How to Boost Your Healthcare Practice SEO With These 5 Tips
If your healthcare website isn’t bringing in new patients, you’re probably wondering what you’re doing wrong. Is it a quick fix? Or do you need an overhaul? Don’t panic – that’s usually not the case. For many medical practices, the problem isn’t a lack of effort. It’s a lack of coordinated effort.
When it comes to healthcare SEO, you need a holistic approach. Each tactic builds upon the other, exponentially increasing the total impact. As you read our five tips for improving your online visibility, we encourage you to implement all of them, even if it’s just a small step in the right direction. That’s often more effective than throwing yourself 100% into any one particular area.
Ready for the rush of new patients into your office? Here’s what we’ll be diving into:
- Keyword Research
- The Magic of Content
- Local Search
- Social Media
- User Friendliness
Let’s get started!
1. Keyword ResearchA study by Google showed that 77% of patients used a search engine prior to scheduling an appointment. You need to know what your patients are typing into the search box. Click To Tweet
A study by Google showed that 77% of patients used a search engine prior to scheduling an appointment. You need to know what your patients are typing into the search box. For example, imagine you’re a patient looking for a cardiologist in Miami. You might type:
- Cardiologists in Miami
- Best cardiologists in Miami
- Miami cardiologist reviews
- Cardiologists in South Beach
- Cardiologists in Miami-Dade County
- Vascular surgeons in Miami
Get the idea? If you built your website without making sure these words are on your site (or as meta tags – more on that later), you need to go back and add them. Don’t worry though – you don’t have to agonize over every variation, Google’s algorithms are always getting better at understanding context, synonyms, and user intent. But if you haven’t done this keyword research, it’s a must.
2. Fresh, Helpful Content
While it’s important to incorporate keywords like the example above, you also want to have keywords for individuals who may not need your services just yet, but might in the future. This is an important consideration, especially when doing SEO for doctors. For example, let’s say a patient has an appointment with their primary care doctor to discuss whether they need a cardiac catheterization. In preparation for the visit, this person will be searching for topics like “What the risks of cardiac catheterization?” or “What are the alternatives to invasive cardiac procedures?”
There’s no better way to reach this audience than through a blog. It’s a must have for any medical practice website. Blogging results in a domino effect for your SEO.
- You’re naturally adding relevant keywords on many different pages of your site.
- You’re showing search engines that your site is active and relevant.
- You’re giving search engines more opportunities to present your content to patients.
These are all positive indicators to Google, which nudges your individual pages up in the rankings.
3. Local Search
In addition to having location-related keywords throughout your site, there are two important actions you should take to increase your local visibility online.
First, set up Google My Business. Not only does your listing increase your chances of showing up in the first three search results in the side panel, but when your business is searched by name, Google often shows a knowledge panel. This displays detailed information about your practice, including a map and phone number that patients can easily click on their cell phone. Having a listing also allows you to respond to what others are saying about your practice and upload your own photos and information, making your listing more appealing.
You also want to claim any local directory or review listings. Be sure to complete them with accurate information about your practice. This helps your SEO in two ways.
- Google looks for consistency in your NAP (name, address, and phone number). Search engines like when everything matches because it confirms the information is accurate.
- If the directory/review site is good quality (such as Yelp or Healthgrades), having a link to your website sends a positive signal back to Google. The same goes for social media accounts, our next topic.
4. Social Media
Having a social media presence is an indirect way of boosting your site’s SEO. For example, if you post an amazing blog about cardiac care on social media, it sets off a chain reaction:
- The better your post is, the more it’s shared
- The more it’s shared, the more people may click on it (which means more page views)
- The more people read it, the more chances they may link to it
From Google’s perspective, a blog post with many shares has social confirmation of its value, which gives it a bump in ranking.
Naturally, having more followers will give you an advantage, but there are ways of jumpstarting a following through targeted ads and guest posting on more popular sites. That’s a discussion for another blog.
However, the bottom line is to get started. Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to sharing on social media. When marketing healthcare, you always want to convey professionalism and the quality of your expertise.
5. User Experience
The final tip for improving your SEO to make sure website visitors find what they need quickly and easily. To bring this to life, let’s imagine your perfect website experience.
You search for “How can I avoid a second heart attack?” and find the following in the search results:
How to Avoid a Second Heart Attack
Learn about lifestyle changes and heart medications that can help you avoid a second heart attack.
Once you click on the link, the site loads in a snap and is perfectly formatted for your phone. The article provides all the information promised in the search engine result. There are clear headings so you can quickly peruse the sections you want. There’s an internal link within the blog for another article specifically about heart medications, which you decide to read.
Wasn’t that pleasant? There’s a lot that goes into that experience – and it’s exactly what Google wants to provide to its users. Let’s break it down:
The information that appears on the search engine results comes from your website’s meta tags. Each page should have a title tag and meta description that accurately describes what the patient will find when they click on the link. If you’re not the person who’s managing your website, make sure your meta tags are both correct and enticing to someone who’s reading a list of search engine results. This will reduce your number of “bounces,” when a user clicks away from a page quickly. That’s an indicator to Google that the content isn’t helpful.
More people now use mobile devices versus their desktop to access websites, so it’s critical to make your site look good and work correctly on a cell phone. According to Search Engine Land, patients are five times more likely to leave a site if it isn’t mobile-friendly. Without a responsive site, Google will see lots of bounces.
53% of mobile site visitors leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Users either give up or spend less time on your website – usually never to return. There are many factors that go into the speed of your website – hosting quality, coding issues, or even the size of your images. If you’re unsure, it’s worth checking out with a specialist like Pacific54. You can’t gain new patients if they don’t stick around to see your website.53% of mobile site visitors leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Users either give up or spend less time on your website - usually never to return. Click To Tweet
Once someone is on your site, how easy is it for them to navigate to other pages to learn more? Adding internal links will encourage more time on the site (which is a positive sign to Google). Having clear navigation choices in the header and footer also help. You may want a site map if your website is very complex. This helps both people and Google’s web crawlers understand the site.
As you can see, healthcare SEO is not about isolated tactics. It’s an all-encompassing effort to provide a great user experience to your website visitors. If you’d like to boost your SEO more quickly, Pacific54 can help you implement these best practices, so you can focus on patient care. Contact us for a consultation.