Is Your Healthcare SEO Strategy on Track?

You've seen the spectacular domino exhibitions whereby thousands of tiles aligned perfectly topple flawlessly toward an endpoint of epic proportions. If not, here are some examples you're unlikely to forget.

Creating an SEO strategy to deliver successful outcomes for your Medical Practice is similar. In this piece, we examine aligning the myriad forces of the internet in your favor so that everything falls into place.

But First, the Basics

While industry-specific SEO strategies may differ, some basics apply across the board.

We won't spend too much time on these. Still, Mozlow's Hierarchy of SEO Needs infographic serves as a valuable, visual reminder of what every business should do to stand out online.

Take care of these items, and you've won half the battle.

A Healthy Web Presence Starts

There's one significant difference to SEO when it comes to healthcare, according to the Search Engine Journal blog post, Healthcare SEO Fundamentals to Grow Your Medical Practice, written by Kristopher Jones. And that's the fact that "Google takes a much more careful eye to healthcare content."

As such, you'll want to be extra judicious about who's creating and curating your site content since the stakes are high. The acronym EAT, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness applies here.

"EAT is of huge importance for any webpages containing medical information," writes Jones. "People visit and read your webpages because they want reasons to entrust their health to your practice."

In addition to the EAT principle, Jones outlines several top strategies you can use to position your site competitively, which are summarized here:

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Using an abundance of keywords or 'stuffing' your content with them won't do you any favors. This tactic is easily spotted and penalized by Google and should be avoided. Instead, Jones recommends using relevant long-tail keywords that flow naturally within copy.

Provide Multiple Content Pages

While keyword stuffing may result in penalties, Google rewards sites with several pages of high-quality content. The key here is providing quantity without sacrificing quality—a task best left in the hands of your top content providers. If you haven't any, consider outsourcing—it's worth the extra cost.

Leverage Quality Video

Video is one of the most effective ways to attract and engage visitors. Poor-quality videos, however, are just as effective at discouraging them. Whether it's a tour of your facility, a patient testimonial, or something else, don't skimp. Shoot with quality equipment or, better still, engage a resource that can produce your video content. It's money well spent.

Don't Forget Visual Aids

Infographics, charts, photos, and other visual aids will also help you engage and attract site visitors. Be sure to include descriptively accurate alt text so that Google crawlers and the visually impaired understand what's displayed.

Optimize for Mobile

Even the most engaging content can only compete if your website is optimized for mobile. A responsive site—one that adapts to the size of the device—is also critical. Don't repel potential visitors with a site that's impossible to navigate without a large screen and keyboard.

Prioritize Security

Google looks kindly on sites that are SSL protected. If not, your site will be penalized, which seems quaint compared to the consequences you might face if an unsecure site compromises sensitive patient data. Moreover, even the highest quality content can't overcome the downsides of poor site security.

Socialize Effectively

Although social media isn't a direct ranking factor for Google, content on your social pages will go a long way toward driving traffic and establishing a presence. Make sure your social platforms are current and engaging. As with web content, generating social posts that engage and drive traffic is a skill you may want to outsource to a pro.

Think Local

While the world may be within reach with an optimized site, your patients will likely hail from parts more familiar—most likely within your practice's footprint. Therefore, it's important to remember to keep your Google Business Profile current. Doing so will increase your chances of showing up in Google's local pack, a handful of similar businesses that appear above organic search results.

To this end, be sure your business category, primary phone number, business description, hours of operation, address or service area, and reviews are up to date. Local citations, online mentions of your business from directories, social profiles, blogs, media sites, and other sources should also be included.