Many healthcare practices today have a serious problem – they want patients to notice them. For years the medical industry has simply had patients appear at their doors, but these days, the competition is stiffer than ever, and with 73% of consumers using a search engine to research treatment options for various medical conditions, ensuring your practice’s site can be found is more important than ever.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, has been around since the turn of the century, but medical marketing, particularly medical marketing online, really hasn’t been essential. Obviously, things are changing, and you’d probably like to make certain your practice changes with it, but where do you begin in the world of SEO? These tips can help.
Use a Better CMS
If you’re not familiar with the acronym, CMS stands for “Content Management System,” and it’s essentially what organizes the digital content you’re publishing online. From your site’s pages to your blog, your CMS is the way you author your website, and the CMS you’ve handled to deploy your information to potential patients can actually impact the way search engines see you online.
If you own your practice, you like to choose your CMS. If a larger company or healthcare system, though, own your practice, you may not have any real control over this factor. If, however, you have an option, make certain that you select a CMS that is easy to use. WordPress is one good choice, but there are many others out there as well. You want one that allows you to design your site in a manner you find accessible, but also one that comes with lots of management tools that actually help, instead of hinder, the SEO process. Most have a variety of different plugins to deploy that will allow you to implement the right tags and meta tags, as well as keywords for every given page. The more advanced the system, the more optimal the SEO management tools.
Write Good Content and Share It
Over the past several years, there’s been a move online to develop increasingly strong content. The goal is to inform and educate web visitors, and that push toward big content certainly attracted the search engines. In fact, they now value content over just about everything else, so a steady stream of good content headed for your site could mean amazing things.
There are a few ways to make certain you’re getting the keyword-rich content you need. Start by deciding exactly how to publish it on your site. Are you going to start a blog section? A news section, perhaps? Before you ever type a word on the page, make certain you know what you’re going to do with it.
The next thing you can do is continually look for trending topics and new keywords within your niche. Use a tool like Google Trends for help. It offers comparative keyword research, and it can allow you to see event-triggered spikes that you can cater to with fresh content. You just have to visit trends.google.com to get started, then you can begin the research process.
Create stuff that is informative for your visitors and easy to share, as that can help to better change the way search engines see your site.
Finally, understand that Google considers medical sites as part of its YMYL category – Your Money or Your Life. What that means is that they’re a bit pickier about your content than they are about that on other websites. The author of every piece of content needs to have some expertise in the subject area, he needs to be a well-recognized authority on the matter, and the content needs to be accurate. The goal here is for Google to protect its users from potentially bad advice. To make sure Google considers your advice, establish yourself as an expert in the field by publishing as much content as possible, then promote your own expertise with a few bios on the website. From there, make sure you offer testimonials and more to prove you’re also an authority in the field.
Don’t Overlook the Power of Social Media
Links matter when it comes to page rank. Some of those links that will help to increase your visibility to potential patients are social media. There are lots of mixed signals out there about social media today, primarily because Google keeps sending out different ideas about how they could change the SEO of any site, particularly that of medical practice. Right now, though, most studies indicate the right social signals may boost your site’s ranking or they might not. The simple reality, though, is that they’re certainly not going to hurt your site’s ranking, so it’s best to go ahead and pay attention. If you are creating great content, and it’s being shared, again and again, you’re creating an increasing number of links to your website, and that’s a powerful connection.
Even if your content is not being shared, you haven’t lost in this arena. You may be increasing your authority, and that’s only going to help you become a more successful presence online. People pay more attention to social media than they do many other things in their lives, and if your practice is part of that social media, they’re going to begin learning more about what you have to offer, then making decisions about those services. If you want them to say yes to you over another clinic, you need to be present on social media, and that presence could very well convince yet another patient to go your way.
SEO, even in the world of medicine, is incredibly powerful, and it’s time to realize that your practice simply isn’t going to get by without it in the near future. The time to upgrade is right now before the technology of the future begins putting your practice at risk. Remember, there are many companies ready to help enhance your medical SEO, so don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a private party to get this done.