Here’s the deal. Every single day there are people in your community who are actively looking for a chiropractor. Years ago, people would flock to the Yellow Pages to find their next chiropractor. Today, people flock to Google. They type in things like chiropractor near me or chiropractor + their city or zip code to see how shows up and to read some reviews.

Back in the day, chiropractors knew it was in their best interest to be listed as high as possible in the Yellow Pages. The higher they were listed, the more new patients they would get. As a result, chiropractors would name their practice names like AAA Chiropractic since practices were listed alphabetically.

Today, chiropractors know that it is in their best interest to be listed as high as possible on Google. The higher a chiropractor is listed on Google, the more new patients they will get. But unfortunately, search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t as simple as changing the name of your practice to include as many A’s as possible.

Sure, there is some SEO benefits to having certain keywords in your business name. But the name of your business alone is far from the magic bullet for chiropractic SEO. There are many different factors that chiropractors need to consider if they are hoping to rank high on Google.

2 Big Chiropractic SEO Problems

There are often two big problems that chiropractors face regarding chiropractic SEO. First, chiropractors don’t know where to start with their SEO. Second, chiropractors often have unrealistic expectations about chiropractic SEO.

In chiropractors’ defense, SEO can be complicated, and chiropractors don’t go to school to be a chiropractic SEO expert. Also, their SEO expectations are often unrealistic because many chiropractic SEO companies will tell chiropractors the most ridiculous things in order to make a sale. It’s hard not to have unrealistic expectations when some “expert” has told you that you can be no the front page of Google in a week or two.

The BIG Secret to Chiropractic SEO

Often chiropractors are looking for an SEO secret that is going to give them the advantage over the other chiropractors in their area. Typically, chiropractors don’t want to hear that chiropractic SEO is complicated and that it takes time. They are hoping to find out that us SEO guys are keeping a BIG secret that will transform their Google rankings if they can just get one of us to spill the beans.

Good news…I’m ready to spill the beans. You ready to find out the BIG secret to chiropractic SEO? Here it is: If you want to get the best possible SEO results for your chiropractic practice, you have to do a lot of little things correctly, consistently. And even if you consistently do everything you can as correctly as possible…there are still SEO factors that are out of your control.

5 Chiropractic SEO Factors That Chiropractors Can’t Do Much About

It’s important for chiropractors who want to better understand chiropractic SEO to know that there are certain SEO factors that are out of their control…or at least mostly out of their control.

If a chiropractor learns these factors before they open their practice, it could help them decide the best place to setup shop. If they learn these factors after they have opened their practice, it can help them understand why their chiropractic SEO results may be better or worse than other chiropractors who are executing the exact same SEO strategy.

1.) The words that people are using in their search

This may seem really obvious to some, but it’s important to note. If a chiropractor wants to rank well on Google, they have to start by knowing what they want to rank well for. Every search produces different results. If someone searched “chiropractor in Nashville” it’s going to produce a different set of results than if they searched “chiropractor for kids”.

The best place to start with chiropractic SEO is for the chiropractor to answer the question, what are my potential patients searching for? When they know what their potential patients are searching for, they can start optimizing for that search.

The wrong way to go about chiropractic SEO is to optimize for terms that the chiropractor likes, but that not many people are using when they search. For instance, a chiropractor may love the word “wellness”, but very few people who are looking for their next chiropractor are searching the word “wellness” relative to the word “chiropractor.”

To get the best chiropractic SEO results, it’s important for chiropractors to focus their optimization on the terms that a high percentage of their potential patients are using.

2.) The number of Google searches in your area

Obviously, chiropractors can’t control the density of the population in their area. The number of people who live in a given area will dictate the number of people searching for a chiropractor.

If a chiropractor in a farm town in Kansas compares their search volume to a chiropractor in Dallas, they may be very disappointed. But that’s not a fair comparison. There are a lot more people searching for a chiropractor in Dallas because there are a lot more people in Dallas.

To get the best chiropractic SEO results, it’s important for chiropractors to have appropriate expectations and strategies for the area in which they practice.

3.) The number of chiropractors in your area

Chiropractic SEO is a bit of a numbers game. If a chiropractor is in a city with very few chiropractors, it will be much easier for them to rank high on Google across a larger area. If a chiropractor is in a city where there are a lot of other chiropractors, it will be harder for them to rank high on Google.

