Patients have more options than ever when choosing their healthcare provider. Hospitals and clinics must offer a digital experience that stands out from the competition. The first step in creating a digital experience that attracts patients is investing in healthcare SEO since most patients use search engines to find a new provider.
What is Healthcare SEO?
SEO is making your Healthcare website more visible and relevant to the people you want to reach through organic search results. This means making your website easy for Google and other search engines to understand and rank for the services you offer.
Online search is the most popular way for patients to find healthcare providers, according to Google, it brings three times more visitors to hospital websites than other sources. To attract new patients, your site needs to rank high on search engine results pages, making SEO a vital investment for any medical practice, clinic, or hospital.
What Advantages Does the Healthcare Industry Gain from Implementing Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
- Expand your patient base
Patients primarily use online searches to research new healthcare providers, schedule appointments, access provider reviews, and discover essential information. To ensure an optimal digital experience for patients, investing in healthcare SEO becomes crucial. This investment aims to elevate your website’s visibility in search results, positioning it at the top, thereby increasing patient acquisition and improving your overall patient volume.
- Go for Local Searches
Another advantage of employing a healthcare SEO strategy involves visibility in local searches. Numerous patients search using location-specific terms such as “physical therapist in Nashville.”
For your site to feature prominently in these geographically targeted searches, precise optimization is essential. Once achieved, your website can capitalize on highly pertinent local searches, connecting with potential patients actively seeking services similar to yours.
- Rise Above the Competition
In the competitive healthcare landscape, prioritizing investment in SEO has become increasingly crucial. When a patient seeks a hospital in their vicinity and your primary competitor secures the first or second search result while your hospital doesn’t even appear on the first page, it results in missed opportunities for significant growth.
- Begin by Checking Your SEO Score
Begin by gaining insight into your website’s current performance before delving into SEO efforts.
Utilize SAG IPL complimentary website SEO checker, which conducts a comprehensive scan of your webpage. It identifies and categorizes 14 prevalent SEO issues into four distinct groups: technical, content, user experience, and mobile SEO.
11 Unique Hint for Your Healthcare SEO Strategies
- Look up to the quality content
One of the most pivotal elements in an effective healthcare SEO strategy revolves around top-tier content. To secure a spot in search results, your site must boast content that search engines can display to users. Given that content is the primary reason users visit your site, search engines place significant emphasis on its quality. Ensure your content is comprehensive, top-notch, and accurate.
Moreover, leverage content as a means to attract a broader audience to your site. Establishing a healthcare blog enables you to offer valuable patient resources, expanding the range of potential search queries your site can address. (Remember, without relevant content, you won’t rank for specific searches.)
If you’re uncertain about content topics, analyze what your competitors are covering and then aim to surpass their efforts. Produce more comprehensive content or approach the subject matter from a distinct perspective compared to your competitors.
- Make Sure Search Engines Can Trail and Index Your Website
Now that you’ve crafted high-quality, distinctive, and comprehensive content relevant to your healthcare organization, the next step is ensuring search engines can efficiently index it.
To begin with the fundamentals: When search engines crawl your site, they collect and structure the content they encounter. Indexing a page signifies that a search engine comprehends its context and can display it as a search result to users. In essence, through indexing content, search engines construct their repository from which they can draw when users search for specific information.
- Survey Your SEO Progress
For a successful healthcare SEO initiative, monitoring progress and reporting on ROI are essential.
Here are some key SEO metrics to consistently monitor:
- 1. Average position in search results
- 2. Click-through rates from search results to your website
- 3. Search engine impressions
- 4. Total organic traffic directed to your site
- 5. Conversions
To effectively assess these metrics, utilize a comprehensive website analytics tool aligned with your healthcare SEO strategy. Additionally, employing an SEO tool that automatically tracks and displays performance over time for some of these metrics can greatly assist in your evaluation process.
- Benchmark Your Healthcare SEO and Compare Performance to Your Competitors
Monitoring and reporting on your SEO endeavors is pivotal in demonstrating the ROI of your efforts.
Yet, it’s crucial to recognize that SEO performance remains relative to your competition. Even if your organic traffic has surged by 50% in the past year, if your site still resides on the second page of search results while your competitors occupy position one for high-priority keywords attracting the ideal patient demographic, you might not be capturing the most relevant traffic.
- Enhance the Patient Experience on Your Website
As highlighted earlier, a robust healthcare SEO strategy is instrumental in attracting new patients, yet delivering an exceptional digital experience is vital to retaining them.
Consider the following for an outstanding website experience, which also impacts search engine ranking:
- Site speed: Ensure your site loads swiftly as users tend to leave after a few seconds of load time.
- Straightforward navigation: Simplify your menu for easy user and search engine navigation.
- Clean, universal design: Follow universal design principles, particularly crucial in healthcare websites, to enhance navigation.
- Quality assurance: Regularly test for broken links, media files, or buttons to prevent frustrating user experiences.
- Simple user journey: Streamline actions like booking appointments to reduce complexity and ensure clarity for users.
