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Is SEO Really Necessary for Medical Websites?

Across the globe, people are turning to the web to find the right GP, medical products, advice and more. Many healthcare startups are finding this amazing time to connect with patients. Just because a website fits more within the medical industry than the commercial one, though, doesn’t mean it’s not subject to the rankings each search engine assigns it. Those rankings spell one thing – query power. The better the ranking, the more likely a potential patient or customer will be to find a medical website, and the single best way to make that happen is through SEO. Medical websites often neglect this essential site-building process, but it’s an absolute must, even in this industry.

What Is It?

Read any internet marketing blog, even those geared toward medical internet marketing, and you’re at least going to see the “SEO” abbreviation. SEO is really searched engine optimization, and it means that you’ve changed certain aspects of your website to ensure Google, Bing or another search engine can easily find and access your site, then put you at the top of those rankings. Given that new studies say 80% of people use the internet to find health care services or related items, SEO is more important than ever. People are far more likely to click on the results they find on the first page of a search engine query than they are anywhere else.

Some Simple Tips

Now that you better understand the concept of SEO for your medical website, what can you do to make it happen? It’s a fairly complex process. Google alone relies on 200 different factors to decide exactly where your rank might be, and that can make SEO a full-time job, or at least a knowledge investment at the outset. Fortunately, there are some easy moves you can make to better optimize your website.

Think About Keywords

All SEO begins with choosing the right keywords, even medical SEO. Here’s how to make that happen. Make a list of every word you can think of that people might associate with your services or facility. If you have colleagues, you’ll want to get their help in this process, like most terms you start out with, the better off you’ll be in the long run. You can use a couple of different web-based tools to help you brainstorm too. Perhaps the definitive choice in this category is the keyword tool that comes with Google Adwords. It offers you keyword ideas and some other essential information you’ll need down the line. KWFinder is another good choice when you’re just getting started because it is dedicated just to keyword research.

Your next step in this process is to narrow things down. You likely have a significant list at this point. Now it’s time to decide which of those you’d like to optimize for. This is where you might want to go back to the Google Keyword Planner. It will not only help you brainstorm, but it will also help you understand how much search traffic comes from that keyword. The mistake many rookies make here is to shoot for those with the highest amount of searches. That’s a mistake that will land you at the bottom of the search engine rankings. Instead, you’re going to want to choose those that score somewhere between 200 and 10,000 local monthly searches, as those are choices that give you the best opportunity to get on the board.

Start Using Those Keywords

The next step you’re going to want to consider is using the keywords you’ve defined. There are two major places you’ll want to use them – in your site’s infrastructure and in the site itself.

With the infrastructure of your site, you’ll find its metadata. These are the HTML tags that go into the code behind your site. You need to insert your keywords here, particularly in the title tag and the meta description. The title tag is what you see at the top of your browser when you click on the page itself. You also see it listed in the search engine rankings. Make sure these are both customer/patient-friendly as well as keyword rich. For example, if you sell knee braces, you’ll want your chosen keyword in there, maybe “arthritis knee braces” as well as maybe the name of your shop. Ensure your phrasing, though make sense: “Joe’s Medical Supply | Knee Braces for Arthritis,” for example. They should be no more than 65 characters in length, and they should include those keywords.

Your meta description should also include keywords. Your meta description is what pops up in a search engine query about your site. It should be 150 characters, and it should tell a potential customer what’s on that particular page. Again, you want it to be keyword friendly, but you want it to make sense as well. Stuffing it with keywords isn’t going to help you out with the search engines, nor is it going to get anyone to click on your site.

The other spot where you need to think about metadata for your site is on each page. Include plenty of keyword rich H1, H2, and H3 tags. H1 tags are reserved for the main title of your page. They tell what might be on that page the way a nonfiction title tells what’s inside that book. H2 tags are subheaders. They tell what’s happening next, like a chapter title in a book. H3 tags are sections within those subheaders.

Metadata isn’t the only place to deploy those keywords. Your content should be the other place where you see keywords, and every site in today’s web culture has to be content rich. If you have an opportunity to use content, use it. Wondering how to make that happen? Initially, just ensure each of your landing pages is content and keyword rich. Once you’ve done that, though, consider something like a blog. Updating it regularly can mean you connect with patients and search engines simultaneously. From there, move on to videos, interviews, or even patient testimonials. Think hard about the kinds of content people want to see, and use it to get your keywords out there so search engines will see your site as a beacon of expertise.

The Bottom Line

SEO is important, even in the medical industry. Do what you can to make your site SEO friendly, and the traffic will follow.

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