Around 5.6 billion searches are done on Google every day. That is approximately 2 trillion online searches per year — searches that continue to increase daily.
This data shows how convenient people find Google in answering their queries.
And if there is an industry that can prove Google’s superiority today, it’s the field of health and medicine. With the pandemic wreaking havoc worldwide, many turned online to secure medical appointments, while others opted for teleconsultation.
Thus, the search for doctors and other medical practitioners significantly increased. In fact, when 2020 was starting, telehealth visits already increased by 50% compared to visits in 2019.
These numbers only show how important it is for medical practitioners, clinics, and health facilities to have an online presence. However, having your website does not guarantee more patients. What you need to do is to appear at the top of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs) to ensure a higher chance of people clicking your website first, which usually translates to a scheduled appointment.
Unfortunately, if you don’t appear at the top of the search results, someone else will. In other words, your competitor is getting all the traffic that you could have had instead.
So, what can you do to earn Google’s top of page one rankings?
The answer is search engine optimization. If you’re not taking advantage of organic traffic, then you might as well give away your patients to your competitors. But when you pay attention to the Google algorithm, especially healthcare, you can easily beat your competition and boost your online presence.
Here are some ways to achieve that coveted top rank on Google.
Research and provide reliable health-related content
Giving information online is a basic digital marketing strategy that can have many long-term benefits for your website when done correctly. But what does giving information mean?
Google revealed that at least 5% of online searches are health-related. This significant percentage shows that people trust the information they find online. And because of this, you need to do proper research and provide information based on facts. It is what it means to give information properly.
Unfortunately, not everything you find online is true. Thankfully, Google can detect vagueness and inaccuracies, which, when found, can push your website down the ranks.
So, if you want to gain the top rank, only post content that Google understands as correct and relevant. To achieve this, you can use simple and precise words, eliminate filler content, and post information that is easy to read and understand, i.e., use bullets.
Moreover, do some research about health-related topics that are timely and interesting. Some of these are:
- Health advise for timely health conditions like Covid-19.
- Best nutrition and diet tips today
- Fitness and exercise trends
- Specific signs and symptoms of certain diseases and when to seek medical attention
- Medication details and other health-related services or products
With the understanding that online users trust Google to provide facts and quality information about health and the medical industry, it is essential to create well-researched content only. Doing so lets Google know that your website is reliable, which pushes you up the ranking on SERPs.
Create quality websites and content
Many medical professionals think that online traffic can only be generated by investing in PPC or pay-per-click advertisements. But unfortunately, spending too much on PPC is a band-aid solution.
So, instead of temporary solutions, you need to look for answers that will have long-term effects. As a healthcare business, your digital marketing plan should direct potential patients to your site consistently and for a long time.
Take note that Google does not favour low-quality websites and content. If you don’t pay attention to your website and the content you put out, the algorithm will work against you, and your presence on the search results will suffer.
Now, when you speak of quality, there are two essential acronyms that you need to remember for healthcare: E.A.T. and Y.M.Y.L.
The acronym E.A.T. means expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This concept was made to guide third-party raters to score Google’s search results.
Even though E.A.T. is not a direct ranking factor, it can help determine what Google considers necessary. And this is what websites need to show so that Google can reward them with greater visibility.
Therefore, it is safe to say that E.A.T. is a crucial element in healthcare SEO.
And because the content and information you post on your website directly impact your audience, who are also your potential patients, what you share on your website should be based on the E.A.T. factor.
Understand that people go through your website to ensure that you are a healthcare professional they can trust. This is why you should always put out the highest quality information that complies with E.A.T. Then, you can improve your ranking and increase your chance of appearing on top of the Google SERPs.
Another concept to consider is Y.M.Y.L. or Your Money Your Life. It only means that any content you share directly affects your audiences’ health, finances, or safety – something that Google takes very seriously.
And for health-related websites, Y.M.L.Y. is an essential concept that you need to consider when planning your SEO strategy. If your content does not meet the standards for Y.M.Y.L. websites, such as having factual inaccuracies or presenting information deceptively, then your site’s ranking will suffer. Worse, it can ruin people’s lives.
Evaluate different aspects of your website
It may be impossible to outrank already established healthcare or medical sites, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t rank better.
Getting a higher ranking is possible when you improve certain aspects of your website, which includes focusing more on long-tail keywords and location-based content.
When you implement the right kind of SEO, you can successfully position your medical practice right before your audience’s eyes. Then, Google can put you in a higher rank or, even better, outrank other sites.
Here are some aspects that you should evaluate time and again to improve your site ranking.
Use the right medical keywords.
Keywords are one of the most critical elements in SEO. In fact, these are the words that bring relevant traffic to your website. So, it is essential that you use the correct keywords for your industry.
