SEO, or search engine optimization, is something every business should get familiar with, and this of course includes medical marketing professionals. A lot of patients, looking for information about their medical issues, will type keywords into Google or their preferred search engine, hoping for an answer.
Someone looking for information about breast cancer will type in something like ‘solutions for breast cancer’ so if you’re a cosmetic surgeon you might want to get on to the first page of Google results to attract clients looking for the type of work you offer, all without needing to pay for partnership deals or costly influencers to help you rank.
This also means a lot of other medical websites will rank for similar keywords and get clicks and traffic. Make sure, as a medical practitioner, your services don’t end with your local hospital or community. Showcase your services to a large sector of people and you will soon attract many new customers looking for the exact services you provide.
More about SEO
Before delving into the reasons why SEO is so important for doctors, we need to define what SEO actually is and why it’s so critical. SEO refers to fine-tuning your website, blog, online store, or product, in such a way they are visible to anyone searching for the terms in question.
Search engines aren’t limited to just Google and Bing, although those are by far the most popular two used. You can also use SEO techniques in freelance marketplaces, on social media and in freelance marketplaces.The main goal should be making your website more visible when people search for products/services you offer, leading to more revenue for you.
Through SEO, doctors can position themselves and their businesses to be highly visible to potential patients looking for their services. Let’s say someone types ‘what is the cure for an ulcer’ into Google, it will display the top websites corresponding to this particular search query, according to Google’s goals.
The main SEO goals for every doctor are:
- To position yourself to be highly visible to those seeking your medical services
- To propel a consistent number of new patients seeking the services you provide
- Appearing as a top local result whenever someone is looking for your services
The top websites appearing in such a search on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) get the most traffic. This means they end up with more patients and make more money. This is why SEO for doctors is a way of leveraging search engines to reach as many potential clients as possible.
Why SEO for Doctors is So Important
There are various reasons to leverage SEO for your medical and healthcare practices:
- Most people turn to Google with their questions. Anyone can seek help online from the internet from anywhere in the world. When a woman thinks she might be pregnant, for example, she is likely to Google early pregnancy symptoms.
- The top 4 web pages from the search result get the most attention. If you search for something on the internet, you are more likely to click on the results appearing near the top of the first page of results.
- The internet is a competitive place. It isn’t enough just to have a website. You need to optimize it to rank well because your competitors are all likely trying to do the same thing.
Benefits of SEO for Doctors
- The internet helps with brand visibility as well as accessibility. If someone types ‘emergency room in city name’ into a search engine, they will see a list of local emergency rooms based on their SEO ranking. If someone is searching for an emergency room, the odds are they will simply pick the first one that appears since they are in a hurry.
- Did you know 85% of Americans use the internet to look for health information? If you are able to provide a solution to their health issues, you can build a successful brand for yourself online.
- SEO allows you to generate huge traffic. 92% of patients search for medical services online so you can be sure of getting massive traffic to your website when you optimize your website for SEO.
How to SEO Optimize Your Website
There are various steps you need to take if you want to optimize your medical website for SEO.
- Use HTTPS to Secure the Website
HTTPS is something important to focus on when launching or improving your website. As far back as 2014, HTTPS has been one of Google’s main ranking criteria for inclusion on their result page. Not having HTTPS will reduce your traffic by scaring off potential patients with a warning and also list you further down the results page.
- Optimize the Site for Local Searches
One great strategy for doctors is optimizing their website for local search. This helps potential patients find you and learn more about your services. Websites that are optimized will stand out from all the rest among all the other local companies offering the same service. Local search results often include a Google map showing the business’s location.
Optimize your website for local search and you will be able to stand out among many companies offering the same as you. This will lead to better revenues for your side.
Pay attention to the following if you want to optimize your website for local search:
- Set up a Google My Business Account
Google My Business, or GMB, lets you list your business on Google so it can be shown on Google maps, Google Local Pack and Knowledge Graph.
- Add Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Google relies on relevant reviews just like any other online business. This is to protect their brand and name and sort the good businesses from the not so good.
- Describe the Business
Your Google My Business profile needs adequate information such as names, location, phone numbers, type of business, and more.
- Add Your Hours of Operation
Google needs to know what time you open and what time you close, so it can display the correct information on your profile.
These might sound like little tweaks but they can result in impressive results.
