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As technology advances and digital footprints become more prominent, having a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is vital for medical practices. A diligent strategy with SEO for doctors drives new patients to schedule appointments – but how?
When a website has a strong SEO strategy, it influences the site’s ranking on search engines. As a result, you spent time and money on your medical website, and your practice should reap the benefits of this. When creating a medical website with strong SEO for doctors, a professional digital marketing agency will take into consideration the goals of effective strategy – increasing traffic and conversion.
Many doctors find themselves overwhelmed by the idea of implementing a medical marketing strategy – but the process doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. With SEO having the potential to increase patient acquisition, an effective plan must be implemented. The big question – what should be included in an SEO for doctors strategy?
An SEO strategy for a doctor’s website is only as good as the elements found within it. For that reason, a professional digital marketing agency should incorporate the following into the mix:
Choosing an Effective Practice-Oriented Keywords
The first step of creating an SEO campaign for your medical practice requires getting into the head of the patients you are trying to reach. How do you get into their heads? Keywords.
Keywords are those search terms that we all put into the search engine’s search bar – for example, “dermatologist near me,” “medspa near me,” and “best plastic surgeon in my area.”
These aren’t the only search terms to consider, though. An effective keyword strategy will also look for unique terms relevant to the doctor’s specialty. Terms like “botox,” “lip filler,” “microneedling,” “breast augmentation,” and the list goes on. Researching the correct SEO keywords for a doctor’s practice can mean the difference between increased bounce rates or increased conversion rates.
Keyword Use on Medical Websites
A prospective patient goes on a search engine, like Google, and searches for a medical practice specializing in the treatment of a specific issue located near them. When they search for it, a doctor specializing in this type of treatment might expect their practice to pop up in the search; after all, they are located in the same city. Unfortunately, when the search engine returned results, a competitor ended up with a new patient. How can this be?
When the doctor’s medical practice’s website was created, it lacked an SEO strategy rich in practice-oriented keywords. Due to the lack of keyword ranking, the search engine didn’t deem it relevant and did not return it in the search. The competitor, however, used practice-oriented keywords that matched the prospective patient’s search, and that practice’s website was displayed as a search result.
How can this problem be avoided? When working with a professional medical website marketing agency, a strategy with SEO for doctors must be a priority. These keywords must be implemented in the metas, landing page content, and even blog posting for search engines to recognize their relevance in searches.
The Relevancy of Backlinking
While SEO plays a major role in driving traffic to a medical practice website, backlinks are also important in the grand scheme of search engine algorithms. Backlinks are when another site links back to the medical practice’s website – when dealing with backlinks, the quality, and the quantity count.
It is important to consider who builds the medical practice’s backlinks. Having one high-quality backlink to your site is worth far more than having thousands of low-quality ones directing back to your site. When too many low-quality backlinks register on a search engine, the algorithm may trigger a red flag which could find the website blacklisted.
Social media marketing for medical practices is another way to build keyword results and backlinks for a medical website. The best part? Search engine algorithms recognize social media sites (think Facebook and Instagram) as “authority” backlinks. An authority backlink carries more weight than those with a “low-quality” title.
Social media content, especially built around a strategy for SEO, should be high-quality and consistent. There is no benefit if postings are inconsistent and lack an SEO strategy – there should always be alignment between the two. A professional digital medical marketing agency will incorporate this into the landscape when handling a medical practice’s SEO and marketing.
A medical practice’s marketing goals must be defined before reaping the benefits of an effective SEO for doctors strategy. If a medical practice is dominating local search results, what does that mean for the practice?
All of these are achievable goals for a medical practice and obtainable with the right SEO for doctors’ strategy. When implemented correctly, positive changes begin to occur for the doctor and their practice.
When an effective SEO for doctors strategy is implemented, more ranking with searches occurs, resulting in more views. The higher the traffic on a medical website, the higher the likelihood of conversion (setting up an appointment). Even if this traffic doesn’t result in a patient setting up an appointment, it still helps build a practice’s reputation.
Since keywords help with indexing and ranking on search engines, implementing them throughout a medical website can help ensure that this occurs. Broad keywords can make it hard to rank, but a professional digital SEO marketing agency will use unique keywords that pertain to a practice’s specialization to help them rank more efficiently. Vague keyword concepts can make it hard for a website to rank in a search, but with a more focused approach, there is a higher likelihood of ranking higher than the competition.
The competition is called a competitor for a reason – medical practices are often competing to be chosen by prospective patients. The higher the rank on a search engine, the higher the possibility of being chosen by a patient searching for services. Taking into consideration what keywords a competitor ranks with is essential if your practice is going to rank higher and be seen first. When a prospective patient is browsing the competitor’s site, that means they are less likely to visit yours (and vice versa). The right keywords may mean the difference between your competitor getting the patient scheduled and you gaining the patient.
When keywords are ranking without the use of paid ads, this is done organically. Paid ads are handled on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis – meaning that anytime someone clicks on the ad, it counts against your daily ad spend. While paid ads can be a strategic marketing maneuver, it doesn’t mean that a practice has to go outside of its marketing budget to accommodate these types of ads. The right keyword research and strategic implementation can create the organic ranking that creates effective SEO for doctors’ strategies without spending extra on paid ad campaigns.
Even when traffic doesn’t turn into a new patient, the data collected can be used for retargeting purposes. The data collected when a person visits a medical website creates a new lead. When using a retargeting strategy, medical practices can use the data they have to retarget previous site visitors, which may be the follow-up necessary for them to make an appointment.
The philosophy is simple (but complicated at the same time): The more traffic – the more leads – the higher the potential of new appointments being made by new patients.
When working with a professional agency, they will put together the campaigns necessary to target leads, revisit old ones, and potentially helps to create the likelihood that the new patient will schedule with your practice.
Just because someone isn’t a patient at a medical practice doesn’t mean that they don’t consider the physician a pillar in the community. With a medical website ranking with SEO for doctors, clients and community members begin to recognize the practice’s value to the community. Whether it be a blog post on educational values or a landing page with content that targets a specific area, having the right tools to rank on search engines can increase exposure within the community and build a knowledgeable reputation amongst the masses.
Part of the medical practice marketing strategy revolves around positive reviews. The more people who are satisfied with the physician they see, the more likely they are to provide a positive review of the practice. There is nothing cheaper than word-of-mouth advertising, and reviews are one way to emphasize this. Prospective patients who end up visiting a medical website from a search engine query are more likely to believe the words of a current or former patient about their experiences than they are to take the claims of a doctor at face value.
When dealing with a search engine algorithm, it can be hard to accomplish valuable SEO for doctors – unless you are working with a professional SEO marketing agency. There are several ways in which medical practices can meet (or exceed) their goals:
When medical practices have a sense of trust and a positive reputation, there is very little that they can’t do. Digital SEO marketing agencies understand the importance of increasing website traffic and turning that traffic into a new patient. These professionals use the latest industry tools and work closely with the practice to establish an infallible SEO for doctors’ plan of action.
Search engine ranking becomes a reality by implementing relevant keywords and ensuring that they are implemented throughout a medical website. When utilizing Medical SEO in marketing efforts, the goal is to drive practice growth by nurturing leads and growing the overall patient population. By using the organic ranking, many medical providers show up in searches by patients in their area. With updated listings, honest reviews, and educational content, medical practices and the physicians representing them can begin using SEO for medical practices to increase patient acquisition, and drive revenue.