Veterinary website users fall into three groups: prospective clients, existing clients and your practice staff. The key to a veterinary website that works better for your practice is understanding four things:
- The differences in how the groups find and interact with your website.
- The importance of design and user experience once they arrive.
- How website content helps engage, retain and convert website visitors.
- How SEO, design and content work together to realize your practice goals.
1. The Pet Owner Journey Begins with Google
Whether a prospective client is looking for a veterinary practice or an existing client needs reliable pet health information or wants to schedule an appointment, the first step to your clinic starts with Google.
2. Different Needs Mean Different Search Terms
Prospective and existing veterinary clients Google different search terms, or keywords, to find your practice. So, it’s important to identify the keywords they use to position your website as the answer to their questions. For example, prospective clients seeking a new veterinarian commonly Google phrases like “veterinarians near me” or “dog spaying in Denver,” while existing clients typically type the name of the practice or pet health terms, such as “itchy dog” or “cat drinking excessively.”
Given the search differences, market-specific keyword research is critical to understanding how users find you and to building those keywords into your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. By doing this, you’re positioning your website as the go-to resource for trusted pet health information and helping both new and existing clients find you with ease.
According to 2020 Google statistics:
- 80% of existing clients use Google to find your website.
- The No. 1 position among the search results has a 10 times higher click-through rate than No. 10.
- The first three organic results account for 75.1% of all clicks.
3. Website Design and User Experience
So, you’ve drawn pet owners to your website. Now what?
The key to an effective user experience design is understanding what visitors hope to do on your website, then giving them an easy path to achieve it. To do this, use keyword research to understand their intent, and then provide organized navigation, clear and compelling calls to action, and a visually appealing website design to guide them through the process.
In addition, take things one step further by defining your website goals and framing your calls to action around those goals while always speaking to the user’s intention.
4. Use Content to Meet Goals
Your website content is why users visit. They’re looking for something to satisfy their objectives (or search queries). Your online content is the answer. By understanding your website visitors and what they’re looking for, you can create content that:
- Engages users and helps them achieve their goals.
- Solves a practice’s objectives of saving time, educating pet owners and generating revenue.
Your content might include practice protocols, pet health information, common procedures or services, or something as simple as contact information and appointment processes. Understand your users, define your goals and build the content around them.
In summary, put your website to work by:
- Developing an SEO strategy based on the needs and search terms used by new and existing clients.
- Creating a pleasing user experience design that frames pet owner intentions into practice goals.
- Developing a content plan that realizes both client and practice objectives.
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