Around 72 of internet users rely on online sources like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing when seeking out information about doctors, nurses, caregivers, dentists, and other healthcare professionals. They are looking at reviews, social media and the website of potential practices. In fact, if someone is looking for a new doctor, they are highly likely to just do a quick search online. But which clinic is the one most likely to show up in a search? That will depend on what work each one has put into their SEO, or search engine optimization.
SEO helps businesses stand out by making it easy for people to find them online. If, for example, you run a dental clinic and have done everything to optimize your SEO, your website will come out in one of the first options on Google every time someone searches for dental services in your area. As a result, more people will know about your clinic, and your website visitors will increase (The company I work for deals specifically in dental marketing SEO work, but the principles are the same regardless of your healthcare specialty).
Here are seven strategies that can bring in more potential patients to your website.
1. Determine your specific SEO goal and identify your target market.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my target market?
- What kind of information do I want my potential patients to find on my website?
Since your business is a healthcare organization, the people who will be visiting your site are those with specific healthcare needs. What you need to determine is the target market in terms of the specific services you offer. Let's go back to the dental clinic example. Take a look at what you offer. There are dental clinics that provide only basic services, and there are others that offer additional options, such as dental surgery and orthodontics. This information is important in knowing what your goal is.
Brainstorm what the most vital information your potential patients might need (or search for online) and ensure that these are indicated on your website. Some examples include types of services offered and their rates, clinic schedules, and contact details. Providing your patients with your details about your professional experiences is also essential.
Websites with relevant and well-written content always attract more visitors.
2. Do keyword research as regularly as possible.
Keywords figure significantly in SEO marketing. These words or phrases are what your patients often use when searching for information online. For example, if the above dental clinic offers orthodontics, potential patients are the ones who search for “dental braces services” or “dentist for braces.”
To ensure that you’re using the right keywords (i.e., competitive and popular), regularly perform keyword research. Some tools help you find out what the top keywords are for your niche, the ones your patients are using.
You can also do some research on your competitors’ top ranking keywords. There are free tools that you can use for this. With the right keywords, Google and other search engines will find your website easily.
3. Target the local population through local SEO.
It is important to connect with the local p
opulation. If your clinic is in Phoenix, Arizona, your patients will come from that area. You don't want people searching in New York to find your clinic. This is why your website’s local SEO is vital...it gets the RIGHT people to see your site.
In addition to your complete clinic name, your website should also indicate your name, full address, contact number, and business email. Putting a Google Map on the Contact Us page also helps.
If there are local listings and reviews in your area, sign up with them, and collect reviews from satisfied patients. Post this feedback on your clinic’s social media pages.
4. Use backlinks to help establish your website’s credibility.
Backlinks are links that come from trusted websites that point or link to a page or some pages of your site. It works the way recommendations do. When somebody finds a link on your page, they will immediately know that it is an authoritative website.
The secret to attracting valuable backlinks is relevant, well-written, engaging, credible, and detailed content.
5. Use On-page SEO.
On-page SEO involves structuring your website in a way that makes it look friendly to search engines and your visitors. It uses techniques such as content optimization, meta tags, image optimization, and title tags.
Meta descriptions help optimize your website’s pages. These descriptions are snippets made up of around 155 characters. They describe what the content is about. They come out on search engine results pages, especially when the description includes the word or phrase being searched. Meta descriptions that mention your brand name, include a call to action, and indicate your geographic location, are the ones that attract the most attention.
6. Off-page SEO is also essential.
Off-page SEO focuses on helping your website improve its search engine results page ranking. It uses tactics and strategies such as content marketing, link building, influencer outreach, and forums. The primary goal of off-page SEO is to ensure that search engines understand other sites’ perception of your website.
Here are some excellent examples of proper off-page SEO for your dental clinic website:
- Link building
- Online review sites
- A press release page on your website
7. Make sure your website is easy to use.
Make sure your website is designed for optimal user experience. There are factors to consider before you can say your site is easy to use:
- Users don’t have to ask for help to navigate through the website.
- It contains relevant, original, high-quality content.
- It is easy on the eyes and has a high readability level. The font style and size are comfortable for readers.
- It loads fast. Many visitors get turned off by websites that take time to load.
- It is responsive and mobile-ready so that users can conveniently access the site on their smartphones and tablets.
SEO is an important part of your digital strategy today. Dedicating a little bit of time each week to optimizing and improving your SEO will bring many benefits over time. If it is overwhelming, you may also want to consider hiring a local SEO specialist to help you get things going.
For more tips on getting new patients, be sure to check out "21 Practice Marketing Tips from Your Peers and Other Experts."