SEO Digital Marketing Strategies to Skyrocket your Healthcare Practice
SEO or search engine optimization is an important element in the success of any medical practice’s marketing strategy. With the right SEO tactics, a healthcare practice can attract more traffic, expand its reach, and gain more patients organically.
If you are wondering what it takes to get your medical practice to the first page of search engine results, you are not alone. With the digital era influencing and dominating more aspects of our lives, the digital search experience is rapidly becoming essential for businesses no matter their industry.
Medical practices need to take advantage of the fact that health information is among the top searches performed by Internet users. The almost unlimited potential for accessing so many people and attracting more patients is vital for the success of healthcare companies. Therefore, search engine optimization is no longer optional. It must be a priority.
SEO for Medical Practice Websites
Your medical practice’s website is the front door of your clinic. But it goes further than providing your business hours and contact information to potential patients. It is the focal point of all the information about what you do, what your patients can benefit from, and why they should visit your practice.
For this reason, it’s very important that you get things right. Your website needs to be more than a static page with impersonal information. It needs to be rich with great information and resources that help your patients to work for you and bring in traffic.
Here are a few tips you can use to ensure that your SEO for medical practices strategy delivers results:
Research the Needs of Your Patients
The main goal of search engines is to deliver relevant and high-quality answers to users. They use crawlers and filter data to rank answers based on their weight and value. That is why your SEO strategy needs to be built on research. Learning what questions your patients are asking about your medical specialty is essential. Research is also how you learn how to find and approach your audience.
Without research, you’ll be struggling to compete with every other page with similar content out there. And even if you were to win, the traffic you’dbe bringing in wouldn’t necessarily turn into tangible results and more appointments. What you should be aiming for is qualified leads. To do this, you’ll need to align your SEO tactics with what your patients want and how. It’s how you make your healthcare SEO strategy pay off.
To craft a successful SEO strategy for your medical practice, you will need to produce and optimize your online presence and your content to serve your audience’s needs and answer their questions. This stage may require a little time and effort to complete but, in the end, you will have gained valuable insight that will help you attract the right audience and traffic.
The research you do for your SEO strategy can start off with creating a detailed patient persona. From there, you can begin to outline what characteristics your patients have, what their specific needs are, what they want to obtain, and how you can attract them to your medical practice.
Next, gather data on user intent and align your SEO strategy to your findings.
What to Research
- Where your patients prefer to search for answers
- What keywords they use to perform searches
- What type of answers they are looking for
- What motivates them
- What their end-goals are
Use your research to uncover related topics patients inquire about as well as alternative keywords you can use to boost your medical practice’s SEO.
Check the “People also ask” section of the search result page and the related searches.
If you optimize your content right, your website be featured as a snippet on the first page of search results. These are the results that provide an instant answer and appear on top of organic search results.
Understanding your customers is also how you will gain their trust and convince them to use your medical practice’s services.
Audit Your Medical Practice’s Website
Another important aspect you should consider is how well your website is performing right now. It will give you an idea of how much effort you will need to put into your SEO strategy and what angles to focus on. Auditing and using the audit’s results to optimize your medical practice’s website is how you can boost your search engine ranking and attract more relevant traffic.
Don’t shy away from an audit because it sounds techy and elaborate. There are plenty of online tools to help you complete an audit in a matter of hours. Here are some tools you could use:
- Google Analytics and/or Search Console
- Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
- SERP Simulator
- Google PageSpeed Insights
An audit of your medical practice’s website will reveal if there are any technical issues that are making your website rank low. Or your pages load slowly. It will also help you find any structure or SEO issues that need fixing. In addition, you will learn how well your content is structured, how much traffic you are attracting, and reveal backlink issues. On top of that, it will identify what actions must be taken to improve crawlability and take your SEO to the next level.
At the end of the audit, you should be able to identify any problems holding your website back from ranking high in search engine results and what you can do to improve its content and performance.
