SEO Strategies for Healthcare Providers

With increasing numbers turning to the internet to seek medical advice, it has become imperative to have a strong online presence for healthcare providers. 68% of online sessions begin with a search engine. Unfortunately, 72% of those users do not look past the first page of search engine results. If a healthcare provider’s website does not appear on that critical first page, it is losing a considerable share of potential patients. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective way to increase the website’s visibility in search engine results. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that a person will click on that website. It is important for healthcare providers to consider allocating part of the marketing and advertising budget to search engine optimization. Compared to traditional forms of marketing such as television, billboards, and direct mail, search engine optimization has a very high return on investment. Tracking and analytic tools make it easier than ever to show the impact that SEO has on a website. You can see for each dollar that you spend, how many people clicked on your website, and what they did once they entered the website. In the long term, SEO service is also a cost-effective form of marketing. A large majority of money spent on traditional forms of advertising is essentially wasted. For example, consider direct mail. With no way to target demographics, money is spent sending mail to everyone, when realistically only a small portion of those people would be potential patients. This is a very inefficient way to spend marketing dollars. SEO, on the other hand, is the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of targeting a broad group, SEO allows you to target a very specific audience. You can select what keywords you want to rank for and your website will show up for people who are searching for those specific terms. For example, if you are a chiropractor in Los Angeles, you can select keywords such as “Los Angeles chiropractor” or “back pain relief Los Angeles”. Then when someone enters that keyword into a search engine, they will be directed to your website. This targeted form of marketing is highly effective and it wastes very little money. Overall, it is apparent that the changing landscape of consumer habits makes it essential to have a strong online presence, and SEO is a highly effective way to do so.

Importance of SEO for Healthcare Providers

An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, they still can’t see and understand a web page the same way a human can. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about and how it may be useful for users.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement. Today, search engine optimization is more important than ever, and it is necessary for every webmaster to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it creates for every business.

Benefits of SEO Services

Research has shown that consumers who use search engines to locate a service or product will have an intention to purchase the said product or service. Often times, a consumer is doing research and comparison shopping on their initial visit to a healthcare provider’s website. These types of visitors are desirable because they have been led to the site via a search engine and up-to-date content is their number one concern. This contrasts with a site visitor who was reached through a paid advertisement, as they often have less commitment and are looking for something particular to stand out. In essence, SEO is a way to make an offer to the consumer who is seeking a service, product, or information. This can be seen as a way to proactively build a customer base.

The benefits of deploying an SEO service for a healthcare provider are numerous. After evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of various marketing methods, search engine optimization is now viewed as a cost-effective way to reach qualified customers. It is important to note that rankings are not the only important factor in regards to search engine referral; the overall goal is to achieve a positive return on investment. In order to better understand the long-term benefits of SEO services, it is necessary to address the short-term benefits. Although it is very tempting for a healthcare provider to seek immediate results with a pay-per-click campaign, this sort of approach is the ultimate example of “reaping what you sow”.

Keyword Research and Optimization

Long-tail keywords are an effective method for driving relevant traffic to your business. Long-tail keywords are search phrases with longer word counts. Compared to shorter generic searches, long-tail keywords are more specific and precise. Long-tail keywords usually have low individual search volume, but when you combine all long-tails, they make up about 70% of all search traffic. Long-tail keywords are best utilized for blogs and article pages. By targeting this kind of keyword, health care providers can get a good understanding of specific problems that people are trying to solve. Long-tail keywords usually take extra effort to produce quality content, but the traffic reward is well worth the patience.

Keyword research is the process of finding the right search terms, mostly used by your potential clients. The main goal of doing keyword research is to make your website content more search engine friendly, while making it easy to find your company via a variety of search terms. Identifying and targeting right keywords is crucial to your SEO success. The keywords which bring more relevant traffic to your website are considered effective and it is useless to rank higher for keywords that do not convert into business. That is why it is very important to get to know which keywords bring the right kind of visitors to your site. High rankings for the right keywords can have a huge impact on the amount of traffic and the quality of traffic your website receives. At the same time, it will keep you aware about the market demand because people and market trends keep on changing over the time.

