In today’s digital world, patients are increasingly taking a more active role in their health. From researching health-related information online to checking hospital rankings and physician reviews, today’s patients are better equipped to make more informed healthcare decisions. In fact, 80% of adult Internet users have searched for health information on the Internet. Additionally, 77% search online before booking their appointments and 66% look for information regarding a specific disease or medical problem. So, if your practice is not reaching this growing segment of the patient population, it is likely your competition is.
How can you reach these potential patients online? Google has taught us that search is indispensable in the patient journey, and it is the number one driver of traffic to websites. Practices seeking a digital marketing strategy should consider some of the following medical SEO tips to improve their online visibility.
1. Know the significance of medical SEO-
What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why do you need it? SEO is the process of utilizing various methods, techniques, and tactics to increase the number of visitors to a website and maximize rankings in search engines.
Why is this important? It is necessary to increase the possibility that your website will be displayed in the search when a patient is looking for related information. Without leveraging SEO, it may be more challenging for potential patients to find your website. Search engine rankings can be critical to a practice website, considering that 75% of Internet users do not scroll past the first page of results.
2. Choose relevant medical keywords-
Keywords play a significant role in SEO and are critical to driving more traffic. Choosing relevant medical keywords and incorporating them into your website is a crucial component to every SEO strategy. When selecting medical keywords, be specific and think quality, not quantity. It is also important to think like your patients. For example, rather than using the keyword “physician” consider “family doctor in Naples.” Other questions to ask when choosing keywords for your website are:
- Which services are most performed or requested? (Hip replacement, Knee replacement, dental implant, breast surgery, Botox, etc.)
- Which services do you want your practice to be known for? Which services are most profitable?
- Are your medical SEO terms patient-friendly? For example, some patients search for the term “back surgery” as opposed to “Laminectomy.”
Selecting the most relevant keywords can sometimes be tricky. Crafting content around those keywords will also increase your probability of ranking well in search results.
3. Create original content-
One of the best ways for a medical practice website to rank highly in search engine results and attract qualified potential patients is through quality content. There is no substitute for unique, engaging, informative content published regularly. Quality content attracts, educates, and connects website visitors.
Content should include blogs, white papers, videos, infographics, e-mail newsletters, E-books, and more.
It is considered a best practice to update a website at least once a week. One easy and effective way to keep a website updated with fresh engaging information is through blogging. In general, your patients’ interests should drive content. Additionally, if you optimize your content for people (rather than search engines), your rankings will always improve.
4. Utilize local search marketing-
According to Google, almost 73 percent of all online activity is related to local searches. Therefore, it is critical to have your practice information listed on sites such as Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, Vital, Healthlinks, White Pages, Yellow Pages, and HealthGrades to improve rankings in organic search.
5. Optimize website for mobile users-
Mobile Devices are a patient’s constant search companion. Roughly 1/3 of patients use tablets or mobile devices daily for research or to book appointments, according to Google. Additionally, 60% of all healthcare-related searches are made via mobile devices. It is critical to ensures your website is optimized for mobile users.
6. Encourage patients to write physician reviews-
Do online reviews impact search engine ranking? Yes. There are many factors included when determining search ranking, but online reviews do have a direct impact. Positive patient reviews not only give your practice great online references, but they also allow your website to score better on search engine results and overall website rankings. One of the most effective ways to improve your SEO is to encourage patients to leave positive reviews. Very satisfied patients are typically more than happy to oblige.
7. Capitalize on the benefits of social media-
It has long been debated as to whether or not social media has any impact on SEO and Google rankings. However, there are many benefits to using social media, which is why it should be considered as an essential part of your overall marketing mix. Social media can help drive referral traffic, increase your visibility, build loyalty, and improve conversion rates. Some of the most popular social media sites include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.