Everyone needs medical help at one point or another, whether they’re looking for a general physician, a specialist, or hospital care. When people search for a medical practice or service one of the first places they go to is the internet.
The search result pages could show hundreds or even thousands of different websites. Most people won’t look past the first page of the results. This is why it is essential for any medical related website to nail their online marketing campaigns. Even more so since the August 2018 Google Medic Update which affected all website but especially medical websites.
Below are some actionable tips for medical websites to increase your ranking in search results.
1. Google My Business
Google My Business, or GMB, is a free tool that helps your website to manage your presence in the search results and on Google Maps. Your listing provides potential customers with information about your business such as name, where you’re located, your phone number, your business hours, and the services you provide.
Another huge component of Google My Business is the review system. People can leave reviews about your business which are highly visible. These reviews also play a significant role as a local ranking factor in what’s called the local 3-pack. Those are the three results you see near the top of the search results for local businesses.
Ensure you have completely and properly listed your website in Google My Business. This is a great way to drive additional traffic to your website.
2. Name, Address, and Phone
Google isn’t the only place for marketing your medical website. You may be listed on sites such as Yelp, Bing, or Foursquare. Make sure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information is listed consistently across every website you’re listed on.
Consistency is essential to the Google search algorithm. Inconsistencies can harm your ability to rank well especially in the local 3-pack. You can find a list of the major business listings your website should be listed and start with that.
3. Perform Keyword Research
Keywords are the words that people type in when they’re looking for information on a search engine. You’ll want to do some digging into the keywords that people are looking for that are related to your practice.
While some keywords might be pretty obvious, there are some that may come as a surprise. Use these keywords across your site. You’ll also want to make sure that you optimize them for your specific location, which will help to reduce competition in the search results page.
Make sure that you use keywords naturally rather than trying to force them in. It’s also important that you avoid keyword stuffing. Implementing the right keywords in the right manner can make a huge difference in where you rank.
4. Give Attention to Meta Data
One of the crucial components of SEO that often gets overlooked is metadata. This data includes title tags and meta descriptions. Title tags are the titles of your page. Titles should be no more than 65 characters and include at least one keyword.
Your meta description appears below the title tag on the search results page and provides some information about what the page is about. This description should be no longer than 160 characters and should also include at least one keyword.
Not only are title tags and metadata important for website visitors, but they’re also important for the search engine bots that crawl your medical site so that they can better understand the information on your web pages. Plus, these two are hugely important factors for click-through rates.
5. Content is Key
You’ll want to create content and not just any old content, though. You’ll want to create unique, original content that provides your visitors with relevant, valuable information. This is a major part of content marketing, a strategy that focuses on stimulating interest rather than explicitly promoting a brand through content creation.
You’ll want to put out content consistently. This may involve creating blog posts around important keywords and may include topics such as advice for individuals with certain medical conditions, spotting early warning signs for different medical issues, information about new medications, and advice for healthier living.
When it comes to medical advice, Google wants to see that you have the expertise to back up the content. Many medical websites are now looking to medical doctors to help write their content. This provides an excellent amount of trust for the readers.
6. Include a Site Map
Sitemaps are often overlooked. While visitors might not use them very often, they’re beneficial for search engine bots to more easily index your site. It essentially acts as a roadmap for the bots to follow to understand how your website is set up. For visitors who do use the site map, it can help them to easily locate the information they’re looking for.
7. Gain Quality Backlinks
Backlinks can be incredibly helpful for higher rankings. What you want are quality backlinks. Search engine algorithms are more sophisticated than they used to be, and they can easily detect spammy backlinks or backlinks from untrustworthy sites. These types of backlinks can seriously harm your medical site when it comes to ranking.
It’s a great idea to seek out relevant medical publications and blogs that have some Google traffic. A good way to tell is to check on their social media following and to uses tools like Ahrefs which will provide Google traffic estimates.
8. Optimize for Mobile
More and more people are doing their searches from a mobile device such as a smartphone. If a person has a medical emergency while they’re away from home, they’re going to want to find a reputable medical practice right away.
Making sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices is one of the key things that Google and other search engines take into consideration when ranking results. You can run a test using Google’s speed insights. The report provided will give you a road map to speeding up your website.
9. Online Tools
There are many useful online tools to help with your marketing efforts. Everything from content creation to collaboration and time management. Using tools will help speed up the process and make some of the task easier. You can find a list of free tools that freelancers use here.
There are some good paid online tools as well. Some of the more popular ones are SEMRush, Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, Yext, and BrighLocal.
A good SEO strategy can help to boost your ranking, but you’ll have to be patient. You may not see instant results. To make sure that your strategy is working, it’s essential that you track the results of any tactic you implement. With the right approach, you’ll reach the top of the search results page and see an increase in website visitors.
About The Author:
Stuart McHenry is the President of McKremie.com and has worked in the SEO industry since 2003. He writes about SEO, link building, and reputation issues.