In order to be found in Google search results and bring in new business, you need to have a SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy in place. However, this is easier said than done, especially in an industry like healthcare. The focus of healthcare employees is on patients and treatments, not on digital strategies. But you need to invest in digital strategies in order to get found.
Healthcare businesses need to make sure that they are utilizing SEO strategies in order to appear in searches and be found by potential patients. Healthcare SEO requires specific strategies and specialized approaches as a unique industry. In this article we’ll help you understand why healthcare SEO matters and how you can find help from an agency to stay on top of your plan.
What is Healthcare SEO?
Healthcare SEO or medical SEO is the process of optimizing your web pages and other digital assets to appear higher on search engine results pages. Most patients tend to search online to find healthcare professionals in their area. They want to research people within their healthcare plans and look at things like reviews, services, and other information before making a decision on who to make an appointment with.
It’s important to make sure that your pages are found at the top of results pages and that patients are able to locate your business and services. Healthcare SEO is an important practice for any type of medical practice, including hospitals, private practices, clinics, dentists, dietitians, and more.
Why is SEO Important in Healthcare?
Healthcare SEO is important for a number of reasons. It’s important for your business recognition and revenue. It’s also an important factor of digital marketing, and without a strong SEO strategy, you can find yourself losing out on opportunities to grow your business and find new patients. Here are a few specific reasons as to why it’s important in healthcare to invest in SEO.
1. Increase Your Patient Base
Almost every adult will conduct a health care search in a given year. Searching online for healthcare professionals is the number one way patients find a new provider. They also prefer to book appointments, leave reviews, and locate specific information online. If you can’t provide these types of digital services, they will likely turn to another provider in the area who can meet their needs. When you deliver great healthcare SEO, you will increase your patient base.
2. Show Up in Search Engine Results Pages
Healthcare SEO also helps you appear in searches for local businesses, such as “hospitals near me” or “dentists in CITY”. You want to make sure your practice appears in these hyper-localized searches, as these types of patients are particularly motivated to find a result. The right SEO strategy will ensure that you can be found by local patients who are actively searching for healthcare services.
3. Beat the Competition
As a healthcare professional, you are more than well aware of how competitive the industry is. You want to make sure that new business comes your way rather than towards your local competition. Having a strong healthcare SEO strategy allows you to beat the competition and attract the patients you need. Without SEO, you’ll lose potential business to competitors who are able to take advantage of digital growth opportunities.
Best Practices for Healthcare SEO
Now that you understand why healthcare SEO matters, let’s explore some of the best practices that you should implement in your strategies.
Use Medical Keywords
Keywords are an important part of SEO. They are the specific words and phrases that are searched in a search engine like Google to find results. You want to ensure that your SEO strategy is using the right medical keywords that clearly reflect your business type, services, and practice areas.
Create Different Content Pages
Content is another important factor in SEO. The content you create is a large part of how Google and other search engines rank your pages. You want to create many different web pages or blog posts that capture the right keywords, deliver important information, and are high-quality without spelling or grammatical errors. This allows you to reach your target audiences and rank higher.
Use Graphic and Visual Elements
Another way to improve your SEO is to use different graphic and visual elements to explain your position, not just written words. Things like infographics, photos, and videos can help engage your audiences and viewers and increase the amount of traffic that comes into your website. People prefer to get their information through visual means rather than plain text, so explore different formats while building pages.
Make Sure Your Website Loads Quickly
One of the most frustrating things is waiting for several minutes for a web page to load. In fact, if your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load, most people will leave the page and find a website that can quickly load up pages. Slow sites are penalized by Google and other search engines as well, so it’s important that your pages are able to load quickly on desktop and mobile devices.
Monitor Reviews and Social Media Mentions
Your SEO isn’t just affected by your web pages. Your online reviews and social media profiles also play a role in the way your sites rank online. Try to gather as many positive reviews from patients as you can, and monitor mentions of your business online to see if there are negative things being said that you can address and fix. This will help your brand reputation improve, which has an impact on SEO.
Get Found Locally with Local Search Marketing
Your patients are likely within your local area. You want to make sure you are targeting these specific groups and getting found by local patients with local search marketing tactics. This includes things like having clear location information in your Google profile, having different pages for your locations, and participating in local events.
How to Choose an SEO Agency for Healthcare
No matter how many best practices you know, the truth is that most healthcare businesses don’t have the staff and manpower needed to stay on top of SEO efforts. If you don’t have a dedicated marketer for your practice, you will likely struggle to manage your SEO strategy internally. That’s where an SEO agency comes in.
An SEO agency for healthcare can take the burden off of your internal staff and manage the complications of an SEO strategy externally for a fee. This is a great option for businesses that want to get the benefits of healthcare SEO but know they can’t manage it themselves. Here are some steps to make sure you pick the best agency.
Step 1: Make Sure the Agency Specializes in Healthcare
You want to find an SEO agency that is familiar with the healthcare industry and knows how to activate the specific tactics needed for healthcare SEO. Most agencies have industry specializations, so you can even find agencies that specialize in specific practices, like healthcare SEO for dentists or hospitals.
Step 2: Ask for Case Studies and Examples
All agencies are going to claim that they deliver great results, so you will need to do some digging to see if this is really true. Ask for case studies and specific examples of how they have improved SEO for different businesses in order to judge their results. Look for metrics that matter most to you, like page rankings or customer conversions.
Step 3: Learn About All Services the Agency Offers
Some SEO agencies only offer limited services, while others include a wide array of other digital marketing options. Learn about what their offerings are, what packages they might have available, and what services they don’t offer before making a final decision. This will help you in the long run as you build more digital marketing initiatives.
Step 4: Discuss Pricing and Budget
Some agencies have one-time fees, some charge a monthly or yearly recurring fee, and others price for hours or individual services. Discuss what pricing will look like with the agencies you have found and see what will work for your budget. You will likely want to check with a few different agencies to find the best option.
Step 5: Monitor and Review Results
No partnership is set in stone for the long run. Take a close look at the reports and results from your partnership with an SEO agency to see if they are delivering on what they promised. If the agency isn’t living up to expectations, don’t be afraid to find a different healthcare SEO agency that can deliver better results.
As a healthcare professional, you understand how important providing good service to patients is. However, you first need to get patients to care for. Healthcare SEO ensures that your patients can find your business and get the care they need. Finding the right partner can help you focus your time on what matters and still boost your SEO strategies.
One of the most important factors in SEO is local search marketing. If you are looking for more ways to get found by people in your local area, check out our blogger on local SEO solutions. There you’ll find ideas on how you can utilize new local SEO marketing strategies and get in front of new customers. Click on the link above to learn more today.