But what are the right keywords to use?
The first keywords you need to consider are the medical services you offer – words that users usually type first in the search bar. But you can also use tools to help you determine the applicable keyword for your content. Among these tools is the Google Keyword Planner, which suggests the best keywords for your industry and compares them to what is being searched by your audience.
In any case, you should avoid forcing the keywords in your content. The Google algorithm can easily detect any spamming activity coming from your website. When it does, it gives a corresponding penalty. It is why you should incorporate specific, long-tail keywords that are relevant and natural.
This technique can help you set yourself apart from more prominent SEO healthcare websites while attracting potential patients, especially those living within your location.
Make use of eye-catching visual elements.
Video content is a popular way of providing information that is engaging, interesting, and easy to understand. This is why the use of videos increased significantly. In fact, 96% of online users watched more videos in 2020, and almost all of them are interested in watching more videos from brands and businesses in the coming years.
No matter the length of your video content, there is no denying the fact that it makes people spend more time on your website. And this time is something that Google greatly considers in ranking because it conveys something valuable that people like on your page.
However, you can’t just use any video. What you need are high-quality and relevant videos along with your content. For example, you can add a virtual tour of your clinics – something people prefer more than reading a 600-word text about your clinic.
You can also utilize the use of images or infographics on your site. The more visually pleasing and interactive your site is, the more people will be engaged in checking out your website.
However, you should also take steps to ensure that the images on your site include proper alt text. It helps visually impaired users and Google crawlers to have easier access and understanding of what is displayed on your page.
Improve your website speed, security, and mobile use.
You need to pay attention to your site’s speed, security, and mobile use, as they are factors that also affect your ranking.
When your website loads more than three seconds long, you may lose site visitors – potential patients who would then go to a competitor with a faster page speed. But, you should note that slow-loading web pages can still get a high ranking for specific queries. In addition, there is no penalty for a site with good content, even if it’s a bit slow.
However, optimizing the speed on your website wouldn’t take much effort for an improved user experience.
It should only take your website a maximum of two seconds to load and the ideal time for loading is half a second or under. Google has a PageSpeed Insights tool that is helpful when you need to check your website speed. It can also give you points on where to conduct fixes to help you improve your speed score.
Security is also another essential factor in SEO. With an SSL certificate, you can encrypt your website to ensure that the data you have and your users’ data are protected from hacks.
Google will take it out on your rankings if you ignore SSL security. The SSL certificate is a requirement when you accept your patients’ personal information, so there will be no excuse for you not to obtain this certificate.
Another thing is ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly.
More and more people now search using their phones. So, if your content is not mobile-compatible, your visitors will prefer looking at other sites that can accommodate their mobile searches better.
You need to have a responsive web design that works on both desktop and mobile, thus eliminating poor user experience across different devices.
Consider other off-site factors.
Off-site indicators like social media traffic and links to your website are some examples of things that can positively affect your search rankings.
Social media may not be considered a direct ranking factor, but it should be one of your main priorities when talking about off-site SEO. So, make good use of social media marketing and post content that can significantly affect a patient’s choice of a treatment centre or hospital.
You need to understand that many users check social media reviews before visiting a clinic or scheduling an appointment. It is why you need to ensure that your social media profile is updated and relevant content is regularly posted. After all, social media is an excellent platform for establishing potential patient interaction.
Utilize your location in SEO.
Patients prefer local services that they can easily contact, which Google My Business shows during searches.
So, if you don’t have a Google My Business page yet, it’s time you create one. And when you do, make sure it is updated and optimized regularly.
Moreover, you can strive to appear in Google’s local pack. Four or five firms that appear above the organic search results. It is usually the only thing that mobile users see during their search.
And the information that appears on these listings are the details on your business page, so make sure that these are accurate and accessible. These data include the following:
- Business Category
- Primary Phone Number
- Business Description
- Hours of Operation and Seasonal Hours
- Address and Service Areas
- Google Reviews
Local citations are also a vital factor for local SEO. These are online mentions of your business that display your business information. They can range from business directories, blog posts, social media profiles, newspaper websites, and other sources.
So, it’s best to gain business citations for better ranking.
If you aim for better Google rankings and more patients, your number one priority should be improving your SEO strategy.
But understand that there is never a solid guarantee in digital marketing. Everything is volatile and dependent on various factors like trends or preferences. However, following a good strategy is a big step in securing a good ranking on the Google search engine results page.
And, yes, putting your medical business out there is quite challenging. But taking the right approach can make all the difference. When you apply the strategies mentioned above, you are on your way to securing a stable online presence.
Lastly, be patient. Building an online presence takes time and effort before seeing tangible results. But, with continuous effort and the right SEO techniques, you will surely reap the fruits of your labour sooner than you think.