When searching for a new doctor or surgeon, patients once consulted the yellow pages. Today, virtually everyone turns to the web. Search engines such as Google and Yahoo account for the majority of global Internet traffic every day, so making your medical practice easy to find is imperative to staying on top of your competition.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, requires more than just picking the right keywords to use on your website. Patients consult search engines when they have health related questions, which is why a major focus of successful SEO strategies is supplying useful information that can attract new eyes to your website. If a visitor wants to know about a particular procedure and you provide the details they were looking for, you can then direct them to your services through a call to action.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If an internet user in Durham, NC wants to find a new dentist, they may type, “dentists in Durham” into a search engine. The goal of SEO is to match such queries with your website so that it shows up at the top of search results. Of course, getting people to visit your website isn’t useful if they don’t stay. In fact, a number of time visitors spend on a page affects its ranking, so effective SEO must take into account the actual quality of your website as well.
The science of SEO predates today’s search engine giants like Google, and the field has evolved immensely since then. In the early days of the web, search engines only looked at how many times a website used keywords, so using the same words over and over again was a common practice. Fortunately for everyone, search engines have gotten better at distinguishing quality websites through their algorithms and human quality control technicians.
SEO now involves dozens of variables including keywords, website aesthetics and even the actual HTML code. Consequently, marketing companies spend a lot of time analyzing metrics and search engine algorithms to bring new customers to their clients’ websites. Improving your search engine rankings can be a time-consuming and on-going process, which is why medical practices need to hire a professional SEO service to manage their digital marketing.
The Basics of Search Engine Marketing, or SEM
In addition to the “organic SEO” strategies described above, you can also pay your way to the top of search engines through direct advertising. This method is appropriately called search engine marketing, or SEM. As you can imagine, maintaining ads on search engines can get expensive, which is why most local medical practices rely on SEO. Nonetheless, SEM can be a successful strategy for generating more leads and conversions; however, a combination of both methods is most effective.
Why Do Medical Practices Need Digital Marketing Firms?
The internet has proven to be both a boon and a challenge for businesses of all sizes. In the time of the yellow pages, customers had very limited information about the different listings they saw. Today, customers are overwhelmed with information, so standing out from the competition is becoming more difficult by the day. Fortunately, the field of digital marketing has emerged to better connect customers with the goods and services they are seeking.
SEO isn’t a one-time deal; it’s an ongoing process that involves keeping track of conversion rates and using data to steer marketing decisions. It also requires extensive knowledge of search engine algorithms, which are constantly changing. Creating a website without a digital marketing strategy is essentially pointless if no one can find you on Google. Here are some methods that professional SEO services use to improve conversion rates:
- Using Local Directory Listings
Rather than using a search engine, some internet users turn to online local directories when looking for services. Making sure you have the proper information listed in directories such as Yelp and Foursquare is just as important as any aspect of SEO. It’s also important to know where potential customers are looking for information. For example, if you cater primarily to seniors, there may be a directory for senior services in your area that you should be listed in. Of course, you need to make sure the information about you on other websites is always consistent and accurate.
It also shouldn’t be a surprise that you need to have your business listed on Google as a certified business. This certification tells potential patients that you’re a legitimate business and it also makes you easy to find on Google Maps.
- Going Mobile
Now that practically everyone has a smartphone or tablet they are using it more and more. Mobile searches have surpassed traditional computers as the number one way to search online. Because of that, search engines like Google have started giving preference to websites that are optimized for mobile devices. Making your site mobile-friendly also increases the likelihood that visitors will stick around after tapping your link.
- Developing a Social Media Presence
Social media is changing how people receive information, and you may have noticed a proliferation of marketing on sites like Facebook. Sadly, too many businesses set up Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts and never touch them again, or just use them to put up memes and pictures of cats. Social media pages must often be updated, and with viable information, so that they remain visible to potential clients. This isn’t to say your social media shouldn’t be fun, or show off your personality, but the fun posts need to be balanced against informational marketing posts. You’d be surprised by how many new visitors a few targeted social media posts can bring to your website.
- Getting More Clicks
Ranking high in search results is only a first step; getting users to click on your URL requires compelling headlines and descriptions. By taking advantage of meta tags in your website’s code, you’ll stand a better chance at catching customers’ attention.
- Providing Useful, Unique Content
Each page on your website should offer something of value to the reader. For example, you can provide general information about the procedures you perform to draw in customers who weren’t looking for you in the first place. Ideally, you should have at least 400 words per page. It’s vital that the content you post is informative, well written and exclusive to your website; otherwise, you could face penalties from some search engines. The more pages with quality content you have, the more likely one of them will make it to the coveted top spot.
- Monitoring Website Analytics
All SEO efforts are pointless if you don’t measure your website’s performance and its impact on your bottom line. A reputable SEO service will monitor such metrics to direct their marketing strategies. Because SEO services charge a set price, you may see an increasing influx of customers over time without increasing your marketing budget.
- Researching Keywords
The specific wording on your website can play a major role in search rankings. Knowing the exact phrases your customers are searching for requires extensive research, and incorporating them naturally into your content without sounding like spam is imperative to avoiding penalties.
As you can see, SEO isn’t a do-it-yourself kind of job. It requires rigorous study of algorithms and analytics. Furthermore, you need to constantly publish fresh content that establishes you as an authority in your field. No doctor has time for adequate SEO management, which is why outsourcing your digital marketing is the only way to go.
Crystal Clear Digital Marketing is the Clear Choice for Medical Practice SEO
If you want to increase the number of eyes on your website and the number of patients in your offices, you should choose a service that specializes in SEO for local medical practices like Crystal Clear Digital Marketing. As an industry leader in digital marketing software and solutions, our customers include:
- Cosmetic Surgeons
- Medical Spas
- Vein Clinics
- And more
Since SEO requires a proper understanding of your business and clientele, we’ll spend significant time working closely with you. To this end, we provide prompt customer service whenever you need it. When clients call us, they always talk to a real person right away.
We can supply you with unique content such as blogs and social media posts specially tailored to generate more calls and online form submissions for your business. Crystal Clear practices a philosophy called FIND, SERVE and KEEP to make sure visitors read your call to action and become customers. In addition to SEO, we also execute email marketing campaigns.
We’ve had the pleasure of helping thousands of businesses expand their clientele over the past 16 years. Crystal Clear Digital Marketing handles the technical side of marketing so that doctors can focus on their patients. Schedule a free virtual demo right now by calling or emailing us.