In today’s connected world, search engine optimization, or SEO, has taken on an elevated importance. That’s not just because your practice can see more conversions through your online channel than, say, through the Yellow Pages, but it’s also because your competitors are competing for that same online real estate known as the top search results. What’s more, prospective patients have more choice than ever before when it comes to learning about you, your services, and your practice. Much of that content is outside of your control. Not convinced? Check out Google Reviews to see what patients are saying about other doctors in your area. How many of these doctors have their website show up ahead of a negative review or comment? If Google isn’t showing their website at the top of the results, these doctors are doing something wrong with their SEO strategy. This is just one reason why SEO for doctors is so important.
Online, It’s You vs. the Unknown – Control Your Online Content
You may have already known that bad reviews outnumber good ones by a factor of 12:1 or that it costs seven times more money to secure a new patient than to service an existing one. But did you now that consumers are far more likely to complain about service on social media? More importantly, 92% of people trust their friends’ reviews, even if those reviews are inaccurate, biased or even just plain wrong.
This makes it increasingly important to control the online content that is getting published about you, your staff, your services and your practice. Rather than leaving it to the unknown, it’s critical to take control of that content and ensure yours is what’s seen first whenever a patient or prospective client searches your name, services or practice online. SEO makes that possible.
At Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, we understand SEO for doctors and what it takes to make sure your patients and prospects see the important content–that is, the content that explains the truth about you and the specializations that set your practice apart. This not only ensures your patients and prospects are properly informed but that they are also equipped with accurate information to make a decision.
Why SEO is Crucial for the Future of Your Practice
When faced with a referral to your practice for the first time, it’s a well-known fact that today’s patients search your name online. What comes up at the very top of the Google, Bing, or Yahoo! results? A rant on ratemds.com from a patient who expected a full, pro-bono procedure when, in fact, she’d only booked a consultation…with a doctor across the street? Or information that you published on a blog or your very own website about the health benefits of that very same procedure?
SEO means ensuring your content shows up. By publishing targeted, relevant content in a specific and SEO-friendly manner, you ensure that information is quickly available on mobile and desktop formats. It appears and sticks to the very top of those search results, helping you make sure that once that patient or prospective patient reaches your website, he or she stays there rather than going somewhere else.
Known as “authority,” the placement of your content’s ranking in the results is crucial in not only attracting the right prospective patients to your website but in securing longevity in those search results. That means it’s important to know what content to publish in the first place. While specialization in the medical field might set you apart from your peers, it might not mean much online.
It’s Actually Not Lonely at the Top: A Content Marketing Strategy
If your practice specializes in a particular procedure, you might think you’ll have little or no competition on Google. But type “liposuction” into your web browser, and you’ll quickly see the millions of results for that specialization.
Plus, no patient will search for a broad keyword like “liposuction” once he or she is seriously looking to undergo the procedure. Since you want the determined patient visiting your site to book their consultation, your content strategy needs to focus on targeted keywords that align with specific terms this patient might search online. Perhaps a more serious patient might search “liposuction in New York City,” or “liposuction in Queens.”
The right SEO strategy matches the serious patient searching for targeted keywords with your content. As a byproduct, your content marketing strategy also helps your website become a search engine-recognized authority, allowing it to climb above less-authoritative websites so that your content is seen first. That makes targeted content a win-win when done correctly.
At Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, we understand how to deploy a content marketing strategy that isolates information seekers from qualified prospects looking to book a consultation. Not only does targeted content ensure the right patients are visiting your site, but it also helps secure the right search engine results for the right searcher (aka future patient).
However, publishing targeted content on your website or blog is just one piece of the SEO pie. Today’s patients are active on all sorts of online media, including social networks. Which ones are important to your practice? How do you incorporate social networking into your SEO strategy?
Fundamentals of Effective SEO for Doctors
Although content marketing certainly makes up a large portion of what you can do to improve what your patients learn about you and your practice online, ensuring that content gets noticed by the search engines is even more crucial. With search engines, as with your practice, it’s not a matter of “build it, and they will come.” The technical aspect, or the “how” of SEO, gets the right content online and encourages search engines to rank it at the top of their results.
From Website to Hangouts
On a very basic level, your SEO strategy begins with your website, both desktop and mobile. It’s not enough for your website to simply host your content and deliver it as quickly as search engines expect it to. Your website will also need to convert or convince your visitors to book their consultation specifically with your practice. And just as SEO for doctors has its nuances, so does website design. At Crystal Clear Digital Marketing, we specialize in marketing for the medical community, which includes website design and development that meets and exceeds search engine standards.
Advanced strategies such as linking, guest blogs, authority posts, email marketing and mobile marketing are also technical tools of the SEO trade. But all of that begins and (often) ends with directing patients and clients to your website content.
So, if your website is at one end of the spectrum, then social media is at the other end. This is where your online persona may or may not redirect patients to your website.
Social Media Marketing for Doctors
Social media represents one of the biggest opportunities for doctors. It’s not only where your patients and prospective patients spend time online, but it’s also where they discuss and chat about all types of issues—both regarding your area of specialization and about you, your staff, or your profession as a whole.
Since social media can impact your and your practice’s reputations in both good and bad ways, it’s important to pay attention to this space. Plus, deployed properly, a social media marketing strategy does two very important things: it allows your practice to engage and connect with people and their ongoing concerns, and it helps you supercharge your website’s content marketing and overall SEO strategies.
Our experience in social media marketing and SEO for doctors allow Crystal Clear to deliver a highly-focused strategy that broadens your online presence. This delivers results that will help your website develop the authority it needs.
What Counts? All of It!
SEO for doctors can be built up in many different ways. These include:
- Social media
- A website that runs smoothly
- Email marketing
- Blog posts
- SEO strategies (meta tags, meta descriptions, keyword density, etc.)
In many ways, SEO for doctors is simple because it involves a specialized niche: medicine. But in that same way, a specialization like that comes with its own challenges. Competition is both fierce and global—gone are the days of a letter to the editor that gets published in a community newspaper that nobody reads. Today’s digital world means someone in Springfield, MO can have a bad experience with Dr. John Doe, yet Dr. John Doe in Springfield, MA could be wrestling with that bad review thousands of miles away (don’t forget local targeting).