Today we’re featuring a great guest post from Digital Media for Doctors covering some very useful tactics that every business, not just doctors, should utilize! Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
As a busy physician, you may be wondering why you should take the time to learn about SEO for doctors. The truth is that this information could be vital for preserving the health of your practice. Even if you hire a consulting firm to handle your web presence, you still need to understand the basics so you know your business is being well-served. Here’s a quick look at 3 critical features of good SEO:
Good Healthcare SEO Is Local SEO
Unless you are encouraging medical tourism, you want to focus on targeting patients who are in your local area. Sure, it’s nice to be a specialist that people travel halfway around the globe to see. But for most physicians, the “bread and butter” of their business is much closer to home. You may already know that terms like, “Rheumatology specialist Salt Lake City” are more valuable to you than simply “arthritis”. But geo-specific optimization is about much more than peppering the text on your website with the name of your city or region.
A significant portion of local optimization is created behind the scenes in the “meta” information hidden throughout your website. For example, if you include a GPS Tag in your meta-data, your practice is more likely to show up in the ‘local business results’ map in a Google search. Not all physicians know to compete for these spots – especially if they aren’t used to thinking of their practice as a traditional business. So, you could really make some headway on a tight budget with the right optimization strategy.
Is a Blog Really Necessary for Good SEO?
This is kind of like a patient asking, “Is exercise really necessary for my health?” Certainly, you can stay alive for quite a long time without a regular fitness routine. But you’re not going to win any races. Make no mistake: SEO is a triathlon that requires a diligent, multi-pronged approach for success. Search engines are demanding more and more fresh content all the time. Plus, there are new keywords coming into play every month.
This is especially true in medicine. For example, plastic surgery procedures get renamed frequently in an effort to make them appear new and sexy. You don’t want all your web content to refer to “autologous fat transfer” when patients really want to know about the “stem cell facelift”. Blogging gives you a fantastic way to have your name associated with the latest trend without having to rewrite your website. If you time it right, you might even have a blog article that “goes viral” and nets you a lot of inbound links for your targeted keywords.
Medical SEO Goes Social
Social signals are the new game in town for healthcare marketing. Search engines now place a very high value on content that gets linked to, shared, talked about, commented on, retweeted, liked, +1’d, etc. Any time a user takes an action on a social media platform in relation to your content, this helps you get closer to the top of search results. This makes it more likely that patients will find you when they start looking for a doctor in their area.
But can you really make yourself heard among all the voices shouting back and forth on popular social media platforms? Your chances are probably better than you think. Most doctors are now active on FaceBook. But as of the QuantiaMD survey published in September 2011, only 20% physicians were considered “connected clinicians” who effectively used two or more social media sites for personal and professional purposes. That percentage has doubtless risen over the last year and a half. But doctors are still lagging behind many other industries in effective use of the top social media platforms to drive web traffic. Take advantage of this head start! Begin by creating keyword optimized profiles on each social media site to “claim your name”. From there, you can begin branding your practice with surgical precision with each social interaction.
Image credit: viterahealthcare.wordpress.com