Medical SEO for Hospitals Explained
Healthcare is a highly competitive market. To thrive, hospitals need websites just as much as clinics and practice groups do. But how can you make your website stand out in this competitive industry? Here’s where medical SEO is crucial.
Medical search engine optimization (SEO) helps a medical website rank high on the search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. SEO waters two plants with one hose: it helps drive more website traffic and increases your hospital foot traffic.
Are you curious about how SEO can help your hospital? Read on to understand better how medical SEO can help your hospital.
What Is Medical SEO?
Medical SEO means optimizing specific elements on and off your website to help it rank on the SERPs. It helps spread awareness about your hospital services, enhancing brand recognition. The ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your website and your hospital.
How Does Medical SEO Work?
Google uses spiders or bots to crawl through millions of sites whenever there's a search query. If your medical website is optimized, Google bots can easily crawl and index it. The next time anyone searches for keywords you use on your pages, Google retrieves your pages fast and shows them in the SERP.
Optimizing your website is not a one-off activity. Google and other search engines regularly update their search algorithms. So to stay on top, you must adjust your website and strategies to keep up with those updates.
This helps search engines provide the best results to their users. So the more relevant your pages, the better you rank.
Other activities you need to optimize your site are the following:
- Target natural and relevant keywords
- Set up local listings
- Create an optimized URL for all your web pages
- Develop backlinks from authority websites
- Consistently create quality content
- Ensure optimized backend elements such as image tags and title tags
Benefits of Medical SEO
Medical SEO benefits business owners, partners, and medical professionals – and, critically, prospective patients. Here are the most important benefits to consider.
1. Put Your Web Pages on Top of SERPs
A well-optimized website will help Google understand your healthcare business, especially your primary services. Google will consider your services when ranking your site. If you effectively implement SEO, your pages will rank in search terms that your target audience uses to search for services like yours.
To rank higher in the SERPs, consider the following:
- Choose keywords relevant to your website
- Place your target keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and a couple of times across your article.
- Add visuals to your pages
- Claim and update your Google My Business profile
- Use conversational keyword phrases to appear in voice searches
- Target specific key phrases. Instead of "knee surgery," try optimizing for phrases like "knee surgery specialist near me" or "24-hour emergency care in San Diego."
2. Develop Industry Authority and Promote Trust
People looking for hospitals are more inclined to click top pages on the SERPs than bottom ones. They perceive websites with higher rankings as more reputable with the latest and the most helpful information to resolve their issues.
In addition, Google recognizes sites with valuable content and rewards them with a higher rank on SERPs. Sites optimized with consistent and well-written content help hospitals gain authority in the local industry and medical community.
3. Provide People with Relevant Information
People looking for answers regarding their health issues turn to the internet. The Mayo Clinic states that many relied on telehealth or e-health during the pandemic. Many continue to use this service to date.
Telehealth services provide updated health information and quick access to relevant topics. First aid, vaccine information, and COVID-19 data are just a few. Telehealth also gives patients virtual access to specialists, remote health monitoring, patient portals, and health apps.
With this high-quality and informative content, you’ll help more people whether they are looking for your services or not.
Top Medical SEO Strategies
If you’ve decided to use SEO, the following strategies could help you start.
1. Perform Keyword Research
The most important part of SEO is thorough keyword research. Use research tools like Google's Keyword Planner to find low competition keywords with a good amount of monthly search traffic.
Low-competition keywords mean fewer websites are targeting using them for ranking. These keywords are great for new websites yet to raise their domain authority.
Once your keyword list is complete, incorporate these into your web pages and blog posts. Place your primary keywords in titles, subtitles, URLs, graphics, and image descriptions.
2. Create Effective Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Your site metadata will help Google know what your page is about. The title tag, meta description, and page headers comprise your metadata.
The title tag is the page's title that appears as a label on that tab in your browser. It’s also the title that appears on the SERPs. For example, if you search for “hospital ICU,” you’ll get the top results from Wikipedia with a page title tag “Intensive care unit – Wikipedia.”
Create concise title tags no longer than 65 characters. Longer titles get trimmed in search results. Meanwhile, the meta description must be no longer than 150 characters. The meta description describes your page's content. It’s what appears beneath the title tag on the SERPs. The keywords in your meta description that match the search query appear in bold on the SERPs.
Meanwhile, headings help search engines understand the structure of your page. That means you must apply H-tags (e.g., H1, H2, H3) accordingly.
3. Publish Original Content
Creating original site content helps you stand out. Use relevant content your readers will appreciate. Such content includes videos, photos, infographics, interviews, medical research, etc. Ensure they are relevant to your hospital too. Such quality content adds value to your site and improves the user experience.
Also, consider the common questions your target audience asks. Use health trends as a guide to planning your content too. Create content about timely topics like "what are the symptoms of monkeypox?" or "Does my child need a flu vaccination?"
4. Consider Local SEO
Local SEO is a strategy to rank businesses and make them more visible in local SERPs. Hospitals need local SEO because they serve a specific geographical area. The method used in local SEO is similar to regular SEO. But its most crucial element is the use of Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Your hospital's GMB will increase your business and website exposure. It’s easier for your site to appear on Google Search and Google Maps. A hospital's GMB must include its name, address/location, phone number, website, number of beds, photos, reviews, and directions.
Update your GMB profile as necessary. When creating your description, use your target keywords. Respond to and manage customer reviews, especially negative reviews. Use unique attributes, a new feature that showcases your special healthcare facilities or qualities like telemedicine services, women-led business, etc.
Medical SEO can help hospitals reach their target clients and patients. With a well-developed SEO strategy, hospital web pages will be seen on top of SERPs because they rank for important healthcare keywords. SEO promotes authority and trust, qualities patients look for when making crucial health decisions.
Finally, an optimized website helps people get relevant information about their health and medical concerns. Use the latest medical SEO strategies to ensure your site optimization campaigns succeed. If you would like help to create a successful SEO strategy or need a reliable partner to keep you up-to-date with the latest SEO trends, Digital Authority Partners could be the right company to work with you on any aspect of SEO, web development, or other aspects of online presence. Contact us today!