- Make Sure You Target the Best Keywords
It’s a good idea to put yourself in potential customers’ shoes as part of your SEO practice. This includes the integration of keywords customers might use when looking for your type of services on your homemade or website content.
Keywords are words or phrases people type into the search engine to look for specific solutions, services or products.
Researching and using the best keywords can help your website rank up quickly. Perhaps someone in your area is looking for something like ‘osteopath in Boston’. If you rank highly for that particular keyword phrase, you should be at the top of the search results.
- Create an Ideal Patient Customer Persona
One of the ways to excel at keyword research is to know exactly who your ideal patient is, and the best way to do this is to create a persona. Ask yourself who your ideal patient is, where they live, their age range, what makes them happy, what they want, and so on.
- Use Location-Specific Keywords on Your Website
Telling Google about your business is not enough. You must also add keywords including where you are located so potential patients are able to find you. So if your practice is in New York, for instance, you can add New York to the homepage as well as every page on your website to help you rank.
- Include Long-Tail Keywords on Your Site
Consider what people are going to search for when using Google or another search engine. Someone with severe eczema might search for:
- “How to stop having eczema” or
- “How to treat bad eczema”
These long-tail keywords are what potential customers might type in, so it pays to include such long-tail keywords in your website content.
You can find more examples of long-tail keywords using Google keywords planner, Semrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and more.
- Create Engaging, Conversational and Useful Content
Although the phrase ‘content is king’ has been bandied about for years, content is more the kingdom than the king. Content is absolutely everything, as far as SEO goes, although it isn’t limited to making blog posts. Different types of content you might like to consider for SEO purposes include videos, infographics and more.
Medical websites should include the following:
- Concentrate on Addressing One Person
Some people use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ when creating blog posts, and this sounds very formal and impersonal. This type of content tends to be dull and less productive. Keep the focus on addressing one person as though you were explaining something face to face in a friendly, approachable way.
If you write your content around the concept of ‘what’s in it for them’ you will be able to use the word ‘you’ often enough to come across friendly as well as knowledgeable and interesting.
- Create Useful, Actionable Posts
Every blog post should be planned and have a reason behind it. You aren’t just trying to create content for the sake of it. For this reason, endeavor to create helpful, useful and relevant content. It’s always best to write content your patients will read and make them want to take action. Something else worth doing is citing examples in the content.
- Include Scanners and Scrollers
Many site visitors will scan or scroll through your content rather than reading every word, so you need to grab their attention, especially these days when the internet is flooded with new content every single day. Don’t overcomplicate your posts either - make everything as simple as you can so it’s easy to read.
- Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
This one is more important now than ever, as more and more people are using cell phones or tablets to browse the internet rather than desktop computers.
Google prefers websites with responsive web design (meaning the site looks good regardless of what device it is viewed on) and that is actually an important factor in ranking. These are some good tips on how to make your site mobile-friendly and thereby improve SEO ranking:
- Speed Up Page Load Time
Google and Bing both use page load speed as an important ranking factor. Did you know that 53% of visitors using a phone or tablet will leave the website if it doesn’t open within 2 seconds?
- Optimize Your Images
Another important factor is optimizing your images for SEO. You can’t overlook this. All images used on your website should include the file name, title, caption (with relevant keywords) and alt text.
- Keywords with Relevant Tags
Google uses keywords to understand what your website is about, so it’s best to use keywords in key content areas like the H1, H2 and H3 tags.
- Backlink Building
Don’t underestimate the importance of backlinks because they help search engines to determine the authority and credibility of your website. It can be time-consuming to build backlinks but they are worth it in the long run for doctors’ SEO. Try guest blogging, which means posting on another relevant website, for sending links back to your own site.
Let Embarque Help You Take Medical SEO Even Further
There’s no such thing as too much interest or too many potential customers. Medical SEO is a great way to reach out to as many patients as possible who might be interested in your medical services.
There is a lot to absorb when starting out but good SEO is critical for success these days and investing in a sound SEO strategy will pay dividends over time, allowing you to get plenty of traffic with minimal effort.
Think of SEO as an investment which will result in better revenue. At Embarque our experienced SEO professionals can help your medical business grow exponentially. From keyword research to locating the best search terms to rank and creating the best SEO content which will convert means we are a great option to improve your medical SEO and boost your ranking.