Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful strategy to bring visibility to your practice and boost your business by driving more organic traffic to your website. As more patients visit your website, the chances of them booking appointments with your clinic increase.
How does it work, though, and what role does SEO play in all of this?
The process -
When a patient searches for any queries on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others, they receive appropriate results ranked in order of relevance. The websites that the search engine evaluates as more relevant are ranked higher compared to other websites. As a practice owner, your aim is to rank higher on specific patient searches relevant to your practice.
Example: If you are a dentist and a patient is searching for tooth pain or aligners in your area, you want your website to show up in those search results so that the patient can choose your practice for their appointment.
What the patient sees as results on the search page are a direct consequence of the website's SEO.
Search engines such as Google have created very complex algorithms to collect information and content from websites, index them based on various parameters, and rank their relevance for billions of possible search terms coming from users based across the world. Websites that follow suggested standards, have useful content addressing the exact search term by the user, and have unique & original content are ranked #1 on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
A question we might ask: How do Google bots read our content, or how does Google know when we have published new content that needs to be ranked?
Answer: This happens by incorporating SEO standards into the website and regularly submitting our website to be reviewed by Google or other search engines. Once we do that, Google ranks our website content and services and matches it to the relevance of the patient search terms. Better content and relevance lead to better rank, and better rank leads to higher traffic from search.
Why Is SEO Important for Doctors?
More than 80% of patients search for doctors and treatments online. 70% of them click on the first result itself, and more than 90% click on results on the first page alone. If you are looking to get new patients online, it is essential to ensure that you are visible for patient search terms. That is how patients will discover your practice, visit your website, and book an appointment. SEO is the key to improving your relevance and discoverability. It is possible to optimize your ranking in your area by geotagging your content as per search engine guidelines.
What Are the Benefits of SEO for Doctors?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be incredibly beneficial for doctors and medical practices as it helps them improve their online presence, reach more potential patients, and ultimately grow their business.
1. Increased visibility:
SEO makes it easier for doctors to be found online by helping them rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This may result in more people visiting websites, making phone calls, and scheduling appointments.
When doctors rank well on search engine results, it increases their reputation and credibility with prospective patients. Additionally, finding favorable reviews and recommendations about the doctor may be easier for patients if the doctor has a better search engine rating.
When compared to more traditional forms of promotion like billboards or TV commercials, SEO can be a more affordable marketing technique for doctors. Doctors can increase their practice's visibility and growth with the right SEO approach. In the long run, organic traffic has a much higher ROI compared to inorganic ads on any channel.
As a healthcare provider, you would want to build a strong reputation for years to come, and hence it is important to embrace the fact that having a strong digital presence is non-negotiable. With changing user behavior, a large number of new patients will choose their doctors after their online search. Website SEO is an essential piece to achieve success in this changing world.
What can you do to enhance your Website SEO?
6 Effective SEO Strategies for Doctors
1. Keyword Research
Determine the terms and phrases that potential patients are using to search for medical services in your area. These keywords should be incorporated into your website's content, including blog articles and landing pages wherever relevant. It is important NOT to stuff the keywords randomly without context and meaning.
2. Optimize Your Website
Ensure that the content on your website is relevant and informative to potential patients. This involves optimizing page names, meta descriptions, and header tags for the keywords you want to target. The best way to think about it is to have content that patients might be searching for and would benefit from.
3. Build High-Quality Backlinks
High-quality backlinks from reliable websites will help you rank higher in search engines. Consider contacting other healthcare experts or organizations and asking for backlinks to your website. Typically, this activity would be taken up by your healthcare marketing agency, who would already have the relationships and know-how of building such reliable links.
4. Create High-Quality Content
Creating high-quality content such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and treatment videos will help your website attract more patients. Use your material to educate and inform your target patients about your medical services and expertise. At the same time, this also helps in building trust with potential patients who might be searching for similar services for themselves.
5. Use Local SEO
Take advantage of local SEO methods to target patients in your local area. To improve your visibility in local search results, claim and enhance your Google My Business page, use location-specific keywords, and include your business in local directories. Your marketing agency should be able to help you identify such directories and build your listings on them.
6. Monitor Your Results
Keep track of your website traffic, search engine rankings, and patient inquiries to see what is and isn't working. Track your website stats using tools like Google Analytics and make improvements to your SEO approach as needed. Ask your marketing agency to share a monthly report and set of activities performed to ensure you are covering all important aspects, which will help in building strong SEO for your website.
How to start?
Building a strong SEO requires time and effort. If you have a large number of locations and have the capability to create and manage a complete team, you can build an in-house capability to manage your SEO. However, for most of you, it would make sense to hire a reliable healthcare marketing partner.
It is important to choose a partner that can understand your practice and build a strategy commensurate with your goals.
How to choose a reliable partner for SEO?
As a doctor looking for a credible source for SEO, it's critical to examine industry-specific aspects. First, seek a partner that has worked with medical professionals and healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations' SEO strategies may differ from those of other industries, so it is crucial to select a partner that understands these distinctions. It is also critical to assess the partner's reputation within the healthcare field. Look for reviews and testimonials from other medical experts to get a sense of their work and customer service excellence.
Another consideration is the partner's knowledge of the healthcare field, rules, and compliance requirements. You have special legal and ethical requirements as a healthcare professional, and your SEO approach should reflect that. Check with your partner regarding who is creating the content in their team, and whether it passes a check from someone who has deep expertise in healthcare or a doctor him/herself. This one thing itself might save a lot of time and effort for you and yield great results.
Finally, think about the cost of SEO services. As a medical expert, you most likely have a marketing and advertising budget. Choose a provider that offers cost-effective, high-quality services that fit within your budget.
SEO is an essential strategy for doctors and medical practices to improve their online visibility, reach more potential patients, and ultimately grow their business. By following the six effective SEO strategies outlined in this guide, doctors can optimize their website's content and attract more patients. It is crucial to choose a reliable partner for SEO, considering industry-specific aspects such as past experience working with medical professionals, reputation within the healthcare field, knowledge of healthcare rules and compliance requirements, and cost-effectiveness. With the right SEO approach and persistent work, doctors can expand their medical practice and attract more patients.
Remedo has a long history of helping practices with their website & SEO. You can check out our SEO services here.
Remedo provides you an all-in-one digital healthcare marketing solution to attract new patients and grow your practice.