As the internet and related technologies skyrocket forward in advancements and updates, a majority of consumers are readily available on various platforms, including but not limited to digital media, smartphones, computers, and televisions. It is no longer just an option to establish a presence on the web for a medical practice; it is a necessity to compete with other similar businesses. However, leveraging the internet is not as simple as setting up a website and thinking potential patients will take notice. The proper way to market a business is to take advantage of search engine optimization, or SEO. This helps improve the website’s overall ranking on search engines, eliminates the need to spend money on relatively obsolete forms of advertising (such as phone books and newspapers), and allows the business to be easily accessible to a large demographic of consumers. But how is medical practice SEO accomplished? For more information about how SEO can establish simple and timeless advertising, get in touch with Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, a proven leader in marketing medical institutions.
Search Engine Optimization in a Nutshell
To make use of medical practice SEO, it is important to understand what search engine optimization is. There are upwards of four billion web pages on the internet, and search engines like Google crawl through this sea of information and rank them based on the information provided by these pages. Search engine optimization takes advantage of how search engines rank web pages by promoting the information that web crawlers look for.
An Example of SEO
Most websites have an index page or a home page. HTML code dictates the design for this page, which also contains the meta tags that search engine crawlers look for. The most important step in a proper search engine optimization plan is to fill these meta tags with relevant information. Thus, when the website is displayed in search results, the proper title, description, and author are represented, and the website will show in the results for relevant keywords. Many other methods of displaying content are taken into account to assign ranks to web pages, and the better the rank, the higher in the search engines the website appears, leading to more visibility and more traffic to the site.
Benefits of SEO
Although reliable, it has been shown that print media and conventional television ads have resulted in a lower return on investment than marketing campaigns on the internet. Search engines are prime tools for potential patients to look for medical services, and results that are ranked higher are perceived to be more credible.
Due to the versatility and widespread use of search engines, web page rankings are essentially a free method of advertising. Some search engines allow monetary incentives to companies to promote their search results to the top of the results, but they are often clearly labeled as advertisements and are often dismissed due to their appearance. Search engine results available in the first couple of pages often garner the most traffic, which raises a website’s rank and garners even more traffic and reputability.
Medical practice SEO is an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on potential patients’ interests, as opposed to planting advertisements in classifieds or phone books and hoping that someone fits enough of the description to notice and provide business. Medical practice SEO includes methods of identifying the many keywords that potential patients search for when they enter search terms into their favorite search engines. Whether the keywords are in the meta tags or they are contained within the bodies of articles, the website ends up marketing itself and provides the maximum return on investment.
Getting the Most Out of Medical Practice SEO
Search engine optimization can be summed up as making a website as friendly to the end-user as possible. Search engine rankings are a metric of how accessible websites are. There are various ways to go about optimizing a website, including but not limited to using relevant keywords in the right places, optimizing assets to reduce load times, and making the site responsive to different devices.
When it comes to medical practice SEO, one of the easiest but most important and tedious aspects of achieving SEO is to use relevant keywords in their respective areas. From the previous example of the index page, it would not make sense to use meta keywords that specifically refer to a certain procedure, such as neck lifts, if the business specializes in a broader industry, such as cosmetic surgeries. This is the first thing search engine crawlers account for, and the primary trigger for determining search results for potential patients. Keywords are also available throughout the content on the website. Articles containing certain keywords are indexed by search engines, and when users type in certain criteria into sites like Google or Bing, they reference the index data to generate results for searches. Websites with written content containing groups of related keywords such as “weight loss, fat prevention, hip reduction” will appear in search results for potential patients who are looking for institutions that provide methods and treatments for weight loss and fat reduction.
Using keywords improves the chances of attracting traffic, but choosing the right keywords is the most efficient method of using fewer keywords but still targeting the right demographic of consumers. It is wise to use a vague and small set of keywords, but words that are specific enough to show what services are the primary focus for the institution. This allows the practice to target an audience who looks up the same service or related practices, providing the website with maximum exposure. It is best to assume the role of a patient to work out what a potential client may look up on a search engine to find the medical practice in question.
Some examples of the keywords that can help boost rankings include the location of the practice, the procedures used, and the related symptoms and health conditions. Tools like Google AdWords are around to help determine good keyword ideas.
Living in an age where instant gratification is in high demand, slow-loading websites are a huge detriment when it comes to competing with other medical institutions that are practicing the same treatments. Search engines understand this factor and assign poorer ranks to websites that take too long to load. To avoid this, there are multiple ways to reduce load times and make websites feel more fluid and friendly to a potential patient.
The responsiveness of a website refers to how well it can be displayed on different devices. Nowadays, almost everybody uses a smartphone to look up information, and the number of users is only going to increase. Much like the housing market, there will always be interested clients. Over 70% of smartphone users make use of keyword searches on their phones up to four times a week. Websites are inherently developed for a desktop viewing experience, but since mobile device traffic accounts for a significant amount of web traffic, it is imperative for the website of any business to display correctly on portable devices. Potential patients are more likely to take advantage of the initial search results they encounter, but it is also easy to lose potential business if the information is difficult to find.
Take Advantage of SEO
There are many tools available to achieve search engine optimization for generic websites, but medical practice SEO can oftentimes be tedious to achieve due to the breadth of medical procedures and the level of competition. It is important to choose the right strategy, monitor analytics, and determine the best courses of action to achieve proper SEO and bolster website traffic, whether it be trying different keywords, optimizing as much of the website content as possible, or leveraging different services. Maintaining a web presence is of the utmost importance to run a successful practice, and SEO will ensure the website advertises itself and garners traffic that would otherwise be achieved through thousands of dollars’ worth of marketing campaigns.
So, can medical practice SEO make a difference? You bet it can! The team at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing is excited to help you make the most out of your digital marketing efforts. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!