Healthcare Keyword Research
You will only be able to drive organic traffic if you are delivering relevant content. To make your content relevant, you’ll need to align it to the searcher’s intent. Using the right keywords is how you can make your content relevant to search engine user queries.
You will need to do some research to identify how your target audience performs searches depending on their intent. Then, you will need to analyze the results and determine what keyword combinations will work best for your medical practice. Remember, your main goal is to attract relevant traffic. Not just traffic. So, focus on keywords that can turn traffic into patients.
In the course of your research, you’ll identify high-competition keywords. These keywords are the ones generating so many results that your medical practice’s website has few chances of ranking high for them. However, you will also be able to identify lower competition keywords and content gaps. That’s what you should focus your SEO efforts on.
Use online tools to find keyword ideas, see how competitive they are, and identify alternate or similar keywords. This will become the basis of your content strategies and all of your on-page and off-page SEO tactics. Keyword research will also serve as inspiration for your medical practice’s content. Seeing what patients are searching for will give you great insight into what they want to know more about and what answers you can provide them.
At the same time, pinpoint the niches that are not covered by existing content. Some topics may not be covered at all. Others could be covered poorly. Use what you know about your target audience for this as well as what you find in your keyword research. Create content that bridges any gaps to increase your chances of SEO success and faster high rankings.
Research Your Competitors
While you are doing your research, don’t skip on looking over the fence to your competition. Seeing and understanding what their SEO strategies are can help you define and plan yours better.
Your focus should be on finding out which websites are answering the questions your patients are asking.
There are several tactics you can use. First, identify who your SEO competitors are. They won’t necessarily be other medical practices. Make a list of the top ones to analyze their tactics. See what keywords they use, what their backlink profiles are, and how their content is structured. Explore top performing content and any keyword gaps.
Based on your findings, you will have to identify ways to outrank them and redirect the traffic they are attracting to your own website.
See how well your competition is answering patients’ needs and what you can deliver that is more relevant and educational for the target audience. Next, create themes and write about topics you feel you could deliver better content for. All while keeping the patient at the core of your efforts.
Next, be on the lookout for how other medical practices promote their business online. They could be attracting organic traffic with SEO or through online advertising like PPC ads. Check the competition for keywords and see whether your medical practice could benefit from using this SEO strategy.
Local SEO for Healthcare and Google My Business
Local SEO is the ideal tactic for attracting prospective patients from your area to your medical practice. It’s also very cost-effective. Focusing on local SEO means you won’t be battling the entire Internet for attention. All you have to do is beat your local competition to the punch.
The goal of your local SEO efforts is to become part of the “snack pack” results. They are the top 3-5 local business results that show up on the first page of Google as the most relevant results for a search. Other search engines like Bing or Yahoo also show local results on top for certain searches.
To make it to the first page of local search results, you will need to focus on a few key aspects. You will need to keep up-to-date local listings on platforms such as Google My Business and have a strong presence in relevant local directories. Your online presence must be optimized for relevant local keywords.
These keywords are easy to figure out. You just need to put yourself in the searcher’s shoes. If they need a dentist in Charlotte, NC they will type in “dentist in Charlotte”. If they urgently need a dentist at 3 A.M. in Myers Park they will type in “24h dentist in Myers Park” or “near me”.
Since local searches tend to be performed more often on smartphones, it is also essential to have a mobile-friendly website. You will lose any traffic you attract with local SEO if your website fails to give searchers the information they need.
Best practices for SEO local directory listings
- make sure all the information you provide about your business is correct
- include business hours, location, and directions
- describe your business using relevant keywords
- keep your contact information up to date at all times
- create a listing in all relevant local directories.
When it comes to blogging, what matters most is how useful your content is to your target audience. The more helpful your content is, the longer they will spend on your website. Plus, the more likely they will be to return and seek your advice. This will not only expand your reach. It will also improve your search engine ranking. And build trust.
Blogging also helps improve your search engine ranking and boost your SEO results. To work, your blog posts have to be well-optimized.
