Over 92% of people searching for medical providers use Google’s search engine. Medical practices that have not optimized their website for search engines and its users lose prospective patients every single day.
Can prospective patients find you on Google?
If not, you’re losing money - a lot of it.
Healthcare providers cannot survive solely on referrals anymore. The Internet has become the preferred tool for just about anything people need, including medical services.
SEO for medical practices isn’t as daunting as you may imagine. The following will help you understand SEO and its value to your medical practice.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Medical Practices
SEO is the act of optimizing a website for search engines and its users. This includes building an attractive and highly functional website that users are happy to use. It also consists of adding regular content to the website to provide up-to-date, authoritative content.
A website should answer prospective patients’ questions and do a good job at highlighting a healthcare professional’s knowledge, skills, and reputation in the community.
Search engines like Google want to show their users the best websites online when they search for information. If your website has that information in a way that the search engine can figure out, you win by achieving high rankings on results pages for the search queries searchers use.
As a medical provider, there are many benefits of SEO you should know but we’re going to narrow the list down to the five most important ones.
Benefit #1: Increase Rankings on Search Engines
SEO improves your rankability on search engine results pages. The practice of optimizing a website for search engines and its users will help bots (Google’s crawling tool) understand who should see your website. This way when someone searches for the specialty you’re in, your site will come up first.
Benefit #2: Boost Targeted Website Traffic
Keyword research for the purpose of SEO is essential. Using the search terms your prospective patients are putting into Google or another search engine search bar will put your website in front of the right people - the people who need your medical services.
Benefit #3: Enhance Brand Awareness
As more people in your local area see your website appear in search results, the more they will remember you when people they know need your medical services. SEO makes it possible for you to extend your brand farther than just the people who may drive by your office.
Benefit #4: Improve and Highlight Reputation
We don’t have to tell you how important reputation is for healthcare providers. With an online presence, you will be able to not only improve your reputation but share it with people easily with an attractive and informative website that is easily found with a simple search on Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines.
Benefits #5: High Functioning Website
Technical SEO ensures your site loads correctly and quickly for every user. Coding is reviewed and optimized to ensure that each page loads as quickly as possible. This provides your website’s users an extraordinary experience, which will reflect well on you and your medical practice.
Benefit #6: Increase Authority
SEO content shares detailed information about topics that your patients and prospective ones want to know. As you share this information on a regular basis, Google and other search engines will show your website to more people because it recognizes you’re an expert in your specialty. Website users will also notice your authority and be more likely to book an appointment.
Benefit #7: Decrease Patient Acquisition Costs
SEO is an effective and long-term solution for marketing a medical practice. The results of SEO are ongoing long after the work is done. Unlike ads, when you stop investing in SEO, you will still see the return on your investment. Over time, patient acquisition costs are much lower with SEO compared to other forms of marketing such as Google Ads (PPC), social media advertising, mailers, billboards, etc.
How to Achieve Online Marketing Success with SEO for Medical Practices
The first step in achieving success with SEO is to have an attractive and highly functional website. If your website hasn’t been updated in the last year or two, it’s likely time for a redesign.
Having a website that works well isn’t all you need to bring more patients through your medical practice’s doors. You also need to optimize each page with high-quality content that focuses on keyword phrases your prospective patients are searching for on search engines. These phrases should be used in the content as well as in the title tag and meta description for each page.
Best practices for SEO include having content that is easily understood by the average reader and can be scanned. Research shows Internet users do not read articles, but instead, they scan them for the information they need. It's important that articles are written in a way that makes it easy for visitors to read - use short sentences, short paragraphs, subheadings throughout (H2s, H3s, and H4s) and include a call-to-action in the conclusion.
In addition to the content on the site, it’s important to have an active Google My Business listing. Claiming your business listing and updating it weekly with photos and posts will show people that you’re active online ready to help them with their medical matters.
Business Directory Listing submissions is another important part of SEO. The more places your medical practice’s name, address, phone number, and website URL is placed, the more trustworthy your site appears to be by Internet users and search engines.