Did you know that there are roughly 3.5 billion Google searches every day? And nearly 5% (or 175 million!) of those searches related to health topics? That’s why it’s so important your healthcare practice employs an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to get noticed by high-intent consumers in a cluttered space.
Understanding the fundamentals of SEO can help people find your website and book your services. With effective SEO strategies, you can achieve high rankings on Google that drive your website’s visibility. Despite what many people may think, SEO is more than just picking keywords and repeating them throughout your online platforms. Getting to the top of searches, gaining visibility, and attracting people to your practice takes strategy and a well-thought-out plan. But don’t worry! With a little help, your practice will reap the benefits in no time.
Whether you’re just getting started or need to fine-tune your website, following these 8 steps will help you boost your SEO and increase your patient acquisition.
Check Your Website’s Domain Authority Score
Your domain authority score is a measure of how well your site ranks on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Scores are graded numerically from 0 to 100 and the better your grade, the higher your website is rated.
Your score is calculated through machine learning that predicts how likely Google is to show your web domain when someone has a relevant search. A domain score over 60 is ideal and shows you have quality domain authority. Scores between 50 and 60 are considered good, between 40 and 50 will net you an average ranking, but if your score is 40 or below, you should review your site and find ways to improve.
Set Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free resource that provides users with their own personal dashboard explaining how people have found your website and what they do on your site once they are on it. Essentially, you can track the critical statistics and insights that help you better understand your website’s trends and traffic.
This data is like a guidebook for how to optimize your website and make the most of your website. You’ll learn which keywords people use to find your site, which pages are the most popular, and how long visitors stay. Additionally, Google Analytics users can see what actions people take on your website like signing up for email lists or booking appointments. With that information, you can learn how to adjust and optimize your website to convert more people from online researchers to new patients.
Set Up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster
With Google Search Console (GSC), you can access high-value information about your search traffic like search impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and much more. This tool also helps you identify and fix issues like malware, server errors, and site load issues that can affect your search performance.
Another popular search engine, Bing, has their own version of this tool called Bing Webmaster. You can trust your site is indexed in the Bing search engine, resolve issues that prevent higher search rankings, and monitor backlinks.
Submit a Site Map
A site map is a file that you provide to search engines detailing the layout of your site. It includes links, videos, photos, and all other files contained on the website and how they all relate to each other to form the site as a whole. Submitting a site map helps search engines understand the outline and structure of your website and shows the AI how to crawl your site more efficiently, leading to improved views. This will ensure the most important pages on your website show up first in search rankings.
Doing this will dramatically improve traffic to your site by telling search engines which pages to prioritize and how people can find your site. You can submit site maps on both GSC and Bing Webmaster.
Create Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are links from one website to a page on another website. These factor into search engine rankings because they show that others find the information on your site noteworthy and worth connecting their pages to.
Having 60+ quality backlinks is an excellent goal for most sites. Between 40 and 50 is good, but below 40 is subpar. You may be tempted to use shortcuts in order to get more backlinks, but it is important to make sure your backlinks are high-quality. If your site is linked to a lot of disreputable or irrelevant sites, it will make you look bad by association.
One way to create quality backlinks is to set up a physician profile on WebMD. Leveraging WebMD’s high domain authority and good standing in the medical community as a resource of information can help legitimize your practice.
Off-Site Authority Builders
One way to increase trust for your website is to have your content featured on an external, trusted website. These are known as Authority Builders, which are reputable websites that are known as reliable sources of information. By having your content featured on a site like this, it legitimizes the information you provide and directs people to your website for more information and can even help book more appointments. Also, high-profile sites like this usually show up at the top of search rankings, so they can help attract attention from people looking for expertise who may not otherwise have found your website online.
A perfect example of an off-site authority builder is WebMD. WebMD has a domain authority score of 94 out of 100, making it one of the most trusted resources for high-quality health information on the internet. Creating a profile on WebMD allows you to leverage their high domain authority back to you, increasing exposure and securing new patients in the process.
In addition to WebMD, you should look for opportunities to build a presence on other high-authority sites, such as Vitals.com, Yelp, RateMD, and more.
Monitor Reviews on Authority-Building Sites
Did you know that more than 90% of people consult online reviews before making healthcare decisions? Additionally, around 60% of people say they select their healthcare providers because of positive online reviews.
It’s important to monitor and manage your online reviews to ensure you have a positive online reputation. Many authority-building sites — such as WebMD, Vitals, US News & World Report, Google Business Profiles, and others — feature patient reviews.
The best way to garner rave reviews is to be a practice that leaves patients feeling good about their interactions. No amount of SEO training can replace excellent patient experiences. Negative reviews are part of the process and they will occasionally pop up, but doing your best to maintain a respected practice is your best defense against them.
Patient reviews found on credible sites often rank higher on search engines. By using reputation management software, you can be notified about new reviews and respond to any and all feedback. That way, you’ll show people you care about patient responses and fortify your online reputation.
Set Up Your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profiles is a free tool that allows you to establish your business on Google. You will be able to add photos of your practice, post any special offers, and any critical updates. It’s also a place for consumers to leave reviews and ask questions. Plus, once you are established with a Google Profile, your business will show up on Google Maps making it easier for patients to find your office.
You can add useful information about your practice like your hours and what services you offer on your Google Business Profile. You can also engage directly with prospective patients who have questions about your practice, providing them with all the information they need. On your Google Business Profile dashboard, you can also find helpful insights about how people find your profile and keep your information up-to-date to improve search performance.
Incorporating this SEO checklist into your digital marketing strategy will help deliver the patient acquisition results you’re looking for.
Now more than ever, consumers are turning to the web to find providers, read reviews, and engage in informed health decision-making. To meet their digital expectations, your practice needs to make sure prospective clients find your site, see how reputable your practice is, and can easily contact you for more information and book appointments. Your practice needs digital marketing services and Digi Expert can help!