The Basics of Healthcare SEO to Grow Your Medical Practice
There was a time when a medical business could grow without search engine optimization (SEO). However, those days are long gone. These days, SEO medical marketing is a fundamental practice for growing any medical practice.
What is medical SEO?
Medical SEO refers to the development, implementation, monitoring, and correction of SEO practices to make a medical business or practice more discoverable and visible across search engines.
It typically involves a combination of processes that allow a medical business’ website to stand out from the competition and appear high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, if your medical practice offers dentistry services in Wycombe, your target audience would be the people who are in need of those services in and around Wycombe.
In such a scenario, your practice’s website should include keywords like ‘dentist in Wycombe’ and ‘Wycombe dentist’.
This is due to the likelihood of your target audience using these keywords to perform their searches on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Why is medical SEO important for your practice?
SEO medical marketing can offer the following benefits for your medical practice:
- It can enhance your brand awareness: Before you expect success on the business front, you have to make your target audience aware of your brand. After all, if your target audience doesn’t know that your business exists, how could you expect them to turn to you for solutions? Through effective implementation of medical SEO strategies and practices, your website will consistently appear at the top of SERPs. This will result in constant exposure of your brand to your target audience, which in turn will lead to improved brand awareness. Sooner or later, your target audience will be encouraged to visit your website and see what your practice is all about.
- It can give your business an edge over the competition: Medical businesses tend to be profitable, which is why you’re likely to face a lot of competition, irrespective of the medical service you provide. In such a fiercely competitive niche, you’ll have to do all you can to get ahead of your competitors so your target audience chooses you instead of them. Medical SEO marketing is one of the best ways to gain an upper hand over the competition, as it will result in your practice appearing higher than your competitors on SERPs.
- It can generate high-quality leads: When it comes to business leads, quality is better than quantity, and that’s what medical SEO is going to generate for your business. Quite simply, the leads your business garners through medical SEO will be more likely to turn into customers. This is due to the fact that the implementation of SEO practices will allow your business to reach out to the people who are likely to be interested in your practice and the services it offers.
- It’s high on affordability: Before search engines became so important, medical practices typically had to invest in conventional advertising campaigns to reach out to target audiences. However, these campaigns often proved to be expensive, and while they were accessible for businesses with a lot of money to burn, smaller practices simply couldn’t afford them. This is where medical marketing SEO has come in and worked wonders in terms of levelling the playing field, allowing small practices to compete with the bigger names.
8 tips for medical SEO?
So, now that you know the importance of medical SEO for modern-day medical businesses along with its benefits, it’s time to go through some handy tips for making it work.
It’s important to remember that simply developing and implementing SEO strategies may not be enough to guarantee success in terms of attracting more patients.
At the end of the day, the strategies you develop and implement should be effective, and these tips will help you in that regard.
1. Patients’ search terms
Keyword research is one of the foundations of medical SEO, as it allows businesses to understand what their target audiences are searching for along with the words and phrases they are using.
For instance, if your target audience primarily uses search terms like ‘best doctor in Wycombe’ or ‘best Wycombe doctor’, keyword research will help you determine them.
Following the keyword research process, you can proceed to include these search terms in your website content, optimizing it for Google search and other search engines.
You can hire a reputed SEO medical marketing firm to do keyword research for you, or use a research tool to do it yourself. If you choose the latter option, you can use a variety of research tools.
Some tools are free and are only good enough for basic keyword research. However, if you want your keyword research to be detailed, it’s best to choose a research tool that gives you deeper insights.
2. E.A.T impacts your website ranking
After you’ve completed your keyword research and determined the keywords to use across your web pages, it’s time to turn your attention to your website’s E.A.T.
What exactly is that? Well, E.A.T refers to expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
This is a terminology introduced by Google back in 2018, and it refers to quality standards that a website should meet to rank on Google search. It applies particularly to YMYL websites, i.e. Your Money, Your Life websites.
Quite simply, your website should have these attributes, and to make sure that it does, you have to ensure the following:
- Your website should be focused on a few topics instead of many.
- The website should offer fresh and unique content, free from any kind of plagiarism.
- You should work on establishing brand authority, i.e. your target audience should repeatedly turn to you for solutions to their problems.
- Your website’s articles and blogs should consist of not just quality content, but also the author names along with their expertise and specializations.
- The website’s web design elements should be certified.
3. Competitor analysis is important
You want to gain an edge over the competition – every business wants to do that. However, doing that isn’t so simple. After all, you need to know what your competitors are doing right – things that you can learn from.