Identifying relevant keywords for healthcare providers

From this feedback, patients were looking for information on what medications to take for cold/flu symptoms and landed on the page for an herbal supplement. This page did not adequately address the query, and the visitor immediately left the page. By achieving better keyword relevance, we would have guided the visitor to the right page or possibly changed the page’s content to better satisfy the visitor’s query. Step 3 is to regularly evaluate keyword relevance. SEO is an ongoing process, and it’s important to always monitor how well the selected keywords are guiding searchers to your site. By using web analytics and by conducting small tests using PPC campaigns, you can measure if visitors are finding what they are looking for when they arrive at your site.

The next step in keyword selection is to determine which keywords are achievable. The best keywords may be searched for millions of times per month, but if you are competing with national organizations or Wikipedia for search rankings, those keywords will be impossible to rank for. Step two is to understand the competitive landscape for your chosen keywords and to select keywords which you have a good chance to rank well with. The final step in keyword selection is to develop a keyword matrix. A keyword matrix is a way to map keywords to specific pages on your site. Often, certain keywords are best suited to certain pages. By mapping keywords, you can then optimize specific pages for specific keywords.

The first step in any SEO campaign is to identify and select the most relevant keywords. When it comes to healthcare providers, this step is particularly important. By targeting the right keywords, healthcare providers can drive the right patients to their websites. Often, healthcare consumers may use the wrong terminology in searching for medical information. By understanding what keywords searchers are using, healthcare providers can better understand the patient mindset and their needs. One common pitfall in keyword selection is assuming you know what the ideal keywords are for your website. Many times, healthcare providers are too close to the terminology used in their field and fail to see what terminology patients are using. A physician may refer to a procedure using very different terminology than a patient who may only know the colloquial term for that procedure. Step one in keyword selection is to understand your audience and how they are searching.

Optimizing website content with targeted keywords

Once the relevant keywords have been identified, the information needs to be effectively implemented. This is not a one-step process; each page should be targeting a different (relevant) keyword or set of keywords. When creating content for the website, it is important to remember that the priority is the site visitors. Even with the best keyword-laden content, if the web visitor cannot find what they are looking for, they will go elsewhere. It is important to weave the keywords naturally into headers and subheadings. This will serve a dual purpose as the web visitor will be able to quickly scan the page to see if it is relevant to their needs, and search engines will give higher priority to keywords found in headings. Sentence structure should be kept in mind. It is often possible to change the sentence slightly so that a keyword can be inserted without making the content sound stilted and forced. Each page’s URL and meta tags should contain relevant keywords. This will increase the keyword density of the page and are very high priority items for search engines. Always ensure that meta tags and descriptions are still written for site visitors, since quality click-through is still the priority. Image alt tags can also contain keywords assuming that they are relevant to what is depicted in the image. Be very careful placing any hidden text or excessive amounts of keywords on the page as this will be picked up as search engine spam. The content should still read naturally to a human so that they stay engaged and take the intended action.

Utilizing long-tail keywords for better search visibility

The autocomplete feature in Google is a great way to gather long-tail keywords. When a stub is entered into the search bar, a list of common searches will be displayed. These are popular and recent searches for related content. This strategy ignores the preferences of the SEO expert and focuses on what patients are actually searching for. Autocomplete searches are also beneficial when looking for topics for new content. High quality, relevant content ranks better with long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are great with relation to healthcare providers. Often consumers are looking for a specific piece of information. A recent study showed an increased number of long-tail keyword searches in health-related topics than in nearly any other industry. This is likely due to the fact that people want more specific information regarding their question. High quality information with long-tail keywords will draw in more valuable traffic. If traffic is defined as a visitor who converts to a phone call or email, or makes an appointment, then a healthcare provider’s goal should be to draw in more traffic. Long-tail keywords will also minimize the amount of “window shoppers” that arrive at the site.

