In this day and age, more and more people are going online to look for healthcare providers, fill prescriptions and book appointments. According to recent research, 43 percent of visits to clinic or hospital sites originate from a search engine. As a healthcare provider or marketer, you need to optimize your website to enhance visibility in Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Here are seven best practices for optimizing a healthcare website.
Building a great website that highlights your services is not enough. You need to update it regularly with content that is helpful to your audience. This could be educational videos, patient testimonials, interviews, blog posts, case studies, infographics and medical news.
Adding more relevant and strategic keyword-driven content will generate more traffic for your site, and thus boost your search rankings. In addition, it will help build trust with your audience when they recognize you as an expert in your field. A good example of unique content is the infographic below by Nyack Hospitals. In a few words and with a compelling visual, it offers useful information about diagnosing and treating migraines.
To make your website more visible, you need to use targeted keywords that describe your industry and business. Take time to research keywords people are likely to use in search engines. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner will give you an idea of the most popular keywords in your industry. Be sure to incorporate these main types of keywords:
A sitemap makes it easier for search engines such as Bing, Yahoo and Google to navigate your site. This will ensure proper indexing as well as enhanced rankings. The good news is that numerous sitemap-generating tools can automate the process. The CenterLight Healthcare website has a great sitemap. It contains a breakdown of links to pages, which allows visitors to navigate to any part of the site quickly and search engines to understand the breakdown of the site instantly.
Directories such as NHS and HealthNet allow healthcare providers to list their facilities. Most of these directories also allow people to leave reviews. If you have a high satisfaction rating, your listing is likely to get more clicks. Therefore, besides boosting your ranking, getting listed can also influence your customers’ purchase decisions.
People who need medical services usually look for healthcare facilities near them. For instance, someone looking for a pediatrician in Austin, Texas, is likely to use the query “pediatrician in Austin.”
Optimizing your website for local search will make it easier for people to find you and thus boost your business profits. A listing service worth considering is Google My Business. You can create a page that contains vital information such as your phone number, address and business hours. This tool comes with Google Maps, which shows people your location.
Moz Local is another tool that could come in handy. As shown below, Moz gives you access to a wide range of directories, apps and sites where you can get your facility or services listed. In addition, you can manage your listings and update your location information whenever necessary.
One of the main factors Google considers in its search ranking is backlinks. Having credible websites linking back to yours can boost your ranking significantly.
One of the best ways of building backlinks is by writing guest posts for authoritative sites in the healthcare industry. Podcasts, press releases, videos and photos can also be very useful sources of backlinks.
For a few more best practices and examples of healthcare backlink strategies, check out this post.
Besides promoting your services, social media also gives you the opportunity to build relationships with new and existing customers. Every healthcare organization should at least have a profile on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Promoting your content on these platforms will help you reach a wider audience as well as build trust. A good example of social media use is the Mayo Clinic’s Facebook page where a patient shared his experience with the healthcare provider.
Applying the above web optimization practices could take time and effort, but it will have great benefits for your business in the long run. If you don’t have the time or expertise required for optimizing your site, it would be advisable to hire the services of a consultant or agency.
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