When it’s time to find a doctor or other medical provider, many patients turn to Google to find their best option. Most users rarely move past the first page. Some don’t even look past the top five results.
You want your medical website to show up at the top of Google’s search results so these patients can find you.
How do you do you get your medical practice to the top of the search engines? With search engine optimization.
You went to school to become a Medical Professional, not a SEO expert!
SEO takes years to learn and even longer to master. We have the knowledge and experience to handle all of your SEO needs and make sure you stand out from your competition.
Let Just A Web Company handle your search engine optimization needs while you focus on servicing patients.
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Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process used to boost the online visibility of a business.
Search engine optimization for medical providers takes a lot of time and quite a bit of effort and money to get the best results. The process itself is complex, with many factors to consider when working to improve your website’s visibility.
Despite its complexity, it is one of the most valuable tools for increasing your online presence.
SEO for medical practices focuses on generating more organic traffic to your website. This is different from non-organic, or paid, search traffic that comes from paid online ads. With SEO, medical practices can achieve a better ranking position on search engine results pages (SERPs). An optimized healthcare website will appear higher in the results whenever someone searches for specific terms related to your medical practice. This leads to more clients and increased business as a result.
Google is the most popular search engine, but other search engines such as Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo, also look for optimized content and websites, which can increase the business your medical practice receives. Generally, optimizing for one search engine can get you results from a variety of search engines.
People find organic search results more credible than paid advertisements, though PPC and SEO can complement each other in a marketing strategy. SEO is only one of many different online marketing strategies that can generate continuous results over time, while paid ads tend to be most beneficial early in your marketing strategy. A highly optimized piece of content will continually help your medical practice rank for the right keywords, while PPC campaigns require continuous funding.
SEO isn’t only about getting your medical practice noticed online. This marketing strategy is as much about users as it is about optimizing for search engines. SEO generates traffic to your medical practice’s website by helping users find your website easily, but this also depends on the user’s input. Most people now go to the internet to find products and services they need using specific keywords to find exactly what they want. Search engines use those keywords to find the most relevant results for their users.
Thanks to the digital evolution of industries and consumer services everywhere, patients now look for new hospitals, clinics, doctors, and treatment centers online, often from a mobile device.
A large portion of businesses are conducted online. Because of this wave of internet-centric business, your website must act like a virtual office going forward.
Just having a website isn’t enough for you to gain patients, though. Getting the word out and gaining a consistent stream of patients requires your website to be thoroughly optimized. Optimizing your website for search engines will move you higher on search engine results pages, or SERPS. Without optimization your website will sit on the thirtieth page of search engines where no one will find it.
SEO is not a quick endeavor. Getting your website onto the first page of Google requires careful, consistent, and constant work and monitoring for months if not years. This careful balancing act requires thorough knowledge of your website and its inner workings. It is better to get started now than wait another month and make it harder for you to make your way to the top. If you’re not investing in SEO, you’re giving an advantage to your competition.
Investing in search engine optimization comes with many benefits. There is the obvious benefit of boosting your medical website’s online visibility but consider what the added visibility can bring to your business both online and in person.
Increasing website traffic is noticed by Google and helps with boost your practice’s online visibility. With the help of SEO, your site can rank higher in search results and generate more visitors. The more visitors you direct to your website, the better you rank.
You can even take away your competitors’ traffic if you rank highly enough, keeping you ahead of the competition. The healthcare industry can be a competitive one; don’t let a poor SEO strategy prevent you from doing well.
The benefits of increased visibility and traffic directly effect your practice’s bottom line. People looking for a new doctor or for a specific healthcare service will be more likely to visit your site if it is ranked higher on a search engine results page (SERP). This type of search result is called an “organic search result,” which means the clicks from online visibility through SERPs rather than paid ads.
Search engine optimization is a cost-effective option for medical practices. While it may seem like pay-per-click (PPC) ads are enough, PPC is better used as supplement to your digital marketing strategy. Ads are excellent for the short term, while search engine optimization is a long-term strategy that continues to benefit you long after your ads have stopped running.
Another benefit is its ability to build your reputation as a knowledgeable medical provider. Using SEO best practices means that you are optimizing not only your website, but any content you put online. Content such as blog posts give you a chance to demonstrate your expertise and show potential patients you are up to date on the latest medical treatments.
There are specific factors that cause a website to rank, or not rank highly on search engine results pages.
Google outputs certain search results based on an algorithm designed to provide the most relevant and helpful links and answers to a given search query.
Though there are over 200 ranking factors, most of them can be categorized under the following general areas.
Most people have heard of the term “Keyword Research”, but that is only scratches the surface of SEO. Backlinks, off-page citations, and technical SEO including site speed also affect how well your website and content performs. SEO involves many parts that add up to help you improve your medical website’s visibility.
