Guest post by Elaine Bushey, Client Services & Web Team Manager at Fast Track Marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO): this is one of those marketing strategies that is important (and sometimes daunting) for any business. If you have a medical practice, having strong SEO tactics in place is essential to compete with others in your market and grow your business. But SEO is more than just tossing a few keywords on your website; it involves analyzing your market, understanding your target audience and designing a plan to make your website seen on search engines.
SEO can be done on a local or national level. For smaller practices, local SEO will help drive patients not only to your website but also to your doors. It’s hard to compete on a national level with medical organizations that have a strong, well-established presence but that does not mean you can’t succeed on a local level.
Depending on the size of your market and the number of direct competitors in your geographic area, you may be able to completely own the SEO in your area for your specialty…if you take the appropriate steps.
77% of people looking for health information online begin at search engines.
We’ve outlined three quick strategies you can start implementing right now to increase your SEO and nudge your website to Page 1 of search engines:
- Keyword Research
- Content is King
- Local Business Listings (LBLs)
Let’s say your medical practice offers LASIK vision correction or maybe BOTOX® Cosmetic injections. Simply adding the keywords of LASIK or BOTOX to your keywords won’t work, it is likely to get buried in the literally thousands of other practices promoting the same services. Thousands. It is highly likely that your website will eventually show up on Page 25 or worse…and guess what?
75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
So what can you do? You will be more likely to have better SEO results if you implement:
- Long-tail keywords for less rank competition: 3-4 word keyword phrases that specifically relate to your services – like “vision results after LASIK”
- Location tagging in your keywords: BOTOX in San Francisco
Research what types of keyword phrases will speak to your patients – think like your patients, not like a doctor.
Content is King
With your keywords identified, it’s now time to add this specific content to your website. While you want these keyword phrases and location tags to be prominent, they also need to make sense within your writing. An unnatural flow will quickly turn someone off – it will be obvious to the reader that you are forcing the keywords onto your page.
High quality content on the other hand – content that speaks to the patient in layman’s terms – will help educate the visitor and promote the benefits of your services. It’s no use to spend time and energy getting your site to Page 1 of search engines only to lose the website visitor on your site because your content is lacking or because your information is hard to find.
Make your site easy to navigate, easy to read and have an attractive design that can draw the user into your online presence. Of course, it goes without saying that your site must be optimized for mobile devices (responsive website design).
62% of smart phone owners use their phone to look up health information.
40% of mobile visitors will abandon your site if it is not optimized for smaller screens.
Keep in mind that search engine algorithms change constantly. Even if you have a responsive website design, you will need to continually monitor how Google and other search engines are changing their ranking methods so your site stays prominent.
Local Business Listings
When we search for medical practice information online, we expect that information to be accurate. Unfortunately, this is often not the case when information in Local Business Listings (LBLs) is not maintained. You can think of these like the Yellow Pages books of the past. There are literally thousands of these listings online. Thousands. Some of the most popular include Google+, Yelp, Internet Yellow Pages, Bing, Yahoo!, Angie’s List, and Facebook.
The more LBLs you are featured in (with correct and up-to-date information) the more credible you will appear to search engines. While increasing awareness of your practice, they will also provide valuable information for people who are ready to take that all important first step with you. It’s all about setting up a positive online user experience. Imagine a patient’s frustration if they look up your address online and get directed to an abandoned warehouse instead. They will miss their appointment and view your practice as untrustworthy. Goodbye patient lead!
Keep in mind that some LBLs are automatically populated and may exist without your knowledge. If these sites have captured incorrect information, this will only hurt your business.
Take measures to claim all of the LBLs for your practice and make sure your full contact information is correct. Start by searching for your practice online and see what pops up. You can then start claiming the listings that already exist and create new ones.
SEO is Never Done
SEO is constantly evolving so it’s never a done deal. There are also many other SEO strategies that can and should be implemented to keep your practice visible online. If you are finding it’s too much to handle in-house, Fast Track Marketing can help. Contact us today at 303-731-2634 to learn more.