Are you a medical professional looking for ways to increase your online visibility and reach potential patients? With so many doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals vying for attention in the digital space, there’s no better time than now to implement effective medical SEO solutions.
In this blog post, we discuss the importance of medical SEO and how to guide new patients to your business.
Unique Medical SEO Roadblocks
Medical SEO (aka healthcare SEO) is the process of optimizing websites and content to ensure they rank well in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Higher ranking has been shown to increase search click-throughs exponentially, meaning more potential patients for your practice.
Currently, healthcare marketing strategies must ensure that they meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As well, healthcare organizations must be careful with their product and service claims, as these can be misleading and exaggerate the results of a particular offering.
Furthermore, the U.S. healthcare system has a complex market structure, with most consumers relying on third-party administrators like insurance companies to access and pay for their treatments and medications.
These unique market structures and stringent regulations create significant targeting hurdles for healthcare providers. Fortunately, healthcare search engine optimization can help companies to effectively communicate with patients while complying with HIPAA at the same time.
Adding “Experience” to Your Online Authority
To maximize your visibility in search engine results, an effective SEO strategy weaves together the four essential components: technical optimization, pertinent content creation, on-page structure, and off-site promotion. Each of these facets builds upon its counterpart to create a cohesive campaign capable of driving impressive organic traffic to your practice’s website.
Part of what SEO aims to do with content creation is to address your E.A.T. – the main indicator of how good your site’s online reputation is for search engines and users.
What is E.A.T?
E.A.T. isn’t just something you do when you’re hungry. In Medical SEO, E.A.T. stands for Experience, Authority, and Trust. As you grow your practice, your digital marketing plans should include pieces that address each area.
- How am I showing my experience?
- How does this increase my authority?
- Will this piece make me appear more trustworthy?
Experience is your chance to shine.
Are you a specialist with years of experience and expertise? Do you have a private practice and a strong customer base, or are you looking for new potential customers? Wherever you are, your experience makes the job of a digital marketing agency easier.
By making sure that you include your experience in some way wherever your hospital, medical organization, or physician practice is, you are building on your E.A.T. As a practice or organization, make sure your org’s profiles are filled out completely – such as including the types of medical practice you cover.
Also, include at least a few staff listings. The experience of your staff ladder up to support the perceived experience of your organization.
When developing staff profiles – or if you’re a physician yourself – make sure you include the following experience signals:
- Your degrees: Are you an MD? PhD? DO? You spent the time getting these degrees – make sure they’re listed in your profiles.
- Professional memberships: Are you a member of the AMA? Maybe the American Academy of Family Physicians. Whatever your professional memberships, make sure to include them on your website and social accounts.
- Type of practice: Maybe you’re an MD of Family Medicine, a cardiologist, or a dermatologist. Including your area(s) of practice gives the search engines – as well as users – more clues on whether you’re the right search result.
- Reviews: Reviews are a huge benefit for doctors, medical practices, groups, and organizations. If you have a review system, use it! If you don’t have one, now is the time to get one. One of the simplest forms of “word of mouth” marketing, you can’t afford to leave these off of your digital properties.
How are Potential Patients Finding New Doctors?
How are your clients finding you? You can ask your patients, or you can look at what your online presence looks like. Are you on page one for your practice, specialty, or services?
Who are your competitors and what are they doing? Throughout the years, I’ve met many clients who have no idea who their competitors are. They just assume that if their clients used that other doctor, it’s probably their competitors. That very well may be, but the competitors of your practice may not be your online competitors.
That’s why it’s important – before you start looking on Google – to make sure you know how to ask the important questions. If you consider how most people find doctors it usually looks like this:
- Asking friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations.
- Check the doctor’s credentials and board certifications on the American Board of Medical Specialties website.
- Check reviews on websites such as Yelp or Healthgrades.
- Check the doctor’s online profile on official hospital websites.
- Read patient comments on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
- Research the doctor’s educational background and medical experience.
- Ask questions about offered medical services before making an appointment.
Knowing how much competition is online, how do you know your website is going to show up on page one for your specialty?
Let’s say you specialize in gastronomy. You can search for “top gastronomy doctors near me”, and find a list of doctors. Are you anywhere on the first page? If not, ask yourself: how are my clients going to find me?
What Does a Doctor or Practice Need to be Successful Online?
With numerous health-related websites available and advancements in telemedicine, more patients are considering these options for health advice or managing their healthcare needs. While these changes offer more opportunities for people to get help and care wherever they can find it, they also make it harder for doctors to be able to attract new patients.
Below are the top tips you can start today.
1. Professional website: A website is essential for any doctor wanting to be successful online. It should be well-designed, easy to navigate, and include information about the doctor, their practice, and the services they offer.
2. Online presence: Doctors should also have an active presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This will help them to reach prospective patients and build relationships with current ones.
3. SEO strategy: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a must for doctors who want to be successful online. An effective SEO strategy will help a doctor’s website rank higher in search results, making it easier for potential patients to find them. For local SEO, it’s imperative that your website and online profiles consistently show the same Name, Address, and Phone Number – also known as NAP.
4. Quality content: Quality content is key. Doctors should create content that provides value to their patients and educates them about their services. This can come in the form of blog posts, videos, or even infographics.
5. Patient reviews: Patient reviews are another important factor for success online. Reviews provide potential patients with insight into a doctor’s services and can help to build trust. Encouraging patients to leave positive reviews will help to boost a doctor’s online presence.
6. Online services: Virtual appointments, telehealth, and online booking are all options that make patient care easier for you and for new patients. This will make it easier for patients to access your services and make them more likely to choose you over your competition.
7. Use PPC and advertising: Invest in targeted advertising campaigns. Use targeted ads to reach the right audience, and make sure they are relevant and engaging.
8. Email marketing: Use email campaigns to build relationships with customers and promote your services.
9. Networking: Foster relationships with other doctors and healthcare professionals, as this can help to build your reputation and referral network.
10. Content marketing: Create content around topics in your specialty to help your website rank higher in search engines and build an online presence.
Wrapping it Up
To sum up, having an online presence is pivotal for medical specialties. Without it, prospective patients won’t know your services exist and existing patients can become frustrated looking for information.
Prospective patients trust Google to provide them with the top tier, and Google often provides. Those on page one are more likely to be highly rated, have the most experience, and have a track record of providing quality care. The same can be said for websites such as Yelp and Healthgrades, as well.
We’ve detailed the various ways to increase your visibility online and empower prospective patients to find out the most important details about your practice. Ultimately, you want to help them get the pertinent information because this is what helps them decide whether you’re the right doctor or have the right practice. However, it’s also what helps you get the right patients.
If you have an active website that provides valuable, optimized content on a regular basis, promotes social media interactions, and participates in directory listings, you’ve done all you can do. Yet, waiting can be maddeningly slow, too. In this multifaceted web experience, many don’t know where to begin or how to manage all it takes — that’s why we’re here!
We understand how taxing navigating this ever-changing playing field can be. We’re here to help guide your website to the top of the search engines so you can improve your ranking quickly. Make sure you ask an SEO professional that offers medical SEO services in order for people to find you online. Don’t wait any longer — contact us today for a free consultation!