In today’s business climate your business needs to be on page 1 of Google in order to capture searchers looking to buy your goods or services now.
Search engines have long since replaced the yellow pages. And with the addition of mobile search, more people use a mobile device to quickly locate businesses than any other source.
Contact us today to learn how digital marketing can get your company’s website ranked on the 1st page of Google to start getting you more patients!
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What is Healthcare SEO?
Healthcare search engine optimization, commonly referred to as healthcare SEO, is a popular marketing practice that enables healthcare providers to obtain visibility on the search engine results page (SERP) through organic (non-paid) means. Each major search engine such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo use slightly different ranking algorithms when determining which results to show first when an online user types in a query.
Healthcare SEO doesn’t focus on any one thing exclusively, such as making sure each page on your website contains a specific keyword density. Truly effective healthcare SEO provides value for the reader on every page. It also incorporates helpful inbound and outbound links and is structured in a way that is easy for search engines to understand.
Why is SEO Important for Healthcare Professionals?
The majority of website traffic today comes from a search engine query. It’s one of the best types of traffic your healthcare organization can receive because it’s free and targeted. That means the person completing an online search is already looking for the products or services your healthcare organization has to offer. Knowing which word and phrases potential patients type into a search engine to find a practice like yours is just the start of an effective healthcare SEO campaign.
According to a Pew Research Study reprinted by NBC News, approximately 63 percent of Americans use the Internet to look up information about a health condition or problem before contacting a doctor. Another 47 percent review information about a treatment or procedure online before finding a medical provider to discuss it with in person. An investment in healthcare SEO means that a few lines of print about your organization on the SERP will lead these information seekers to your organization’s website.
Current Healthcare SEO Trends
In an industry that evolves as rapidly as this one, keeping up with healthcare SEO trends isn’t always easy. As a client of NextStep Solutions, you benefit from our years of experience in monitoring and staying ahead of marketing trends. The following are three examples of current healthcare SEO trends that we expect to only grow larger as we get to 2020 and beyond.
1. Voice-driven and mobile healthcare SEO: Digital assistants, including home devices like Alexa, smartphones, and mobile devices like tablets are more popular than ever. Additionally, one in five searches today is a voice search rather than a typed one. This will become even more of a popular option for people conducting healthcare searches who may have limited mobility in their hands or poor vision. Another thing to understand is that more people conduct mobile searches today than they do using their laptop or desktop computer. A good healthcare SEO campaign recognizes these realities and targets healthcare consumers where they search for information.
2. Healthcare SEO must include social media marketing: Patients are increasingly turning to social media to help them decide the type of care they need and which doctor they should see. They tend to view healthcare organizations with a social media presence as more open, transparent, and willing to communicate with patients than those without any social media accounts. A strong healthcare SEO campaign that enables your organization to rank on page one of the SERP could lead potential patients directly to the social media pages of your healthcare business. It is equally important that someone monitor the page and respond to feedback in as close to real-time as possible.
3. Content marketing as part of healthcare SEO: With healthcare content being one of the most searched-for online services, providing relevant, in-depth, and practical information that people can use to improve their health is key. Publishing frequent content that answers common patient questions establishes your organization as an authority that patients will turn to time and again when they need more information about a healthcare struggle. The content can be a blog post, video, infographic, or any type of consumer-driven piece that provides value without any type of sales language. However, there’s nothing wrong with including a call to action at the end that directs people to contact your healthcare company for more information.
Because we continually monitor healthcare SEO trends, you can feel confident knowing that you’re doing everything possible to ensure that prospective patients find your healthcare organization online.
How to Optimize Your Healthcare Website for Search Engines and Why It Matters
It would be an impractical waste of time and money to put together a website for your medical practice that no one ever sees. Unfortunately, that could happen without a serious commitment to healthcare SEO. Simply having a website is not enough for the search engines to give it a high ranking on the SERP. That means you won’t receive the leads, referrals, and new patients that you need to operate a thriving business. Below are some common factors that search engines use when ranking your website:
- Site effectiveness: How long does it take visitors to find what they need after landing on your website? Is it easy to navigate or do they become frustrated and click away in under a minute?
- Calls to action: Is it obvious to readers what they need to do to obtain more information or schedule an appointment? After all, this is the entire goal of healthcare SEO.
- Keywords: Have you ensured that the keywords visitors use most often to find your healthcare website are relevant and memorable? This is important because it leads to repeat traffic, which in turn can give you higher search engine rankings.
- Watch the broken links: 404 and other error messages are frustrating for online users and can have a negative impact on your rankings. This makes for a poor user experience, something you always want to avoid penalties from the search engines.
