Managing Your Practice

Get more patients with backlinks

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By soliciting and developing credible links to your Web site from other sources, you boost your visibility in Google search results—and can attract more patients to your practice. Here, tips to get you started.



The medical profession has its jargon. So does the Internet world. Some of that jargon can be important to your success. “Backlinks” or “inbound links” are terms that should get your attention.


By developing them, you can attract more patients to your practice.

Backlinks are one piece of the Internet marketing puzzle that can help get your Web site on the first page of Google search results.

And just how important is it to be on page 1?

Well, consider that 91.5% of Web surfers do not go beyond the first page of results. That’s what an online advertising network called Chitika found when it examined tens of millions of online ad impressions in which the user was referred to the page via a Google search.1

Just what are backlinks? They are links to your Web page from another site. In basic link terminology, a backlink is any link received by a Web page, directory, Web site, or top-level domain from another, similar site. In this article we discuss the importance of these links and ways to use them in your social media to attract new patients to your site and your practice.

Start with good site design
If you can get listed on the first page of Google search results for the keywords your patients are using, more traffic will come to your Web site. That won’t help if you have a poorly designed site that has no patient conversion strategies, techniques, and systems to transform Web site visitors to patients.

You see, everything has to work together in a coordinated, integrated manner if you want to increase the number of patients who are looking for your services online. We’ve covered many of the basics in earlier articles on Web site design and improvement (see the box below). If you have a nonoptimal site, consider starting with these articles.

Articles on Web design and Internet usage by Ron Romano and Neil H. Baum, MD

5 ways to wake up your Web site
April 2015

Using the Internet in your practice
Part 1: Why social media are important and how to get started
February 2014

Part 2: Generating new patients using social media
April 2014

Part 3: Maximizing your online reach through SEO and pay-per-click
September 2014

Part 4: Reputation management: How to gather kudos and combat negative online reviews
December 2014

These articles are available in the archive at

Why backlinks are important
Google uses more than 200 algorithms to rank your Web site. Some are more important than others and have a greater influence on search engine positioning. Backlinks are one of those important influencers.

The number of backlinks you have is an indication of the popularity or importance of your Web site. Google considers a site more significant or relevant than others if it has a large number of quality backlinks from other directories, ezines, blogs, and social media Web sites. These backlinks must be relevant to your keywords. For example, because you are a medical professional, a link to your site from the American Cancer Society or the Mayo Clinic is considered more credible than a link from a local spa or health club.

A search engine such as Google considers the content of the sites it places at the top of the search results page. When links to your site come from other credible and popular sites, and those sites have content related to your site, these backlinks are considered more relevant to your site.

If backlinks come from sites with unrelated content, they are considered less relevant. You may even be penalized by Google for adding backlinks that have no content value.

For example, if a Web master has a site that focuses on urinary incontinence and receives a backlink from another site with information or articles about urinary incontinence, that backlink will be considered more relevant than a link from a site about mortgages that somehow also includes urinary incontinence on its page. Therefore, the higher the relevance of the site linking back to yours, the better the quality of that link.

Top 7 inbound links—and how to obtain them
1. Directories
Directories are indexes of online sites, typically organized by category. You want to ensure that each of your keywords is manually submitted to each directory so it is listed separately. This way you get maximum link value for each keyword.

Links back to your site from directories such as Yahoo Directory and are valuable. is edited by humans. Although it is free, it may take some time for your site to be added. A listing in Yahoo’s Directory costs $299 per year.

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