There is a misconception within the medical field about Google page rankings and Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This lack of knowledge could be hurting doctors’ medical practices and they don’t even know it’s happening.
The common idea behind marketing your practice online is to develop a website. While there are still doctors who do not even have a website, let’s assume those reading this post will know the benefits and have their own medical website.
A doctor’s website consists of pages each with a unique URL (subdomain) and the home page (domain) whereby patients find doctors online and discover pieces of information about doctors’ practices. We’re not going to get into the pros and cons of healthcare website development in this post, just understand that any patient may land on any page (domain or subdomain) of your website at any time.
How Doctors are Found Online
This happens because Google and other Search Engines like Bing and Yahoo all crawl and index doctors’ website pages. Depending on each page’s content, URL, and links, Search Engines rank and return results to patients on what are referred to as Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Search engines match the patient’s search terms (known as a query) with the content on thousands of doctors’ websites in the local area of the query.
Internet Service Providers (ISP) use Geolocation to identify where the query is origination and delivers local search results in no time at all. Geolocation can be used using zip codes and Internet Provider (IP) databases as well as using cell towers for mobile devices. Whether at a desktop of mobile, Search Engines can find a person’s geolocation and return results to patients about their specific search terms in their specific area.
Patients Searching for Doctors use Queries
Search Engines like Google use computer algorithms to return SERPs for queries for domains more so than the subdomains. The rationale is that the query will produce a wider variety of choices on the SERP giving the patient choices. An example, a doctor writes “chiropractor plus local towns” on every page of their medical practice’s website, Google is not going to return SERP with each page listed.
Instead, Search Engines know that all of these pages lead to the main domain name and they give the query usually only 1 raking. This is important to patients searching for a doctor so that the SERPs return a choice of all websites that closely match the query. So instead of one practice having multiple rankings on the SERPs with a domain and subdomains, the medical practice website gets only 1 listing.
Medical Websites Get Ranked Once on SERPs
So if your practice only has 1 website most likely the Search Engines will only return one link on the SERPs for patients looking for their doctor in your town. If there are an average of 10 links retuned for a query on page 1 of the SERPS and your practice is in a competitive area, you may only have a 10% chance of a patient actually clicking on your medical practice’s website.
If you are in a less competitive market or the query was very specific to your niche and website content, your practice may get more than one ranking. The point to remember is your website alone cannot dominate the SERPS.
While all of this technical speak may be boring it’s important for doctors to realize that this is how you get discovered online. As online searches for doctors rise among new patient, getting found online becomes more and more critical each day. As competition grows online, dominating the SERPS is critical to growth and practice sustainability.
Doctors Need To Rule Their Internet
The best online strategy for doctors to dominate the SERPs is to have multiple domains returned for patient queries to “Rule Their Internet”. At PLUSdoc we use the term “Rule Your Internet” on a daily basis because this is one of our primary objectives for each of our PLUSdoctor members. PLUSdoc adds multiple (not 1) Google SERP links so that your practice and doctors will dominate the local search to win new patients.
To learn more about how we can help you “Rule Your Internet” contact us for a demonstration.