Nailing your Search Engine Optimization strategy is a process. In 2021, SEO won’t be about quick tricks and instant results. Instead, the real value of SEO lies in the long-term relationships you establish with both search engines and potential patients. Check out these 14 tips for Search Engine Optimization success in 2021 that will help keep your practices at the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) while keeping your revenue stream growing.
1. See SEO as an Investment (That Pays Dividends)
It’s hard to think that SEO isn’t a “perpetual money pit.” But unless you’re one of the top-ranked websites in your niche, you’re losing potential patients. As Google has changed, so have the cost benefits associated with being at or near the top of the SERPs. In 2011, a company would likely benefit from being on Page 3 or even 4. By 2021, it was vital to be on Page 1.
We now live in a world where securing a spot on Google’s first page can easily mean making millions of dollars more each year than if someone else stole away that coveted spot. We aren’t talking about just getting noticed; we are talking about commanding instant audience trust and giving new patients an immediate reason to choose your business over the competition.
2. Find Out Who’s Talking About You
Google has become a critical step in today’s Search Engine Optimization strategy, and it means more than just adding another social networking account to your arsenal. Google is linked directly to sharing on other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, which means that people can now share content from medical blogs on their Google accounts. This becomes particularly lucrative for medical practices because of the way Google ranks these posts: The more Google shares you get, the greater the chances you will appear first in search engine results when potential patients or colleagues are searching.
To keep tabs on who mentions you or your practice, set up a Google Alert to let you know when you are mentioned online. This will also inform you about other trends that could affect your business, like a viral blog or social media post.
3. Show Off Your Medical Staff
Every doctor knows that hiring qualified employees is the key to running a smooth operation. Google knows it too, which means that in 2021, your medical staffing levels and experience will be just as crucial to online patients as your office hours are. This is why staff pages have become an essential part of Search Engine Optimization strategies for medical practices.
People like to see a real human face and know who they are dealing with before choosing a medical provider. That’s why it is critical to have a staff page that shows every member of your team and what they do at the practice. Patients want to see that you are supported by knowledgeable and experienced professionals.
4. Ask for Reviews
Let’s face it, we live in a review economy. Data shows that online reviews are considered the most trusted form of advertising by potential patients. Therefore, you must ensure your practice is listed on popular review sites like Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook.
That’s why it is so important for doctors to take advantage of the review systems that are already in place. When patients see reviews on sites like Yelp or Healthgrades, it not only makes them feel comfortable with your practice, but you’re also building a good reputation and getting more online traffic thanks to the positive results.
But take note, of all of the review sites out there, the reviews on your Google My Business listing are by far the most important. These are the reviews people will see first when searching for terms like “doctor near me” or “best dentist in town.” These are the reviews that will make or break your practice’s online presence. So when you ask for reviews, be sure to steer the patient to your Google My Business page first, as this will have the most significant effect on your local rankings.
5. Get Active on YouTube
While we can all agree that blogging is an indispensable part of Search Engine Optimization for medical practices these days, you should never overlook the power that video holds. Many people don’t realize it, but YouTube is the second largest search engine globally, not Bing. People turn to YouTube for answers. By having a channel that highlights everything your practice offers, you can reach a wider audience and answer common questions, and concerns patients have about your medical services in seconds.
If you don’t have time to do it yourself, look online for “medical video production” companies specializing in making high-quality medical videos for practices like yours. Once the content is created, be sure to promote it by sharing it on Facebook and connecting with online medical communities like Medlandia. This will help you get the word out about your practice every time it is viewed.
6. Post Blog Posts that are Optimized for Local Search
When writing blog posts, include the name of your town or city in the title. Make sure you use the name of your city in every post, as this is one of the factors that search engines like Google and Yelp take into account when they determine where to place your practice on their results pages. Also, do not forget to add a local phone number and address below it.
Your blog posts should include information about nearby restaurants, stores, and attractions popular with locals. Business Insider reported that 80% of search results for local businesses now have some form of reviews or ratings from previous customers. Including customer feedback in your blog posts is a great way to build credibility with potential patients and reassure them that you are up to par as a quality medical practitioner. Make sure you use keywords like “dentist near me” or “best foot doctor in Chicago” whenever you can.
