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Internet Marketing Part 2: Location

Before we dive into the next common problem with birth business websites, I want you to think about how you find websites.  Pretend for a moment that you are going to do some infrequent home maintenance, maybe you need to repave your driveway.  How are you going to find information about professional driveway paving companies in your area?

Will you start at the National Driveway Paver Association and look for a link to someone near you?  Probably not until a last resort.

Will you search for a database of links to driveway pavers and look for one in your area?  You might search through a list if you find it, but like everyone else you will stop when you realize the number of bad and redundant links (a fate to which only the most well maintained internet link lists are immune)

Chances are the majority of your search will be conducted on a search engine using variations of the keywords:  driveway paving AnyTown.

If this is how the average person searches for something on the internet, you need a website that helps the search engines understand that you provide birth services in your town.  A search engine only knows what you put on each web page of your site, and thinks of each page as a separate entity.

So what does this mean?  Your website must clearly state the services you provide, and the area you serve on one page.  Here is an example:

Better Birthing Services

Doula and Childbirth Educator in Boise Idaho.

Here is another example:

Welcoming Hands

Central Indiana’s Home birth Midwife  

It is OK to have a separate services page which breaks down your fee schedule.  But what I want you to understand is that if you list services on one page and your service area on another, or not at all, your website will become very, very unimportant to the search engines.  This is because the little bit you say about midwives or doulas will be compared to the little bit every other website says about midwives or doulas.  When someone searches for a doula in your area, the search engine will look at all the pages it has about doulas and first list the ones that talk about doulas and that area.  Then it will rank all other doula webpages in order of importance – and due to the sheer volume of this type of website yours won’t be very important.

Being listed on other websites is helpful because search engines like to know that other websites think your website is important enough to link to.  But being listed on other websites is probably not going to get you the kind of traffic you would get if your website accurately listed your services and location.  Even worse, being listed on a website as providing services in an area, but not listing that area on your website means potential clients have to decide your business is worth the risk of emailing or calling to make sure you really do provide services where they think you do.

If you are afraid you will lose potential clients by listing your location too specifically, then think about the most broad term that locals use to define your area.  When I lived in New York, I lived in the “Capital District” which included three main cities in close enough proximity that I would act as a doula in any of the three.  My webpage might have looked something like this:

Welcoming Hands

Midwifery Services in New York’s Capital District

When I lived in Michigan using only the broad term of “West Michigan” would have included two cities I would not have been willing to drive to for doula work. By listing my home base city I could avoid getting doula calls from people I was unlikely to serve, but still received childbirth education calls from people who were willing to drive to me.  My webpage might have looked something like this:

Better Birthing Services

Childbirth Education and Doula Services in West Michigan

Serving Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo

Time to go check your website.  Google the services you offer and your location to see if you come up, then go make sure your services and service area are clearly listed on your main webpage.

 

 

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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