As you can tell from the list above, a lot goes into on-page optimization for any website, especially on e in the medical industry. It is important that you take advantage of every thing you can in order to give you the competitive edge you need.
Your website is a key component to search engine optimization. From how quickly it loads, to the security of its pages and whether pages are responsive, Google looks at all these factors to determine where to rank your medical site. There are also many other factors that contribute to how well your site is optimized. We have listed some of the most important below.
Keyword research for medical practices can be complex. It is important to use professional tools to discover how people are searching for the specific medical services you offer.
There are free keyword tools you can use, but the most sophisticated and useful ones typically not free. These tools typically cost several hundred dollars per month.
Consider paying for a subscription or outsourcing keyword research to experts who offer SEO services for medical providers.
When optimizing your online content, you want to target the right keywords for the healthcare industry and your practice specifically. Your starting point can be the specific services your medical practice offers.
Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner can help find the best keywords for your industry by showing you what is and isn’t searched for. There are other tools, some free and others not, that can provide further breakdowns of each keyword, including how competitive it is to use a certain keyword and the exact volume of searches for that keyword within a set period of time.
Avoid keyword stuffing into your content. Google penalizes websites and webpages that use this spammy tactic to rank higher. Instead, focus on using long-tail keywords and creating relevant and readable content.
One of the easiest ways to include the keywords from your research is by adding quality content to your medical website.
Quality content can be defined as content that can genuinely make your patients’ or potential patients’ lives better.
This includes thorough informative pieces, such as pages describing your services, or blog posts discussing recent medical news and developments.
You want to create content driven by your patients’ wants and needs. Google defines quality content as any pages, blogs, or articles that are made primarily for the benefit of users and not search engines and does not deceive visitors through “black hat” or bad SEO practices.
Another reason to focus on high quality content is because Google considers medical pages “Your Money, Your Life (YMYL)” pages. YMYL pages are any pages that could potentially affect a user’s happiness, health, or financial stability after a user reads the content. Standards for medical pages are higher because false or incorrect claims could be potentially dangerous and have unintended medical consequences.
The writers on our team know how important content is to boosting your website’s position. Strong, engaging content creates a better user experience and helps convert more visitors into patients. Our writers deliver content that both users and search engines will love.
The healthcare industry is not stagnant. As research progresses, new medicines and medical procedures make their way into healthcare practices everywhere. This makes updating your content just as important as generating new content.
Updating old medical content can increase the effectiveness of your healthcare SEO efforts and boost your traffic. Remember that for YMYL pages, Google has higher standards.
While penalization is unlikely considering the amount of healthcare websites on the internet, it is in your best interest to keep any medical articles up to date with the latest information.
Keep your blog posts up to date, or issue updates in separate posts to strengthen your reputation as a knowledgeable medical professional in your field. Older content requires updates to its development and keywords as the Google algorithm changes. You want to make sure you do not forget to regularly update your content.
Keeping your content clear and easy to understand is integral to SEO. Medical terminology has the potential to often leaves people outside the field confused.
Keep terminology in your articles and blogs relatively simple and easy to understand to get the most out of your SEO effort.
Without proper readability in your articles, not only will you lose potential customers, but your SEO efforts will be limited in effectiveness.
Providing alternate words to effectively get your point across will help attract more clients and keep them on your page for longer.
Not only should the content on your page be optimized for your visitors, but the website should also be optimized with organized content, site speed and structure. Well-optimized websites have a well-designed layout that helps people find where they need to go. Poorly designed website will make incoming traffic lose trust in your practice. Don’t be afraid to re-design your website or hire a professional website designer in order to gain the trust of potential patients.
SEO requires constant and consistent updates in order for your website to remain competitive in the search engine results pages. You have to consistently analyze the numbers of your page to know where you need to improve and where you’re having success. There are no shortcuts to optimizing your page. Search engine algorithms change often, and user habits change just as often. In the end, having a clear and concise message will serve you well for years to come.
The length and word count of each of a web page depends on several factors.
Subject matter and competition are the biggest factors that will indicate how long your articles need to be.
To determine the length each article needs to be in order to be competitive, look at websites who are ranking for the same subject your article is on.
You should not create articles with the express goal of gaining a larger word count than other articles. Articles perform well when keywords and important key phrases are incorporated into it naturally.
Longer articles may be necessary to thoroughly and accurately convey the message to the reader . If you have too many keywords jammed into an article, search engines will think you’re purposefully keyword spamming even if you aren’t. You need to have a careful balance of diverse keywords throughout your article, and the more keywords and phrases you have on your page the better, as long as the flow naturally.
Meta titles, also called title tags, are an HTML element coded within the frontend of your website.
