How we are growing our Physiotherapy & Sports massage business during a pandemic

Most people looked at the Pandemic as all bad and it is obviously not good! But when we got REALLY quiet with patients we focused on what we could control and we worked harder and smarter to grow our Physiotherapy & Sports massage business during the pandemic.

Way back in 2001 when I started my Physio journey at University, I didn’t have a clue what the future held. Not only did I not understand how much there was to learn about Physiotherapy itself but I never would have thought that I would have to become a self-taught marketing and SEO expert!

So back in March just before the pandemic hit us in the UK we decided to try to update our website within the hosting company that we had always used and this didn’t go well and we needed something more specific to our needs.

Call in the experts: Netinspire


We decided that the best option was to get a complete website redesign and some SEO help from Netinspire, who were local to us and were highly rated on google of all things! This was the turning point!

Not only did they design and build the current website, which is amazing but they consulted with us about the idea of creating a website that could embed all of our YouTube videos, exercises and blog into an “all singing all dancing” website rather than the “bog-standard” one that we had before. This would take our site to the next level, ahead of our competitors and was worth the effort!

However, this was not to be taken lightly, because we then had to put in CRAZY amounts of time to get all the external content embedded into our new site with all the SEO stuff like metadata, alt tags, keywords, compressed images, etc. etc. not to mention getting on with writing new blog articles and more!

We really didn’t know what we were letting ourselves in for but the support from the team at Netinspire was inspired (pardon the pun!).

The Pandemic hit and Lockdown came!


Oh no! |We went quiet and some! We couldn’t even afford our mortgage! Our clinic in Stoke had to close due to being in a gym, Sports Massage wasn’t allowed, etc. etc. Right then we thought, we have all this time and we are going to use it to the maximum!

Weeks and months of 12 hour days getting RSI in my wrists and elbows, we set about the task of making this website a reality. Netinspire provided us with the template but we needed to do a lot of the donkey work.

Our new blog

I started to write blogs again for the first time in ages and I managed to be prolific at the start of lockdown when I had the time. I was churning out 5-6 thousand word articles with references to the hilt several times per week! All this content was very shareable on social media and was worthy of backlinks, which are vital for website ranking on google. Sure enough, google started to take notice and we got busier and busier in spite of the pandemic. Just imagine if we were in a more normal time, just how busy things might be then? This being said we would not have been able to put this level of work in if it wasn’t for the lockdown!

So how much did we improve on google?

The biggest growth area was for sports massage. For example, on January 30th 2020 if you searched on google for Sports Massage Stoke on Trent, then our website was position 48, which was page 4 of google! Fast forward to now, October 19th 2020 we are number one on page 1 of google!

Physio search terms also grew but had a better start point. So on January 10th 2020 if you search on google for Physio Stoke on Trent, then our website was position 12, which was page 2 of google. So today, 19th October 2020 we are position 1 on page 1!

Another search term was Physiotherapy Stoke on Trent and on 1st January 2020 our website ranked number 11 and now if you search on google for Physiotherapy Stoke on Trent we are first!

The highest ranked physio and sports massage stoke-on-trent

In fact, we have increased our keyword rankings exponentially from just a few to a few thousand and even rank nationally for some. So much so, that we even have a featured snippet for “Do Physiotherapists crack backs?”!

So overall for the last 28 days our website has been clicked on 793 times in google search and appeared in the search results for impressions 82.4 thousand times! Compare this to January 2020, where we had 136 clicks and 1.26 thousand impressions!

This is 5.8 fold growth in clicks from search and 65 times growth on impressions!

Now, this is google organic search but this isn’t the end of the story…..

Google my Business

In our research, we came across a lot of information on google my business, which is the maps listing at the top of the google search page and it lists 3 businesses in the map pack. We found that we had even more potential to rank in this area too. Even more amazing is that more people look for local business with this than organic search and we had never even tried to optimise this area!

Sports Massage review Physiotherapy review

First and foremost, we started to complete the information and post pictures and videos to make sure that the profiles were complete. We also realised that reviews were key to ranking and they obviously help customers to make their choices about booking in or not. We had always taken the old fashioned view of letting reviews just occur completely passively and we now know that this was foolish. We decided to ask our patients if they didn’t mind writing a review for Physio or Sports Massage and boom, they did. In fact, we came to realise that our patients are more than happy to write them but it just never crossed their minds to write one until we asked them. So, with all this happening Hawkes Physiotherapy started to rank for both clinics in Stoke and Talke in the map pack and quite often we have both in there.


Now we rank high organically on google search for Physio, Physiotherapy and Sports Massage in Stoke-on-Trent and have lots of reviews on google my business, meaning that we have a much more prominent online profile to go along with our usual word of mouth and social media generation of business.

All of this has resulted in real growth in patient numbers in both Physiotherapy and Sports Massage since the start of the year and we think that there is even more to come, if and when things return to normal from the pandemic perspective.

So we have a lot to thank the team at Netinspire for, and they helped us so much and guided us in everything but it doesn’t come easy, you have to work hard and put in the time to all the small stuff and this shows that it can pay off.

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If you need any further information or would like to book an appointment then call Hawkes Physiotherapy on 01782 771861 or 07866 195914.

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Online Physiotherapy

Put simply this is Physio done via either telephone or video over the internet. Skype and facetime are examples of this.

Contrary to popular belief online physiotherapy can be very effective and it can help the same injuries that face to face physio can help. I have helped many people with injuries such as disc prolapses, tennis elbow, neck pain and much more).