Managing and growing a medical practice starts with providing the best health care, but also includes taking care of other traditional business functions. Accounting, personnel management, and marketing become a part of the daily operation.
Part of marketing in the digital era is making sure that potential patients who could benefit from your services can find you. That's where medical office SEO, or search engine optimization, comes in. Not only do doctors need SEO tools, but also need to master local SEO. Learn below why local SEO for doctors is so important.
Search engine optimization is the broad practice of maximizing the chance that your digital profiles are shown to the right people when they search online. Think about how most people go about finding the things they need these days. They open a browser, whether it's on their phone or computer, put a query into a search engine, and browse the results to see if something they need pops up.
So how do search engines decide what to show a user and in what order to list the results? This is where SEO becomes important. Every second of every day, search engines are crawling through webpages to evaluate the content and decide if that website will be relevant for any number of search queries. If the search engine decides the site is relevant and authoritative, it will rank the sites higher in the search results.
This is critical for businesses since many users click on one of the first few websites served to them in search engine results. SEO for a medical practice or any other business is all about getting that company's website higher in the results so more people will be inclined to click through and maybe become customers, or in a doctor's case, patients.
When it comes to determining ranks, search engines use a few different factors and relevance is one of the most important. Simply put, Google and the other search engines want to know how much of the content is relevant to different keywords that users may be searching for.
Let's say you have a cardiology practice. If a person searches for "heart doctor" you probably want to have your website show up as one of their results to give your business a boost. To increase the chances of this happening, you need to have your website fine-tuned so that Google sees you are a relevant choice. Content that contains the keywords "heart," "doctor" and "cardiology" is helpful. The search engine will be able to see that you are connected to these topics.
Generating the right kind of content and keeping websites and other profiles updated are important to maintaining your relevance in the search engine world. The team at elk marketing is skilled at this process, making it easier to improve your digital presence.
Relevance by itself is not enough to get a company's website to rank well in search engine results. Medical office SEO is also dependent on authority. This metric is a measure of what other highly relevant and authoritative sources think about your company and website.
You may wonder, "How can a search engine determine what other people think?" Search engines do this by searching for instances of other people or companies mentioning your medical practice or something related to the business online. You want to be seen as a source that other people turn to so the search engine knows that you can be trusted and will satisfy their users if your business is shown as a result.
This authority can be gained in a few ways. The first is having other people link to your website. The more people cite you as a reputable resource for information and help, the more your search engine rank will increase.
This can be difficult as a medical practice because there is often less blog or video content to link to, at least at the beginning of your SEO journey. One solution is to make sure that anything a doctor at the practice is cited in or quoted in links back to the practice website.
Online reviews and positive comments on websites that aggregate services can also help boost SEO for medical practice websites. You want people to write about your business positively so search engine algorithms see it and push your site higher to the list of web pages produced by an online search.
The composition of your website is also a big factor in your search engine optimization journey. Since search engines need to evaluate your site to determine what's on it and how relevant and authoritative you are, the programs Google and other search engines run need to be able to read your website easily.
To be readable to search engines, your website needs certain types of coding and organizational schemes that display what content you have. As a doctor or healthcare administrator, web design may not be your specialty. The good news is that elk marketing can look over your web pages and see what's missing so you don't miss out on the results you need.
Websites must also work well on mobile to perform well in search engine results. According to the website Statcounter, about 60% of all internet searches started on a mobile device. The minds behind search engines know this, so they want to deliver search results that can be easily used on mobile devices. If your website is not easy to navigate on smaller screens, the rank may drop.
Combining relevance, authority, and site optimization go a long way to improve the SEO for medical practice websites and help drive interest in the business. It's an important part of the overall digital marketing effort for the business and creates opportunities for growth and new income.
When looking at doctors office needs, you need to go a step further. Not only do medical practices need SEO, but they also need top-notch local SEO. When people search for a medical professional, they not only want someone relevant and authoritative, but they also usually want someone local.
This is why it is necessary to understand and embrace local medical office SEO:
With local SEO, proximity becomes a new and all-important factor in how you rank in search engine results. Search companies not only consider how well you may answer a person's needs, but how close you are to them. This is meant to make it easier for people to find the brick-and-mortar services they need.
So what helps boost your local SEO? It is a combination of the content on your site that indicates where you are located and what areas you serve and the information you give search engines about your website and who owns it.
From the content perspective, it becomes important that your web pages are tailored to your local service area if you intend to attract local customers. It should feature city names, neighborhood names, and zip codes in all the important places. If a person searches for a doctor with your specialty in your zip code, you want to be able to be found.
Google and other search engines will also be looking for each website's NAP. That stands for name, address, and phone number. When you build a website, you have to list the contact information for the person or entity that owns the site and will ultimately be responsible for the content and behaviors. Search engines read this information to help determine the location of a business, influencing local SEO rankings.
