So you’ve set up your medical practice’s website and have a basic understanding of the importance of an online presence, but that’s about it. SEO for medical practices can be the difference between no leads coming in and a waiting room full of patients. Here’s how to do it right to drive patient growth this year.
Why is SEO for medical practices so important?
SEO for medical practices has taken on historic importance recently. Even if your clinic is in a great, high-visibility location, you may have noticed a big dip in foot and commuter traffic. Why? Many people are turning to internet searches and telemedicine for healthcare. Consumers are also spending more time on desktop searches, filling out forms online and visiting multiple pages at a time.
This means that SEO for medical practices is more important than ever. You’d better believe that many other practices have recognized a bump in traffic and are rushing to up their search engine optimization (SEO) game.
And, it makes sense. A properly optimized website for search can provide the following benefits:
- Drives more traffic to your site
- Ranks higher as a website that has “EAT”: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness by Google
- Gives patients valuable content before they ever come into your office
- Makes sure your practice’s website is easily recognized and understood by search engines
That last one is key. Google updates its search algorithm approximately 500 to 600 times a year. At any one time, it ranks websites based on 200 factors. A properly optimized site is more likely to land in the top five organic search results—a space that gets over 67% of all clicks.
Further, patients may not be walking past your doors, but they are using Google maps for “near me” searches and relying on online doctor reviews to choose healthcare providers. SEO for medical practices matters, helping to boost your visibility through these avenues as well.
How to assess your current SEO healthcare marketing
Before you make any changes to your website, take the time to assess your current SEO healthcare marketing strategy, following these three basic steps to get started.
1. Check your website speed
Use tools for both mobile and desktop speed. Most consumers will click away from pages that take longer than two or three seconds to load, so this should be your first stop. Many tools provide recommendations for reducing your website speed.
2. Check out your Google analytics and your website pages themselves
Google Analytics offers webmaster tools that track the number of visitors, how much time they spend on your site, where they go, and more. This is a free tool to help you take the temperature of your current SEO for doctors strategy (or the lack thereof).
And now look at your actual website pages. Looking through the eyes of a potential patient, what is your impression of them? Where can they be improved? What information is missing? What information is outdated or hard to navigate?
3. Look at three key technical factors on your website
Once you’ve taken an overall pulse of your website, three key factors to check for include:
- Back-end issues with hosting and page indexing
- Missing or incomplete content and metadata
- Quality and quantity of links (internal and external)
Something as small as a slow host or no metadata can make it difficult for new patients to find your online. This last step is more technical, so if you are brand-new to SEO for medical practices, keep reading.
Optimize what you have
You’ve looked at your whole site (at least to step two). The next step is to optimize what is already there. Consider your web pages, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Are they easy to read?
- Is the content relevant to your practice? Or is there any content at all?
- Is there a clear image or eye-catching graphics throughout the text?
This is what we call capturing “low-hanging fruit.” Once you’ve taken stock of your current site, refreshing old blog posts and articles with new research, good images, and better writing can drive up to 106% more traffic to your site.
Similarly, if you are getting 404 errors (for deleted, removed, or otherwise incorrectly directed pages), take the time to fix those to keep potential patients on your site. And maybe your site looks good so far but needs a jump in speed. Consider switching web hosts to bump up your speed. An easy fix with big benefits.
Develop new content to reach more patients
Once you’ve revamped what’s already there, another one of the best SEO tips for doctors is to develop more content.
Remember the acronym EAT? Google is looking for trustworthy experts whose authority is respected. This authority is cultivated through high-quality content based on your practice area.
This type of writing also helps you develop backlinks—sites that direct their readers over to you to answer their questions. The more backlinks you have in general, the more trusted your site. The more trusted your site, the better chance you have of landing on the first page of search results.
So how do you develop more content? You can conduct keyword research or use Google’s keyword planner to tailor your content. These tools help you figure out what people are looking for in your area and in what format they’d like to find it (i.e., blog, article, video).
If time prevents you from adding content, consider outsourcing your content creation. Content is a crucial part of SEO for doctors. You can’t afford to skip it.
Find a consistent cadence
One of the ways Google ranks websites is by “crawling” your site for new content. If Google bots crawl your site multiple times and don’t find anything new, don’t be surprised if your site ranking starts to dip.
Set a consistent schedule of content and updates to your site, and stick with it. It helps to integrate your website with your social media, too. That way any updates on your website appear on social media, decreasing your workload.
Just like people, Google enjoys (and rewards) novelty. Commit to a consistent schedule of updates and monitor the changes in your analytics.
Review your strategy
Review your monthly statistics on Google Analytics and run annual audits to streamline your website and capitalize on what’s working (and jettison what’s not).
A regular review of SEO for medical practices also helps you respond to any new trends, both in healthcare and in the way that you market your practice.
Learn more about SEO for medical websites
There is much to consider when it comes to SEO for medical websites. From technical issues in off-page SEO to content that is low-quality, out-of-date, or hard to read, it can be a challenge to care for patients and manage your digital footprint.
When you are ready to drive more traffic to your practice, Boost Medical can help. With SEO for medical practices that includes full-scale setup as well as ongoing management (and everything in between), we take care of your website so you can care for your patients.
Get in touch to schedule your free consultation today!