Get more patients with SEO for healthcare providers

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SEO for healthcare marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) may be the most important and least understood online marketing tactic for healthcare practices.

Most providers understand that SEO is an important component for healthcare marketing, as it can drive tons of web traffic, which translates to getting more patients. Practices spend large swaths of time and money trying to increase rankings, traffic and conversions.

The effort is for good reason, even if the execution isn’t always optimal. Search is by far the top performer when it comes to converting traffic to patients, with email marketing a distant second. So how do you maximize the efficacy of your SEO in marketing your practice?

Understanding SEO for healthcare

The entire purpose of SEO is to increase your website’s visibility on search engines like Google which, in turn, increases your visibility to search engine users. When someone types “best dentist in San Francisco”, you want to be sure your practice shows up in the results.

Search engine rankings incorporate a wide array of factors and signals in order to show the most relevant results to user’s search queries.

Some of those ranking factors exist onsite, including site structure, tags, and keywords. Other SEO influencers exist offsite and in a lot of ways are out your control. This includes factors like inbound links from authoritative sites and visitor behavior. Mastering onsite SEO and working towards gaining offsite traction is ultimately how you increase your overall rankings.

Building a SEO strategy

Gaining traction and increasing your SEO rankings takes time and planning. A well thought out strategy is truly the only way to build a high performance SEO machine.

Like everything else in life, shortcuts and hacks could do far more harm than good. So how do you begin to win at the SEO game? Here are a few points to keep in mind to get you started in marketing your practice.

Analysis

Research is key to laying the groundwork for a strong SEO strategy. What are your competitors doing? What are similar practices in other cities doing?

There is no cookie cutter, one size fits all solution, but generally speaking practices that are higher up the SEO food chain have already made the mistakes you want to avoid and found the answers you are looking for. So why not get a head start?

Take notes on site structure, content, links and keywords. Also be sure to check out any and all landing pages. After all, while SEO rankings are nice, conversion is the key.

Backlinks

Backlinks are a great way of showing search engines and prospective patients the value of your expertise. These inbound links show that you have become a resource for other sites and validate the authority of your own site.

Keep in mind that Google and other search engines understand value. This means that building backlinks through other sites that you own or via partnerships that trade links with little or no contextual relevance will do far more harm than good.

Create great content and be sure to promote your content to get it in front of as much eyes as possible. This includes sharing on social media, reaching out to influencers in your area and being included in legitimate online directories in order to gain quality backlinks.

Onsite optimization

While it may be the most arduous of all the SEO strategies, onsite optimization is by in large a paint by numbers task that can yield real results. Optimization is essentially the house cleaning of website maintenance. Every time you think you are done there is a little more to do. The basics of onsite optimization include:

  • Short URLs
  • Clear and web crawler friendly site structure
  • Click friendly meta descriptions and titles to each web page
  • Use of long tail keywords in your content
  • H-tags and sub headers
  • Social media sharing buttons
  • Internal links to relevant content on your site
  • Proper citations and outbound links to authoritative sites

Keep in mind that geo-targeting is very important as well. Be sure that whenever possible you are looking to include your state, city and neighborhood so that you are easy to find for prospective patients.

Mobile Mobile Mobile

Your website MUST be mobile friendly. As of February of this year mobile accounted for 56% of internet traffic with health related websites ranking as the third most popular industry among those searches. Search engines will also prioritize mobile friendly websites over others and is a key ranking factor.

Track the stats

Management guru Peter Drucker said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This is true in business and SEO.

Tracking key statistics like traffic, bounce rate, and conversions are supremely important to maintaining a sensible SEO strategy. But don’t micro-manage. Throwing away the baby with the bath water every time there is a dip in the analytics is a recipe for spinning your wheels with a new strategy every month.

The biggest thing to remember about SEO is that your ultimate goal is to reach and attract prospective patients. Even though it’s difficult to keep up with all of Google’s algorithm updates, if you try to answer the questions people are searching for, a lot of times the SEO will take care of itself.

Whether it’s your landing pages, blogs, or videos, always be sure to produce content that is relevant to your core audience.

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About the author

Rick Kuwahara

Rick Kuwahara is COO and Chief Compliancy Officer for Paubox.

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