This specifies the titles of your web pages and is displayed on SERPs as the clickable headline for any given search result.
Title tags should include your main relevant keyword. This will help Google understand what your page is about.
Title tags are the main blue headlines you see on Google. There is a maximum limit of what is displayed and it differs slightly between mobile and desktop. This limit for meta titles is a based on pixel width of the characters used. It varies between 680 to 920 pixels. This roughly translates into about 60 characters.
Google may choose to override your title tag in some cases. Your brand name or other keywords may be added without your permission in the search results pages. This is Google trying to be helpful. It is important that you do not try to abuse the power of the meta title and make sure what you choose is accurate and relevant to the content on the page.
Meta descriptions are the text that appears beneath the meta titles on SERPs.
They are a summary of a webpage’s content and coded within the frontend of your website.
You can choose to incorporate relevant keywords within the description so that users may be more likely to visit your website.
Recent changes to Google’s algorithm sometimes cause the description to show automated meta descriptions based on the content the bot finds within the page. Despite this feature, however, it is still important to fill out the meta description for any piece of content that you publish.
Heading tags are extremely important for SEO on medical based websites.
Every page must have a what is referred to as an H1 tag or in layman’s terms, an opening header. Each page should only have one instance of the H1 tag.
The next heading tag you need to have is referred to as the H2. Unlike the H1, you can have multiple H2 tags. Each section on your medical based website should begin with a heading marked as an H2.
These heading tags are an extremely important on-page SEO factor. Like the meta title and description, they are used to communicate to search engines what the page is about. They also help break up content, which makes it easier for users and search engines alike to find the content they are looking for.
There are six levels of heading tags from H1 through H6 and should be used in order of importance depending throughout a section or page.
Alt text helps convey the purpose of an image or graphic on your website.
In addition to meta titles and descriptions, alternate text (shortened to alt text) is required.
This delivers a good user experience and makes your medical website more accessible to people with sight disabilities.
The more accessible your website is the better you will do in the search rankings.
Generally, alt text is used to describe graphics or images to search engines and users with visual disabilities. By using this strategy, you can get noticed not only by search engines but by potential patients as well.
The site structure of your domain refers to how well-organized your website’s layout is.
Are things easy to find? Do links and dropdown menus make sense where they’re placed?
The more pages your site has, the more site structure is important. Without a clear structure, potential patients will become confused and leave.
It is important that we help search engine crawlers understand how content is related on your site to make sure your site shows up when people are searching for your services.
Websites with pages organized into categories do better than those that do not. This will help increase your domain authority, and help patients who visit your website find the information they are looking for.
To organize your website, consolidate content, remove old URLs, and cut down redundant pages that are listed on your website. Health care websites usually have categories of pages listed at the top, along with an ‘about us’ section where you can detail what sets your practice apart from others. Organizing your article content, blogs, FAQ’s and other miscellaneous pages throughout these categories goes a long way. Each of these pages should be thoroughly optimized with keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions.
Site speed, also called page speed, refers to how quickly a webpage loads when a user clicks on the link.
If your page loads too slowly, a visitor is more likely to leave and click on another link instead.
The number of visitors who click away from your site is called the bounce rate.You want your bounce rate low to indicate to Google that your website is optimized for users.
One of the most straightforward ways to increase the loading speed is through optimizing any visual content including graphics, videos, and images. Other factors that affect site speed are third party pieces of code including plugins. Visual builders slow down websites by the very nature and are not suited for professional medical websites. By taking the time to ensure these features load quickly, you can cut down on the number of visitors leaving your site over slow loading speeds.
Technical SEO not is more than just making sure you site loads fast. Technical SEO is about making sure you website is coded correctly and easy to parse. Most do-it-yourself websites and drag and drop web builders do meet this specification. Other items to consider are server optimizations, links that 404 or dead links, xml sitemaps, hreflang tags and more. All of these things add up and have a direct impact on your websites rankings.
Security is an important feature for any online domain, but it is especially critical for medical sites.
A secure website means they have an HTTPS address, rather than an HTTP address.
This indicates any information shared, such as through submitted forms, is encrypted.
They have the required certifications to protect the user from potential online threats.
Medical practices must do more than simply have an HTTPS address, however. Medical practices must conform to HIPAA regulations, those same regulations extend to their websites.
Forms, patient portals, and any other features that gather sensitive patient information need to be secure. Online security shows visitors you value their information and that your website is legitimate. Remember, Google values websites that are user-friendly. This includes user safety.
Most internet searches are made from some type of mobile device.
For this reason, Google now looks for mobile compatibility as one of its ranking factors.
Having a medical website that is mobile friendly, or “responsive,” means that it works well and still retains a visual consistency no matter the size of a device’s screen.