7. Claim Your Place on the Big Three Local Search Engines
You may assume that Google is your only concern when it comes to local SEO for doctors, but remember, Bing and Yahoo still account for almost half of web searches. Therefore, the best way to protect your practice against disappearing in local search results is by claiming and optimizing your listings on all three of these major search engines. Whether they appear below the fold or not, it’s essential that people can find you when they conduct a web search for “Hinckley dentists” or “best Chicago plastic surgeons.”
To claim your spot on Bing, you need to verify your listing. After signing into your account:
- Click “Add or Improve Your Listing” when selecting a category that matches your practice’s specialty.
- Verify everything about your business, from the address to the hours of operation.
- Take some time to customize your profile by adding an image and a description of your practice’s history.
Be sure to claim your listing on Yahoo by entering in your information at https://local.yahoo.com and verify that everything is accurate with Yelp by going to “Manage” under the “Business Info” section your dashboard.
8. Put an Emphasis on Social Media Personal Branding
It used to be enough for doctors and medical practices to focus solely on their website, but that’s no longer the case. Today, your online reputation depends on how active you are on social media more than ever before. If you don’t have a Facebook page with thousands of fans that check-in every day, you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to improve your local SEO for doctors.
When building your online presence, focus on achieving a high number of Facebook “likes” and tweets from patient reviews. These types of social media connections are immediately visible in search results, so claim as many profiles as you can. Your goal should be to attract new patients with a solid social media presence.
9. Don’t Neglect Website Optimization
Even though Google is now more focused on the local relevance of websites instead of their link popularity, it’s still crucial that your website be search engine accessible. When making changes to your site, never forget to include a title tag, an image alt-text description, and meta descriptions for specific pages. Also, be sure to update your web pages frequently and add a link to your blog from each of them.
Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that lets you see how your site is rated by Google, including the number of backlinks you have and any “hacking attempts” targeting your site.
Using analytics to evaluate traffic patterns on your website lets you know what pages need improvement and determine which ones visitors are spending most of their time on. Make sure to dedicate the most time and attention to your home page, as it’s the first thing that potential patients will want to see when they come to your website.
10. Don’t Forget to be Mobile Friendly
Google’s algorithm updates may have been frustrating at times, but there is one significant payoff: more intelligent mobile searches. This means your patients will now expect their phone to respond with results tailored specifically to them—not just a basic list of whatever happens to pop up on Google! To keep these smart searches ranking consistently near the top of search engine result pages, make sure your practice website and blog are cross-platform compatible. (This means having a responsive design.)
11. Don’t Forget About Local
Google recently rolled out a couple of updates designed to help users find businesses specifically near them. The first is the Google My Business local page, which means medical practices now have an opportunity to customize their page with information about their practice and staff, along with a detailed business description and location info. This will make it easier for patients in your area looking for medical help to find you on Google!
12. Show Your Team Spirit
If you want new patients to stick around, then you’ll need to show them they’re part of something bigger than a simple doctor’s visit by connecting them with other members in your community or fandom via social media accounts like Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and hashtags, well-thought-out blog posts and even your own YouTube channel for live video chats with fans.
13. Stay on Top of News Trends
Most medical professionals are aware that Google likes fresh content, but do you know why? Here’s a hint: part of it is because Google aims to help users find the most current information they’re looking for. (The other reason is that businesses that regularly update their sites get rewarded with higher search engine results.) That’s all well and good if your practice is newsworthy or offers new treatments every day, but what if you have mostly routine procedures? How can you tell which subjects will be trending in the future? To put it simply: Pay attention to the news!
14. Use Your Blog To Boost Your Website
Because most doctors are already engaged on social media, it’s easy to think that Facebook and Twitter should be more than enough for them. However, many medical practices still don’t have blogs, which means you’re missing out on some serious SEO opportunities. They say Google values original content highly—that probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise—but they also like sites with active commentary! A blog allows your practice staff members to share stories about patients’ experiences while simultaneously building an online community via the comments section.
Final Thoughts on SEO for Doctors and Medical Practices
Building a successful website is as much about getting started the right way to create search engine friendly content alongside other online strategies such as keyword research and social media. It may seem complicated at first, but with the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to building a solid SEO foundation for your practice!
Are you looking for professional help in expanding your practice’s online reach? Here at Stature Optics Management, we’ve helped doctors all over rank higher in Google search and generate more patients and revenue. Contact us today to see how we can help your practice dominate the local search results!