A hospital or clinic website is one of the most effective ways to communicate with your patients. However, getting into the top 10 search engines is virtually only possible with proper SEO promotion.
In healthcare marketing, SEO is the process of online presence optimization for this or that medical facility, which is crucial to overall success.
Features of Healthcare Marketing
In the healthcare industry, a high-quality website helps to successfully inform your patients and communicate with them. For the promotion of the resource, you need to consider all the peculiarities of the medical business:
- Understand that your patient is not a buyer. People tend to be much more careful when deciding on a clinic or a particular specialist compared to purchasing certain products or resorting to certain services;
- The psychological comfort of your patients is essential. Think of your patients as children who need help, and you are the only one who can help them. Thus, you should do everything you can to find the right solution. For example, proper communication will help them receive quality medical care as soon as possible.
Key marketing techniques for the healthcare field are as follows:
- Building a powerful and user-friendly website;
- Comprehensive patient engagement through relevant advertising;
- Building engaging relationships via personalization and provision of timely information;
- Patient retention, increasing patient loyalty, and providing a seamless digital patient experience;
- Using advanced analytics tools to secure your budget and email marketing for powerful and consistent connections with your patients;
- Creating a positive reputation in the professional community.
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It’s also essential to communicate with your patients through the most convenient channels and use proper digital resources to boost your website’s SEO. Apart from the website, you can also utilize social networks and messengers.
Also, bots are commonly used to collect customer data as well as provide better customer support. They are hyper-popular nowadays in virtually all business spheres. Even traders sometimes use a crypto bot to keep abreast of market fluctuations. So you can find a use for a bot in healthcare as well.
Healthcare SEO Tools and Strategies
Medical website promotion is subject to special rules and regulations. Thus, in this case, complex ranking algorithms are applied.
Since 2018, Google categorizes all websites of medical institutions as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites. Such websites or single web pages usually sell products or provide services and information that can influence users’ happiness, financial stability, health, or safety.
Google also uses E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) factors to evaluate the overall quality of a website. This is how the search engine understands how much trust it should place in a website to provide accurate, truthful, and useful information to searchers. Each of the factors is used by search engines in the evaluation of website content:
- The level of competence of the author(s) of the main content on the website);
- Authoritativeness of the author of the main content. Plus, the authoritativeness of the content itself and the website;
- The content of the website should only contain reliable information.
Each of these criteria affects the evaluation of the website, and therefore, a place in the search engine ranking.
The structure of a healthcare website must meet strict criteria, i.e. a large number of web pages, functionality, information value, and an intuitive interface. A successful ranking, which considers E-A-T factors, implies the use of web pages for specific information as follows:
- “About Us” page. The page should contain detailed information for visitors about who exactly is responsible for the reliability of the information posted on the site and authorization documents;
- Specialist card/profile. Meaning an account of this or that specialist on the website, which should include the following information: education, experience in the medical field, diplomas and certificates of advanced training, proof of expertise, social network accounts, ranking, and patient reviews;
- Service page. The page must include the description of the service, its cost, the address of service provision, contact information of specialists who will provide the service, and an appointment form;
- Product or medication page with detailed descriptions. The page must contain up-to-date information on a certain item/product. Part of the information may be provided as images, infographics, tables, or diagrams.
A page with patient feedback in the main menu of your website is also a must-have.
Website speed is one of the most important requirements for the successful promotion of the website because, well, nobody likes to wait long. In other words, a fast website keeps users happy. The optimal page load time is up to 3 seconds.
Slow pay load times increase your website’s bounce rate. Moreover, even a 2-second delay will dramatically increase checkout abandons (up to 87%). As a result, your website’s traffic will drop, as will its rankings in SERPs.
Adaptive & Responsive Design
The adaptability and responsiveness of any website are incredibly important – your website performance should be seamless on any PC, smartphone, laptop, or any other device. Therefore, when scaling, the content of your web pages should dynamically adjust to the size of the screen.
Websites with adaptive and responsive web design help users quickly find the information they need, e.g. an appointment schedule or a form.
Meta keywords are specific types of meta tags that you can use to give search engines more information about a page’s content. They are not visible to visitors of the site – they are located in the HTML code of your web pages and designed for search engines. It’s with their help that SEO promotion of the website can be really successful. The semantic core is made up of meta-keywords that are relevant to a particular web page.
With the help of this attribute, search engines get information about the content of the website and therefore, are able to correctly determine the subject of the resource.
The ALT tag is designed specifically for images. In fact, this tag contains the alternative text for an image or a visual on a web page. In other words, it’s one of the fields that can be filled out in your HTML code and enables you to add a description of the image or video if it’s not properly displayed on the screen. This attribute has two key functions: improved website ranking in search engines and a text description for users.
The optimal size of the ALT tag is up to 4 words, a maximum of 250 characters with spaces. It’s desirable to use keywords from the H1 header or heading if they fit the meaning of the image. In this case, there should not be too many keys. Otherwise, Google will consider it spam, which leads to a decrease in the issuance of the entire page on which the image is placed.
