You have a practice that you’re proud of and a team you feel confident in, and now you want to gain the attention of more patients to help grow your business.
Having loyal patients—maybe even some for decades—is a great indicator of your success. But to find new patients, you must think like a patient.
So, if you are a patient looking for a practitioner or particular service, what would you do? You might ask trusted friends or family for recommendations, but your first step is to probably enter your search into Google.
This is the same for most people—according to a survey conducted by doctor.com, 80 percent of respondents used the internet to make a healthcare-related search in 2018. So, in order to be found by these care-seeking patients, you must have an easy-to-find website.
We’ve talked about websites before (It’s Time to Refresh Your Healthcare Website), but this time we’re going to take a deeper dive into one of the most important parts of your site—its search engine optimization (SEO).
You may think you know the basics about SEO (it’s all about keywords, right?), but there is a lot more to unpack when it comes to optimizing your website.
Let’s get right to it.
SEO is driven by keywords. But the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to hire an SEO specialist or buy fancy software in order to integrate keywords into your site content (but you can, of course).
Think about what a patient is likely to search when they are looking for a service you provide. It might be the name of a specialty or treatment (think about the different variations of these), or could be rooted in location. Because of this, it’s important to include these words both within the body of your website and the page titles.
Also, don’t forget to include your branded practice name! Some people may head to the web looking for your practice specifically, so make sure that your website pops right up for them.
2. Valuable Content
You might be thinking, “Keywords, check,” but not so fast! It’s not enough to just pepper in some search terms, names, and locations throughout your site and call it a day. Actually, Google tends to knock down the rankings of sites that seem to be going on a keyword tear.
Instead, you need to put a bit more thought into how you introduce these words into the content on your site.
Search engines favor sites that offer original, valuable content that is beneficial to users—this can be in the form of blogs (like this one), case studies, or research findings.
This is a good area to get your entire staff involved to think about the type of content that might be of value to your target audience, and then work backwards to develop original content around those ideas.
3. Simple Navigation
Not only is easy-to-follow navigation a must for a positive user experience, but it can help a lot with SEO, too.
If a person is looking for a specific piece of information, they want to click directly to the page where they can find it. If they are instead brought to a website where they have to continue to dig, they will most certainly abandon their search efforts and go elsewhere.
By having your website pages neatly organized and titled appropriately (again, thinking about what patients are most likely to search), you can make desired information quick and easy to find.
Think service lines, practitioner and staff details, necessary forms, blog, location, and contact pages.
Keeping things clean, uncomplicated, and logical when it comes to the hierarchy and placement of your important content will not only help your potential patients, but will also help your search engine placement.
4. Local Search Listing
For things like healthcare, restaurants, and retail, people tend to focus on location. After all, if you need medical attention or a wellness service, you typically don’t want to stray far from home.
To help optimize your practice right within your community, it can be a good idea to enlist the help of a listing service. There are different tools that offer this (Google My Business being one of them—and free!), so we suggest doing a little research into the one that could work best for you and your needs.
Even if you’ve already accomplished all of the above, there are still some additional steps you can take to better optimize your healthcare website.
Having that valuable written content we talked about is great, but did you know that videos can help, too? In fact, 87% of online marketers use video content.
Videos make it easier for users to gather and retain information, plus can add a human element to your website.
Though video shooting and production takes time and money, we suggest thinking about the kinds of videos you could integrate into your website (keep them short!) to showcase your team, services, or patient satisfaction.
People love reviews. And guess what? So does Google! Integrating honest ratings, reviews, or testimonials into your website is a great way to get in good with Google search rankings, plus come off as the trusted healthcare partner you are to potential or future patients.
Sending out a survey after appointments is an easy and effective way to solicit reviews, so we recommend checking out one of our recent articles—How to Create the Perfect Patient Survey—for help.
Having important intake forms accessible on your site is another great way to make patient’s lives (and yours) easier.
IntakeQ can help you with any and all of this—from creating new forms, to transferring your existing forms into digital versions, to assuring the accurate and secure gathering of patient information.
Not only does this have a positive impact on the patient’s experience (this means less time in the waiting room at your office, after all), but it also adds value to your website, which—ding, ding—helps with your search engine optimization.
Aside from these areas that you can largely control yourself, there are definitely some things that fall onto the shoulders of a developer to handle.
First of all, it’s absolutely critical that your website be mobile-friendly. Not only are we all searching and scrolling from our handheld devices all day long, but in some cases a smartphone may be a person or family’s only access to the internet.
Whether a user is clicking to your site from a desktop or phone, the majority (53 percent) aren’t going to wait more than three seconds for your page to load before they get frustrated and exit out of your website.
Since page loading has more to do with clean coding and using a caching plug-in, you may want to leave that step to the experts.
Aside from the six steps above, think of other avenues you can take to draw traffic to your website. Though good SEO is certainly the main attraction here, there are additional ways to grab the attention of patients.
Take advantage of other branches of marketing—social media, email, public relations, and maybe even a print campaign—and be sure to always include a call to action and your web address.
This way, you have more eyeballs on your practice’s brand, and the brains behind those eyeballs know exactly where to go for more information.
In the end, it’s all about awareness!