In today’s world, where everything is digitalized, it is important to stay on top of strategies that help enhance your online presence. SEO (search engine optimization) can help any business that has an online footprint. SEO can help your facility stand out from competitors, even bigger, more established ones, in a competitive market like the medical industry, and eventually get more patients. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, like all businesses, healthcare practices also had to turn to online means of existing. Today it is a norm to have a user-friendly online interface, allowing people to easily connect with you.
Medical practices are now looking to attract more attention from prospective patients online. You can opt for local news media to advertise, a pay-per-click strategy, or word-of-mouth referrals. However, in today’s digital era, these approaches are no longer sufficient to raise brand awareness and provide a competitive advantage. Search engine optimization is the most effective strategy for increasing online exposure and traffic to your website.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
In layman’s terms, search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of improving your website in order to increase its visibility in Google, Microsoft Bing, and other search engines whenever people search for the services you offer or information on topics in which you have extensive knowledge and/or experience. The higher the ranking and visibility of your pages in search results, the more likely they are to be discovered. The goal of search engine optimization is to help attract website users who will become loyal and returning clients.
Keyword research, on-page optimization, technical optimization, link building, and content creation are just a few of the methods used in SEO. Long-term planning, testing, and optimization are essential components of an efficient SEO approach. It can help companies to acquire more recognition, credibility, and eventually, revenue. But it’s vital to keep in mind that SEO is a complex and constantly changing field that calls for knowledge, experience, and a thorough grasp of search engine algorithms and best practices. Agencies like North Rose Technologies LLC have well-established teams consisting of experts who are constantly aware of the changing trends and build the best-suited strategies for your business.
The practice of optimizing a healthcare facility’s online presence to attract more awareness and visits from search engine users is known as healthcare SEO (or medical SEO). Every company has a different path for boosting search traffic, particularly those in the healthcare sector. A broad range of health services, including doctors, medical recruiters, equipment, software, and pharmacies, can benefit from search engine traffic. Your website can score higher in search engines by adjusting certain elements and promoting positive online mentions from other domains. For the majority of healthcare practices, a medical SEO approach has proven to draw consistent, relevant leads.
While SEO can propel your healthcare practice to the top of the search results, ranking isn’t the only goal. You want the visibility you’ve built up naturally to bring in more relevant visitors to your website. More patients who discover your website through search engines will be genuinely interested in your healthcare services or information if you have quality website traffic.
Importance of SEO in the healthcare industry
SEO is perfectly in tune with how many patients discover doctors or look up health information online. Without it, you’d be giving up numerous opportunities of acquiring patients who are looking for your services. This is not to suggest that referrals are outdated, but patients now use online resources twice as much as they do referrals. You’ll need a high SERP ranking to get your practice in front of these potential patients. High rankings are required because most search engine users only look at the first few organic results on Google. In reality, the top five organic listings receive approximately 68% of all clicks.
Another major plus that healthcare businesses can get from SEO is positive online reviews. This is because before selecting a doctor, 71% of respondents consult online evaluations and only about 20% of respondents trust personal suggestions more than online reviews. A good healthcare SEO plan leads to new patients, sales, and leads.
Benefits of Healthcare SEO
- Brand awareness and online visibility: One major advantage of SEO for your healthcare website is that it can majorly improve your online visibility. SEO strategies are intended to improve your site’s visibility in search engines by leveraging content and website usability enhancements. Google’s algorithm is constantly being updated in order to reward websites that provide helpful content and a good website experience. A website that loads quickly and provides straight answers to questions and searches made by users tends to see an increase in organic traffic.
However, you must remember that your practice’s website links may not always be clicked on each time it appears on the first page of search engine results. Consistently occupying one of the few top SERP positions, on the other hand, is just as beneficial as it increases business awareness. Consistent exposure is required for your practice to remain deeply embedded in the minds of potential patients.
- Quality leads and traffic: SEO tactics can help drive traffic to your website, but they can also help you drive relevant traffic. Healthcare SEO, therefore, produces high-quality leads because it allows you to target a specific demographic of patients that are interested in the medical services you offer. While ranking for generic health-related queries can drive organic traffic to your website, not all of those visitors are likely to become patients or clients. You want to attract users who are looking for medical assistance, a hospital, a doctor, or information about a particular procedure.
For instance, if a user searches on Google for “primary care physician near me,” your relevant healthcare pages may appear on the SERP if they are correctly optimized for this search phrase. As a result, the majority of customers who come across your medical practice on SERPs are likely in need of your services. When these prospects view your clinic’s website, they have a high chance of engaging and converting. A good digital marketing team can help create pages that direct users to contact you, set up appointments, or make that initial contact, in addition to SEO strategies used to increase your position on search engine results pages.
- Long-term benefits: While paid advertising is an option for medical practitioners, it is usually more expensive in the long run than SEO. You may have to incur some SEO expenses at first to get significant organic traffic, but that’s about it. If you’ve published highly optimized content, you can expect it to generate more organic traffic and continue bringing in new patients for a long time. SEO is worthwhile even after accounting for the costs of updating your medical material because you are not charged for each click.