Even if a chiropractor in a city with a lot of other chiropractors ranks high on Google, they will rank high in a smaller area relative to the chiropractor in a city with fewer chiropractors. This is especially true for searches like “chiropractor near me.” In the case of “near me” searches, Google prioritizes proximity. Chiropractors who are closest to the person doing a “near me” search have a significant SEO advantage.

4.) The location of your chiropractic practice

Obviously, chiropractors can choose where their practice is located. But most chiropractors don’t pick their location with chiropractic SEO in mind, and they aren’t going to up and move their practice to a different city just so they can rank higher on Google. That’s why I list the location of a chiropractor’s practice as one of the chiropractic SEO factors that chiropractors can’t control.

When it comes to local SEO, especially Google Maps results, proximity is a major factor. Google knows exactly where each chiropractor is located, and it takes that location into consideration in local searches results. Because of this, chiropractors usually rank the highest in the area immediately surrounding their practice, and their ranking will decrease the further you get away from the physical location of their practice. This practically means a couple of things.

First, if a chiropractor wanted to rank well for “St. Louis chiropractor” it’s important that their practice is actually located in St. Louis. It’s almost impossible to rank well in Google Maps results for a city in which a practice is not located.

Second, since a chiropractor’s search rankings are naturally the strongest in the area immediately surrounding their practice, it makes sense to take an inside out approach to chiropractic SEO. Chiropractors should focus on strengthening their SEO rankings in their immediate area. It’s possible that their reach will expand into the surrounding area as their local SEO improves.

Some chiropractors attempt to optimize their SEO for a city in which their practice is not located, without ever attempting to optimize for the city in which their practice is physically located. That not a very effective chiropractic SEO strategy.

5. The age of your URL

All things being equal, an older URL will usually rank higher than a newer URL. What this means for chiropractors who are just getting started is that they need to be patient with their SEO results. Don’t expect to start a brand new website and 3 weeks later have it dominating in local search. SEO takes time, even when you do everything correctly.

With that being said, it’s important to note that the age of a chiropractor’s URL alone does not guarantee better search results. Time just gives a chiropractor the opportunity to build trust and authority with Google. If over the time chiropractor has had a URL they have done nothing productive from an SEO standpoint, or they have done things to hurt their SEO, time alone will not magically correct those issues.

6 Chiropractic SEO Factors That Chiropractors Can Do Something About

Successful chiropractors focus their energy on the things they can control, and they don’t worry much about the things they can’t. That’s the same approach that successful chiropractors take towards chiropractic SEO.

Yes, chiropractors should be aware of the chiropractic SEO factors that that they can’t do much about. But if a chiropractor really wants to optimize their local SEO, they need to focus their energy on the SEO factors they can control. While there are more than just 6 factors that impact local SEO, below is a list of 6 of the most important chiropractic SEO factors.

1. Your Google Business Profile

Every chiropractor should have a Google Business Profile. A Google Business Profile is a listing on Google that provides information about a chiropractor’s practice, including its name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and other details. This listing appears when someone searches for the business on Google, and it can also appear on Google Maps.

The good news for chiropractors about their Google Business Profile is that they are pretty straightforward to setup. The bad news for chiropractors about their Google Business Profile is there aren’t a lot of clearcut ways to optimize a Google Business Profile.

It’s important that chiropractors are listed in the proper category, and that they have their Google Business Profile filled out as completely as possible. If your practice has keywords in its name, it will benefit you. If your practice name does not have keywords in its legal name, it is against Google’s policies to add them to your practice name in your Google Business Profile.

In spite of what a lot of people think, geo-tagged photos, keywords in the description, keywords in products, keywords in posts, keywords in services, frequency of Google Posts, and setting a service area do not impact SEO directly. With that said, the quality of your Google Business Profile matters because it encourages user engagement. So adding engaging content will positively impact your chiropractic SEO if more people to interact with that content.

2. Online Reviews

Without a doubt, online review positively impact chiropractic SEO. Individual review signal factors include Google reviews, third-party reviews, review quantity, review velocity, and review diversity.

Over the last several years, online reviews have grown in importance for search rankings. It’s important for chiropractors to note that this isn’t limited to Google review. Third-party reviews it’s can also impact search rankings. It’s also important to note that keywords that appear in Google reviews impact search results as well.

3. Behavior

Google pays attention to how individuals interact with each chiropractor’s online presence. If individuals behave in a way that shows interest/engagement, Google considers that a positive sign and it helps their chiropractic SEO.

