Ajay Prasad is the CEO of GMR Web Team, a full-service healthcare digital marketing agency focused on patient acquisition and retention.
So, you have set up your medical practice and are exploring various ways to get more attention from prospective patients online. You can advertise on local news media, incorporate a pay-per-click campaign or rely on word-of-mouth referrals. But these approaches alone may not be enough to create sufficient brand awareness and provide a competitive edge in today’s digital age. In my experience working with medical practices, I’ve found that search engine optimization is the strategy to embrace to most efficiently boost online visibility and traffic for your website.
What Is SEO For Medical Practices?
SEO can push your healthcare business to the top of the search results on Google, Yahoo, Bing or similar search engines. However, the objective isn’t just to rank high on search engine results pages. You want your organically attained visibility to drive more high-quality traffic to your site. With quality website traffic, more of the patients who find your site through search engines will be genuinely interested in your healthcare services or information.
Why Is SEO Important For Medical Practices?
SEO is in perfect alignment with how many patients find their doctors or look up health information online these days. Without it, you’d be missing out on enormous opportunities to get patients who are searching for your services. This isn’t to say that referrals are obsolete, but patients now use online resources twice as much as they do referrals. To put your practice in front of these prospects, you need a high SERP ranking.
Top rankings are necessary because most search engine users only pay attention to the first few organic results on Google. In fact, the first five organic listings get about 68% of all the clicks.
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Key Benefits Of SEO For Your Healthcare Practice
• High-quality leads: SEO generates high-quality leads because it lets you target a specific bracket of patients interested in your health services. For example, when a user searches for “primary care near me” on Google, your relevant business pages can appear on the SERP if they’re properly optimized for this search phrase. So, the majority of patients who see your medical practice on SERPs most likely need your medical services. The probability of these prospects engaging and converting when they visit your clinic’s website is high.
• Brand awareness: Your practice’s website links won’t always get clicked each time they appear on the first page of the search engine results. However, consistently occupying any of the few top SERP spots is still beneficial as it helps boost brand awareness. Consistent exposure is what your practice needs to stay firmly ingrained in the minds of prospective patients.
• Long-term affordability: While paid advertising is an option for medical practitioners, it’s typically more expensive than SEO in the long run. You may initially incur some SEO costs to get meaningful organic traffic, but that’s just about it. Provided you’ve published highly optimized content, you can count on it to drive more organic traffic and keep yielding new patients for a long time. Since you’re not paying for every click, SEO is worth the investment even after considering costs for updating your medical content.
• Brand authority: SEO helps build brand authority — a vital success factor for healthcare businesses. It does this because Google is all about user experiences, and it takes note as more patients visit your site from relevant search results. With high patient engagement levels on your webpages, Google establishes that you’re a domain expert that provides meaningful healthcare products or services to your online visitors. This is how you build brand authority with SEO and earn the trust of prospective patients.
Grow Your Practice And Attract More Patients With SEO
Here are some SEO strategies that you can implement to start ranking higher:
• Publish meaningful content that answers prospective patients’ search engine queries.
• Publish keyword-optimized content to ensure that your website and services rank for target patients’ search intent.
• Optimize your content and your site for local search because most patients seek medical help at facilities near where they live.
• Build high-quality backlinks to boost your SERP rankings and increase organic traffic to your website.
An effective SEO strategy for medical practices entails publishing relevant, keyword-optimized content on your standard webpages, blogs and landing pages. Ask yourself, “What phrases would a patient search for on Google when looking for services like mine?” By getting your strategy right, you can increase your practice’s online visibility and website engagement, helping you bring in more new patients.
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Author: Ajay Prasad, Forbes Councils Member