All organizations require effective online marketing and SEO strategies, and it’s particularly important for doctors, clinicians and other medical professionals. With appropriate digital marketing and SEO for doctors, your medical practice can attract new clients, increase patient numbers, improve brand awareness and foster patient loyalty, all while promoting the credentials of your in-house team.
SEO for doctors should be an integral part of your ongoing marketing practices, as it’s the only way to ensure your website is visible to users via search engines. Although you may have a well-respected and highly-qualified in-house staff and a range of effective medical treatments, potential patients won’t be able to engage with you if they’re unable to find you. With effective SEO techniques, however, you can ensure that your clinic or practice ranks high on search engines and is visible to relevant users.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is concerned with how and where your website appears on search engine results pages (SERPs). When a user types a query into Google, for example, they’ll get a list of results which are relevant to what they’ve searched for. If you offer cosmetic treatments, for example, you’ll want your website to rank at the top when users ask Google, “Who is the best cosmetic doctor?”
With appropriate SEO techniques, you can identify your target market and ensure your web pages are ranking near the top for relevant search terms and queries. By doing so, your website will receive more visitors, and you’ll have an increased opportunity to attract potential new patients to your practice.
Why Does SEO Matter?
If you have a website up and running, surely users can find you by typing your web address, or URL, into their browser, right? That’s certainly true, but there are two problems with this approach.
First of all, potential new patients may not have heard of your clinic and will be unaware of your web address. If you want to increase your client list and encourage new patients to register with your surgery, you’ll need to assume that they aren’t currently aware of your services or your practice. As a result, these users simply won’t have your URL to type into their browser.
Secondly, the way people use the internet has changed dramatically in recent years, and people rely on search engines far more. Even when users know exactly which website they want to visit, they are far more likely to type the company name into Google, rather than typing the URL directly into their browser.
This means that existing patients and potential new clients who have your web address are still going to use a search engine to find you online. If you ignore SEO and don’t implement any SEO strategies, your competitors will inevitably rank higher than you on search engine results pages. If you don’t bother to implement SEO strategies, even when users are actively looking for your practice or your website, they could be swayed by a competitor’s site which ranks higher than yours.
It’s clear, therefore, that SEO is more relevant than ever before, and all organizations need to address their approach to search engine optimization. With new algorithms and user behaviors to contend with, staying up-to-date and implementing effective SEO for doctors is vital.
Planning Your Medical SEO Strategy
One of the first things you need to consider when you’re developing an SEO strategy is what keywords or search terms you want your website to rank highly for. These should be relevant to your industry and your services, but they should also mirror how users are searching for related content. Users type in “Who is the best cosmetic doctor?”, for example, but they’re more likely to search for things such as “Best doctor within five miles” or “How much does an eyelift cost?”
Keyword research is important because it forms the basis of your SEO campaigns. The keywords you choose to target must be relevant to your business; otherwise, the content simply won’t be of use to users who are directed to your site.
If you’re a pediatrician and you specialize in treating children and young people, for example, you won’t want to bother focusing on keywords relating to geriatric treatments. Instead, key terms such as “kid’s doctor” and “local pediatrician” may be more relevant.
Effective keyword research can take some time, but it’s worth investing in this area of your SEO strategy. When you’re practicing SEO for doctors, you may want to focus on a selection of relevant keywords at a time. This means honing your research and finding the terms which are most relevant to your specialties and have the highest search volume.
Cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons may specialize in performing coronary artery bypass grafts, for example, but users may be more likely to search for “heart bypass.” By assessing how users are searching for your services and specialties, you can determine which keywords and terms are going to be most relevant, most useful and most effective.
Remember – there is a lot of competition when it comes to popular keywords. “Best doctor London” or “Best doctor New York” might have a very high search volume, but it will require a lot of work and effort to rank at the top for such popular search terms. Focusing on keywords and terms which are relevant and have a relatively high search volume, but not quite so much competition, can enable you to improve your rankings faster.
Content Optimization for Medical SEO
SEO takes place on web pages, as well as off them, so everything on your website should be properly optimized if you want to improve your rankings. This means having a unique, keyword-optimized page title for every web page on your site, as well as having bespoke meta descriptions. Furthermore, you’ll want to ensure that your content has the appropriate tags to differentiate between headings, subheadings and paragraphs. In addition to this, audio and video content should be complemented with a text description so that search engines are aware of what the content is and how it’s relevant to users.
Your page speed and website security also play a significant role in your SEO, so it’s important to get these right. Having a secure site is particularly important for medical professionals, especially if you have an online booking system, so this is something that should be a top priority. Studies have shown that users will quickly navigate away from sites which are slow to load, so anything longer than five seconds needs to be improved. Switching to an alternative hosting provider or resolving issues with your website structure can help to achieve this.
Mobile-First for SEO Optimization
As more people these days use mobile devices rather than desktops and laptops, Google has changed the way it indexes web pages. Whilst desktop websites will still be ranked, Google looks at sites with mobile versions first. If you have a mobile version of your website, you’ll need to ensure that it’s fully optimized in order to rank near the top when users search for relevant terms.
However, having a responsive website can be an easier way of managing this. A responsive website recognizes the screen size and capabilities of the device the user is viewing your site on and responds accordingly. For users, this ensures that site content is displayed properly and that it’s easy to navigate from one page to another. For site owners, having a responsive site means that you won’t lose potential patients because your website is displayed poorly, and it also means that you only have to manage one website, regardless of how users choose to view the site.
Location-Based Medical SEO Strategies
When it comes to SEO, location-based strategies are increasingly important. While people may occasionally travel a long way to see a specific doctor or clinician, most people want to locate reputable medical professionals close to where they live or work. This means that users will routinely include the names of towns and cities in their search terms. Due to this, it can be highly beneficial to include nearby areas and regions into your SEO strategy.
As well as reducing the amount of competition you’ll face from other medical professionals, this also means that the users you’re ranking highly for will be the people who are most likely to actually engage with your clinic and use your services. Ultimately, using location-based SEO strategies can improve your rankings and help you to achieve increased patient numbers.
Launching Medical SEO Campaigns
Although search engine optimization is important for all types of medical professionals, there is a lot to unpack when it comes to developing effective SEO campaigns. For many doctors and clinicians, accessing expert help can be the most cost-effective and efficient way to improve your search engine rankings.
With dedicated keyword research, technical knowledge and professional SEO tools, the medical SEO experts at Crystal Clear Digital Marketing have the experience and resources to ensure your web pages rank high in relation to relevant key terms, and they’re able to employ effective SEO strategies quickly, efficiently and successfully. Contact us today to learn more and get started!