Build the Perfect Medical SEO Strategy
Your medical practice has a lot to offer your community, and you want people to find your medical office. Today, most people turn to search engines to find a healthcare practitioner. That means unless you're ranking on the search engines, very few people will find you.
Fortunately, specific medical SEO techniques can increase the likelihood of your site ranking. But if you fail to get these SEO basics right, such as on-page SEO, your site will languish at the bottom.
By adhering to SEO best practices, your medical practice website will have what it takes to rise to the top. Once you have built a solid foundation, you can move on to link building and digital advertising.
Watch this video to learn more about the Digital Authority Partners approach to Medical SEO!
What Are SEO Best Practices?
The fact is, most people never go beyond the first page of search results. You can increase your chances of making it to the first page by following SEO best practices.
SEO best practices make it easier for search engines to crawl, index, and interpret your website's content. Moreover, your content will align with search intent. That means, your keywords and content match what people are searching for.
If you are a podiatrist in Denver, you want the search engines to clearly know that, so they can serve up your website when someone searches “Denver podiatrist.” You can fine-tune that by also creating pages of the conditions you treat, such as diabetic foot, Morton's neuroma, and arthritic feet. But make sure your location is featured on each page.
Below are the four common types of search intent:
- Informational: Someone is looking for specific information, perhaps because of symptoms they are experiencing, such as “throbbing feet.” Or, it could be a specific illness. By creating posts dedicated to the conditions you treat, you can respond to this type of search.
- Navigational: Sometimes, people are looking for a specific web page. This could include a website's FAQ or contact page.
- Commercial: People also search for specific products and services. For example, someone with plantar fasciitis might search for “orthopedic shoes.”
- Transactional: If the person has already decided to buy a certain product, they might search for something like “orthotic comfort shoes near me.”
Whenever you create a blog post or a webpage, keep the search intent in mind. If you are a podiatrist who also sells orthopedic shoes, include commercial and transactional keywords on that page. Create posts and pages for the conditions you treat, including common symptoms. The goal is to satisfy the search queries with content that engages the user while also highlighting your expertise and services.
Write Persuasive Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Your titles and meta descriptions are two of the most important things on your web pages. Titles quickly give users an idea of what the page is about and why it’s relevant to their search. In fact, it's often the main reason why people decide to click on it.
Search engines such as Google usually only display the first 50-60 letters of a title. That's why you need to learn how to write concise, yet compelling titles that include your target keywords. The title should also match the search intent. This is a real art form, and you may want to have a medical SEO expert fine-tune your content.
After the title, the meta description is the second most important element on a page. The meta description is a very short summary of what the page is about. While the meta description doesn't directly influence the search ranking, it can influence whether someone clicks.
Typically, search engines like Google shorten the meta description to 155–160 characters. So, write a compelling and accurate description in 160 characters or less. Once again, a medical SEO specialist can help to do this.
Optimizing Your Photos
Search engines also gauge a website's loading time, and your photos can slow that down. By reducing the pixels in your images, they will load faster.
Images can play a critical role in medical practice, such as before and after pictures. Some websites can optimize your photos for you, such as TinyPNG, or you can leave that job to your medical SEO specialist.
You'll also need to add alt-image text to your images. This is a short description of the photo, and ideally, it should contain a keyword. However, don't “stuff” keywords.
Further Optimizing Your Page Speed
Optimizing photos is not hard, but other ways to increase page speed require more in-depth, backend knowledge of website design.
- Browser caching
- Deleting unnecessary plugins
- Reducing server response time
- Minimizing the number of redirects
Once again, you might need someone adept at technical SEO to help you do this. A technical SEO expert will evaluate your website and find out exactly what is slowing it down.
Building an Internal Link Structure
Search engines use your internal links to gain a deeper understanding of what your website is about. The fact is, your internal links can work to boost your search engine rankings.
One SEO best practice is to add links from your top-ranking pages to pages that need a boost with the search engines. But it's best to have a medical SEO expert run an internal link audit to identify any problems with your website’s internal linking.
Make Your URLs SEO-Friendly
You want your URLs to be short, concise, and readable. Ideally, your URLs should contain the page's target keywords.
Useful Content and User Experience
Most of all, you want to write great content that prospective patients find useful. This not only helps them but also establishes you as an expert in your field. People want to feel confident that the doctor they visit is knowledgeable and competent.
While you are sharing your knowledge and expertise, you'll also want to keep your target keywords and phrases in mind. Above all, your content needs to address the prospective patient's questions and concerns.
While writing content, use subheadings that contain your keywords and phrases. This not only helps the search engines to understand your content but also breaks it down so it's easier to read. Also, keep your sentences and paragraphs short and leave plenty of white space.
Use photos and images. These can help visually-oriented people understand your content better. In addition to photos, use graphs and charts.
Avoid using popups. Popups are not just annoying and detract from your credibility, they are also bad for medical SEO.
Finally, make your website and content mobile-friendly. For one thing, Google utilizes mobile-first indexing. Second, many of your prospective patients will find your site from their smartphones. Make sure everything is readable and easy to navigate on mobile.
Get Authoritative Backlinks
This is the hardest part of the entire process. Search engines consider backlinks from authoritative websites to be a vote of confidence from trusted websites. Finding and convincing authoritative websites to backlink to your pages is not easy.
While some backlinks can seriously boost your search engine rankings, others can destroy them. Buying backlinks from “link farms” could lead Google to penalize you. Building high-quality backlinks for your target keywords is often best left to a medical SEO expert. They'll have the connections needed to get your website authoritative backlinks.
Following SEO best practices can help you to achieve better search rankings. However, the competition for the first page of Google is insane. Moreover, medical SEO trends are constantly changing.
You need to spend time with your patients and honing your skills as a healthcare professional. It's OK to hire a digital marketing agency adept at medical SEO to help you. Once your website is optimized, you should begin to see positive results and an increase in new patients.
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