Capitalizing on your healthcare website in a way that brings in new patients is extremely important. But, what’s even more important is increasing your online presence and authority so that potential patients can actually find your website on search engines. If you have a great healthcare website but put little effort into search engine optimization, your web development efforts are essentially in vain.
However, when you implement an effective healthcare SEO strategy, you’re not only increasing your website’s traffic – you’re taking the first step towards growing your practice and helping more patients.
Less than 6% of Google users click on results from the second page. By contrast, the first 5 organic search results get nearly 68% of all clicks. It’s safe to say that if your hospital, medical practice, or healthcare organization’s website isn’t ranking on the first page for relevant organic search terms – you’re losing business.
If you want to get the most patients, you need to be #1 on the search results. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need an extensive healthcare SEO strategy comprised of:
Let’s take a look at three fundamental aspects of SEO that our healthcare marketing agency will focus on to improve your website’s organic search rankings.
1. Target Patients With Local Search Marketing
Local search marketing is the best way to reach potential patients near you. Unless you’re selling and shipping products nationwide, most medical providers primarily treat local patients. Moreover, the vast majority of Google searches are looking for local services or businesses.
Local Healthcare SEO – Build Listings and Citations
Optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile as well as updating your listings across Bing, Yelp, niche directories, and more is a sure-fire way to show up in local search queries. This strategy will ensure that your citations are uniform across all platforms while increasing your visibility to local users.
For example, when determining the online authority of your healthcare practice, search engines look at the business details, hours, phone number, and address of your online references. If these aren’t the same across the board, you might not rank as well as your competitors.
Not only do you want to focus on citations, but you should fill out your listings with as much information about your practice as possible. This should include interior and exterior photos, a business description, a list of services, and regular posts that promote phone calls and page visits.
Creating Targeted Content
While optimizing your listings and citations can increase your visibility in the local map 3-pack, a huge aspect of local SEO for healthcare companies is content marketing. Creating valuable and engaging content, highlighting your services in a specific area will also bring in local patients.
For example, let’s say you are a therapist in Seattle. You don’t only want your practice to rank for “therapist in Seattle” or “counselor in Seattle.” Instead, you want to think outside the box and rank for your services among other things. If you create and SEO a comprehensive guide to “trauma therapy in Seattle,” it could rank on the first page for those keywords or when someone in your area searches for “trauma therapy near me.”
Our healthcare SEO team has decades of experience in local search marketing, so we’ll consider your location, your services, and which conversion-driven keywords we can make your website rank for to help you help more patients and expand your practice.
2. On-Page Healthcare SEO To Increase Your Online Visibility
On-page SEO refers to optimizing the content, pictures, URLs, and HTML code source on your website. All of these attributes affect your site speed, user experience, and online rankings. If they aren’t optimized the right way, your rankings and marketing strategy as a whole will suffer. Although there are hundreds of on-page ranking factors that search engines look at, let’s take a look at some of the most important.
Content is what helps users find your page, makes users take an interest in your services, and keeps potential patients engaged. Without content, your website isn’t going to show up in the search results. However, not all content is created equal. So, what makes for good content?
Good content is not only thorough and easy to read, but it provides answers to the questions people are seeking. It isn’t boring or filled with fluff to boost the word count – it’s valuable and makes other people want to link to it, share it with their friends, or contact you to schedule an appointment. Moreover, it’s usually displayed nicely on the webpage and accompanied by pictures or infographics to provide a more user-friendly experience. Good content utilizes H2-H6 headings, has optimal formatting, and relevant anchor text links that are relevant to the message you are trying to get across.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Optimizing title tags and meta descriptions are two of the next biggest SEO ranking factors. Title tags are the text you see on search engine results pages (SERPs) and are the large links that people click on when they see a search result. Just beneath the title tag is the meta description, which is simply a short summary of what that particular webpage is about.
These attributes are managed on the back end of webpages but play a huge role in how your webpages are displayed in SERPs. Not only should your title tags and meta descriptions contain the right keywords, but they should accurately reflect your content and grab a user’s interest.
URL Structure and Internal Linking
Have you ever seen a URL that looks something like this?
You might notice that this URL tells us nothing about what content is on that page. It doesn’t contain any keywords, and it doesn’t indicate any website hierarchy information. If this page contains a blog post about “6 Techniques for Easy At-Home Hair Removal,” a better URL structure would be as follows.
As you can see, this URL tells us two things: that this is a blog post and that the blog post is about at-home hair removal. This doesn’t only help internet users find the information they are looking for, but it also helps search engines determine how relevant your webpage is.
In addition to creating clean URL structures, your healthcare SEO strategy should also practice internal linking. Internal linking is where you link to other relevant pages on your website within the same domain, encouraging users to click on these links and remain on your website.