When searching for specific information, users typically choose words that are three to four keywords in length. These are called long-tail keywords. They help describe what is being searched for in greater detail. In general, the more specific or niche the keyword, the easier it is to rank for it. Individual long-tail keywords may not get searched very often, but adding up the total number of searches for the same thing, it can result in a high search volume. High quality, relevant content ranks better with long-tail keywords.

On-Page SEO Techniques

This section will focus on creating SEO-friendly URLs and meta tags in relation to using WordPress as a content management system. Although there are other platforms available, we are focusing on WordPress as it is one of the most widely used CMSs and the most likely to be used by a small healthcare business.

Optimising meta tags is a bit of a grey area and can sometimes be duplicated in the content of the page. As a result, some people may say that meta tags are redundant. Meta tags are no longer given the weight they used to when search engines were in their infancy. However, they do not harm your SEO efforts and are worthwhile doing. Meta tags are pieces of HTML code that don’t actually appear on the web page, but provide information about the page to the web crawler and user browser. The most important meta tags for search engine optimisation are the page title and description. Each page of your site should have a unique title and description that accurately summarises the content of the page. While this is an important step in on-page SEO, it is also an exercise in writing compelling content that will encourage people to click on your link rather than another.

Creating SEO-friendly URLs and meta tags One of the most basic on-site improvements for improving your search engine optimisation is creating SEO-friendly URLs. A URL is a user-friendly web address for a page, e.g. [Link] A URL is not user friendly or search engine friendly if it consists of a dynamic parameter string, such as [Link] Search engines give some weight to the text in the URL, so it is best if the URL is a string of words. Descriptive URLs are also a lot easier for a user to understand and are a lot more likely to be read in full, which increases their usability and effectiveness. This is particularly important if the link is being pasted into an email or word document. A page simply having an easily readable URL can also increase the chance of that page being linked to in a blog or discussed in a forum.

Creating SEO-friendly URLs and meta tags

Meta tags allow healthcare providers to provide data about a page. Although search engines do not place much importance on meta tags when ranking web pages, they are still important in attracting users to click through to a page from a search engine result. The two most important meta tags are the meta description and meta keywords tags. The meta description tag is a brief summary of the content of the page and is used by search engines to display preview snippets for a given page. A good meta description can increase click-through rates to your site from search engine results. The meta keywords tag is a list of keywords and phrases that are representative of the page’s content. In order to avoid misleading search engines and to help stay focused on the page’s content, it is best to limit the number of keywords or phrases to 10-20.

URLs are one of the most basic elements of a website and are essential to SEO. This is because search engines can pick up data from URLs to help determine the relevancy of a web page to a search query. For healthcare providers using a content management system, there may be a tendency to use the default URL structure while adding new pages. An example of a default URL generated for a page on a healthcare website might look like this: [Link] As you can see, URLs generated in this way are meaningless and do not provide search engines with any clues as to what the page is about. It is far better to use a human-readable, keyword-rich URL structure that can help both users and search engines understand what the page is about. Static URLs are preferred to dynamic URLs as they are shorter, do not usually contain session IDs or query strings, and also show search engines that the page is regularly updated. If using a dynamic URL structure, it is best to use URL rewriting to create static-looking URLs.

Optimizing page titles and headings

Headings on the opposite hand aren’t as vital as they won’t a ranking issue, however still vital to optimize to enhance the structure of a page. By inserting keywords into subheadings, you’ll add a little ranking influence to the page, and you’ll be able to notice that if you begin to induce into the habit of group action logical heading structures your on-site content will enhance considerably. Do not use H1 tags for the rest aside from the title of the page. An H1 tag ought to be seen because the title of that section and using this logic you’ll begin to use a lot of effective heading structures.