The blog posts you write for potential patients need to answer their questions better than your competitors. To create good content, keep in mind one thing. How useful that content is and how well it aligns with your audience’s search intent. This is where your keyword research comes in. You need to know what questions your audience is asking and, most importantly, how. Keyword research is essential for a good keyword strategy and for your blog’s SEO success.
Use relevant keywords in your blog posts and in your title, H1, H2, H3tags, and meta-descriptions. Improve the design of your blog by adding relevant images and videos. Keep the text airy and easy to read and don’t overcomplicate your writing. Write as if you were speaking to a regular patient and explain things in simple terms. This will make your blog relatable and build trust with your followers. To keep your readers engaged and expand your reach, make sure you post regularly.
Blogging will also help your backlink-building strategy. Which is what we will get into next.
Search engines use backlinks as a ranking factor. They use them not only to understand your website’s structure, but also to evaluate your online authority. The more websites link back to yours, the more appreciated your website’s content must be. Therefore, this is one SEO tactic you don’t want to skip on.
Your blog is a good place to include links to relevant websites. Relevant means reputable websites that deliver good quality content and relate to your industry. On the other hand, if your blog has quality content, you can use it to attract links from other websites to yours. You can become the relevant website others link to when you establish an online reputation and post valuable content.
Infographics, ultimate guides, and internal links are popular ways you can build backlinks. Guest blogging is another good way to build relationships and get links back to your site.
You can use online tools to analyze your website’s backlink profile, as well as your competition’s.
SEO for Medical Practices – Additional Tactics
Social Media Marketing for Medical Practices
Social media is the best platform for referrals. It’s where you can create a presence, follow it up with a buzz and then let word-of-mouth do the rest. Think of social media as the town square. If you are there and you are talked about, you exist. Otherwise, you don’t.
Many people spend a large part of their days on social media. It’s where they go to connect with family and friends. But it’s also where they see the more human side of the businesses and organizations they interact with.
Social media marketing is a good way for medical practices to connect with prospective patients on a more human level. Instead of answering their questions in a general blog post, you can engage with them one on one. It is also how you can build a reputation and trust.
People are constantly asking questions online about healthcare service providers, how experienced they are, and how well they treat their patients. Your online presence needs to encourage positive reviews by addressing any questions and providing the right answers.
The social media marketing strategy you create for your healthcare practice needs to be consistent, fluent, and, above all, centered around the patient’s needs. This is how you build trust and attract more patients.
Target the Right Audience
You may think that targeting as many people as possible is the way to go. If you do, you are wrong. While you want your reach to be as wide as possible, you also need to get more specific when it comes to your digital marketing strategies. Your end goal is not to generate empty traffic. It’s to generate the right kind of traffic. The one that turns into patients.
The best SEO strategies are the ones that focus on a specific segment of their target audience. For instance, let’s say you are a dentist. Instead of writing a blog about general issues, why not focus your content on best dental hygiene practices for children? Or, why not create a digital marketing campaign for local patients?
Focus on Patient Experience
This tactic should reach all corners of your marketing strategy. Not just SEO. Everything from the user’s experience when they visit your website to the way you engage with them on social media or what you write about on your blog. Keep your focus on the patient and how they can benefit from using your services.
Here are a few aspects to consider:
- Invest in optimizing your website
- Make it easy for patients to make an online appointment
- Make it easy for patients to find your contact information and your physical location
- Keep basic information such as business hours up to date and make them visible.
Watch the Trends
2020 has obviously been the year of online services. The service providers that existed online flourished. On the other hand, the ones that were not online have had to make the shift. When it comes to healthcare services, ‘telehealth’ has been the year’s main trend. More and more medical practices have tried to keep up with the times and find the best solutions to keep providing their patients with the care they need.
Other years may not have had such visible trends. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not always something going on. To ensure your digital marketing success, keep your eyes and ears open. Try to stay ahead of market developments and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.