- User-friendly and helpful: Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the other search engines give highest precedence to websites that are easy for users to navigate and that provide them with genuinely helpful information. You always score points for user engagement and content with relevant keywords that flow naturally throughout the page.
- Length of user visit: The longer an online user stays on your website pages, the higher the search engines will rank them. That is because it is proven user-friendly and it is more likely people will return to it several times.
When you work with us to improve healthcare SEO, we will evaluate each page of your current website to see how we can optimize it. The first phase of a strong healthcare SEO campaign is to analyze keywords currently used most often on the website and make them more relevant. Google has a keyword research tool that lists how many searches a word or phrase typically receives in a month and how much competition there is for it.
Ideally, you want to use keywords and phrases with high searches and low competition. Since that isn’t always possible, it’s important to use long-tail keywords as well. This is a highly-targeted search phrase that contains at least three words. For example, cancer would be a typical keyword but it’s too generic to bring you much targeted traffic. A term like “breast cancer mastectomy rates” is a specific long-tail phrase that would bring more visitors to your website to than the term cancer alone. The most effective healthcare SEO strategy combines all keyword types for the most robust results.
We have already discussed the need for high-quality content above but will touch on that a bit more here. People feel anxious when they have a health problem and want to locate as much in-depth information about it online as they can. Typically, longer pieces that reference well-known research such as data published by the National Institutes of Health or the American Cancer Society will rank better than shorter, less authoritative pieces. Other benefits of longer content are that it gives you more opportunities to include outbound links and it keeps people on your site longer, both of which can earn you better results with healthcare SEO.
Here are several other ways we will look to apply healthcare SEO and optimize your website:
- Decrease page loading time: The longer a website visitor has to wait for pages to display properly, the higher your bounce rate. We will consider several options for reducing page display speed, including minimizing re-directs, using a caching plug-in, and ensuring all code is clean.
- Technical aspects: The search engines use a type of software known as a crawler to read your website. You need to ensure all of its technical aspects are correct so it can crawl your website and rank it appropriately. This includes the URL, heading tags, meta description tags, title tags, whether your website has duplicate content using different URLs, inbound and outbound link quality, structured data and special mark-ups, and the quality of video content.
- Install social sharing: If your website doesn’t already have social sharing buttons for readers to easily share content on Facebook, Twitter, and the other major social media platforms, it is one of the simplest things you can do to improve healthcare SEO. A lot of social sharing activity can bump your ranking in a positive direction and can even influence the buying behavior of healthcare consumers.
- Mobile optimization: The search engines penalize all website owners that have not yet optimized for mobile with lower rankings. Mobile optimization in healthcare SEO means that the website should be just as easy to find, read, and navigate on a mobile device as it is on a stationary one. Even if you have already optimized your healthcare website for mobile, we will check to see if it could be better.
- Highlighting the best patient reviews: People trust peer reviews more than anything a professional can say. The search engines also tend to favor sites with a lot of patient reviews. Including reviews as part of healthcare SEO can improve both your credibility and your SERP ranking.
As you can see, healthcare SEO can be a long and complex process. While you’re excellent at treating patients, you can always use help from healthcare marketing experts to ensure that your patients can find you in their time of need. That’s where NextStep Solutions enters the picture.
Local Health Care SEO for Local Practices
Healthcare SEO is extremely important at the local level. With approximately 80 percent of healthcare consumers using search engines to obtain local results, you want to make sure that they see your practice on page one of the SERP. There is also a sense of urgency to consider as they have a pressing health needs that concerns them enough to seek local care from a practitioner they may not have visited in the past. Some of the specific information they search for includes business hours, address, and directions to the healthcare site.
Adding maps to local sites is one of the services we provide at NextStep Solutions. This gives your future patients the confidence to know they can easily find your location when scheduling their first appointment with you. It also boosts their confidence knowing that your healthcare business is part of the local community where they live and work.
Ready to Start or Improve Your Organization’s SEO?
Healthcare SEO is a must if you hope to capture new leads and have patients schedule appointments after finding your website through organic means. As a healthcare marketing company based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, NextStep Solutions has years of experience applying healthcare SEO techniques and helping healthcare business nationwide increase their patient base and their profits. Please contact us today to learn how we can do the same for you.
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Let Us Design A Digital Marketing Strategy For You
- We Perform competitive analysis (to identify your competitors)
- We Perform Keyword Research (to identify popular search terms)
- We create a roadmap to position your site in front of targeted traffic
- We track progress, refine the process as needed then report results
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Search Engine Optimization
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Conversion Rate Optimization
Local Maps Set-Up
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