When it comes to the ever changing digital marketing landscape, Search Engine Optimization is still, while often underutilized, an extremely powerful marketing tool. This is especially true in the healthcare and medical practice industry, where search drives 3x as many visitors to hospital and medical practice websites than non-search visitors. That’s an important marketing channel to focus on when it comes to showcasing your healthcare office. But the irony is for as important as it is for leveraging SEO for medical offices and hospitals, most are not taking advantage.
The good news in all of this is that hospitals and medical practices offices have so much to gain from proper optimization of their websites. There are a lot of places you can start and a lot of resources you can gain tons of professional SEO information from, but it’s important you start with the basics. So, how should hospitals and medical practices harness the power of the search engines and user queries? We list some quick wins below...
Focus On Site Architecture & Content
Search engines and crawlers are constantly trying to make sense of the architecture of websites, how content is laid out, and what information is on a page. Even more so than search engines, website visitors are trying to find the information they need quickly and easily to help them make a decision or take action. Having a well developed website, one where your website’s navigation is properly categorized and optimized, will increase your website’s crawlability and also help users quickly find information they need and convert or schedule an appointment.
Beyond site navigation and architecture, it’s important the content on your website is reflective of your medical services and how potential patients are searching. A lot of times, the word “content” is confused as simply text on a page. This is simply not true and something that goes well beyond words on a page. Content can be…
- Case studies
- Research articles
Content is any piece of information that is communicated through a medium that is digested by an audience. Content can be simple text to any of the types listed above and beyond, and content will be an ever evolving thing. It’s important to remember that with content comes onsite SEO responsibility. This includes making sure that...
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Internal linking
- Keyword placement
...are all optimized for the searches that you’re trying to capture. It’s also important that your content type matches the intent of the user’s search. Search intent can be broken into three types:
- Transactional: This is where a user is trying to take an action. In this case, this could be scheduling an appointment, attending an event, downloading information, or more.
- Informational: This is where a user is looking for a specific piece of information. In this case, this could be looking for medical condition, treatment, symptom, doctor, or surgery information.
- Navigational: This is where a user is looking for a particular brand or website. In this case, it would be a user searching for a particular hospital or medical office.
When trying to capture search traffic for certain pieces of medical information or services, make sure that you are providing the type of content that the user is looking for. Any content that is on your website that does not match a potential patient’s search intent or provides a beneficial user experience, is known as “content noise” and should be considered low priority.
Focus On Mobile Usability
Mobile browsing has skyrocketed over the years, with nearly 60 percent of searches happening on mobile devices. Beyond that, when it comes the healthcare industry, 44 percent of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment. From a user experience standpoint, a responsive mobile website is the best way to create a stellar mobile experience and highly recommended by Google themselves.
Developing a mobile friendly website that renders properly to a user’s device, providing a fast and streamlined web experience, will greatly help your hospital or medical office obtain new patients and appointment opportunities. This is important to remember, because (according to Kissmetrics) 47% of consumers expect a load time of 2 seconds or less, with a 1 second delay resulting in a 7% decrease in conversions, or in this case appointments.
Create a mobile friendly web experience, one that provides fast and proper device rendering, great and helpful content, and an easy appointment scheduling process. Not only will the search engines reward you with more visibility, but your users will appreciate the gesture, and not look elsewhere for a faster response to their healthcare needs.
Leverage Schema & Microdata
In 2011, major search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! got together to create a common set of data markup opportunities that webmasters can use to help their crawlers better understand the meaning of and information on a webpage. This collaborative markup is called Schema.org.
Over time, these pieces of markup have been correlated to higher search rankings and rich snippets that appear in search. However, most webmasters are either not properly utilizing these opportunities, or not using them altogether. This could simply be because they are unaware, have bigger tasks to handle, or are intimidated by the tasks (we’ll provide resources below), but it should not be underestimated how powerful this markup can be for your website and it’s organic visibility.
The types of information you can markup on your website...
Hospital or practice information
And so much more. When you take advantage of these markup opportunities, Google and other search engines will reward you in not only potentially better rankings, but in the form of rich snippets. For instance, information about your organization (coupled with complete and accurate contact information and listings) can appear as such...