Optometry SEO ShakeUp 2020


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Google is changing things up yet again and the obvious question for us is—how does this affect optometry practices and optometry SEO?

On Jan 22, 2020, Google introduced a change to its expanded featured snippet view for various search terms. A website quoted for a featured snippet view will no longer also be listed on the 1st page of organic search results.

Wait…What Are We Talking About Again?

The featured snippet view is relevant information pertaining to a query plugged into Google. So, imagine a patient is trying to understand more about vision therapy. They might plug “how do you treat strabismus” into Google. The resulting excerpted information called an answer box or rich result is a featured snippet.

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Google Snippet Screenshot

Featured snippets come in various formats, depending on the topic and type of question asked. And they’ve been around for a while now. 

The update is that the same page quoted as a snippet will no longer rank organically on page one, even if it’s the strongest result from an SEO perspective. From Google’s perspective, the fact that it shows up as a snippet is enough of an SEO reward in and of itself. You will notice that the first organic result is from the American Academy of Ophthalmology—and entirely different page from the featured snippet from the American Optometric Association.

How Does This Affect Optometry SEO?


So...is there a problem here? Possibly. It all comes down to what’s called CTR, or, click-through-rate. Yes, the featured snippet gets a lot of views, but do people click through to the actual website at the same rate? When it comes to booking appointments at your practice, that’s the essential question. Patients aren’t booking if they aren’t on your website.

An online study on CTR’s isn’t encouraging. The #1 organic spot is still the flagship of a successful SEO and content strategy. When there is no featured snippet, this result averages a whopping 26% of all clicks. 

When there is a featured snippet, the snippeted website receives 8.6% of clicks, while the first organic result still gets the lion share of clicks at 19.6%.

What this means is that an authoritative and well-written page of optometric information and content might get featured as a snippet, and therefore lose out on that first organic spot where the real action is. 

What this proves is something we’ve known for a long time but is now crystalizing visually in the way Google presents information. In effect, having a single authoritative page is not enough to guarantee maximum clicks from potential patients. Look again at the screenshot. 

The reason the AOA shows up as the first organic slot in addition to the featured snippet is precisely because they have multiple pages of authoritative content related to the question, “how do you treat strabismus?”

What Does This Mean for My Practice

Currently, it isn’t clear the extent to which this will affect local searches for services, which tend not to produce a featured snippet. However, when it comes to advanced optometric services you offer, it’s precisely these kind of questions you want to be found for in your wider area.

What this means is that now, more than ever, minimal content will not do you much good. You need a broad, rigorous content strategy if you want to be the local expert, leader, and educator on the optometric services that matter to your practice.

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Our area of excellence is well-written, researched, and authoritative content and SEO. That’s what puts our clients on the digital local landscape and drives real patient growth. Would you like some help in order to help more patients? Talk to one of our optometry marketing experts about the content strategy that’s right for your practice.


Did You Know?

At EyeCarePro, we make SEO optimized and beautifully designed homepages and location pages on a daily basis. Interested in learning more? Fill out the form and schedule a call with us. An optometry marketing expert will be happy to discuss the location optimization strategy that will work best for your online presence. Call Today 201-591-4350


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