When it comes to page titles, this is likely one of the most important things for you to get right. Ensure that you lay out the basics of what the web page is when it comes to. By using the Health Care Provider Key Phrases doc, search for your keyword to see if it’s used within a Google search. If the keyword is employed at intervals search results, and you’ll realize different similar pages on the keyword, this is often an honest indication that it’s price optimizing for. Please note there’s solely price optimizing for a keyword if the search brings up similar wanting results to what your web content can truly show. If the search brings up a unique array of results, it should not be price optimizing for because the content wouldn’t match the search intent. Try and guarantee every page’s title is exclusive, and realistically with a CMS like WordPress you must haven’t any bother in achieving this. Usually we tend to see sites with ineffective page titles, like “house” or “title ought to be a mirrored image of the content at intervals the web page.” This is often inefficient as a result of titles with a similar name can that may undoubtedly happen in website style can mean you have got duplicate page titles, and so diluted the keyword targeting of each individual page. To check that page titles are effective use a web site crawl.

Improving website loading speed for better user experience

Although not a traditional on-page SEO technique, webpage load speed is a critical factor in determining whether or not you actually get site traffic from the major search engines. This is important because even if you have done everything right in terms of on-page SEO, your site may not show up in the search engines if it takes too long to load. Search engine spiders can only allocate a certain amount of time to crawling a site and they will not wait around for the entire page to load. According to this official Google webmaster blog, there’s even a possibility that GoogleBot may stop crawling before the page has fully loaded if the server times out, or if the connection gets cut short. This means that there will be no cached version of the page, and it will have to be re-crawled at a later date. This is a worst case scenario, but still worth noting.

Off-Page SEO Strategies

Backlinks are links from outside domains that point to pages in your domain; essentially linking from their domain to yours. To a larger degree, your backlink profile is made up of backlinks from external sites (also known as referring domains) that contribute to the overall strength, relevance, and diversity of your domain’s backlink profile. The source of a backlink matters a lot in today’s SEO. A backlink from a relevant site within your industry is worth significantly more than a link from an irrelevant site or a blog with completely different topics. In the continually changing landscape of SEO, it is still valuable to have quality backlinks. A site can still benefit from increased search engine rankings from an excellent quality link building marketing campaign, and a good quality link must meet the following criteria: coming from a site that is trusted within the same category, an anchor text link on the keyword relevancy, the link is “dofollow,” a link set to the website’s home or inner page, and the backlink is an active link on the website. It is important to remember that in 2018, there is a thin line between a quality backlink and a risk-appearing to be improperly manipulating a site’s rank with link buying schemes. It is important to always stay within Google’s guidelines to avoid penalties to your ranking. A good way to know for certain that paid link building is improper is to ask, “Is this link going to be beneficial to my customers and lead to a better browsing experience?” Google uses the search quality rating guidelines for its highly trained and regulated search evaluators to test the site quality by simulating the search engine user and determine the rate the page adds to a user’s knowledge or happiness. Evidently, a paid link on a low-quality site to increase rank will not be beneficial to the search engine user or the user’s browsing experience.

Building high-quality backlinks from reputable websites

When looking at the part of SEO, which is off-page SEO, you are taking a gander at the techniques you are taking to expand your website’s rankings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPS). One of the ways to be off-page SEO is to utilize backlinks. A backlink is a connection from an outside site which leads back to your site. The search engines want to see that your site is popular and credible, and backlinks are a great way of showing this. As the search engine crawlers visit new pages and sites, they will generally find the backlinks to your site from different sites. They will then crawl your site and trust in your site to have the information the backlinks say it does. The search engines will generally give better rankings to the sites which have a bigger amount of value backlinks and think of it as like a popularity vote. This is only if the backlinks have been set onto significant sites. If your site was about cats and the backlink was found on a site about motors, this would not be viewed as relevant and would not help in the popularity vote.