You need to make sure the NAP information for your business site is always up-to-date and that there are no conflicts. If Google finds multiple sets of NAP information for the same website, it could rank your site lower in local results, causing you to miss out on opportunities.
When you make the most of local SEO for doctors and healthcare websites, there are a lot of benefits. Yes, you will rank higher when someone performs a location-specific search. You could also get extra perks.
Google's "Map Packs" feature is one of the biggest. This is a special type of display Google offers for some search queries. Rather than just the traditional list of local websites, the search results also display as an interactive Google map with the locations of the top search matches pinpointed. Beside the map is a quick list of about three of the results, with their addresses and other available information, including business hours and phone numbers.
Having your medical practice displayed on that map is a great way to raise your profile with potential patients. Not only will your listing be one of the first they see, but the map display gives them an even better idea of your proximity to key places in their life. They may see that your practice is close to their home or job and decide that is a reason to follow up with you rather than the competition.
Google also offers another benefit to those who master local medical office SEO: a booking tool. The search engine has added functionality that can allow users to book an appointment right from the search results page. This makes it even easier for returning and potential patients to take advantage of your services, and the ease of use reflects positively on your practice.
Local SEO also brings the opportunity to grow and expand. A well-executed SEO and local SEO strategy will put your practice in front of more eyes. Finding a doctor can be an intimidating task for many people, so anything that makes the process easier will help draw them to your business. Improving your local SEO so it becomes easier to locate and connect with your business can play a big part in this.
Doctors who are just launching their practices or starting new locations should pay special attention to local SEO and make sure to do it well. You need to make the most of every opportunity to attract new patients and grow your reputation. The only way to do that is to make sure people know you exist and you are ready to meet their needs.
With an understanding of why local SEO and SEO are so valuable to medical practices, it's time to look at ways to improve local SEO. Building a website and launching it doesn't mean people will automatically see it.
Search engines take time to crawl websites and good local SEO practices need to be in place to get the right results:
The first step to improving your chances of ranking well in local SEO is to make sure all of your NAP information is complete and correct. You may think this is as simple as updating the information on your website and your Google My Business listing, but it can get complicated.
When your medical practice is listed on other websites such as search tools to find doctors, outdated or incorrect information can be displayed. Google sees these business listings and since they conflict with your website information, the search engine doesn't quite know what to display to the user. This can result in your local SEO ranking going down.
At elk marketing, we'll work with you to find any outdated NAP information that may be lurking on the web, hurting your ranking and keeping patients from connecting with you. We know these things can happen when the practice moves buildings or changes phone numbers, so we know how to handle it.
The next basic step to improve both local SEO and mainstream SEO is to make sure your website is up to par. This includes the actual digital architecture of your website. If you didn't build your website and you don't have a background in programming, this may seem like an impossible task. You can get help with this process to make sure search engines can comb through your site accurately.
Your website also needs to be organized in a way that search engines can see the value of your business. Sometimes, medical practices have basic websites that display basic contact information and not much else. Unfortunately, Google doesn't rate these minimalist sites very highly. Remember, Google wants to deliver the most useful results to its users so a website that doesn't have much going for it won't be very impressive.
A website should have a homepage with links to pillar pages that contain content for different categories related to the specialty or brand of the medical practice. Patients should be able to easily see what you offer and how to move forward with making you their medical professional. The key to medical office SEO is supporting the patient's journey.
If your company doesn't already have one, complete a Google My Business listing. This is one of the most direct ways to give your information to Google and boost your medical office SEO results. You get to manage your online presence with the search engine, uploading information such as business hours, websites, and phone numbers for the public to see.
Having a Google My Business listing also allows you to take advantage of the integrated booking option from the search engine results page. This benefit can help you stand out among the competition with other doctors in the area.
Your GMB listing can also serve as a secondary home page for you in a way. You can add pictures, your logo, and more information that makes it easier for new patients to connect. Although this profile won't translate to other search engines, since more local searches come through Google than most of the other search engines combined, it's worth investing time into your GMB listing for improved SEO for medical practice sites.
To get the most out of your page, elk marketing will make sure that it is filled out with all the information people want. This includes descriptions of the practice and the doctors, parking rules for your facility, hours, and even suggested forms of payment.
When you launch a Google My Business page, you also make it easier for users to leave reviews about your medical practice. In a perfect world, every rating would be five stars and all of your patients would write glowing reviews. However, we know there are occasionally dissatisfied people who may leave negative remarks. It's not ideal but it happens.
