Everyone requires medical services at one time or another, but that doesn’t mean the medical industry is an easy one in which to do business. Medical professionals command high salaries, and medical services are expensive to provide. To make matters worse, fees aren’t always easy to collect from certain patients. To maintain profitability, your medical institution needs to bring new patients in as consistently as possible — and that means maximizing your web traffic.
You can get web traffic from many sources. People might find your institution through social media or by following links on websites affiliated with the medical industry. Advertising can also be a valuable traffic source. Most of your web traffic will probably come from search engines, though — and optimizing your medical website for search engines is necessary for ensuring that you receive as much search engine traffic as possible.
Are you unsure about how to get started with search engine optimization for your medical website? These SEO tips can help.
Embrace Content Marketing
Every day, people generate an enormous amount of search engine traffic by looking for information about health-related topics. Almost everyone wants to live more healthfully — even if they aren’t looking for medical services at the moment. Because your institution provides medical services, people who view your answers to medical questions will automatically consider them authoritative — especially if the authors of those answers are doctors and nurses.
These are just a few of the health-related topics that people search for online:
- Nutrition and exercise advice
- Advice for people with specific health conditions
- Information about what certain symptoms indicate and when to seek medical attention
- Details of new medications and other health-related products
Why would a medical institution want to go through the effort of publishing the answers to all of those questions and giving the information away for free? Giving information away online is called content marketing, and it can have many long-term benefits for your institution.
Content Marketing Generates Awareness
To understand the benefits of content marketing more fully, think about the mindset that someone might have if he or she is looking for the type of information we’ve listed above. A person searching for heart-healthy diet advice, for example, probably isn’t looking for a doctor right now. It’s more likely that he wants to avoid requiring a doctor for as long as possible. Everyone needs a doctor eventually, though. If that person finds the information on your website valuable, he may contact your institution when he finally does need medical attention. If your website didn’t have an article about maintaining a heart-healthy diet, though, that person might not have known about your institution at all.
Content Marketing Generates Leads
Content marketing can also provide a steady trickle of leads. If people read the information on your website and find it valuable, they may sign up to receive notifications when you post new content. Mailing list subscribers who value and want to read your advice will almost certainly choose your institution when they need medical assistance.
Content Marketing Generates Inbound Links
Google considers a website’s inbound links when attempting to determine its authority and trustworthiness. If everything else about two websites is equal, the website with more inbound links from high-quality websites will appear higher on a search results page.
To achieve the best possible rankings on Google, your medical website needs as many inbound links as possible. Buying links from other websites violates Google’s webmaster guidelines, though — you need to earn the links naturally. The best way to earn links is to provide information that bloggers and website owners find valuable enough to share with their readers.
Prioritize Local SEO
Publishing informative medical content is a great way to attract search engine traffic, but website visitors have limited value if they live too far away to become patients. To receive more local traffic, you need to optimize your website for local searches.
Google My Business
Begin by making sure that Google understands the location of your institution. Create a profile on Google My Business, and fill it out completely. Your institution’s Google My Business profile is the official record of your location, hours and services provided. Giving Google that information can help to improve your rankings for local search terms.
Business Directories and Social Media
To provide accurate local search results, Google looks for third-party websites that list a business’s name, address and phone number. Every website that lists your institution’s contact information provides a local citation. For your institution to appear in the featured area at the top of the results page when people search for local providers of medical services, Google will want to see many local citations that agree about your institution’s contact details.
Claim or create your institution’s profiles on as many business directories as possible. Yelp and Facebook are two excellent places to begin. You should also look for directories specific to the medical industry.
Utilize Local Keywords
When developing a content strategy for your medical website, you should utilize local keywords whenever possible. Suppose, for example, that your facility provides diagnostic and imaging services in Boston. A local content marketing campaign for your institution might include articles with titles such as:
- X-Ray Services in Boston
- MRI Services in Boston
- Brain Scans in Boston
- Ultrasounds in Boston
You can also expand your keywords to include the surrounding areas. For example:
- MRI Services in Medford
- MRI Services in Weymouth
- MRI Services in Salem
Each article title suggested above focuses on a specific service and location. For the best possible search engine rankings, though, it isn’t enough to simply use the keywords in the article. You also need to provide relevant information that would benefit someone searching for those keywords. For example:
- Why might someone need an MRI?
- What is the best way for a patient to prepare for an MRI?
- What can a patient expect during the MRI process?
- How much does an MRI typically cost?
- Under what conditions will an insurance provider typically cover the cost of an MRI?
Know Your Competitors
Is a competitor outranking your institution on Google for one of your most important keywords? Understanding your competitor’s SEO strategy is a good first step toward improving your ranking. Once you know your competitor’s strategy, you can improve upon it.
Begin by bringing up Google’s search results page for the keyword you’re trying to target. Click the search results from your website and your competitor’s website. Compare the two articles objectively. Does your competitor’s article provide more information? Would a reader find it more helpful? If so, you’ll need to improve your article. If you can honestly say that your article is the best one on its topic available anywhere online, outranking your competitor will be much easier.
Once you’re certain that your article provides more value than your competitor’s, find out who is linking to the article that you’re trying to outrank. Some of the tools that you can use to find links to a URL include:
- Majestic SEO Open Link Profiler
- Open Site Explorer
- Majestic SEO
- Open Link Profiler
- Link Earning
Remember that a URL’s inbound links influence its search engine ranking. Knowing that, your goal is to either earn more links to your article or reduce the number of links pointing to your competitor’s URL.
To earn more links, seek out websites and blogs with content similar to that of your article. If you’re trying to improve the rank of an article about heart-healthy eating, for example, you might look for websites about living with heart disease. Cooking blogs could also potentially be good link sources. Medical websites are the best sources of links because a link has more value to Google if it comes from a website with a focus similar to that of your website.
You can also contact the owners of the websites linking to your competitor. Now that you’ve improved your article, you can let those people know that you have a much more current and comprehensive resource than the one they’re currently linking to. Tell them that they could serve their readers even better by linking to your article instead.
Boost Your Medical Website’s Search Engine Rankings Now
SEO is an enormous job. The reason why most medical institutions struggle with search engine rankings is because they simply don’t have the staff to handle content creation, competitor analysis and link acquisition. It’s time to let professionals handle your institution’s SEO needs. Contact Crystal Clear Digital Marketing today to discuss what we can do to improve your search engine rankings.