We live in a digital world where the average person spends over eight hours a day browsing the Internet. As more people flock to the web for answers, medical practices need to make sure that they aren’t left behind. It’s time for medical practices to ensure that their website can be found in a sea of competitors. If you want to reach your target audience then you need to leverage the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Like many things in our digitally driven world, the search for health information starts online. In fact, many U.S. Internet users readily turn to the Internet to find answers to their health-related questions. How do they start their search for answers? They start with a search engine. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 77 percent of the polled group stated that their health information research began with Bing, Google, or another general search engine.
Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques, and tactics used to increase the number of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the organic search results page. Organic search results are listings on search engine results pages, they appear when a user types in a search term. It is important to note that as opposed to pay per click advertising, you are not paying for visitors who click your website links from an organic search. Without leveraging the power of SEO, your intended audience will have a harder time finding your website, which means that your medical practice could suffer. If you want to increase the likelihood that your website links will be displayed when a potential customer looks for related information, then you need to optimize it for SEO using the following tips.
Just as you can’t have a great sandwich without the right bread, neither can you have an SEO optimized website without the right keywords. Adding keywords to your website will start by conducting a bit of research. Ask yourself the following types of questions:
What questions, phrases, or words will my customers use when searching for my medical practice? Remember to place yourself in your clients’ shoes to best understand how they think and what keyword phrases they are most likely to use.
What types of words are best used to describe my medical practice? The types of words used to describe your medical practice are important for helping you narrow down your list of keywords used. For example, not all dental practices are described in the same way. Some might be known for their pediatric section, while others might be known for their exceptional cosmetic dentistry results. In other words, keywords need to be specific to the best attributes of your medical practice.
What local words (including locations) should I use? For example, if you have a dental practice in Fairfield, CT, then you might include the following types of local keyword phrases, “dental practice in Fairfield County” and “Fairfield dental practice.”
What keywords are my competitors using? Competitor research can help you to better identify what types of keywords clients are using to search for local medical practices.
What general keywords should I use? For example, if you are a dental practice that treats children, then you might use the following types of general keyword phrases that are specific to your chosen medical field; such as, “pediatric dental practice,” “kid friendly dental practice,” or “children’s dentistry.”
What is the search volume associated with my selected keywords? To answer this question you can use the Google keywords tool. You should pay close attention to the volume of local searches, so that you can adjust your selected keywords to deliver the optimal local and national (if applicable) results.
After you have defined the keywords, you should add meta tags to your website pages. Meta tags are used to help define the contents of each web page. These defining tags should be filled out for your page title, description, and images. If you are using WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), then you can install the free Yoast SEO plugin to help you successfully fill-in your meta tags. Remember to use keyword synonyms in your meta tags and to add H1, H2, and H3 tags to as headings within your pages to make your content both user and SEO friendly.
The Yoast SEO plugin will automatically create a sitemap and suggest SEO improvements for each website page. Remember to add your sitemap link to your Google Webmaster Tools for the optimal results. Finally, don’t forget to check the speed of your website. The faster your site loads, the more likely it is that you will attract and keep site visitors. You can use the Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin to reduce image sizes, which can subsequently decrease page load times. If your web pages are still loading too slowly, you can use the Fast Velocity Minify plugin to further decrease the page load time, which will have the added benefit of reducing the number of times that your page is abandoned by visitors. Use this tool to check your page speed and get Google recommendations on what and how to optimize your site.
Use your Google Webmaster Tools to check for any errors, such as 301, 404, and broken links, on your site. These errors can negatively impact your search engine rankings and greatly reduce the number of website visitors. For example, a broken link that leads to a page that no longer exists can lead to an increased abandoned page rate and fewer site visitors. It is important to note that websites with reported page errors are typically placed lower on search results, which has been shown to directly reduce the number of site visitors. To avoid the latter outcomes and boost your SEO efforts, fix all of the errors and broken links on your site.
Improve Security To Protect Site Visitor Privacy. — The latest Google algorithm states that priority is given to secure websites. To improve the security of your website, and to protect your visitors’ privacy, you will need to install the SSL certificate. Installing this security feature is as easy as completing the following steps:
Many medical practices rely on the support and patronage of local residents, which means that your SEO efforts should also include a local component. You should optimize your website for local searches by using Schema.org. All you will need to do is fill in the required information, before copying and pasting the generated code onto your contact page. As an example, your code will look similar to the following:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> <h1> <p itemprop="name">Pharmacy of Hatboro</p> </h1> <p itemprop="description">Best local pharmacy, which provides pain medication management and free delivery service.</p> <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> <span itemprop="streetAddress">3102 Highway 98</span><br /> <span itemprop="addressLocality">Hatboro</span>,<br /> <span itemprop="addressRegion">PA</span> </div> <p> Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">866-638-4200 </p> <p></span></p> <p>Open: <span itemprop="openingHours" content="Mo,Tu,We,Th 09:00-12:00">Monday-Thursday 9am-noon</span></p> </div> <p>
The above process for improving search ranking can be time-consuming. It can also take a bit of time for the results to roll in. Additionally, you will need to consistently update your website with the high-quality content, so that it can continue to increase in ranking for certain keywords. If you need an immediate solution, then you should consider using Paid Per Click (PPC) advertising.
Through PPC you can create keyword targeted digital ads that are placed in front of the exact audience who is looking for your type of medical services. From setting budget controls to only paying when a prospective client clicks on your advertisement to increasing revenue, PPC is a customizable and flexible option that delivers the immediate results you need to find new clients and successfully grow your medical practice. To learn more about SEO best practices, or to start your PPC campaign today, contact TopWhale today.
Growing your medical practice by enhancing your website’s SEO is made easier through the right keywords, correctly formatted meta tags, the use of plugins to improve your website’s speed and functionality, resolving site errors, improving site security, and creating a schema markup. With an optimized site, you can enjoy the benefits of higher search rankings and an increased number of site visitors, which can lead to better revenues and a thriving medical practice. However, it is important to note that SEO is a long term marketing project that can take time to deliver the results you need. If you want to achieve more immediate results, then you should leverage the power of PPC. Through direct targeting, compelling ad copy, and flexible solutions, PPC can place your practice in front of people who are looking for your types of medical services. In short, PPC provides an immediate digital solution to finding new clients and successfully growing your medical practice.