When prospective patients go searching online for a local healthcare provider, your name and your practice will surface. SEO in healthcare is about managing the message they receive. 77 percent of patients used search prior to booking an appointment, and you want them to consume your content, not a random social share or review.
A comprehensive SEO strategy will ensure that prospective patients find your website, read your cultivated reviews, and understand your services precisely as you intend. At a fundamental level, a meaningful healthcare web strategy should include:
Useful meta descriptions that appropriately match their corresponding site pages.
A logical, user-friendly site structure and navigation for all platforms including mobile.
A well-written and regularly updated blog that educates and informs patients.
A highly active social presence with vital two-way interactions between the business and followers.
On-site content that gives patients what they need and want in a care provider
A healthy link structure comprised of logical and relevant business links
Consistent and accurate citations and directory listings.
Your Website as an Educational Resource
Even existing patients go online to do research. These prospective patients want to know that the doctor or dentist they are considering is qualified and skilled. If your website serves as a valuable educational resource, it will be more easily found and will create confidence and trust in you and your practice.
One of the web’s top health insurance sites, eHealthInsurance, knows a bit about this, having launched its “Get Smart. Get Covered.” consumer-oriented blog aiming to educate consumers by delivering news, facts, shopping tools, etc. related to the Health Insurance industry.
Competitive Analysis and Research
The first thing to do is take a look at what healthcare keywords your competitors are ranking for and unlock any potential opportunities. There are thankfully a lot of online tools to help with this research, like SEMrush and SpyFu.
You can also use these tools to see what kind of traffic volume and value your target keywords have. Going after “long tail” keywords may not have high search volumes, but could have a high value as seen in the estimated “cost per click” that SpyFu generates. It’s also easier to rank for a long tail keyword like “best private care physician for kids in San Francisco” than “best doctor.”
After you do your research, it’s time to get your website to show up when someone searches for your target keywords online. First do an SEO audit of your current website and make sure some best practices are followed, like having a searchable directory, verifying your site on Google My Business, and putting specific contact info like office hours, phone numbers, and address on your pages, headers, and footers.
Once that’s done, it’s time to start putting your research to use. Create content around your target keywords in the form of blogs, infographics, and even short videos. Although there are some technical things to do, like putting the keyword in your post title, the main thing to focus on is to be useful. If someone clicked on your link, is your content useful enough to answer their question and be good enough for them to share? Google is constantly refining their ranking algorithms to catch spammy “black hat” SEO tactics and rewarding websites that provide great content.
But don’t just post and pray, be sure you get eyeballs on the content you worked hard to produce. Share it on your social media sites, ask if other bloggers will share the info, and send it out in an email newsletter. Getting links back to your content is going to increase your rankings.
Google Ad Buying Done Right
One of the benefits of doing all that research is you’ll now be able to apply it to your paid ads if you have the budget to spend. Long tail keywords also have the advantage of sometimes being more affordable than more general keywords. Although there’s no direct boost to your SEO rankings from paid ads, there could be some indirect help in terms of awareness building and secondary searches.