Some of the ways that Google assesses behavior is to look at click-through rates, mobile click to calls, and dwell time (how long someone interacts online with a chiropractic practice). Behavior signals are harder to manipulate than other chiropractic SEO factors. The best approach for chiropractors is to focus on high-value, engaging content, so they provide the best possible experience for people online.

4. On-site SEO

On-site SEO has to do with the actual words that are on a chiropractor’s website. This is probably the chiropractic SEO factor that most chiropractors are familiar with. On-site SEO factors include things like content keywords, keywords in titles, meta data, image tags, and domain authority.

It’s important that chiropractors choose the correct keywords when doing their on-site SEO. As a general rule, chiropractors are going to want to optimize for the word “chiropractor” and “(city name) chiropractor.” It’s not uncommon for me to find a chiropractor’s website that does not have the word “chiropractor” anywhere on their homepage. They will often have the word “chiropractic” but not “chiropractor.” That’s a chiropractic SEO mistake.

5. Backlinks

A backlink is anytime another website links to a chiropractor’s website. Each backlink is basically a recommendation from another website. Google looks at the inbound anchor text of each link, the linking domain authority, and the linking domain quantity to determine the value of each recommendation (backlink).

If a high-authority website links to a chiropractors website, that backlink is worth more from a chiropractic SEO standpoint vs a backlink from a low-authority website. That’s not to say that low-authority backlinks are worthless. They just aren’t as valuable as high-authority backlinks.

Something that chiropractors should keep in mind. Earning quality backlinks is often a difficult and time-consuming task. There are legitimate ways to get help with link building, but it’s important that chiropractors use a trustworthy SEO company. Chiropractors who try to hack the system by paying for a bunch of junk backlinks are going to hurt their chiropractic SEO instead of helping it.

6. Citations

A citation is anywhere a chiropractor is listed online with their name, address, phone number, and website. Google Business Profile, Facebook, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Apple Maps, and Bing Places are all common examples of citations.

Google looks to see if a chiropractors have a high volume of citations across the internet, and Google also looks to see if those citations are consistent. Many chiropractors are lacking citations simply because they never knew they were important. If a chiropractor has ever moved, or changed any of their contact information, they will have inconsistencies in their citations. Either of those situations will negatively impact a chiropractor’s SEO.

One of the comments that I often get from chiropractors when I talk to them about citations is that they don’t believe citations are important because they don’t believe that their patients don’t go to those websites. I don’t disagree with that. But that’s not why a chiropractor should optimize their citations. Chiropractors should optimize their citations because it matters to Google. End of story.

Local Pack (Google Maps) SEO vs Local Organic SEO for Chiropractors

This is a good point to stop and clarify something. When someone does a search for a chiropractor in their area, typically they will see 3 groups of results. First, they will see Google ads. Next, they will see the top Google Maps results. Lastly, they will see organic Google listings.

Most chiropractors don’t realize that there are two different types of local SEO. Local organic SEO and Local pack SEO are not the same thing. It’s important to know the difference because it will change your chiropractic SEO strategy depending on which one you are trying to optimize.

Local Pack (Google Maps) SEO vs Local Organic SEO for Chiropractors

This is a good point to stop and clarify something. When someone does a search for a chiropractor in their area, typically they will see 3 groups of results. First, they will see Google ads. Next, they will see the top Google Maps results. Lastly, they will see organic Google listings.

Most chiropractors don’t realize that there are two different types of local SEO. Local organic SEO and Local pack SEO are not the same thing. It’s important to know the difference because it will change your chiropractic SEO strategy depending on which one you are trying to optimize.

Local Pack (Google Maps) SEO for chiropractors

Local pack SEO, on the other hand, refers to the optimization of a chiropractor’s Google My Business (GMB) listing to appear in the Google Maps “local pack” or “3-pack” results. This is a list of 3 local chiropractors who appears at the top of search results for a specific location-based query.
Local pack SEO involves optimizing the information that appears in the GMB listing, such as the practice name, address, phone number, and hours of operation, as well as encouraging patient reviews.
The goal of local pack SEO is to improve the visibility of a chiropractor in the Google Maps results and increase the likelihood that potential patients will visit the practice.

Local Organic SEO for Chiropractors

Local organic SEO refers to the process of optimizing a chiropractor’s website to rank well in search engine results for specific geographic locations. This is done by including location-based keywords, such as the name of a city or town, in the website’s content and meta tags, and by building backlinks from other local websites.
The goal of local organic SEO is to increase the visibility of a website in search engine results for people searching for a chiropractor in a specific area.

