More people now turn to search engines to find all kinds of information.
Google alone processes billions of search queries on a daily basis. A good portion of those queries are searches with local intent such as the latest movie times or restaurants that are nearby. According to a survey on search behaviour, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information.
The data demonstrates the importance of local search.
If you are a healthcare provider and someone is typing in a search that is related to your specialty, you would want your practice to appear at the top of the results. Ranking at the bottom even on the first page is not enough.
Data shows that the top results attract a majority of all search clicks:
This is where search engine optimisation comes in.
SEO is the process of optimising a site to improve its visibility in the search engines for target keywords. The result is more targeted traffic to your practice. Compared to other marketing channels, SEO leads have a higher conversion rate at 14.6%. Investing in SEO is one of the best decisions you could make for your business.
Implementing the following SEO strategies will help your practice rank higher in the search results.
1. Target the Right Keywords
You need to target the right keywords or your campaign will fail to gain traction from the start.
Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that your target market would search for to find services that your practices offers. Collaborate with other members on your team to come up with a comprehensive list. You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to come up with additional ideas:
Ideally you want to target keywords that are not too competitive but have a decent amount of traffic.
A common mistake that many business owners make is going too broad. A keyword such as “physician” would be practically impossible to rank for without a sizable marketing budget. A better approach is to target long tail keywords (e.g. “pediatric physician in Perth”) as these are much more targeted and easier to rank for.
2. Optimise On-Page Factors
Now that you have done some basic keyword research, the next step is to optimise your content. Google looks at various factors to determine rankings. One of the most important is how relevant and targeted your pages are. Work through each of your pages and optimise the following factors:
- Titles: Include your target keywords here as well as the city where your practice resides in. Keep your titles under 70 character as Google automatically truncates titles that are too long. Make your titles enticing to increase click through rates.
- Meta descriptions: These are short snippets of text that tell visitors what the page is about. Include your target keywords here and include a call to action to get more users to click through.
- Headers: Header tags help search engines better understand what a page is about. They also break up large blocks of text and improve readability.
- Body: Be sure to include your target keywords and related phrases several times throughout the content. But be careful not to spam your content as doing so will only result in a ranking penalty for your site.
Here is an example of a perfectly optimised page:
Optimise all on-page factors of your site to improve the visibility of your content in the search results.
3. Build Quality Links
Links are still important in terms of rankings.
But you cannot simply build thousands of links to your pages and pray that your rankings will increase the next day. Such tactics used to work before but they are no longer effective now. Focus your efforts instead on quality links from sites that are relevant to the healthcare industry.
Here are some strategies to build quality links to your site:
- Local citations: A local citation is any mention of your business name, address, and phone number online. Google uses this information to assess the legitimacy of your practice and to ensure that the correct details are displayed in the search results. Get citations from sites and directories that are related to your practice.
- Guest post: One way to get powerful links is to guest post on other healthcare sites. This involves contacting other webmasters. In exchange for providing quality content you get a relevant link back to your site.
- Social media: Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent platforms to increase your reach. They are also good sources of links.
You need links to rank. But focus on quality and relevance as spamming links using automated tools will get your site penalised in the search results.
SEO is simply a must for healthcare providers. Follow these strategies as detailed above to rank your practice for target keywords and drive more referrals to your business.