Upgrade Your Website (and Medical Practice) with Killer SEO
Content (and confidentiality) is king
In the information age medical advice is just a click away, and now you have more reasons than ever to make sure that you have a compelling and searchable online presence. You instinctively know the value of promotion to grow your practice, but when it comes to digital marketing, most doctors are only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible. Where should you focus your efforts? What’s the best use of your resources? Where do you even start?
Current and potential patients rely heavily on the internet for their medical knowledge and have done so as far back as 2002. They aren’t just seeking out medical providers, they covet diagnoses for specific conditions and advice on treatments. Eighty percent of respondents to a 2018 Doctors.com survey have searched online for medical advice last year. And it’s not just millennials taking the digital road to health – 76 percent of those curious Googlers are over the age of sixty.
A comprehensive SEO strategy ensures that Google and other search engines will be close allies in bringing these users to your practice.
When people search for a medical professional, they’re not looking to compare doctors across the globe. They want someone in their town or as close as possible. Even though Google’s rankings are qualitative in nature, they will show local results to people looking for professionals in their area.
Take steps to make sure patients can find you in as few keystrokes and clicks as possible:
- Feature your street address clearly on every page in your website footer.
- Include the name of your city or town in your page copy when appropriate (“We are Portsmouth’s premier integrative health clinic.”)
- Create content that is relevant to your community. Blog about local health issues or tackle medical topics in the news with your own personal spin.
Level up your website
As a physician, trust is your most coveted currency to maintain a steady client base. And no matter how compelling your content or patient testimonials are if your website lacks a polished, modern feel, people won’t trust it.
Your site is a digital version of your real-world practice. It needs to have the same care applied to it as you would to your waiting area or treatment rooms. It should be intuitive to navigate from one section to another and have easy to find contact information from any page. Colors and images should be warm and welcoming. Think through what goals your potential patients will have when they visit – pay a bill, schedule an appointment, fill out a form – and organize your content to make their path to those goals as short as possible.
Before you begin to renovate your digital home, look at what your colleagues and competitors are doing online. Brainstorm how you can differentiate yourself and make that the focal point of your site.
The good news is that it’s easier than ever to create a smooth, exciting, mobile-friendly website with the many platforms that let you just plug in your content without any required coding or design knowledge.
One of the easiest ways to build trust is to show your expertise on a given topic and to be accessible to those wanting to know more. Even if they don’t become a patient now, you will become their go-to source when they do need an in-person experience. A blog is an ideal tool to establish this body of knowledge. High-quality posts that are created regularly improve rank and bring you higher in the search results.
Reviews are another necessary tool to generate trust. Nearly three-quarters of potential patients start with reviews when choosing a doctor – with portals like ZocDoc and WebMD being particularly popular – and half would choose a physician outside of their insurance network if he or she had rave write-ups.
Don’t forget about HIPAA
One of the most compelling tools at your disposal when putting together your site content is patient testimonials. Just be sure to follow a few key points in order to maintain HIPAA compliance:
- Speak in the second person. This very simple step removes the personal content from the testimonial and broadens it out to something that feels relevant to a wider audience, while also leaving out any details that could be attached to the patient.
- Turn fact into fiction. Boil down the story to its essence and then change the details so they no longer resemble the original patient. A little creativity goes a long way towards making a HIPAA-friendly testimonial.
- Combine and simplify. There are likely many examples of a particular narrative that would appeal to your reader – i.e., multiple patients who struggle with the same diagnosis. Merge them into a single story that has a more universal appeal and wipes clean any chance of identity being exposed.
Consider a partner
Although the process can seem daunting, creating a user-friendly website is easily achieved with a little time, patience, and perhaps a partner who can help create the content that brings your SEO rankings to historic new highs.