Engaging in social media marketing for increased online presence

The largest benefit from social media marketing can be seen in data that suggests strong social signals may have a positive impact on search rankings. For healthcare providers who are aiming to create content that will rank well, social media can be a great amplifier. Social signals can also have a positive impact on local businesses and searches done on mobile devices. Finally, organic content interaction through sharing and +1’s will improve online presence and have long-lasting effects towards a healthcare provider’s SaaS.

Social media marketing is an off-page SEO method which healthcare providers can effectively use to increase their online presence. Utilizing social networking outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus provides a direct channel to current and potential patients. It also allows you to share information and create an online community. One of the best things about social media is that you can interact directly with patients. You can hold Q&A sessions, post informative articles, and even get direct feedback. Creating informative content is important, and sharing blog posts and site articles that link back to your website is a great way to drive traffic. Video tutorials and health presentations can easily be shared on social media outlets, and have a high potential to “go viral”.

Encouraging online reviews and ratings for better search rankings

Reviewing can be encouraged both directly and indirectly. Indirect methods are often the safest starting point. Addition of review calls to action on invoices and email receipts can be highly effective, as the user has already considered their transaction at this point. Any interaction with patients where positive feedback was received should also be used as an opportunity to request a review. This can range from anything to booking an appointment via successful treatment or a helpful phone call.

However, the ways in which you can get reviews for your product or business are highly varied. At a basic level, the main barrier here is that in a healthcare context, users are far less likely to leave reviews of their own accord. This will typically be because health issues are seen as extremely personal; they concern touches on people’s anxieties. A bad experience can also have long-lasting effects or even be seen to significantly impact someone’s life. All this makes it quite hard to ask for any reviews at all. Any request for a review will have to take into account the delicacy of the subject matter and the potential impact on the patients concerned.

Encouraging online reviews is an extremely nuanced area and highly effective. At a basic level, Google will generally trust your site more if it has more reviews. Using structured data to tell search engines about the reviews you have on your site also provides more visible results. This, in turn, can increase the click-through rate from the SERPs, a combined result of higher rankings and better visibility.

Utilizing local SEO tactics to target specific geographic areas

Building links with a specific local relevance can take providers halfway back to traditional SEO methods. Example case scenarios for sites of local relevance are numerous. For example, suppose that the historical society in a local town links to a healthcare provider who is sponsoring health talks on elderly care. Or perhaps, a women’s health clinic gets links from a local league football team because they are providing medical cover at a game. An effective local SEO campaign will involve the use of textual content and landing pages targeting specific services offered to specific local communities, as well as the profiling of specific healthcare providers and testimonials from patients in each location. In addition to this specific, targeted content, geo-tagging with microdata will be useful to improve local search rankings, as it helps search engines to provide more locally based information to searchers.

A very general principle with local search is that links from other local businesses can be very beneficial. This is also true with healthcare. Establishing connections and partnerships with other local businesses can be very advantageous both in terms of direct connections with clients and search ranking. For example, a local gym may wish to set up mutual web link sharing and pass clients back and forth to a provider using the provider’s discount scheme for the gym. Another good idea is to run promotional deals in collaboration with local newspapers, magazines, and websites. This can generate an increased interest in local people and generate links and visibility. One must not overlook the potential of print media in the local area, as the second point or first point of call for many customers will be to try to find the provider online. This campaign should be mirrored with advertising for the online content on the same print media.

The demand for localized service is increasing. Utilizing local SEO tactics to micro-target their geographic areas will help healthcare providers to compete with the bigger nationwide companies. Mobile device usage adds to the impetus to do so, since local searches are often performed while on the go. Using methods similar to traditional SEO, local SEO services can help providers move higher in the search engine results. Key differences are the much tighter geographical keyword targeting, the use of online maps, and the inclusion of profiles for each location. A first step in any local SEO campaign is typically to claim and verify a local business listing with Google Places. This is vital as statistics and prevalence of use suggest that it can greatly help a provider to increase their visibility. Yahoo and Bing also offer similar tools which should be exploited.

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