Also, you need to know what their weaknesses are so you don’t end up making the mistakes they’re making. But how do you learn about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses? The answer lies in competitor analysis.
Some of the benefits of analyzing your competitors include:
- A better understanding of the market for getting to grips with the latest trends in your industry and niche
- Facilitates the discovery of gaps or opportunities in the market, i.e. the areas that your competitors aren’t serving yet
- Greater knowhow of competitors’ practices and strategies that influence the behaviour of your target audience
From knowing who your competitors are to analyzing their marketing and sales strategies to evaluating their content strategy – there’s a lot you can do to study the competition.
4. Easy and intuitive website navigation
The content across your website’s pages may be great and of immense value to your target audience. However, you can’t focus on content alone – how your website looks and feels is important as well.
Think about it – would you spend time on a website that feels difficult to navigate and takes a long time to load? No, right? So, it’s vital that you ensure your website’s navigation feels easy and intuitive.
It’s one of the most important aspects of SEO medical marketing.
Poor website performance can be disastrous, and it can very rapidly become the reason why you’re losing out on customers. Additionally, pay attention to the functionality of your mobile website and app as well.
The majority of internet users are taking to their mobile devices to search for what they need and want. So, it’s critical that your mobile website and app are optimized as much as your desktop website.
5. Content marketing
Content is king – this will stand true irrespective of how trends change and technology evolves. That’s why content marketing is one of the cornerstones of medical marketing SEO.
It involves producing content based on what will provide value to your target audience. Quite simply, if your website content answers your target audience’s most pertinent questions, they will begin to trust you, and this in turn will encourage them to consider buying your products and/or services.
There’s a variety of content types for you to explore. This includes blogs, guest posts, videos, social media content, and more.
An important thing to remember for making your content unique is to avoid plagiarism. Many businesses tend to rush the process and end up repurposing content that already exists on other websites.
While repurposing can still yield results, blatant copy-pasting, or the use of rewriting tools is something you should steer clear of. Ultimately, these malpractices will affect your website’s E.A.T. and consequently its search engine rankings.
6. Importance of metadata
Metadata is essentially code that provides vital information to search engines regarding your web pages.
They consist of various meta tags such as meta title, description, robots, refresh redirect, charset, and viewport.
Among these meta tags, the meta titles and descriptions are the most important, and here’s why:
- Meta titles: These are important as they provide quick insights into results generated by a search engine. Some of the best medical SEO marketing practices in terms of writing a meta title include being descriptive but brief, avoiding generic titles, keeping it under 60 characters, and including the target keyword naturally.
- Meta descriptions: These are summaries of the content across your web pages. The best meta description practices include trying to write accurate summaries, including the target keyword naturally, and keeping it below 160 characters.
7. Acquire backlinks
Acquiring backlinks is a part of link building, i.e. persuading other websites to include links to your website across their content. There are two main purposes served by link building:
- Increasing website authority
- Driving referral traffic
Typically, websites that have more backlinks tend to be rated higher by the Google algorithm compared to websites with minimal or no backlinks.
8. Google My Business is vital
Last but not least, you should set up a Google My Business for your medical practice. Some of the benefits that Google My Business offers to businesses include:
- It allows businesses to appear in Google’s popular listings such as Local Pack and Maps
- It provides a whole host of analytics features that are helpful in terms of shaping new strategies and making critical business decisions
- It gives your existing customers the chance to leave reviews, which can be of help to prospective customers
- It’s incredibly easy to set up and won’t cost your business a penny
Frequently Asked Questions
What is organic traffic?
Organic traffic refers to traffic generated from search queries performed on search engines – and the traffic isn’t paid for.
For example, if a user searches for a medical practice on Google and your website appears high up on the SERP and the user visits it, it makes for organic traffic.
Increasing organic traffic is among the major goals of SEO medical marketing.
Why is organic traffic and SEO important
The combination of organic traffic and SEO is important for medical practices and businesses as it is targeted, i.e. when a user visits your website from organic results, the user is likely to be genuinely interested in your business.
This increases the probability of the user in terms of buying your products and/or services.
What is the difference between organic search traffic and paid search traffic?
An alternative to organic search traffic is paid search traffic, which involves generating website visitors through ad placements.
For many businesses, paid search traffic yield results quicker than organic search traffic as medical SEO marketing is a time-consuming process. However, paid search traffic comes at a cost, i.e. you’ll have to pay the search engine for hosting your ads whenever someone clicks on the ads.
For instance, if you’ve set up your ads through Google Ads, you’ll have to pay Google whenever a user clicks on the ads. In the long run, you should aim to increase your organic search traffic as it’s more meaningful.