Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business with an online presence. And it is vital for any business looking to attract new customers to its physical location. Let’s dive into content ideas and tips for medical practice SEO strategies to help you get more patients through your front door.
1. Medical SEO To Attract New Patients
A 2021 systematic review showed that 83% of people use the internet for healthcare-related searches. Following COVID-19, this number has likely increased. Your potential patients are searching for solutions to their medical problems online. This means you need to implement the relevant healthcare SEO strategy for them to find your practice.
Stand Out Online and Enhance Brand Recognition
Your content must be informative and actionable to stand out from the competition online. Once you’re confident your content is high-quality and accurate, you can further distinguish yourself from the competition.
Creating attractive and engaging content like infographics or videos is a great way to help your website stand out. Not only is this content more accessible to people, but it’s also more likely to be shared on social media.
When using strong visuals, keep the style on-brand and consistent. This way, users will get the information they seek and instinctively link it to your brand.
Build Trust With High Search Rankings
Another vital way to build brand trust and recognition is regularly appearing at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). This high ranking indicates that Google trusts you, meaning people searching on Google are likelier to trust you.
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)
Your money or your life (YMYL) is Google’s term for web pages that could impact a site visitor’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability. In addition to the medical field, finance, legal, news, e-commerce, and education are all covered under YMYL. Web pages that pertain to these topics face extra scrutiny from search engines because of the immediate impact low-quality information could have on searchers.
Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT)
Google places a high priority on high-quality content that genuinely helps site visitors. This standard is even higher for medical websites, as substandard content can lead to real-life health consequences. This needs to be a high priority when planning SEO for medical websites.
A well-maintained blog is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise in your field. Cite other well-respected sources in your posts. You do not have to write the blog posts yourself, but you should ensure one of your medical experts checks it for accuracy before publication.
2. Improve Patient Experience and Engagement
Ensuring visitors to your website have a good experience is critical to gaining high rankings on Google. People will click off your website if it is slow or hard to navigate. This will negatively affect your site’s bounce rate and, subsequently, your overall rankings.
Enhance User Experience and Retain Patients
Ensuring your site has robust technical SEO is the foundation for any SEO efforts. Make sure your site loads quickly, is secured with HTTPS, is mobile-friendly, and offers accessibility features for people with disabilities.
Optimize Website Navigation and Accessibility
Navigation and accessibility are both critical for a medical practice’s SEO. If you are a healthcare provider offering multiple services, you must have a page dedicated to each service, and links to each page should be easily located on the homepage. Making it easy for potential patients to find the details of a treatment they seek is crucial for a good user experience.
Accessibility is vital for every website, but perhaps non more so than for a medical practice. You must ensure anyone can easily access the site. This means correctly labeling buttons that may not be obvious to the colorblind, providing adequately descriptive alt text on images for those using a screen reader, and ensuring colors and text offer enough contrast so they are easily read by the visually impaired.
Engage Patients With Valuable Content
You know your patients and the type of questions they ask in real life. These questions should provide the basis for the content you create. Once you have carried out keyword research and competitive analysis, you will know precisely the type of content that will get you ranked at the top of SERPs.
Use videos and infographics within your blog posts and throughout your site. This type of visual content is more easily consumed and shared by visitors. Also, remember to have a clear FAQs section so visitors can quickly find answers to their most pressing questions.
3. Dominate Local Market With Targeted Reach
Consider additional local SEO factors when you have a physical location serving your community. One example of this is the use of longtail keywords. This means that instead of focusing on a short keyword like “medical practice,” you will focus on keywords like “family medical practice in Naperville, Chicago.”
Local SEO for Providers
Offsite factors also play a significant role in healthcare search engine optimization. It is essential to ensure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all platforms they appear on. If you have multiple locations, they all need to be distinguishable and have up-to-date contact information.
Optimize Google Business Profile and Local Directories
The number one directory you should focus on is your Google Business Profile. Fill out all of the NAP information and add your hours of operation. You can also add more information regarding your industry and services.
Remember not to “set it and forget it” with your Google Business Profile. Engage with customer questions and respond to reviews. This level of interaction provides more value for your customers and improves your SERP ranking.
You will also want to claim your business on other directories to ensure all your information is accurate. Bing Places for Business, Yelp, and Facebook are just some other accounts you’ll want to keep up-to-date. You don’t need to spend time constantly posting on all platforms, but it is good to check them for reviews.
4. Establish Trust in the Healthcare Industry
Establishing trust should be a top priority for any healthcare provider. It is crucial to manage your online reputation. A 2020 online review found that 90% of respondents used online reviews to evaluate physicians, and 71% used online reviews as their first step when finding a new doctor.
Online Reputation Management
Cultivating and managing your online reputation will play a big part in the success of your overall medical SEO marketing plan. Engaging with the community through reviews and trustworthy citations builds your website’s authority and increases search rankings.
Proactively Manage Reviews
Both the quality and quantity of reviews are essential for building trust. Set up a system where you routinely ask customers for an honest review of your medical practice. Remember, you cannot offer any incentives for good reviews, which is against Google’s terms of service.
Set up alerts on your profile to get notified whenever a new review comes in. Whether they are positive or negative, take the time to offer a personalized and thoughtful reply to the reviewer.
Build Trustworthy Backlinks and Citations
Getting high-quality backlinks and citations from websites with established authority will improve any site’s authority score. This can also be helpful for local SEO.
Part of local SEO is building authority within your community. Consider sponsoring local events or a children’s sports team. Call the local paper to let them know you’re available to comment on newsworthy medical topics. The links you’ll gain from these locally authoritative sources will skyrocket your local rankings.
5. Long-Term Success and Sustainable Growth
Now that you know what to do, what can you expect from your search engine marketing efforts? The first thing to note is that results will take time. SEO is a long-term strategy that, when done correctly, can yield compounding benefits over time.
Long-Term Benefits of SEO
The benefits of SEO accumulate over time. When you gain a new high-quality backlink, it helps increase your authority score. When you keep gaining backlinks, your authority score can increase exponentially. Any new content you put out will be viewed more favorably by Google because of your authority score and will rank higher than similar content from less established healthcare providers.
Cost-Effectiveness of SEO vs. Traditional Marketing
On the surface, SEO is free, while traditional marketing is not because you pay for ad placements. But it could be more complex. SEO is typically more cost-effective than traditional marketing, especially over the long term. It does, however, require expertise and time at the start.
Setting everything up correctly with good technical SEO practices and a well thoughtout keyword research strategy is crucial. It puts you in a great position to reap the rewards of new patients finding you through search without you having to do much on the back end.
Creating a plan for ongoing content creation and link building is critical to building your website’s search ranking. You should have a content creation calendar to ensure you’re regularly answering patient questions. This helpful content will naturally attract backlinks from other sites.
Develop Your Healthcare SEO Strategy Today!
When you’re ready to take your medical practice to the next level and start receiving new patients via organic search, book your free strategy session with Sure Oak today.