To protect SEO, doctors and practices need to monitor and address negative comments. This is called reputation management and it's vital to make you a top choice for new patients. People want to see that others have a positive opinion of you so they are checking online reviews. In addition to the reviews that show on your GMB page, you should also track comments on third-party sites.
If you ever find any blatantly false or misleading reviews or claims about your business online, make sure to address them quickly and through the proper channels. Some instances may require legal action, but it can be worth the effort to protect the reputations of your practice and your staff.
Mastering local medical office SEO also involves picking the right keywords for your area. Keywords are the phrases people are searching for that you want to be well known for. When your keywords are more in line with the terms people are searching for, it becomes easier to rank higher in local search results.
To capitalize on local activity, it's important to use keyword research to tap into local dialects and colloquial terms as needed. Use the words people use in normal conversation to have a better chance of connecting to the things they are searching for. Keywords for local SEO should include city names, neighborhoods, zip codes, and sometimes even street names. This ensures that someone searching for a doctor in their immediate area has a better chance of finding you.
It's also important to make sure key terms about your practice are targeted. Aim for keywords that include your specialty or the healthcare group you work with if it is well-known.
Your team at elk marketing can help you focus on a select group of keywords that can help generate more traffic for your office thanks to local SEO.
For any type of SEO campaign, a business or website must have content that resonates with the target audience and establishes the business as a relevant company for what the user is looking for. In the case of a doctor’s office or medical practice, this can be tricky since most healthcare professionals don’t have a background in creating web content.
There are some general guidelines to follow that will make the process easier. First, understand the goal of your content. You want to provide potential patients with information about your services, your practice, and the patient experience. This can include information about your staff, your facilities, and what patients can expect when they visit your office.
Creating service-specific pages for each type of service offered by your practice can help to attract patients who are searching for those specific services. These pages should provide detailed information about the services, including any relevant conditions, treatments, and procedures. They will also help improve your medical office SEO results.
The reviews your patients give can also become content. Including patient reviews on your website can help to build trust and credibility with potential patients. Encourage your existing patients to leave reviews.
Regularly publishing blog posts on your website is a great way to keep your website fresh and up-to-date, and can provide valuable information for potential patients. Consider writing about relevant topics such as health and wellness, or specific medical conditions or treatments. You could also create video blogs if that is a more comfortable process for you or the other doctors in the practice.
Backlinks are an important factor in local SEO for doctors because they can help improve the authority and credibility of a website in the eyes of search engines. One of the best ways to earn backlinks is to have high-quality, shareable content.
It needs to be valuable, informative, and relevant to your target audience to attract natural backlinks from other websites. Consider creating infographics, research studies, or blog posts that address specific medical conditions or treatments.
Engaging with local organizations and businesses can help to build relationships and earn backlinks from relevant websites. Consider sponsoring local events, or participating in local charity activities such as health fairs. If there is any media coverage of the event, ask the publication to include a link to your medical practice.
You can also reach out to other medical practices in your area and offer to exchange links that can help to build relationships and earn valuable backlinks. Consider linking to other practices that offer complementary services.
Participating in online forums and groups that are related to your field or target audience can help to build relationships and earn backlinks to improve medical office SEO. Consider answering questions and providing helpful information in these forums, and be sure to include a link to your website in your forum signature.
Finally, incorporating social media into your local SEO plans is a good way to stay connected with your target audience. More and more, people use social media to get recommendations for important things including healthcare providers. Imagine someone moves to a new area and joins a Facebook group for their neighborhood.
If they ask if anyone has a doctor to recommend, don’t you want to be at the top of people’s minds and have a profile that’s easy to share? This is an excellent opportunity to reach more prospective patients.
Get started by making sure you have the proper social media presence. Claim and optimize your profiles on all relevant social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This involves providing accurate and up-to-date information about the practice, including the name, address, phone number, and website. Optimizing the profiles helps to improve visibility in local search results.
The use of location-based keywords should also be employed on social media accounts and posts. Your social media pages have a good chance of showing up in local search engine results, so maximize their relevance by making it clear what area your practice serves on your profiles.
Take the time to engage with your followers to build connections with the community. Businesses that have social media pages that are never used will typically lose some of their following, so stay active. elk marketing can show you how the right level of engagement can make a big difference in how people think of your practice.
You can also use social media to show that your medical practice is active in the community. Sharing location-specific content, such as news articles or events related to the city or neighborhood, can help to demonstrate a medical practice's connection to the local area and improve its medical office's SEO standing.
Using local hashtags in social media posts can also improve visibility in local search results. Medical practices should research and use relevant hashtags that are specific to their city or neighborhood or to the services they offer.
Running a successful medical practice starts with great healthcare but also requires the right medical practice SEO tactics to connect with patients in the community. If your doctor's office is ready to start growing through local SEO, Contact Us at elk marketing today.