Let’s face it: Not a lot of people are turning to the phone book to find a hospital or care provider these days. They’re hopping on the internet and searching for a type of service near them. This is where search engine optimization comes into play for your hospital or care provider website.
If you aren’t optimizing your site for the services you provide, you’re losing patients to the competition. Here are a few essential strategies for getting your site optimized.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website’s keywords according to how or what people are searching for on search engines like Google or Bing. The better visibility your site has, the more organic traffic you’ll earn.
As you update content on your website, think about the words or phrases people will search to find your hospital or medical practice. Do you have a specialty? Do you offer a service no one else provides? Incorporate those keywords into your content strategy to boost your rankings.
Why Do Hospitals and Care Providers Need an SEO Strategy?
The main reasons for creating an SEO strategy are to increase your rankings on search engines and to outpace your competitors. In the case of hospitals and care providers, you may be looking to promote your services, attract new patients or provide education to patients.
Think about it this way: When people go online to search for a care provider, they’re looking for something specific (primary care doctor, OBGYN, oncologist, orthopedic) near their location. If you aren’t optimizing your website for your specialties, services, expertise, and location, you’re leaving those keywords on the table for competitors to snatch.
SEO Strategies for Hospitals and Care Providers
As you create your hospital or care provider SEO strategy, here are a few aspects you should keep in mind.
1. Use the right keywords
Your keywords should focus on the services you provide because that is what most people will be searching for. Tools like SEMrush or Google’s Keyword Planner will help you find the best keywords for your business by showing you which words are being searched and the ones that aren’t.
As you start to create content using these keywords, be aware of keyword stuffing (using the same keyword too many times for the sake of using it). Google’s crawlers recognize this and will penalize your website with lower rankings. Your keywords and long-tail keywords should fit naturally into your content.
2. Optimize title tags and meta descriptions
As you create new landing pages and refresh current ones, make sure the titles of your pages are SEO-friendly. If your About Us page says just that, you aren’t giving your audience information. Changing it to “About [Hospital or Practice Name] in [location],” your visitors will know exactly what they’re about to read. Title tags are also what appears on search engine results pages. That title will display as the clickable search result.
Meta descriptions explain what a page is about. Your meta descriptions appear under your title tags in search results. Be sure to include your keyword and accurately describe what readers will find on the page.
3. Add supporting content
Now that you have a firm grasp on what your keywords are, add more content to your site. In addition to making sure your service pages are optimized, provide content to educate your readers. For example, if one of your services is pediatrics, you could post the following blogs:
- How to Find the Right Pediatrician
- Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician on Your Next Visit (by age)
- X Signs It’s Time to See Your Pediatrician About That Cold
If you’re not sure what types of content to provide, survey your patients. What information could they use more of? What do they find themselves searching for online? What content would help them live happier, healthier lives?
4. Offer content variety
In addition to blogs, your readers will appreciate other forms of content such as videos, infographics, ebooks and webinars. With YouTube serving as the No. 2 search engine after Google, it’s a good idea to add video content to your site. These videos don’t have to be highly produced, but they do have to supplement the content you already provide. For example, if you write a blog about CPR, you could add a video of someone performing CPR on a dummy. If you write a blog about the best stretches for hip pain, include a video of someone performing those stretches. When you upload videos, be sure to give them proper titles and descriptions, as well as transcripts for any dialogue.
Infographics are another great way to include a lot of information in one place, plus they’re easy to share on social media. Webinars can be watched live or on-demand, fitting easily into anyone’s schedule.
5. Update Local SEO with Google My Business
Your Google My Business page should always be up-to-date, especially given the way people are searching for care services near them. At the very least, these categories should be filled in:
- Business categories
- Primary phone number
- Business description
- Hours of operation
- Address and/or service area
Encourage patients to write Google reviews with a brief post-care email asking for feedback.
6. Ensure Mobile Responsiveness
No one likes a terrible website experience. This can happen if your website isn’t optimized for mobile responsiveness. If they have a bad user experience on your site, they’re likely to hop onto a competitor's website.
Your site layout should shift depending on how a visitor is accessing it — whether it's on a tablet, phone or other device.
To Sum It Up
A strong SEO strategy will bring you more site traffic and patients. Without an SEO strategy, you have a website that probably has some pretty solid information but isn’t getting found. Get yourself on the radar with the right keywords, a proper Google My Business listing, valuable content and a mobile-friendly site.