Can search engine marketing work for dietitians and nutritionists, and help them find new clients?
Over the past 10 years I’ve helped lawyers, therapists, and small-to-mid sized businesses find new customers and clients online using search engine marketing. And, there’s no reason this isn’t possible for private practice nutritionists and dietitians as well.
Each and every single day, thousands of people migrate to a single place to find answers to their health problems. They come in search of weight loss diets, diabetes management tips, and foods to boost their brain. Often times they find answers from people who aren’t even dietitians, or who have little credibility to offer nutrition advice.
In case you haven’t guessed where this magical place is, it’s called Google… the most famous and widely used search engine of all. It’s the gateway to the internet. And, if you have a dietitian or nutrition practice, you absolutely have to be there.
Why SEO is Important for Dietitians
Okay, SEO, what is it? It stands for search engine optimization. It’s a general term that applies to a number of different tactics and marketing practices that help your business rank in Google’s search results. Of course, there are other search engines too, like Bing and Yahoo. But, since 80% of online searches are done on Google, we typically refer to Google. Plus, all of the SEO tactics that help you rank on Google, will help you rank on the other engines as well.
So, you can probably guess why SEO might be important for any business, right? We discussed this a little bit above. But, let’s dive in.
I believe there are three huge reasons why dietitians need to care about SEO, especially if you have a private practice.
1) Google Is Where Your Clients Are
Think about it. Where do you think people look when they need to hire a therapist, doctor, mechanic, dentist, or any other service provider in their area? Or, quite simply, where do you look?
Yeah, Google. That’s where I start.
If you know people, or are well connected, you might ask friends or family. But, what if you’re new to town? Or, what if your not comfortable asking people for a good doctor, or dietitian?
People turn to search engines partially because their questions can be asked anonymously. Plus, there’s an answer to be found for any question you can think of… the accuracy of the answers might be questionable, but that leads to the next point.
2) Your Expertise is Needed
Like I was saying – if someone’s asking the question, someone out there is answering it. And, they’re answer is probably wrong.
If you’re a dietitian you can see how this is applicable. The internet is full of diet experts who believe “I eat therefore I know”. Yet, eating every day doesn’t qualify you to provide nutrition advice, and neither does taking one class, or doing 90 hours of online research. In fact, giving advice with these kinds of qualifications is arrogant at the least, and downright irresponsible at the worst.
Unfortunately, lack of qualifications rarely stops people from marketing nutrition advice.
This is why the internet needs more dietitians to market their voice and knowledge. By creating a website, or blog that weighs in on different diet topics, you can help better inform people. And, I think we’ll all agree that nutrition is a place that society could use some better quality information.
3) The Competitions is Still Relatively Low
As if you need another reason to care about SEO, here’s one more.
Do me a favor. Open up a new tab on your internet browser, and do a Google search for “dietitians near me”, or “dietitians in [my city]”.
What do you see?
Here’s what I get.
Notice that near the top of the search result you have a map with several different listings. In my example, you’ll notice that only one of these providers are a dietitian. The others are doctors. You’ll also notice that only one of the listings have any reviews. Also, only one of the listings for has the hours of operation listed.
These are referred to as the “local search results”, and they vary based on where you’re searching. But, they can give you an idea of how competitive your local competition is. Typically, you won’t find may dietitians or nutritionists listed, especially compared to other service providers such as therapists or doctors.
There’s one other simple way to find out how competitive your area is for SEO. Use the following search phrase in Google, but replace “Seattle” with your location:
- allintitle:seattle dietitian
This will tell Google to only return results for pages that have “seattle dietitian” in it’s title, which tends to be a good indicator of whether or not a page is optimized for that phrase.
When I do this search, I get 812 result pages, highlighted above. That’s a lot of pages. But, if you were to do that same search for “seattle lawyer”, you’d get 45,000 results. So, as you can see, the competition is much higher in other industries. But if you’re a dietitian, there’s still plenty of room to compete more easily, and show up in search results.
The SEO Best Practices for Dietitians
Okay, so how do you optimize your business for search engines, without getting bogged down in the details?
- Create a Website that’s Search Engine Friendly
- Optimize Your Page Titles and URLs
- Setup Your Google Business Listing and other Directory Listings
- Create Quality Content to Help Your Clients
- Track Your Progress, and Repeat
Just kidding. These SEO best practices aren’t as complicated as dietetics, or biochemistry, but they still take some time to learn. Plus, you’ll need more details to effectively apply them.
Digging into all of the SEO specifics is beyond the scope of this blog post, but that’s why I’ll be dedicating a blog post to each one of these topics, to help you understand and apply the basics of SEO to your dietetics practice.