging

There's a better way to educate pet owners and drive more visitors—and potential clients—to your veterinary practice's website.
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Oct 24, 2012

I recently wrote an article stating that veterinarians shouldn’t be allowed to blog. And now that the dust from the resulting uproar has settled, a lot of veterinarians are left wondering—so what should I write? The answer is simple: Anything that drives new visits to your practice’s website. Let me explain.

If you’re a good writer, and I’ll assume you are, you shouldn’t waste your time entertaining a small audience with a blog on your own website. Whoever’s reading your blog on your website is probably already a client, right? So if your goal is to generate new website visits—and new clients—you should be writing for external publishers and generating inbound links to your site with favorable, keyword-rich anchor text. Here’s how to get started:

First, create a list of the top local news and opinion websites in your local area (consider local websites like Patch.com or your local news organization’s website). Next, contact the editors and express your interest in writing a weekly online column. If you don’t have time for weekly content creation, aim to do it on a monthly basis. Chances are, unless you live in a metropolitan area, you’ll likely land a spot, since smaller organizations are usually starved for free content creators like you. But here’s the key: When discussing the opportunity with the editors, be sure to negotiate into the deal that you’ll be able to specify the anchor text of the link in your biography at the end of your articles.

What’s anchor text, you ask? They’re words in a hyperlink that take you to another website when you click on them. Search engines like Google use these links to determine what keywords websites rank for. If numerous sites on the web are linking to your hospital with the keywords “New York City veterinarian,” your website will start to rank more authoritatively for those keywords than other competing, local veterinary websites. Make sure to publish articles with anchor text in your biography that has the most desirable keywords you can come up with. Once your rankings improve, you can switch out the keywords in your anchor text—anything that you want to focus on.

And finally, if you want to get fancy, create a new landing page on your website specifically for articles that you publish externally. Be sure to include contact information for your practice on that page, plus a web form that allows new customers to easily make an appointment. And since you’re a savvy practice owner and already have Google analytics installed on your website, you can actually track the web traffic you get from the articles you published. If you don’t have the capability to create landing pages, head over to a URL redirection site, such as bit.ly, that has real-time link tracking. You can create a shortened URL for your hospital and track the clicks through their system. Just remember to provide the shortened URL as the link in your biography’s anchor text if you want to track clicks from your articles.

My take-home message here is clear: Writing for external publishers can help you generate new clients through search engines. More people will read your article on an external site than your own website, and if they like what they read, they may just give your practice a try.

Jed Schaible, VMD, MBA, CVPM, is director of market communications at the veterinary purchasing group Purchasing Services Inc. Follow him on twitter @JedSchaibleVMD. Did you notice the link building in this bio?

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