In order to maintain or grow your medical practice, you need to do some form of marketing. Right now, digital marketing makes the most sense. People looking for a doctor want a convenient location and someone who will accept their insurance. But faced with a list of options, they will go to your practice website to decide whether to choose your practice or not. The most cost-effective choice for digital marketing is SEO: search engine optimization. So what does SEO for medical practices involve?
Show up along the patient journey
By the time a potential patient sees you on her insurance company’s list, she’s ready to make an appointment. However, she’s seeing more than one doctor. Patients at this point are very likely to choose the medical practice that is closest to their home, or to pick based on a photograph or review, or even how much they like the colors at your website.
But people who want to find a doctor don’t usually begin by looking at their insurance provider’s list. They usually start by looking for information about the problem they’re experiencing. If your potential patient has been having trouble sleeping, she has probably searched information at sleep and insomnia several times, visiting 10 or 12 different websites. She may have tried home remedies and over-the-counter options before deciding that she needs to see a doctor.
If your website provides useful information for her, she will have a different experience at the insurance company’s list. She’ll see your medical practice’s name and recognize it as the owner of the website that helped her. She may go to you immediately. Even if she compares a few doctors, she will be more inclined to choose you. This is a newer form of word of mouth.
Show up for your name
Often, if you Google a physician’s name you will see their profile at Healthgrades or a website for a clinic chain or hospital that doesn’t mention them individually. Sometimes doctors on the Google local search map will give Facebook as their “website.”
You need more control than that. In order to communicate effectively with prospective patients, you need your website to be the first thing they see when they look for your name.
For this, you need to have an individual page at your medical practice website. That page must have lots of useful information about you.
Not coincidentally, this is also the kind of page that allows a prospective patient to make a decision between you and another doctor.
How can you show up?
It may seem easy enough just to say “Show up.” How does SEO for medical practices actually work?
There are some steps that are basic to SEO:
- Have a modern website that works on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
- Identify the keywords — including the problems you help solve and your name — people might use to look for your medical practice website.
- Make sure the content on your website is clear and useful to human beings and search engines.
- Work to gain links to your website.
These steps are necessary for every website that wants to show up on the search engine results page.
SEO for medical practices requires some special factors, though:
- Because people will search for your name when they see or hear about you, you must have an individual page on your practice website.
- That page should be the best page about you on the internet.
- You should focus on local SEO, unless many patients come to you from outside your area.
- Consider capturing your visitors’ contact information and getting permission to send them information. Sometimes the time between a healthcare information search and making an appointment is long. With contact permission, you can engage your potential patient and develop a positive relationship.
Working on your website may not be her best use of your time. We can help. Contact us for assistance.