H1 & H2 Tags
Search engines first “scan” the headers and headings to determine their content. Based on the information, the place of the web page is determined in search results. It’s important to observe not only the hierarchy of the tags but the logic of the information placement.
If your tags are not placed correctly, it’s difficult for search engines to get the right information about the content of the page. Thus, headers make the text easier to read and improve your website’s positioning in the rankings.
An anchor tag is a link to another location (can be a clickable button or piece of text) on the same page of the site, which allows you to jump to a specific part of the page without having to scroll through it. The text of the anchor tag must be consistent with the content of the link. The purpose of using anchor links is internal linking.
Anchor tags help users assess the content of the article in advance, and internal linking makes it more convenient to navigate.
However, these SEO tools should be used correctly, taking Google algorithms into account, as the search engine limits the number of anchor tags with commercial content (e.g. “cost”, “buy” and similar keywords).
Text formatting tools are not only a way to make your text easy to read. That said, bold or italics help search engines determine the relevance of your website’s content and highlight the most important information.
A properly designed sitemap is not only convenient navigation for your website visitors but also the information about the pages, videos, and other files available on your website, as well as the relationships between them.
There’s no need to add absolutely all pages to the sitemap file – this will not help search engines correctly index your website. Only pages with useful, engaging, and important information for visitors are relevant to search engines.
The essence of the external promotion of any website is to increase the number of external links to the resource being promoted. Thus, the number of keywords in the organic search is increased. The list of the most important factors for external promotion includes the following points:
- Links to your website from third-party resources;
- Textual references to the promoted site without linking to other resources;
- The number of likes and reposts on social networks.
Note that not only the quantity but also the quality of your links is important for link promotion. Their “weight” depends directly on the following factors:
- The subject matter of the links (that is, relevance in relation to the content of the page on which they are placed);
- The total number of internal and external links on the page;
- Publication of links on pages already indexed by search engines;
- The number of clicks on external links.
Of course, the content of the page, on which the link is placed, must be useful and unique.
Article promotion of a website is a relatively inexpensive, yet efficient method. In the healthcare medical resources, you can use two types of expert articles:
- Quality articles on external sites (quality content with organically inserted backlinks increases the citation index of your website. Articles can be placed on thematic resources or in article directories);
- Quality and unique articles with elements of content marketing (these are articles that are written specifically to improve the reputation of the brand. They are intended for placement on the blog of the medical institution or in social networks).
Note that, the content of your articles should not resemble extracts from a medical directory.
Blog articles with useful information are an additional way to increase organic traffic. To achieve this goal, the content must meet the following requirements:
- Your blog articles or reviews should be written by experts with a medical degree – this will increase your website’s credibility;
- Use topics that are different from those of your competitors;
- Your articles should contain links to authoritative studies and materials from other experts (if necessary);
- Make sure to update the article and specify the name of the author of the article, as well as the publication date.
Blog articles with relevant answers to medical facility patient requests can help position your website as useful as possible in search engines.
A press release is a way to increase the healthcare facility’s visibility as a brand. Its publication in reputable core publications provides information on important events that have taken place at a medical institution. It may be the launch of a new service or product or receiving an award.
Special healthcare directories with useful articles help people find the necessary information about the healthcare facility. Publishing in such directories increases the amount of organic traffic and improves the overall reputation of the medical facility.
Since search queries on medical topics are most often geo-dependent, it’s worth using when promoting a product/service in a specific city, considering your competitors’ location in the first place.
Promotion in Social Networks
The increase in organic traffic and successful ranking of your website in Google is the result of promotion on Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks. To get the expected result, it’s important to create and maintain accounts on several platforms.
The main stages of promoting a medical website on social networks are as follows:
- Determination of goals and objectives to attract patients to the medical facility or sell a service/product;
- Correct positioning in social networks (for example, if you have a private clinic, your FB group should not only provide information about specialists and services but also popularize the idea of staying healthy and early disease prevention);
- Content plan. Regularity is essential for different groups on social networks. 2-4 posts a day is enough).
It’s also desirable to alternate your promotional posts with important information and neutral content. The former type includes news, photo reports, and information about new services. Whereas, neutral posts include various tips, quotes, medical humor, and so on.
Positive patient reviews are one of the key ways to manage your online reputation. They can be used to accomplish several things at once as follows:
- Evidence of success. This is especially important for professionals working in a medical facility. Patients tend to write their reviews specifically about the work of a particular specialist or a particular service;
- Additional information for patients. E.g. overall quality of the service, convenience of location, and other crucial aspects;
- If people receive prompt answers to their questions, the number of subscribers and likes on social networks will be increased.
Analysis of such information helps timely detect shortcomings and, consequently, improve the quality of your service.
SEO promotion of a medical website has its own peculiarities. This is primarily due to the fact that Google imposes more stringent requirements for websites of socially relevant topics and categorizes them as YMYL websites, as information placed on such resources has an impact on human health.
To get a website in the top 10 search engine results, its content must be not just informative, engaging, and unique – search engines additionally evaluate page content by expertise, credibility, and authority.
Dmytro Sokhach is an entrepreneur and the 6-Figure Flipper Club member. Founded Admix Global (web agency) that builds websites, makes them profitable, and sells them as business