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Every online business today is at the mercy of a trusted digital sidekick known as SEO. The same is the case when it comes to the healthcare industry. Healthcare SEO acts as a trusted guide that ensures your website does not get lost in the vast wilderness of the internet but instead finds its way to the hearts and screens of your potential patients. With over 77% of people using search engines to start their patient journey, a lot is riding on your SEO practices.
Table of Contents
What is Healthcare SEO
In simple terms, medical or healthcare SEO (search engine optimization) means making an impact online. It means optimizing your website to attract more of your desired audience through organic search results.
The end goal here is to ensure that when people search for products/services similar to yours, search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo display your practice on the first page!
Why is SEO Important in Hospitals?
LSA reports that 60% of consumers run a search prior to scheduling an appointment. Whether you’re running a medical practice, clinic, or hospital, failing to appear in these search results can significantly impact the growth of your patient base and limit your revenue generation. Given that Google receives more than a billion health-related queries every single day, medical practices that adhere to a proper healthcare SEO strategy have a high chance of:
- Driving remarkable organic traffic
- Increasing quality leads &
- Increasing patient engagement
- Enhanced brand reputation
- Elevated online authority
- Increased conversions
- Increased patient trust & loyalty
- A great competitive edge with cost efficiency
How is Healthcare SEO Different?
It may seem like the same ingredients used to rank a beauty or travel website can also be used for medical practices. However, medical SEO is entirely different as merely optimizing your images or using a few keywords won’t cut it.
A healthcare SEO strategy is different because Google uses distinct algorithms to rank healthcare content than it uses to rank others.
The biggest factors that weigh in while ranking a healthcare website or content are YMYL (your money, your life) and EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). These factors are important as they are directly related to information that influences individuals’ health, safety, or financial stability – something very holy in Google’s eyes.
Healthcare SEO Strategies that Work
Now that you’ve understood medical SEO and its importance let’s move on to the proven SEO strategies that will help you make an online impact.
Consider SEO one of the fundamental elements that will ensure a successful healthcare marketing strategy, as long as you know what to focus on! To begin with, let’s consider the most prominent aspects of your practice.
1. Healthcare Website Site Architecture
The site architecture of your website refers to the layout of information and design presented in a user-friendly manner (UI/UX). This ensures accessibility to all features and options of your website without visitors having to struggle for them.
To optimize the site architecture of your hospital website for SEO purposes, you need to make sure that you use
- Clear and logical structure with organized categories and subcategories.
- Utilize short, user-friendly URLs that include relevant keywords.
By implementing effective site architecture techniques, healthcare websites can enhance their visibility in search engine rankings and provide a seamless browsing experience for users.
2. Keyword Research for Healthcare SEO
Keyword research is one of the most crucial elements that make up your healthcare SEO strategy, and they help you rank.
Elevate your SEO – Focus on keywords related to:
- What are your patients searching for
- The terms they search online
- The phrases they use for voice search
- Most asked questions (“people also ask” section on Google)
Regarding search engine optimization, it is important to remember that relevance is key. The more relevant you are to a certain search query, the more chance you have to appear at the top, so choose relevant keywords for your products/services.
User intent is the second most crucial element of your medical SEO strategy. When potential patients spend a significant time on your website, perceive your content as valuable, and have their queries or concerns addressed, Google recognizes its quality and grants it a higher ranking.
Remember, searching for high-quality keywords is not just about finding some magic keywords but about identifying your audience’s pain points, assessing your potential search terms, and analyzing your competitor’s highest-ranking keywords. You can also use a keyword gap tool to find keywords you can rank for.
Coming to how you can do that; there are a number of free and paid keyword research tools available in the market. The top ones include:
- BuzzSumo, and so on.
3. Content Creation for Effective Healthcare SEO
After you have identified the best keywords to work with, you need to incorporate them into your website content that should scream quality and provide genuine value. That’s how you ensure experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness; in short, EEAT, is one of the basic factors Google uses to determine quality, something an experienced healthcare digital marketing agency can help you with it.
Alarming Elements You Can Not Afford to Overlook
1- Medical professionals should create your healthcare content to ensure utmost accuracy and precision, and it should be updated to stay atop. Moreover, remember to mention the author’s credentials in each blog post to build trust. Like this:
2- Marketing the healthcare sector has certain legal limitations and restrictions that you can not turn a blind eye to!
- Anti-Kickback Statue, prohibits healthcare marketers from offering or receiving incentives in exchange for referrals, impacting their ability to engage with vendors.
- EKRA Law, also known as the eliminating kickbacks in recovery act. This act restricts healthcare marketers from receiving kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals related to substance abuse treatments.
- Stark Law, which also refrains healthcare marketers from making referrals for certain health services if they gave a financial relationship with the entity providing those services.
(Compliance with these laws and others in healthcare marketing is crucial for maintaining legal and ethical practices. And failing to adhere to such regulatory laws, you can be held accountable for severe penalties, including fines of up to a hundred thousand dollars per violation and imprisonment of up to 10 years in addition to more.)
3- Optimizing healthcare content for Google’s continuously evolving updates like the link spam update and helpful content updates is also very important to maintain a good SEO health score.
4- Each state has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to healthcare marketing, which is why it is essential to delve into the respective state’s laws and explore the regulations specific to your niche to stay compliant.
4. HTML Tags & Meta Data Optimizations
Imagine you’re building a house, and in that house, HTML tags are like the different types of bricks you use to construct different parts of the house. Each brick (HTML tag) has a specific shape and purpose, and when you put them together in the right way, you create a complete and organized structure—the web page.