- User-friendly: Almost everyone looking for health information turns to their devices. People use their mobile devices to not only look for information but also to schedule appointments nowadays. There are two essential SEO strategies to consider. Local SEO is a technique used for improving your ranking for searches performed for specific locations. You can improve your ranking for contextual location-based searches such as “urgent care near me,” by working on content on your healthcare website. Additionally, making your site mobile friendly is a powerful method to increase traffic from mobile searches. Even if your website has excellent information, if it is not mobile-friendly, search engines may not rank it high for mobile users.
- Brand authority: SEO helps in the establishment of brand authority, which is a critical success element for healthcare businesses. This is because Google is all about user experiences, and as more patients visit your site from relevant search results, Google takes notice. Google determines that you are a domain expert that offers meaningful healthcare services and amenities to your website’s visitors. This is based on high patient engagement levels on your website.
- Competitive edge: To ensure that your patients come to you first for medical assistance, you must be able to capitalize on local search trends and new content possibilities. You can build trust amongst visitors coming to your website by offering relevant content and a better website experience. Consider your website to be a shop. The way it appears creates the first impression. When compared to a more contemporary site with recent content, an outdated website with broken links tends to give users the impression that you are not reparable. Updating your website’s material can demonstrate to users that you are an active healthcare practice.
Top SEO Strategies
By employing appropriate SEO strategies to get your medical practice in front of the right users, you will position your website to outrank your competition.
- Relevant Medical Keywords: You want to target the right keywords for your healthcare practice when optimizing your content. Your first point of contact should be the medical services you provide, as that is what the majority of searchers will be searching for. Avoid “stuffing” numerous keywords into the content, it will defeat all your intents and purposes. Google has been known to penalize websites if it detects a ‘spam’ strategy.
Instead, incorporate specific, long-tail keywords into your content in a way that is pertinent, readable, and natural. This will not only set you apart, but it will also start to attract the patients you want: those who reside in your geographic area and are looking for the specialized expertise you provide.
- Visual Elements: One of the most popular methods for people to consume content is via videos. Videos on websites can increase inbound traffic. As people spend more time on those sites after watching the video, it lengthens a user’s stay on the website and signals to search engines such as Google that there is something valuable on the page. When optimizing your website for SEO, include pertinent, high-quality videos alongside your content wherever possible. Many users are likely to be attracted to the video content over 600 words of plain text. This optimized visual content could be a virtual tour of your facility or an informative film on a medical condition.
Your website should also include a range of images and infographics. The more interactive and engaging the website is, the more users it will attract. Make sure that all images on your site have appropriate alt text. Image alt text helps visually impaired users and Google crawlers comprehend what’s on the page. This is a great chance to use some of your keywords without overcrowding your page.
- Content Pages: Your content pages should be packed with useful information and be keyword-optimized. In the medical industry, you want your content to help improve the lives of your visitors. High-quality content is king for healthcare companies, whether it may be a detailed description of your services or blog posts that addresses particular queries.
Google holds medical websites to a much higher standard than other sectors. This is because these sites have the potential to influence users’ future health. Low-quality material on these sites can result in harmful or unintended medical consequences. When developing content for your healthcare website, keep your target audience in mind. By creating long-form educational material, Google will recognize you as an industry authority, increasing your rank.
- Off-site factors: Offsite indicators such as links to your site and social media traffic are just two examples of factors that can affect your search results. While social media is not a direct ranking factor, it should be one of your top priorities when it comes to offsite SEO. The content on social media pages can have a huge impact on a patient’s choice of hospital or treatment center. Many users look at social media evaluations before making an appointment. This is why you should keep your social profiles up-to-date and relevant to your business’s operations so that users can engage with you in many ways.
In terms of links, you should also ensure that spammy links aren’t possibly harming your SEO performance. Publishing relevant, keyword-optimized material on your standard web pages, blogs, and landing pages is an effective SEO strategy for medical practices. “What phrases would a patient search for on Google when looking for services like mine?” you might ask. By developing an effective plan, you can improve your practice’s online visibility and website engagement, allowing you to attract more new patients. Hiring a professional team makes healthcare SEO all the more easier. This is because a team of experts studies your practice in relation to your competitors and devices a custom plan that highlights your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some Healthcare SEO best practices?
Conducting thorough keyword research, optimizing on-page elements such as title tags and meta descriptions, creating high-quality and informative content, building quality backlinks, improving website speed and performance, and ensuring mobile responsiveness are all examples of Healthcare SEO best practices.
How long does it take to see results from Healthcare SEO?
The length of time taken to see results from Healthcare SEO depends on a number of variables, including the competitiveness of the keywords you are targeting, the quality of your website, the strength of your backlink profile, and the level of competition in your local market. In general, significant improvements in your website’s search engine ranking and traffic can take several weeks.
Can Healthcare SEO help my practice or organization grow?
Healthcare SEO can help your practice or organization grow significantly by attracting more prospective patients to your website, increasing lead generation, and ultimately driving revenue growth.
Do I need a professional to handle my Healthcare SEO?
While it is possible to manage Healthcare SEO on your own, working with a professional who has experience and expertise in the field is often beneficial. A professional team can assist you in developing a complete SEO strategy, conducting extensive keyword research, optimizing your website and content, tracking and analyzing your results, and continuously improving your SEO efforts.