Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for any business trying to survive and grow during the time of Covid (and beyond!), but that goes double for healthcare professionals and the healthcare industry. Private practice is a business, and it needs to be treated as such, which means investing in marketing and SEO for medical practices.
Why a Medical Practice Needs SEO to Thrive
SEO is to a modern business is what a radio ad was to the first department stores: a way to get in front of people and grab their attention. That’s the easiest way to think about SEO: it’s a way to use the content already on your site to promote itself in search engine results. And though all people need medical care, you only make money when they choose to visit your practice. Bereft of any other information, a prospective patient using a search engine to find a medical office is likely to choose the top result for their query. You need to make sure that’s you, not just because it means more business, but because it’s better for your community. You likely got into private practice to serve the people in your area, and you cannot do that if they can’t find you!
Spend a second to put yourself in the shoes of a prospective patient. Think about why they’re searching and what they’re hoping to find, even before they hit “search.” A patient trying to find a new healthcare provider is on the hunt for several potential reasons. Perhaps they are unsatisfied with the care they’ve been receiving at a previous practice and they are looking for something new. It’s possible they just moved to the area and are hoping to get set up with a primary care physician, or they got a new job and new insurance, so they need to find a new practice that accepts it.
In each of these instances, the individual is going to turn to the modern equivalent of a phone book to find the information they need to help choose; i.e. Google or Bing. Even if they get a word of mouth recommendation from a friend or family member, they’re still likely to do online research before pulling the trigger and setting up an appointment. All of this to say; your practice needs to pop up at the top when they query their search engine of choice. And the key to that is top-notch SEO.
A Quick Start Guide
SEO for the Healthcare Industry
Realizing your medical practice SEO might be lacking is a scary thought, but fret not! The way to get started improving your healthcare website’s SEO is pretty simple.
You don’t need to know a ton about how search engines work right now, (but if you’re curious, here’s a breakdown), but what you should know is search engines rely almost exclusively on text to get their results. So if you don’t have any words on your website, get typing pronto! Keywords and their ilk are the bread and butter of SEO, combined with a solid content strategy to help generate relevant pages for search results, thus increasing traffic to the site.
Coming up with a list of keywords to use is actually easier than you think, too. First off would be the insurance companies you accept: people are likely to check that your practice takes their insurance before making an appointment. After that, think of common phrases like “affordable healthcare near me” or “where can I get a Covid test?” Keywords are a huge topic and there is a ton of information about them floating around. Here are some resources that can help if you want to learn more about keywords.
Newsletters, Social Media Plans, & Google Analytics for Medical Websites
First thing is first: if you haven’t got a way to view the metrics, you need to get it! This comes in the form of Google Analytics for most people since it’s free and easy to get set up with. We cover how to get started with Google Analytics in more detail here.
Once you’re able to assess how your site is performing through the analytics, you want a way to keep in contact with your patients outside of their yearly checkups. This typically comes in the form of an email newsletter, since email is unobtrusive. Cultivating a newsletter subscriber base is a good way to keep your patients informed and connected with you.
And finally, the granddaddy of them all: social media. It’s a beast, a bear, a scary thing that most people are confused or intimidated by. But it’s also necessary, and here’s a guide that can help you learn more. And if that still doesn’t answer your questions, contact us and we’ll talk about how Gravitate can meet your business needs through social media (and everything else).
Create Content Featuring Your Healthcare Providers to Boost SEO
It’s not uncommon for doctors’ offices and hospitals to have a “staff” page that features a badge-photo of each doctor, PA, and nurse working in the office; but often these pages are afterthoughts or a one-page affair with the medical professional’s name and little else. To give yourself a quick SEO boost, expand this section and give each medical provider a chance to talk about themselves (or be interviewed, if they’re shy.) Not only will adding more content to these pages help you show search engines that there is valuable and relevant information here, but it’ll also make your patients feel more connected with their providers.
Get Your Staff to Create Content to Increase Page Authority
If your staff page is already pretty built out with a decent chunk of writing, pictures, and other content, you can have those healthcare providers write articles and offer tidbits of advice and keep those articles up on your healthcare website. This kind of content can be as simple as Dr. X explaining why a mask needs to cover your nose in order to work, or Nurse Y giving advice on how to hug someone in a wheelchair. Providing valuable information to people is something search engines like Google love, and if you can gain page authority through doing it, you’ll start winning much more frequently in the search wars.
Remember, search engines love text, so the more you can write, the more your search rankings will improve. Plus, you’ll be giving good tips and advice to your patients! Be aware that search engines are always improving too, many are now learning to understand the semantics of the content found on a page. While this is a little above and beyond the basics, keep in mind that the content around images and video should relate to what it is next to and search engines are reading all this text trying to make sense of it.
Local SEO for Medical Practices is the Key
Local searches are going to be monumentally important for your practice’s SEO performance. The vast majority of the patients you want to attract are going to be local ones, which means you don’t want to pop up in a search someone in another city is making nearly as much as you want to appear in one being made in your own city. Now, getting set up for local search isn’t too hard if you know what you’re doing. If you need advice on local search performance, look here.
If after reading up on the basics and getting an understanding of why SEO for healthcare professionals and their practices is so important you feel dismayed or overwhelmed at the prospect of managing yet another thing, we have happy news: Gravitate has a healthy amount of experience being an SEO agency for healthcare. Call us and tell us what you need, and we’ll take care of the rest.