The healthcare industry is catching up with the technology, as the competitions get tight. Some practitioners and hospitals invest heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) efforts just to reap the benefits and drive more traffic. Others are still utilizing traditional marketing techniques, losing great opportunities online.
Today, people rely on the Internet for a lot of things, including finding a healthcare professional or a facility. They turn to Google and other search engines to find the closest and best option for specific treatments. Because of this, healthcare practitioners should have a working website that ranks on search engines.
SEO is key to appearing on the top list of search engine results page (SERP), allowing a website to gain more traffic and become more visible on the search engines. A competitor is probably getting all new patients thanks to SEO efforts, therefore, it’s important to advance on this aspect and seek help from digital professionals.
Learn about the SEO opportunities that can help grow out a healthcare business and independent practitioner.
Understanding the Factors
Search engine optimization is a process and does not provide results overnight. This being said, healthcare professionals need to build an online presence until eventually, the website ranks on the first page of search engines. Before this, it’s crucial to know the factors that affect how medical websites rank and perform.
Google, one of the most used SERPs out there, has a set of algorithms to determine whether a website provides quality content and information. This is to help web users to find exactly what they need. In the medical field, accuracy and consistency of information is a must, otherwise, pieces of data can affect a large number of people.
This is where E-A-T comes in, or the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. While this concept isn’t actually a ranking factor, it’s still important as Google rewards websites with greater visibility. Because the medical field deals with real people and health issues, healthcare and medical websites should contain accurate information. People visit authoritative sites to get quality and correct information, especially those dealing with health issues and illnesses.
If a website meets the criteria of Google for accuracy and consistency of information, then it rewards the site with greater visibility so people can benefit from these sites. This has been happening for a long time now, and a lot of medical institutions have been benefiting from it. For instance, popular and trustworthy medical sites out there includes WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and others.
Knowing this strategy gives more edge to a medical website, which is one of the foundations of being visible online. Now that everyone’s doing content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing, staying on top of the game is necessary to get more patients.
SEO Strategies That Work
If the goal is to outrank popular medicine, healthcare, and medical sites like WebMD, it will take years to build up the website and achieve a higher domain authority. However, if business owners and practitioners simply want to show up on the results page when a patient is looking for medical services, then it’s doable in a matter of months—with the right strategies.
Check out some of the SEO efforts to land on a good spot at SERPs.
Utilize Right Medical Keywords
When it comes to search engine optimization, a set of keyword is definitely the backbone. Key phrases or words must be targeted to optimize the content in the website. Starting off with a high-ranking set of words like the medical services offered, is recommended. It’s always better to utilize tools such as Keyword Planner to find the best performing keywords per industry.
Using the best set of keywords can help optimize the search online. For instance, if the word ‘doctor check up’ has a higher search volume, you can use this to get better search performance. It’s also great to use specialized keywords that a practitioner offers, for instance, ‘Throat Doctor’ or ‘Gastrointestinal Physician’ and others.
The takeaway here is simple and that is to use the right set of keywords you wish to optimize. Using keyword research tools serve as guide to find out what people are looking for, so you know what keywords to use in order to show up on search engines. Doing this technique the right way can give the well-deserved visibility for a healthcare or medical site.
Geographic areas along with the keyword can help target local SEO. Most people add a specific location when looking for medical providers or services, so the chances of showing up in search engines is higher when adding a geographic area. In a way, it helps to be seen quickly by people who are looking for that particular location.
Add More Content Pages
High quality content will always be king when it comes to SEO. No matter what industry, it’s the content that matters for the web users as well as the search engines. No matter how you optimize web pages, if the content isn’t accurate and reliable, there’s no way it could rank at search engines.
By adding more content pages, it’s easier to organize the content by category. It’s important to know that Google have a higher standard for medical web pages than in other industries. This is because the information affects a person’s life and a wrong data can potentially harm another individual. In short, low quality content could result to a potentially dangerous medical consequences. Therefore, healthcare websites should only publish reliable, scientifically-backed information to prevent the drawbacks to the community.
The important thing to do is to answer the questions of web users in a more fun, easy to read, and reliable information. Relatable content is also a good idea to attract more web users into the website. If the content is good, people will generally visit the website without any effort, just like what WebMD has achieved—producing long-form educational content that help people understand anything about health and medicine.
Remember, organic traffic is still better because it drives more people into the website without effort. Potentially, when the site has a higher volume of organic visits, the owner can go into affiliate marketing and other forms of monetizing the blog or website.
More Organic Traffic with Visuals
More than blocks of texts, web users will linger more and stay on a website with high quality visuals like videos, infographics, and pictures. Webpages containing videos get more organic traffic because web users spend more time just to watch the videos. This phenomenon indicates that there’s something valuable on a web page for users—major indicator for search engines.
As easy as it is to read, some people simply prefer pages with pictures and other visual content. These materials make it easy to consume information and to easily understand what the article is about. Another reason to include visuals is to engage web users to the site. Engagement is something that needs to be prioritized in order to get organic traffic.
Remember that when adding videos or images into a page, adding appropriate alt text is recommended. This is for visually impaired users and Google crawlers, understanding what’s displayed on the web pages. Now, this is a great opportunity to include target keywords for optimization.
More than engagement and driving more organic traffic, visuals can add a sense of value to a website. For instance, explaining a medical concept is easier with an explainer video, rather than explaining through texts alone. Web users can learn the concept easily, even share the video to social media.
Now, focus on the ranking factors for websites, including speed, security, and mobile friendliness. These three things are as crucial as optimizing the right set of keywords. If the website takes too long to load, web users will most probably close the tab and go to another website. A speedier experiences is among the factors considered by search engines like Google.
The ideal site speed is anywhere between two second and below. The best speed is probably half a second, when the content easily shows up on the screen. Google has a PageSpeed Insights tool to check the current speed of a website, to help site owners to improve it.
Another thing to take in mind is the SSL security of the site, when it accepts sensitive information about patients. Any healthcare site should utilize this certificate to not get penalized by search engines.
Most importantly, the website must be desirable on mobile. As people transition to mobile devices, it’s crucial to make the site responsive to whatever type of devices used by web users. If the pages and the site itself isn’t responsive, the content won’t appear appealing, hence, users will likely get out of the site.
Optimizing a healthcare or medical website for search engine optimization purposes provide a number of perks or benefits, including better visibility and ranking. The easiest way to do this is to work with digital experts to start strong, do things right, and to avoid any problems altogether. Finally, apply all the SEO strategies and efforts discussed so the website can attract more organic traffic that’s convertible to leads.