SEO for Doctors: Help Patients Find You on the Web

When a potential patient searches the web for a new doctor, you want your practice to show up first in their results. A thorough internet marketing plan can help you influence where your site ranks in the results. Adjusting a website to get listed in search results is called search engine optimization, usually shortened to SEO.

Why Do I Need SEO for My Medical Practice?

A doctor’s main goal is to help patients but marketing is necessary to attract those patients. In the past, people may have looked in the yellow pages for a new doctor or just picked a practice nearby. Now, many people search online when they are looking for a new doctor or answers to health questions.

In 2013, Pew Research Center surveyed internet users about their health searches. 72% of people surveyed reported that they had searched for health information in the past year.

Using SEO to make your practice more visible in search results could help you get the attention of potential patients. The internet can help patients in need find a doctor with the right qualifications for their situation. It can also help doctors grow their practice by attracting new patients.

What Is SEO Anyway?

Search engine optimization or SEO is the best way to increase a website’s visibility online.

There is no way for humans to analyze every single web page on the internet. Google and other search engines use algorithms to decide which pages should show up for any given search. The algorithm ranks these pages based on how relevant they are to the search and it takes into account many different factors including whether you are connected to social media, if you have a blog, and more.

While there are several different search engines online, Google is the most popular by far. Most marketing plans focus on targeting Google searches.

When you search for something on Google, they record all of the data involved in the search including what you searched for and which result you chose to click. Website owners and internet marketers can access some of Google’s data in order to understand what people are searching for.

Armed with information about what people search for and how search engines rank the results, doctors could feature content on their sites that will rank for their target patients’ searches.

How Can I Get My Practice Ranked on Google?

Harnessing the power of search engines can help drive traffic to your website and attract new patients to your practice. You can do this by learning about search engine algorithms and the factors they take into account. Below are some tactics to improve your SEO marketing strategy.

●      Target Keywords - Research which words and phrases patients are searching for and make sure those are written on your website. Google accounts for synonyms but it still helps to match potential patients’ terminology.

●      Create Content - Create content that is interesting, easy to read, uses your target keywords, and appeals to the patients you want. Great content will attract patients to your website and keep them there longer. Search engines track this information to rank pages in search results. Create new content often. Having a blog on your site is an easy way to keep creating new content.

●      Get Links - A major factor in SEO is how many other websites contain links to your website. If your website has quality content on it and your practice is respected, other organizations will naturally link to you. You can influence how many links go to your website by reaching out to other sites and asking if they would feature a link to your content.

●      Think Local - In most cases, patients are looking for doctors in their immediate area. Unless you are a specialist who has a lot of traveling patients, you will need to focus your SEO strategy on local searches like “best doctor in Hollywood, FL.” Make sure the contact and location information on your site is accurate.

●      Remember Mobile - Google has shifted its focus from desktop sites to mobile sites. This shift didn’t happen on a whim. People are using their mobile devices more and more to search for what they need. “Mobile first” is Google’s campaign to rank sites based on their mobile content first before checking desktop content. Your website should have as much content and functionality on a mobile device as it does on desktop.

●      Hire an Expert - Doctors and medical staff are busy and SEO can be time-consuming. Consider hiring an expert to run internet marketing and SEO for your practice. Doctors are experts at treating patients in their chosen specialty. Search engine optimizers are experts at internet marketing. Although a marketer costs money to hire, it should be considered an investment; they should be able to grow your practice and increase your revenue.

You can find many “tips and tricks” for good SEO online but there is no shortcut to getting ranked by Google. Google and other search engines are looking for websites with well-written content that matches what users are searching for. The best way to appeal to Google is to create a high quality medical practice website and to develop content with your future patients in mind.

How Do I Get Started?

The easiest way to get started toward your online marketing goals is to contact us for a free evaluation. The evaluation is completely free with no strings attached. So even if you’re unsure about hiring a marketing company, you have nothing to lose by contacting us to learn what gaps you may have in your digital presence. During the free evaluation we will let you know exactly how Infinity Media Marketing can help you drive traffic to your website, and in turn, drive patients to your practice. Remember, we are a no-contract, cancel-anytime agency where your success means we succeed, too. 

Sources:
http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/01/15/health-online-2013/

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