SEO Factors Local Pack (Google Maps) SEO vs Local Organic SEO

I already mentioned 6 different SEO factors that chiropractors can control if they want to improve their chiropractic SEO. But it’s important to note that the 6 SEO factors are not of equal importance for both types of SEO. For instance, if a chiropractor got more online reviews, it would help their Local Pack SEO more than it would help their Local Organic SEO.

The good news is that there is a lot of overlap. The 6 SEO factors that will help chiropractors improve both their Local Pack SEO and their Local Organic SEO. When chiropractors understand which SEO factors are most important for which type of local SEO, it will help them decide which factors to focus on the most.

Most Important Local Pack SEO Factors

  1. Google Business Profile (36%)
  2. Online Reviews (17%)
  3. On-site SEO (16%)
  4. Backlinks (13%)
  5. Citations (7%)
  6. Behavior (7%)

Most Important Local Organic SEO Factors

  1. On-site SEO (34%)
  2. Backlinks (31%)
  3. Behavior (11%)
  4. Citations (7%)
  5. Google Business Profile (6%)
  6. Online Reviews (5%)

SEO ranking stats provided by Bright Local

Bad Chiropractic SEO Myths

One of the things that will kill a chiropractors SEO strategy is unrealistic expectations. When chiropractors have unrealistic expectations they will stop doing things they should keep doing and they will keep doing things they should stop.

Unfortunately, there are a TON of sketchy chiropractic SEO “experts” out there who will tell chiropractors anything to make a sale. Because of this many chiropractors believe things about chiropractic SEO that are simply not true.

It would be impossible to talk about every chiropractic SEO myth that is floating around. Here are 3 of the most common ones.

1. The Magic Bullet Myth

Some chiropractors believe that there is one big SEO secret out there that will allow them to dominate Google. But like I said before, there is no secret. There is no magic bullet. If you want to rank well on Google, you have to consistently do a lot of little things correctly.

Hopefully, chiropractors who have gotten this far in the article can already see that local SEO is complex. Chiropractors who keep looking for a magic bullet are going to keep struggling to rank well. They will focusing all their energy on 1 or 2 things instead of taking a more diverse approach to their chiropractic SEO.

2. The One-Time Process Myth

Some chiropractors believe that SEO is a one-time process, and once they rank well, they will continue to rank well in search results. However, chiropractic SEO is an ongoing process.

Google is constantly updating their algorithm and the competition for search rankings is always changing. If a chiropractor wants to rank well and continue to rank well, it’s best for them to make SEO a part of their ongoing marketing strategies.

3. The More Content Is Better Myth

Many chiropractors believe that the more content a website has, the better it will rank in search results. In fact, many chiropractic website companies believe the same thing. However, this is not the case.

Quality is more important than quantity. It’s better for chiropractors to have a few pages of high-quality content that is relevant to their target audience than a large number of pages with low-quality content.

Bad Chiropractic SEO Shortcuts

One of the best way for chiropractors to think about SEO is that they are trying to build a relationship with Google. Google is basically a referral source. When someone types in “chiropractor near me” they are really asking Google, “Who’s the best chiropractor in my area?”

When Google shows their search results, Google is telling the searcher who they trust the most. Essentially, the chiropractors who rank the highest on Google are the chiropractors who have the best relationship with Google regarding that particular search term.

SEO hacks and shortcuts may help a chiropractor improve their rankings in the short term, but they undermine the chiropractor’s long-term relationship with Google. Google is constantly trying to provide the best search results for their users. When Google sees a chiropractor is trying to game the system, it’s usually devastating for that chiropractor’s search rankings.

4 SEO Shortcuts That Will Hurt Your Rankings

It seems like every week there is some new “SEO expert” who has the secret to improving rankings. As a general rule, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. With that said, here are a few common SEO shortcuts that chiropractors try that I strongly discourage.

1. Keyword Stuffing

It’s true that a chiropractor needs to be intentional about using their target keywords on their website. I’m always amazed at how many chiropractors don’t have the word “chiropractor” on their homepage.

With that said, stuffing as many keywords as possible onto a website will NOT automatically result in higher rankings. Keywords should be on your website in a logical manner. Basically, a chiropractor’s content should read like a human being wrote it. It shouldn’t read like a 2007 computer barfed out a bunch of keywords and then posted it online.

Over the years, Google has gotten better and better at recognizing keyword stuffing. Google considers keyword stuffing a form of spam, and chiropractors who do it are likely to get penalized.