HTML tags provide instructions to the web browser on how to:
- Present your content
- Make it readable &
- Make it visually appealing for users who visit your website
To optimize title tags for healthcare SEO:
- Focus on including relevant keywords
- Keep your title concise (around 50-60 characters)
- Ensure your title accurately represents the content
- Incorporate compelling language and make the title tag enticing for users
Do all this while aligning your content with search intent to improve search engine visibility and click-through rates.
Furthermore, the brief summary you see under the title in search engine results assists search engines in assessing the relevance of the user’s search query. This small text is called meta description, which plays a crucial role in any SEO.
Best Practices for Optimized Meta Descriptions
- Be concise & relevant
- Keep the word count under 160 characters and include relevant keywords naturally, focusing on readability and accuracy.
- Create unique meta descriptions for every webpage, avoiding duplicates.
- Add a compelling CTA to encourage users to click and engage
- Your descriptions should captivate users, and highlight the value propositions, and unique selling points of your hospital.
5. Optimized Website Speed and Mobile Responsiveness
Website page speed is a direct ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm as it impacts user experience and search engine optimization, which is why it is crucial for ranking your healthcare website. Remember, 40% of visitors leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load!
Similarly, mobile devices account for 63% of Google’s organic search traffic in the US alone! This means by optimizing your mobile responsiveness; you can attract potential patients who use mobile devices to search for ” hospitals near me”, thus strengthening your healthcare SEO.
6. Anchor Texts
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink that provides context and describes the linked page’s content. This includes internal and external links.
Internal links connect different pages within the same website. Incorporating these can help your healthcare SEO by improving website navigation, creating a hierarchical structure, and distributing link equity.
Whereas external links connect one website to another, providing references or additional information and contributing to a website’s authority and visibility. Connecting your content with authoritative healthcare websites can boost healthcare SEO by enhancing credibility, attracting referral traffic, and improving search engine rankings.
7. Alt tags and HTML tags
Simply put, Alt tags are descriptive text added to HTML image tags, providing alternative information for visually impaired users and search engines to understand the content of an image. These HTML tags are the essential elements used to structure and format your web content. And including your relevant keywords in Alt tags and using appropriate HTML tags can improve accessibility, user experience, and search engine rankings for your healthcare websites.
Other Important Elements for Healthcare SEO
Local SEO for healthcare practices involves optimizing online presence to target local audiences.
Build local listings of your healthcare practices on directories or platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, or Healthgrades. These listings provide essential information about your practice, including the name, address, phone number (NAP), and other details.
These consistent NAP addresses across directories help search engines verify your business’s legitimacy and improve local search rankings. And by ensuring accurate and updated citations, healthcare businesses can increase visibility in local search results, attract nearby patients, and strengthen their SEO efforts.
Additionally, general and healthcare-specific directories play a crucial role in local SEO as they provide authoritative backlinks, amplify your online presence, and improve the overall credibility and visibility of healthcare practices within the local community.
Social Media Presence
Social proof is important, and having a strong social media presence in the healthcare industry can help boost your SEO by:
- Increasing brand visibility
- Driving traffic to your website
- Attracting potential patients or clients.
Effective social media marketing offers opportunities for engagement, content promotion, and building relationships with influencers and authoritative figures in the healthcare field. To create an incredible social media strategy, you can utilize these tactics.
Compelling web designs help improve healthcare SEO by creating a user-friendly experience, optimizing site speed and mobile responsiveness, and enhancing overall site architecture. Well-structured websites with intuitive navigation, clear call-to-actions, and optimized content placement can improve user engagement metrics, increase dwell time, and contribute to better search engine rankings.
Web analytics is another crucial factor that helps healthcare SEO by providing valuable insights into website performance, user behavior, and traffic sources. This can drive your optimization strategies based on data-driven decisions and identify areas for improvement to enhance search engine rankings and user experience.
A Few Golden Tips
- Check your site’s technical health with Google Search Console which helps identify and resolve technical issues that can impact healthcare SEO.
- Obtain backlinks through platforms like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), enhance medical SEO by boosting domain authority, and attract referral traffic from reputable websites.
- Implement Schema markup on your healthcare website which will help search engines understand and display structured data, improving visibility and click-through rates in search results.
- Avoid black hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing or buying links. This is crucial for maintaining a reputable and sustainable healthcare SEO strategy.
- Ensure proper page indexing which allows search engines to crawl and index healthcare website pages effectively.
- Monitor SEO progress through analytics tools & track keyword rankings, organic traffic, and user engagement, enabling optimization and identifying areas for improvement in your healthcare SEO efforts.
The Impact of Telemedicine on Healthcare SEO
Telemedicine has an incredible impact on healthcare SEO as it increases healthcare providers’ online presence and visibility, leading to potential improvements in search engine rankings and organic traffic.
By offering telemedicine services, healthcare practices can attract a broader audience, extend their geographical reach, and rank higher in search results for telemedicine-related keywords. This can increase website traffic, patient inquiries, and overall visibility.
Takeaway - Healthcare SEO Strategies that Work
All healthcare providers must implement advanced healthcare SEO strategies to enhance their online visibility, attract patients, and stay competitive in the digital landscape. By adhering to these comprehensive tactics, healthcare organizations can effectively reach their target audience and achieve long-term success in the ever-evolving world of healthcare SEO. Looking for result-driven SEO for your healthcare practice? Give Marketing Wind a shot!