Responsive websites will rank higher than those that are not. If your medical website is not mobile friendly this should be your first priority. Patients expect to be able to find and access the information they are looking for on the device the use the most, their phone.
Schema is code that helps search engines such as Google and Microsoft Bing understand what your website is about, what services you offer, and where you offer these services.
Schema has its on vocabulary and is a standardized set of structured data.
There are multiple types of Schema, it is important to implement the right ones.
There are certain types of schema that are common to all websites, and others that are more specific. There is a subsection that is specific to health and medical websites. By implementing Schema on your medical website you can take advantage of multiple ways that will help you outrank your competitors.
Anything you do to promote your services on other platforms outside of your own website is considered Off-Site SEO.
A lot of effort goes into ranking a medical website, not all of these take place on the actual website itself.
Off-Site SEO includes items such as Local SEO, social media posts, backlinks to your website and more.
Reputation management, guest blogging, videos uploaded to YouTube are other examples of off site work. A successful medical website will need to have both on-site and off-site SEO in order to rank well.
Local SEO is a must for any medical provider who wants to boost their business.
Local SEO is like SEO, with the added factor of targeting a specific geographic location.
The majority of health care providers provider services in a specific area or region.
With local SEO, you are targeting patients within your area of practice. This can be useful when you are looking for patients within your region or if you have multiple offices spread out across multiple locations.
Part of local SEO includes claiming your Google Business Profile, which gives you a useful place to post your website, hours, address, and other important information. When a user searches for “doctors near me,” Google will be able to use this information to show your business along with several other local businesses.
SEO is not a ‘do it once and leave it’ kind of marketing.
There are many factors that determine your rank on SERPs, it is necessary that you monitor how your website is performing.
Once you have historical data, it’s important to analyze and use that data to develop action items to improve your website’s performance.
The first step for existing medical office websites is conducting a thorough site audit of each of your pages. An audit first requires you to go through each page on your website and examining where your site lands on ranking factors. This will give you a good blueprint as to where your site needs to improve.
There are multiple areas that need to be looked at during a website audit.
Keeping close track of each of these aspects will give you the information you need to take actionable steps and improve your overall rankings. There are quite a few tools that you can use that will help you keep track of each of these important factors. You will likely need to subscribe to several different online tools to give the complete picture.
Google considers any offsite links as badges of authority.
In healthcare, this means that any websites linked to by other relevant healthcare-related websites are seen as more important than medical websites without these backlinks.
You want relevant backlinks because they directly affect your webpages and website’s authority and credibility when it comes to search results.
There are different ways to obtain backlinks. One of the easiest is through guest blogging or posting online articles to other websites. Blog content and articles are especially good for SEO because they help place your website as a relevant answer to patient questions.
Major healthcare publications or news sites act as backlinks. Anyone reading an article on their website can click the link to your article, which boosts your SEO and potentially bring in new patients who are interested in your services or work.
Another form of backlinks comes through citations. These citations are a reference to your healthcare organization’s name, address, and phone number, and sometimes include links to your website. Citations are usually generated by directories, such as Yelp, Google My Business, or healthcare-specific directories that list all relevant information about your practice.
There is some debate over the extent of social media’s impact on SEO. Most experts will agree that higher numbers of engagement via social media increase the relevancy of your site and its odds of appearing on the first page of SERPs, so also consider using social media as part of your SEO strategy. You want to make sure your social media profile is up to date and active.
You need a robust healthcare SEO strategy to attract more patients and gain visibility. SEO takes some time to show results, however, and you don’t want to put in a lot of time, effort, and resources only to learn your strategy didn’t work.
Using the strategies above is one way to ensure your strategy will work, but nothing is guaranteed with digital marketing. While these strategies are a good start, constantly changing search engine algorithms make it necessary to continuously update your SEO strategy. This can be time-consuming and take away time from your practice.
By hiring a digital marketing agency, you can focus on your practice while benefitting from a strong healthcare strategy. Experienced SEO experts make it their job to keep up with best SEO practices. They can ensure that your website is always up to date and maintain its SEO and online visibility for you.
Our team at Just A Web Company will help your medical practice rank higher using the industry’s best SEO practices. Our medical SEO services are sure to increase the amount of incoming traffic. Increased traffic means more leads for your healthcare practice!
We follow a user-based approach to make sure search engines and potential patients notice you. We constantly collaborate with you to improve your SEO, including regular website maintenance to make sure your strategy is up to date with best practices. Real-time data provides us with a look into whether our strategy is working for you. If it isn’t, we use the data to adjust our strategy and get your website back on track.
Just A Web Company is the best digital marketing agency to help you with your healthcare SEO. Call us today!
Find out how we can boost your online visibility for your medical practice. We are more than happy to talk about our approach so you can determine if we are the right fit for your healthcare practice.