2. Google Business Profile Name Spam

It’s true that the words in a chiropractor’s Google Business Profile will have a significant impact on search results. For instance, a chiropractic practice named Nashville Chiropractic will have a lot better chance of ranking well for a “Nashville chiropractor” search than a chiropractic practice named Kennedy Chiropractic.

Because of this, a lot of chiropractors try to use keyword rich practice names. And there’s nothing wrong with that. A keyword rich practice name will have the opportunity to rank better than a practice name without keywords. Now the name of a chiropractic practice is definitely NOT the only factor that impacts Google Maps rankings, but it does have an impact.

Knowing that, some chiropractors try to game the SEO system by adding keywords to their Google Business Profile name. Instead of Kennedy Chiropractic, they will put Kennedy Chiropractic – Nashville Chiropractor as their Google Business Profile name.

The problem with this is that adding keywords to a Google Business Profile name is against Google’s content policy. Chiropractors are supposed to use their legal business name as their Google Business Profile name. Google considers added keywords as spam and chiropractors who do it can be reported and penalized.

If it’s important enough for a chiropractor to have certain keywords in their Google Business Profile name, the right way to do it is for the chiropractor to change their legal business name.

3. Online Review Bribing

Online reviews not only help a chiroprator’s local SEO rankings, but they also help build trust with perspective new patients. When someone searching for a chiropractor reads glowing online reviews about a chiropractor, they are more likely to schedule an appointment with that chiropractor.

It makes sense for chiropractors to have some sort of online review strategy. The right way to do that is for chiropractors who have a systems in place that allow them to consistently ask for reviews and that make the review process easy for their patients. The wrong way to do that is for chiropractors to bribe their patients for positive online reviews.

Offering patients a discount, a massage, or a chance to win a price are all ways that chiropractors have bribed patients for reviews in the past. Google is fine with chiropractors asking their patients for reviews. In fact Google encourages business to ask their customers for reviews. But Google wants chiropractors to ask everyone for reviews (not just happy people) and Google wants those reviews to be honest.

When a patient is bribed/incentivized to leave an online review, the review is much less likely to be 100% honest. Patients feel obligated to say only positive things, and that’s not the point of online reviews. Chiropractors who get caught bribing their patients for online reviews will likely have many of their reviews removed and their rankings suffer.

4. Buying Junk Backlinks

Backlinks are important when it comes to SEO. But quality backlinks are often difficult for chiropractors to get. Some chiropractors believe that by simply buying backlinks from other websites, they will be able to boost their search engine rankings. However, this is not the case.

Google looks at the quality and relevance of backlinks, not just the quantity. Buying backlinks can actually harm your SEO if Google sees that those backlinks are coming from junk sites and link farms.

Google can detect junk backlinks and can penalize or de-index a chiropractor’s websites for engaging in this practice.

It’s important to note that many legitimate SEO companies offer link-building services. A link building service that helps a chiropractor get quality backlinks is a legit way to improve chiropractic SEO. If you are a chiropractors who wants to use a link-building service, just make sure you are dealing with a company that you trust.

As a general rule, if someone is offering a lot of backlinks for cheap…they are junk. Walk away.

Final Thoughts About Chiropractic SEO

Chiropractic SEO is complex and there isn’t any one approach that is ideal for everyone. Sure, if a chiropractor has about $1500/mth to spend on SEO, it makes the decisions easy. They should pay for an optimized chiropractic website, pay for reputation management, and pay for some high-end SEO that focuses on quality content, quality backlinks, and citations. If that’s you, contact me. I can help.

But many chiropractors don’t have $1500/mth to spend on SEO. So they need to be a little more calculated when it comes to their chiropractic SEO strategy. Here are a few things to consider.

  • For most chiropractors, the first place I would tell them to start is with their website. The basic on-site SEO of a chiropractors website is the foundation of their SEO.
  • If a chiropractor is on a super tight budget, they may have to start by doing their own SEO until they can hire someone to help. I would encourage any chiropractor in that situation to join my NEXT Step program and to do a deep dive into the Quality Website section.
  • All chiropractors should have systems in place designed to help them get more online reviews. If a chiropractor has a small number of patients, I would discourage them from paying for a reputation management since reputation management provides greater benefits for medium and large practice. Chiropractors who have a medium or large practice, should definitely consider paying for reputation management.

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Jerry Kennedy
Jerry Kennedy

Chiropractor, Christian, husband, father, chiropractic meme wizard, podcast host, and founder of Rocket Chiro