For many medical professionals, just hearing the words “search engine optimization,” or SEO, can be intimidating. But bringing traffic to your practice’s website is important for new patient acquisition, and the days of attracting site visitors with just content are long gone. Historically, healthcare SEO techniques were centered around headlines and keywords. But now, search engines are becoming more intelligent. They take things like user experience, site blogs, and social media into account when ranking your webpage in the search results, so gaining organic visibility is a bit trickier.
Healthcare SEO is becoming increasingly important, because if potential patients cannot find your practice in their search results, you miss an opportunity to gain new patients. In order for your content to be seen on the web, it has to be optimized so that search engines can “read” them.
Choosing the Right Keywords for Healthcare SEO
Although having the right keywords doesn’t automatically equate to an effective healthcare SEO strategy, they are still a very important part of gaining website traffic. The keywords you use on your practice’s website tell Google what your site is all about.
A convenient way to find keywords is through Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This tool essentially helps you figure out what kinds of search terms are used most frequently when searching for topics related to your keyword at hand.
For instance, you could type the keyword “ENT doctors in Manhattan,” and the Keyword Planner might tell you that people search more frequently for “ear nose throat doctors New York City.” You would then want to use the Keyword Planner’s suggested keywords, because those are the search terms people will use most frequently. Creating content around these relevant keywords improves your chances of being seen in search results.
If you don’t have access to the Keyword Planner, you can think of all the questions potential patients might ask about your practice. For example, if you are a podiatrist in Brooklyn, they might search for “best podiatrist in Brooklyn,” or if they’re a Brooklynite, “podiatrists near me.” You can also make a list composed of words patients frequently use when talking about your practice’s medical specialty.
Using Patient Reviews to Your Advantage
Studies show that most people now find their medical providers through doctor review sites like Healthgrades® and ZocDoc®. 56% of Americans are smartphone users, and many of them use their mobile devices to search for healthcare.
Positive patient reviews are instrumental in building a trustworthy reputation for your practice. Ask patients for reviews after each visit. This shouldn’t be too difficult, since many patient review services like ZocDoc® prompt patients to rate their healthcare experience immediate after their office visit.
To collect feedback on your practice, you can send out a newsletter, asking your patients to review your practice on Google or Yelp. Or you can display a sign in your office informing patients on how and where they can review their healthcare experience online. When patients visit your website, you can also provide links that prompt them to review your practice.
Interesting and Unique Content for Your Website
For your medical website, there is no substitute for original and compelling content. While a good healthcare SEO strategy is a key component in attracting site visitors, it’s not the only thing you should take into consideration. After all, you create content for readers, not just search engines.
Regular content updates are fundamental for improving your website’s Google ranking. Updating your website at least once a week will keep your site relevant and attract more readers.
Types of content also play an integral role in increasing site traffic. You can include different types of content on your website by including the following:
- Videos and podcasts
- Blogs, site pages, and whitepapers
- Infographics and calculators
- Apps and eBooks
Writing a blog for your practice is one of the most effective ways to keep your website updated regularly, improving your healthcare SEO. Websites with blogs get 55% more traffic than sites without blogs.
Insert Reputable Inbound Backlinks
Backlinks are links on a webpage that lead to any other page. Google uses inbound backlinks (links that direct to another page on your practice) to rank your website’s authority. If your website contains relevant and useful inbound backlinks, Google will rank your keywords higher in search results.
However, you cannot just use random links to trick search engines into ranking your website higher, because link farming is recognized and ignored. Writing original content, through building blogs and other pages on your site, will help increase your number of reputable inbound links over time.
Links are another great way to gain search traffic, since you can share links of your website’s content to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you have video content, be sure to post it to YouTube, and share the link on social media.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine, and is an important part of SEO. When you post to platforms that align with your target audience, you increase awareness of your practice. Sharing links on social media is a convenient way to increase site traffic and link-back potential.
Making Your Website Searchable for Locals
Medical practices rely on site visitors who live in the same area your practice located. The goal of gaining site traffic then, is to acquire new patients who will schedule office appointments. Google cites 73 percent of search activity as local searches, so managing your local presence is a top priority for healthcare providers. For example, if you are a physician located in Queens, you’ll want your practice to appear on the first page of search results when potential patients type in “physicians in Queens.”
We hope you’ve gained some useful insight regarding SEO for your practice’s website. For more information on increasing patient volume with MedINFOtech, be sure to check out our book, Medical Practice Marketing: New Patient Acquisition Methodologies.