As a medical professional, you want to help as many people as possible, but to do that, your website has to be visible in organic search results. Seventy-three percent of consumers use search engines to research health treatments and look for the best doctors to address their health problems. The right SEO strategy can help ensure your practice appears as the most prominent and authoritative.
An increasing number of people rely on search engines for information about health conditions and healthcare providers. Medical organizations are responding by increasing spending on digital marketing, boosting the amount of money put into strategies like SEO by 15.4 percent between 2015 and 2016. With your patients using search and your competitors bumping up their marketing budgets, SEO is more important for differentiating your practice than ever before. Search results have been shown to bring in 39 percent of customers, making SEO an essential part of any medical professional’s marketing toolkit.
Because of the wealth of health information available online, patients are becoming savvier and more selective about how they choose medical facilities. Eighty-thee percent of hospital patients check out a hospital’s website before booking an appointment, and 61 percent visit at least two sites. They’re looking for reliable professionals with solid reputations, and they view practices ranking high in search results as the most reliable. To achieve this prominent ranking, you need to understand how to implement the best SEO tactics.
Healthcare SEO is a long-term strategy, so you can’t just put in a few hours and expect your practice to soar to the top of search results pages. You need to be patient and consistent to ensure your site outranks both competitors and the host of popular but inaccurate sources of “health information” scattered around the internet. Taking a multifaceted approach and focusing on the niche of your medical practice using these four common tactics can put you on the right path to a high rank and better visibility.
If you look at statistics gathered by medical marketing services, it quickly becomes clear that your website must be optimized for search before you start implementing other SEO strategies. Conversions alone aren’t the only goal. You want prospective patients to click through and spend time on your site, reading content and getting answers to their questions. Google’s newest algorithm equates time spent with relevance and will adjust search results accordingly when users click away after only a few seconds.
Since 49 percent of patients begin by searching for a specific condition or disease, you need to make sure they can find the information they’re looking for when they arrive on your site and can easily contact you to make an appointment. Place the name of your practice, the address and the phone number in the header or footer of your site, and create a dedicated contact page with a map. Incorporate short and long keyword phrases into your content, and test your site regularly to make sure all of the links lead to the correct pages, providing a smooth user experience on both mobile and desktop platforms.
Local directories like Google My Business provide information about your practice to patients using local keywords or searching from their mobile devices. Optimizing for local search helps you capture traffic from the 62 percent of smartphone users relying on their devices to look up health information. Local results are highly visible in mobile searches, so your SEO strategy should include location-based keywords on your website and in your content along with claiming the most relevant local listings.
Listing your practice on websites like HealthGrades, ZocDoc, RealSelf, Doctor.com and Doximity builds a network of citations essential for better search rankings. These sites not only show search engines your practice is legitimate but also provide a place for patients to leave or read reviews. About 82 percent of patients visit and rely on review websites, and 54 percent use these sites “often” or “sometimes.” Reviews build trust, so once you’re listed on medical directories, have a way to point current patients to your profiles to leave feedback about their experiences at your practice. High-quality reviews make up more than 10 percent of the ranking factors used by search engines and help instill a sense of trust in patients.
When another prominent site in your niche links to your practice, search engines see it as a sign of the relevance and worth of your content. However, links from low-quality sites suggest your site may be unreliable or spammy. To avoid being penalized for low-quality links, your link building strategy must be focused. Get in touch with your referral partners, the suppliers affiliated with your practice and any organizations you donate to, and ask about exchanging links for mutual SEO benefit.
Providing informative content to media websites is another powerful strategy for link building. You can write articles, set up interviews on prominent podcasts, create and share helpful guides or answer questions on sites like Quora to get your name seen and collect more links back to your site. If you’re participating in local events, each link on event websites or local event listings can help boost your rankings.
Eighty percent of Americans go online for health information, but consulting “Dr. Google” can cause problems when inaccurate or outdated articles from bloggers and others without medical expertise rank higher than content from actual doctors. Therefore, taking the time to create your own content in the form of blog posts, infographics, fact sheets and videos not only helps improve your search rankings but also provides reliable answers to the most common questions prospective patients have when researching medical professionals. Content is your chance to stand out by showing patients what they can expect when they visit your practice. Thanks to the growing popularity of live video, you can even leverage the power of question and answer sessions to help patients “get to know” you.
Focus on creating high-quality, actionable content prospective patients will want to share, and promote it through your social channels. Forty-one percent of consumers say social media content is “likely” to influence their choice of medical establishments, so having a mix of your own posts and content shared by interested followers increases the influence your practice has on your target audience. Medical marketing services can help you optimize your social media presence, but only you can put an authoritative voice behind all the content you share.
To know how to move forward with healthcare SEO, you need to understand how effective your current strategy is and where changes are necessary to maximize visibility and drive patient traffic. Having an actionable plan is key to successful medical marketing, and an SEO audit from SEO Direct can reveal what you need to prioritize right now to remove roadblocks preventing your practice from achieving the search rank you want. By looking for duplicate content, problems with indexing, consistency of contact information and many other factors, SEO Direct gives you a clear picture of exactly what your SEO strategy needs to be fruitful.
Let SEO Direct help you transform the online presence of your medical practice from obscure to authoritative with onsite and local SEO services designed to bring your website into the top results on search giants like Google. You want to focus on helping patients, not worrying about search algorithms. SEO Direct has the tools you need to develop and deploy a sustainable SEO strategy for your medical practice while allowing you to put your time and energy into what matters most.