In a society where people go to the Internet for information, doctors and others in the healthcare industry must be visible online, just like any other business or industry. Online, a process known as SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for being found among your competitors.
SEO strategies help your website rank highly on search engine results pages based on the search terms or “keywords” being used by a patient. The higher your page ranks, the more visibility you get.
All the content that you have online (website, blog, articles, social media) should be there to educate and inform patients about who and where you are, what you do and how you can help them to better health.
If doctors do SEO correctly, capturing new patients from online searches is a snap.
Who and Where
Who and where you are is referred to as NAP; name, address and phone number. Make sure this information is consistent throughout all of your content on the web. When your NAP is consistent, you will aggregate all of your index and search listings and improve your SEO. This includes everything from your Yellow Pages page to your website.
Step 1: Take 30 minutes and search your name, practice name, specialty and location. Look at everything on the web and see if the NAP is consistent. If it’s not, fix it. If you want a service that can do this for you try Yext Listings.
What You Do
Defining “What you do” in an SEO strategy is a bit more challenging. That’s because a) you do a lot and b) so do a lot of your competitors.
Take an example of patient "Frank" hurting his back playing basketball over the weekend. Searching for a cure online using keywords “back pain” may lead to search results ranging from medicine to ice, chiropractors to neurosurgeons, and back supports to yoga. As more and more options are available online, patients are starting to search using more specific search terms so they can get more direct answers.
Therefore, when doctors add content to the internet, a good SEO strategy is to use keywords that they think patients will be using in their search terms. In this example, Frank may use “low back strain” or “low back pain after playing basketball” or “low back treatment athlete”.
Step 2: Make sure any content you put online is rich with search terms that you think your patients will use to find your services.
How You Can Help
We all know that patients are walking into our clinics with print outs of information they looked up on the Internet. Patients are getting more and more sophisticated.
To differentiate yourself online, a great SEO strategy is to give patients content that makes an emotional connection to their condition. Patients are more likely to request an appointment with you if they truly feel like a) you are knowledgeable 2) you understand their condition, and 3) you have helped other similar patients recover.
In our example of Frank, you could write a blog or post on your website your skills and how you help men get back to playing basketball using your specific techniques, methods, tools, equipment and philosophies.
Step 3: When putting content online, explain how you can help a person recover from their condition using examples of previous treatment success. Think of before and after pictures except using words.
SEO is very complex. This article was designed to get doctors to start thinking about SEO and how a great strategy could be a game changer for attracting and getting new patients online. PLUSdoc has more information on how to help doctors in an ever competitive marketplace where every new patient counts.