These days, it is not enough to set up a great healthcare practice and hope that patients will walk through your doors by some miracle. You need to go beyond word of mouth to give you the results you want to achieve.
The internet has been integrated into almost every part of our lives. And that has turned the table on how people find your business. People now find products and services based on searches they make online 72% of the time.
Your potential patients are looking for you on the internet right now, and the reality is if they don’t find you, they will find your competitors. This happens 24/7.
Healthcare Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of your marketing and branding, and you need to invest in this area of your business if you aren’t already.
What is Healthcare SEO?
Let’s start at the beginning, SEO means Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of building your online presence and maintaining it in such a way that Search engines correctly index your website and display your content as relevant when users search for it.
When we say “Healthcare SEO”, we mean optimizing your health industry-based business’ website and content so that it gets found easily on Search engines. You could also call it “medical SEO”.
This is how new users will find you, and will eventually lead to dramatic growth in your healthcare practice.
Essential Factors of SEO for Healthcare Practices
There are many factors and elements related to SEO for healthcare that are similar to overall SEO practices. Some are tailored to the healthcare industry, but when you carefully combine the two, you will get great results just from organic SEO.
Apart from organic search results, other ways to drive traffic to your site via SERPs (Search engine result pages) are:
- Paid Search Ads, and
- Google my Business listings
Organic search results alone though can offer excellent benefits.
Here are important factors to consider in your healthcare SEO strategy for best results:
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is listing out those keywords that people are using to search for healthcare services that you provide. You have to put yourself in your potential patient’s shoes and find those words that lead them to your practice.
You can then build your website and web content around these keywords so that search engines like Google can index your website for those keywords. That way, when people search “Skilled Nursing Facility in Miami, FL”, your website will be at the top of the search results. Because you’re a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) in Miami, FL.
Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to help you find out the best-performing keywords that relate to your business.
2. Web Content
Focus on creating relevant and high-quality web content that users like. Content that attracts attention and promotes user engagement gets favored by Google. Google is all about great user experience. If your site is showing signs that users don’t like what you have to offer (for example, high bounce rate), you won’t rank high on SERPs.
Metadata is your meta description and title tag displayed on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This bit is very important because you’re speaking to the search engines directly using your website content, and at the same time speaking to users providing the results of the search query.
They have to include your main keywords in a way that sounds natural, inviting and tells the user what to find when they click on your link.
Your potential patients use these to judge whether your practice relevant or not.
4. Responsive Web Design and Page Speed
A site can look great on desktop but refuse to function the same way on Mobile devices. This website would be categorized as an unresponsive web design. Google doesn’t like unresponsive web design and will not rank those pages high on their SERPs.
To put it into perspective, mobile devices account for 52% of search traffic. Imagine losing more than half of your leads because your site doesn’t have a responsive design. As a business owner, you can’t risk this.
This is a list of the URLs on your website. It tells the search engine where they are and how to reach them. It helps the search engine crawler navigate your website and index your pages the way they should.
This document is submitted to Google Search Console and helps your SEO efforts. You can use Yoast SEO Plugin or Google XML Sitemap if your site is on WordPress. If your site is not on WordPress, you can use XML-Sitemaps.com.
6. Consistent Contact Info
It is possible to confuse the search engines. Your business name, address and other contact information like email and phone number need to be consistent across all platforms on the internet. These are also known as NAP. If they aren’t consistent, it’ll hurt your SEO campaign for your healthcare practice.
7. Local Search Marketing
In 2019, Junto published that 78% of location-based searches done on mobile devices lead to an offline purchase. The effectiveness of optimizing your site for local search cannot be stressed enough, especially for healthcare practices.
Since people have to meet the doctor in person, many healthcare-related searches are done with the closeness of the business in mind. For example, “Dentist near me” or “Dentist close by”. And Google states that half of the time, people who make those searches visit the business within 24 hours.
How can you take hold of this goldmine?
- Google My Business: Fill in your complete contact information, website, and location on your GMB profile. This way your business will be linked to your website and boost your local search marketing results.
- Local directories: Make sure you have your correct business name, contact info, and bio on local directories. Check sites like Doctor.com, Caring.com, Healthgrades, RateMDs, Vitals, and Yelp.
8. Social Media
Social media for Healthcare? Yes, you should take social media more seriously because of these:
- Backlinking: When your content is shared on social media in a positive way, this tells Google that you made great content which is then used as a form of backlinking to your content page.
- Engage followers and join conversations in your field: This will help you rise to a position of prominence in your field, and this kind of recognition doesn’t go unnoticed by Google.
- Join social media websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Fill in your information as much as you can, then post relevant and useful content from time to time. You can run a personal page alongside your business page.
Google has hundreds of factors they use to grade a site and decide if it is the best for the keyword it is indexed under. Some of those factors carry more weight than the others and we’ve just shared 8 of the heaviest ones with you. Start paying attention to these and your healthcare practice will gain better recognition online with great Healthcare SEO.
If you have any questions and would like more information on how to improve your healthcare SEO strategies, feel free to leave us a comment below or send us an email to [email protected].
Michelle Beltrame is a featured writer for Axford Creative, a Miami based marketing agency that focuses on structuring and developing marketing strategies for companies in the healthcare industry.