Statistics show that 68% of internet activities begin with a search engine, and 75% of users never scroll past the first page. How do you ensure that your page or business finds a space on the first page? It’s no secret! SEO is the key. SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, and it is a set of strategies that can be used to rank higher in organic searches on Google and other search engines.
As we know, most people look for their upcoming healthcare appointments online. But what if a patient can’t find your website online? You'll need a robust website and a tactical healthcare SEO strategy if you want to appear on page 1 of an organic search. Even though it can appear difficult, it is quite possible with complete dedication and careful planning.
In this article, we have compiled an ultimate guide to SEO for medical professionals. Let us dive in:
Relevance of SEO for Medical Professionals
The Google algorithms are always evolving, and the rules change every few months. As per the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, published by Google, health-related websites fall into the category of YMYL (Your Money, Your Life). YMYL are those contents that can "potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety."
When it comes to YMYL content, Google looks at three things: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT). Simply put, medical content should come from sources having the necessary medical training or accreditation. In addition,the content should be written in a professional manner and must be regularly edited, reviewed, and updated.
When it comes to medical SEO practices, we can broadly divide them into 3 categories: On-Site Techniques, Off-site techniques and Local SEO techniques Let us look at each of them in detail:
On-Site SEO Techniques
On-site SEO strategy includes the changes that you might need to implement within the site like content, design, images, layout, speed, to increase traffic. Some of the key factors of On-site SEO are as follows:
- Website Design
The first and foremost thing to take care of is your website design. Ensure you have a search engine-friendly design. There is a rapid increase in the number of people who are accessing the internet via mobile devices, so the mobile responsiveness of your website also becomes crucial. Usage of sitemaps in your website can be a game changer.
Keywords are the cornerstone of SEO. People can reach your website via search engines thanks to the keywords and phrases in your online content. A Search Engine Optimised healthcare website "speaks the same language" as that of the person searching for it.
- Meta description and title tags
Both title tags and meta descriptions help a search engine to understand the content of your website. Each web page should have a unique title tag and meta description, and they should clearly communicate the content of the website. Another point to look at is the length of this content. The title tag should be less than 60 words, while for meta descriptions it should be 155–160 words, so that they are not cropped in the search engine results page (SERP).
- Website Speed
Site speed is an indicator of how quickly your web pages respond to a search, and Google uses it as a key algorithm to decide whether your website will appear on the Search Engine Results Page.
- Usage of Fonts
It is easy for crawlers to identify text in bold and italic formatting as it makes the text stand out. This is one factor that Google bots consider while ranking your website.
- Content Updation
A case study by HubSpot found that updating out-of-date material on a website improved online traffic by 106%. Two SEO techniques that one might employ, particularly in the healthcare industry, are posting pertinent content and cleaning or updating out-of-date content. A healthcare website owner can create a blog and maintain it in accordance with the latest trends, in addition to writing about the services they offer. Your target audience's potential inquiries must be on your mind at all times.
Off-Site SEO Techniques
Backlinks are valuable when it comes to SEO. Healthcare websites that are mentioned by, or linked by other reputed sites are considered to be more important than others. It increases the EAT score of the website. Some strategies to ensure backlinks are:
- Press Releases
Informing the press about any events that might be happening in your healthcare company or letting the press know about new initiatives, offers, or awards that you have won via a suitable press release can increase not just your visibility in the press but also the chances of being cited by them.
- Blogs and articles
Maintaining a blog with regular updates can also help you in this regard. Writing opinion pieces about current affairs, about a new disease, or a new government policy can attract the attention of the media as well as patients.
- Social Media
Though there are different opinions about the impact of social media on SEO, there is no doubt that a popular health care page will attract the attention of the search engine. Create pages across different social media, update content regularly, and build collaborations to ensure that you are noticed.
Local Off-site SEO Strategies
Local SEO involves optimising your website for location-based search. For example, when you search for "dermatologists near me", you are often shown a page on Google with the location and contact details of the practitioners within a mapped area.
Some of the strategies that can culminate in better local SEO are:
Online review sites
According to statistics, close to 93% of prospects read online reviews before making a decision. This is why online reviews are a part of your reputation management. Make sure you give prompt and considerate responses to reviews, both positive and negative.
Citations/ Online References
Citations refer to the online reference of the name, address, and phone number of your organisation. This enhances the authority of your website. Adding the details of your health care organisation to Google Business or Facebook Business would help in this regard.
There are many healthcare directories like Drdata, Medindia, infodoctor among others. Consistent data in these directories would improve the user experience and add to your credibility.
The fundamental principles of digital marketing for healthcare suggest that the more visitors you can get to your website, the better. When you develop a strategy, you should consider the patients' ages, the services they require, and the equipment they utilise.
SEO is not as tough to master as many people think it is if you use the appropriate tactics. Even though I can't guarantee it will be easy, it is definitely achievable. There is no quick fix to raise the ranking of your website; it takes constant, consistent work. We hope you can make the most of this Ultimate Guide to SEO for Medical Professionals.