Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a fundamental pillar to any inbound marketing strategy, and if you are in the healthcare industry, it’s no different. Your SEO strategy determines where you sit on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It directly correlates to your findability, a critical component for healthcare practices.
SEO is a long-term play, a skill that requires consistent attention for continued growth. We’ve put together five tips for SEO best practices in the healthcare industry, helping you optimize your efforts and ultimately increase conversions.
What is SEO, and Why is it Important?
Marketers have thrown around the term SEO for years. Why? It’s a hyper-relevant practice that improves the quantity and quality of traffic to your website. It’s the art of persuading search engines like Google to recommend your content to users.
Google’s algorithm for SEO relies heavily on keywords or search queries among other things. The aim is to deliver the best results to the user based on what they’re searching for online. To do this, Google looks for the most helpful, relevant, and credible solution.
When a user searches for something online, they’re served several options. The top slots go to paid ads, while the organic results are all down to SEO. The first five organic results account for 67% of the clicks on Google, making it crucial to appear on that first page. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, meaning they’re more likely to convert to customers.
5 SEO Best Practices For The Healthcare Industry
1. Keyword Research
Today’s marketers build successful SEO strategies around white hat techniques. Gone are the days of stuffing keywords into your alt text (now known as the very frowned upon black hat SEO). Incorporate medical-based keyword research that prioritizes local search terms relevant to your city or state.
Use keyword research to unpack what your audience is searching for online and how many of them are looking for it, otherwise known as search volume. Start by making a list of important, relevant topics about your business. Identify the core topics you’d like to rank for and start populating them with phrases. Use this as an opportunity to brain dump what your users may be searching.
Cross-reference your key phrases with their search volume, finding the sweet spot for your SEO strategy. If the search volume is too high, it’ll be impossible to outrank your competitors. If it’s too low, your relevance suffers. Take a look at what your competitors are ranking for on Google to understand where you sit.
2. Update Your On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO means optimizing your website’s content and structure to appeal to both users and search engines. Many marketers think it’s about sprinkling a page with keywords, but it goes well beyond that. Think of your on-page SEO as the foundation for your overarching strategy.
Optimize your on-page SEO by doing the following:
- Update your header tags, editing the HTML to structure the site logically.
- Optimize internal links for crawlability.
- Add primary keywords to your anchor text.
- Update your link accessibility.
- Improve your redirects, ensuring URLs are correct.
- Optimize your images to improve your site speed.
- Fix broken links.
- Create a sitemap on your website to assist with indexing.
- Introduce Alt Text within images to boost accessibility.
- Ensure your formatting and readability are up to scratch (including everything from text size to headings, bullet points, and paragraph breaks).
- Organize your URL structure, creating clear page naming conventions.
- Allow geographic modifiers in your URLs to improve location visibility.
3. Optimize Your Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to the action you take outside of your website, impacting your ranking on the SERP. Your off-site efforts can improve Google’s perception, boosting your credibility, relevance, and trustworthiness, which feeds into your position.
One of the most critical elements of off-page SEO is backlinks. Based on Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, your content needs to be expert, authoritative and
To drive that credibility, you can incorporate natural links, manually built links, or self-created links into your SEO plan.
Additional off-page strategies for healthcare providers include press releases, blog posts, citations, and online reviews. Find patients or partners who you’ve worked with frequently and encourage testimonials or create a blog that houses a link-building strategy with fresh material each month. Whatever you choose to do, try to address as many of these opportunities as possible to see the real benefits of off-page SEO.
4. Make User Experience A Priority
User experience optimization is crucial for retention. While on-page and off-page efforts address the technical aspects of SEO, improved UX helps boost your conversion rate, driving revenue. Think of UX and SEO as a partnership. They need to work together to get the best results.
In the healthcare industry, websites have a history of being clunky and tricky to navigate. No matter how good your service is, if users can’t wrap their heads around your site, they’re bound to drop off. Spend some time on your UX, understanding what makes users stay and engage. More importantly, make sure your site is mobile-friendly to avoid excluding a considerable chunk of your audience.
5. Own Local Search Marketing
In the healthcare industry, owning your local search environment is crucial to acquiring new customers. Most patients visit a physical location to receive treatment making your whereabouts a deciding factor for many.
Ensure you accurately list your organization’s name, address, and phone number on Google My Business. Keep an eye on your reviews and encourage patients to rate your service. As long as the interactions remain positive, it’ll boost your ranking.
SEO is an essential long-term play in the healthcare industry. By incorporating these best practices into your overarching strategy, you’ll drive better quality traffic to your website and, ultimately, through your doors. Staying relevant in your local SEO landscape is crucial, and it could set you apart from your competitors. Remember to maintain your SEO by updating your site regularly, expanding your link building, and building relevant content.
Luke Craig, is an SEO expert and Partnerships specialist at Galactic Fed