Providing high quality care is always priority number one for medical practitioners, but it proves difficult to treat patients if you do not have an online presence that brings them through your door. Constructing a sound digital marketing strategy for your practice will make it easier for patients to find you and increase the probability that they will like what they see.
If your practice has a physical location, you do not just want to be broadly visible online, but rather, you want a steady stream of traffic coming specifically from your geographic area. DrChrono partner PatientPop recently deployed their head of content strategy, Norm Schrager, and director of content and communications, Alyssa Graetz, to host a webinar explaining how to improve visibility locally for your medical practice and why that is essential in the modern landscape.
Importance of Local Search Optimization
“When it comes to finding a business, all search is local,” said Schrager. If someone in Indiana is looking for a physical therapist to help with their back pain, why would they want to see results for a practitioner in Kentucky? Likewise, it probably does little good for that clinic in Kentucky to be seen in searches from Indiana. Luckily, Google understands this and will deliver results in the immediate geographic area for these kinds of queries.
Ensuring your practice’s website is optimized for search involves understanding how patients interact with search engines. There are two main kinds of queries: branded and discovery queries. A branded query takes place when the patient already knows the name of a practice, but they want more information, such as an address or hours.
A discovery query is a broader search for terms such as, “chiropractors near me.” In fact, this kind of search, according to Schrager, has experienced a 900% increase on Google. Ideally, your site should rank highly for either kind of search. There are two main methods to improve your website’s search performance.
“Offer information that’s going to answer questions or align with queries your patients are likely to have. That makes it more likely for your type of patients to find you because you’re answering their questions, and you are using terms and phrases that they would use when asking questions,” said Schrager.
Basic Elements to Boost Search Rankings
On top of aligning your content with how your patients would be most likely to search, there are three tactics to employ to boost your search rankings. Graetz points out that the first of these to consider is highlighting what makes your practice stand out.
“If you’re offering a service or procedure that other practices in your area don’t offer immediately, that’s information that will really stand out compared to other websites,” said Graetz. Overall, you want to make sure that your site also includes more search keywords and relevant content than other competing medical practices in your specialty.
Next, try to make sure your practice is getting mentioned and linked to by other practices and outlets online. This is a great way to build a better reputation in your community as a medical practitioner.
“This can really help improve your search rankings, because others are essentially telling the search engines that you have authority in your area,” said Graetz.
Finally, it is important to have a verified Google business profile with a large quantity of quality patient reviews, pictures of your practice and other such pieces of content that highlight how great your practice is.
Optimizing Your Practice Website
Beyond these elements that describe your practice, your website also needs four key characteristics to be properly optimized for search engines. First, the website should be mobile friendly. This means that it will be responsive to the size of the device the site appears on, so that it looks as clean and functional on a mobile device as it does on desktop.
“A good mobile experience is more important than ever with Google, because they’ve specifically been indexing mobile pages when they see a search is happening on a smartphone,” said Schrager.
After a patient has clicked into your website, it should load quickly for them. If your site takes even just five seconds to load, there is a 90% chance that a patient will leave. This website also must be built to be findable which means that it was developed to be found, crawled and indexed by search engines.
Finally, create clear calls to action on your site. In the case of medical websites, the most common CTA is to schedule an appointment. This is how you convert a click into a customer.
Five Website Content Needs
After your site has been built for the best user experience, it’s time to populate it with the content that patients are searching for. The first must-have here is an About Us page. This is the perfect place to tell your practice’s story, explain services at a high level and include more relevant keywords about those services.
A Contact Us page is an obvious but essential part of every medical practice’s website. That is how your patients will get in touch and book your medical services. Try to include multiple methods of contact like calling, texting or email.
Also try to have a People page on your website. Include pictures and bios of your staff to make your practice more personable. The most important of these five webpages is the Services section. There should be one page per service offered at your practice.
“That might sound like overkill if you’re not familiar with web development, but this gives you an opportunity to talk at length about each service and naturally use keywords that are going to attract patients who are interested in that kind of service,” said Schrager.
“It also gives you more pages on your site for Google to understand and search and index, and it shows that you’ve got some authority in what you’re talking about.”
Lastly, make sure to include patient testimonials on your website. This will show potential patients that they can trust you to offer a high quality of care.
Though it would be ideal if the care you give simply spoke for itself, having a strong online presence is one of the best ways to improve your patient volume. It will make it easier to find your practice, and sometimes that can be half the battle. These tips will set your practice on the right track, but if you want to learn more, make sure to check out the full webinar.