- Accessibility: Prioritize accessibility for users with disabilities by maintaining high color contrast, and readable fonts, and ensuring usability for individuals with diverse abilities.
Ensuring a superior digital experience aligns not only with user satisfaction but also positively impacts search engine ranking factors.
- Create Your Website Authority
One way to enhance your healthcare SEO strategy is by increasing the credibility of your website. The most effective way to do that is by getting backlinks, which is when another website links to yours.
Backlinks are considered a sign of trust by search engines, essentially, if another site is willing to direct their users to your site, then they must have confidence in your organization and your content.
However, not all backlinks have the same value. You want high-quality, reputable sites linking to yours not low-quality or dubious ones.
If your hospital or clinic has been featured for noteworthy research, excellent results, social work, etc. on another website, contact the website owner and request them to add a link to your website when they mention you.
- Concentrate on EAT Essentials for Healthcare SEO
As a healthcare organization, you want to show both patients and search engines that you are a reliable organization with accurate information. Consider the following tips when improving your site’s EAT:
- Write high-quality, informative About Us and Contact Us pages with plenty of details.
- Include author information for all your in-depth content, such as author bios with information about their qualifications or credentials.
- Make it easy for patients to reach out to your organization.
- Display a clear address and phone number on your site.
- Prioritize Local Healthcare SEO with Google My Business
Local SEO is vital for your healthcare organization. Patients often search for local providers. To improve your local healthcare SEO, create a Google My Business account and claim your business listing.
Then, fill out a detailed business profile with photos, your website, opening hours, and a current address and phone number. You can also enhance patient trust by replying to customer reviews.
Doing this will create a strong local profile that Google will reward by displaying in local searches and maps.
- Make Sure Your Website is Convenient for all Users
Accessibility compliance is important SEO for healthcare websites. All healthcare websites should be accessible to the elderly and disabled. This not only improves the digital experience for your patients but also affects your SEO ranking factors.
A good way to begin is to assess your site’s accessibility status. Use the SAG IPL free website accessibility checker to get a summary of the issues you need to fix. Then, you should check the accessibility regulations in your area to see which level of compliance you should aim for. A good reference point is WCAG 2 Level AA.
- Recognize Your site’s Speed and Mobile Usability
Website speed and mobile usability are now part of Google’s SEO ranking algorithm, which means they affect your SEO performance.
Mobile Usability: According to Statista, about half of the global website traffic comes from mobile devices. (that number is about 60-65% in the US), which makes it essential that your healthcare website is optimized for mobile usability. Here are some tips you should follow for mobile usability and mobile SEO:
- Use responsive web design. Make sure your website design adapts and responds to the type of device users are on.
- Make sure all content, including video, images, etc is visible on a mobile device.
- Avoid pop-ups or other overlays, as they occupy a lot of screen space on mobile devices.
- Don’t use very small or thin fonts that make users zoom in all the time on their mobile devices.
- Make sure the elements on your site that are touch-responsive are easy to tap on a mobile device by spacing them out.
Site Speed: Most users will abandon a site if it takes more than 2-3 seconds to load, which is a very high standard to meet! But to provide the best patient experience and improve your SEO rankings, you need to invest in a fast site. Here are some tips to keep in mind when working on your site speed:
- Most of a page’s loading time is spent downloading its components, most of which require an HTTP request. Reduce the number of components on your page to reduce the number of HTTP requests and speed up your site.
- Reduce the number of redirects your site uses, as they create more HTTP requests and slow down your site.
- Fix any broken links on your site, as they create a poor user experience and can also cause your site to lag.
- Reduce the file sizes of your images. Large image files will increase the total size of your page and the bigger your page, the longer it takes to load. Optimize your image files using a free online image optimizer.
- Video files are even larger than image files, so don’t upload them directly to your web page. Use a video hosting service to host your video, then embed them on your site, which saves space and speeds up load time.
Investing in both a faster site and a more mobile-friendly site will create a better digital experience for potential patients, help your organization appear more trustworthy, and boost your SEO rankings so it’s not something to ignore.
- Never forget About Bing in Your Healthcare SEO Strategy
Bing and Yahoo! may not be as popular as Google for online searches, but they still account for 10% of the traffic (especially in the US). The good news is that you don’t need to change anything on your site to make it more appealing to these search engines. Just focus on providing a high-quality, accurate, and trustworthy digital experience.
However, you should still set up Bing’s webmaster tool, so you can track how your site performs on Bing and optimize it for better results.
A collaborative platform that marketing and web teams can use to create better website experiences is essential for boosting your SEO rankings on all search engines.
If you’re in search of an SEO professional for your healthcare department, consider connecting with SAG IPL. They are a top-notch company known for delivering exceptional SEO services to the healthcare sector. With an impressive work portfolio, they have established alliances with clients worldwide. Their highly skilled team is capable of understanding client requirements and delivering results promptly. All of these services are offered at affordable prices, making them a reliable choice for your healthcare SEO needs.