Internal linking also helps search engines determine page relevancy – so your internal linking has to have meaning behind it. For example, if you sell a hair removal product or service, you might link to that page from your easy at-home hair removal blog. This creates a crawlable link structure that will help search engines get a better idea of what your website is all about.
Image Alt Text
Sometimes, images fail to load. When they fail to load, the image alt text or “alt tag” appears where the image would normally be. This helps describe to users the purpose of that image and also helps digital tools describe images to people who are blind or visually impaired. However, alt descriptions also play an important role in healthcare SEO – they allow search engines to crawl these images and determine what the images are about, therefore, helping rank your webpage more accurately.
Website Speed and User Experience
Your healthcare website’s page speed (how quickly pages load on your website) is another important factor that Google looks at when determining where your website shows up in SERPs. If your website has poor load time, not only will it affect your keyword rankings, but it will be a nuisance to your users – possibly encouraging them to check out a different healthcare provider.
In addition to ensuring quick site speed, another part of your on-page healthcare SEO strategy should revolve around mobile responsiveness. After all, the vast majority of online searches come from mobile devices, so if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it makes for poor user experience.
3. Off-Page SEO Strategies for Healthcare Companies
While on-page SEO focuses on the content and attributes within your website itself, off-site SEO refers to the collective techniques used, outside of your own website, to increase your rankings and boost your online presence. Like on-page SEO, there are numerous off-site ranking factors that help determine the authority, trustworthiness, and relevance of a website.
If you’ve already optimized your website, you might wonder, “do I really need to invest in off-page SEO?”
Yes – in fact, Moz estimates that off-page SEO factors carry approximately 50% of the weight when it comes to ranking your website in SERPs.
Acquiring authority backlinks is one of the largest off-site SEO practices that your healthcare marketing strategy should hone in on. Backlinks are links on another webpage that point back to a page on your website. For example, as part of your link building strategy, you might reach out to a lifestyle magazine to write a guest post. If you’re a plastic surgeon, you might contribute an article about the “5 Benefits of Botox” that includes a link pointing back to your cosmetic fillers service page.
Guest posting isn’t the only way to build links for your healthcare website. There are also healthcare directories, local resource pages, brand mentions, influencer marketing, and many other effective ways to gain authoritative backlinks.
Regardless of how you acquire your backlinks, there are a lot of factors that go into how much “SEO juice” a link carries. In other words, not all backlinks are created equal. Some signals that indicate the value of a link include the website’s traffic, trust, and authority, how relevant the website and backlink is, and how new or “fresh” the link is.
Whether you’re opening a new office, accepting a major award, or offering a new, innovative service, press releases are a great way to get the word out about your practice. This involves letting journalists know about big events that set you apart from other healthcare practices. Not to mention, many publications will add a backlink or a call to action in the press report – helping boost your off-site SEO strategy.
When you obtain a link or mention on a major publication, like the Huffington Post or local news outlets, you’re building the online trustworthiness of your brand, helping your rankings in the SERPs. In addition, these posts are likely to reach a large audience, as they are commonly shared across social media platforms.
Social Media Marketing
Although Google doesn’t consider social media to be one of their ranking factors, if you use social media in the right way, it really can help your healthcare SEO strategy. For example, if you invest time and effort into developing your social media profile, connecting with patients, and publishing great content, your followers are likely to share your posts or link to them – which, in turn, helps your rankings.
Another way you can use social media to boost your SEO strategy is by building brand awareness. When more people are familiar with your brand, they are more likely to recognize it on SERPs and click on your page. Since click-through rates are an important ranking signal for search engines, having more clicks will improve your rankings. With more than 2.5 billion registered users on Facebook, you don’t want to neglect your social media profiles.
Whether you’re an OBGYN, a dentist, or a family doctor, reputation management is crucial to the success of your business. We all know the value of word-of-mouth recommendations, but did you know that most people trust online reviews just as much as they trust word-of-mouth?
Online reviews are important for attracting customers, but also for your local rankings. Reviews are a substantial part of off-page SEO. Google has confirmed that managing and responding to reviews will help improve your local rankings. However, if you have only negative reviews, even if you’re responding to them, these reviews can negatively impact your rankings. In other to improve your healthcare practice’s visibility in local search results, it’s essential to cater to your review strategy.
Keep Up With Google’s Ever-Changing Algorithm With Organic SEO
Google and other search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms to provide more accurate search results. However, these ongoing changes can result in fluctuations in your rankings and the overall traffic to your site. Sure, you can employ the techniques that you read about on the internet or use black hat SEO to make your way to the first ranking, but that’s unlikely to make for long-term results.
When you hire Stodzy for your healthcare SEO company, you’ll know that we’re using the right marketing techniques that will help you increase your rankings and stay on top of an ever-changing industry. Contact us today to take advantage of organic search and grow your healthcare company.