Your website is your medical practice’s most powerful marketing tool. When you rank higher in Google search, more prospective patients will click on your site. The best way to rank your medical practice website on the first page of Google is through organic search engine optimization (SEO).
But how do you ensure prospective patients are clicking your website and doctors over your local competitors? How can you successfully outrank other doctors and attract more patients online?
SEO can be an effective and affordable way of generating new patient leads. Put simply, SEO means positioning your site in the top search results, such as on the first page of Google, just below the sponsored links. Despite appearing below the sponsored ads, organic listings still get more clicks, meaning they can be a great source of new patient referrals. Importantly, they can also offer a better return on investment because, unlike Google Ads, you do not pay per click.
5 SEO Tips to Get Your Medical Practice to the Top of Google Search
Many people understand the concept of SEO, but are not sure where to start. To simplify this, we’ve provided five SEO tips you can implement TODAY to start positioning your practice’s website higher in search results.
1. Set up a FREE Google My Business account
Creating a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is a quick and simple way to make it easier for patients to find you. These profile pages are often displayed at the top of Google search results. Create or claim your profile with Google Business Profile (GBP) Manager in just a few steps. Once you’re set up, check out the dozen blogs we’ve written about optimizing your GBP profile. Better yet, learn how rater8 can optimize all your listings for you.
2. Increase your number of 5-star reviews
An important part of helping your SEO campaign is increasing your number of 5-star reviews. This helps in two ways. First, higher ratings increase the chance of your website showing up in the “Google Business Profile” section (mentioned in point #1), often appearing at the top of search results. Second, when you do appear, higher ratings increase the likelihood that patients will click on your listing. Learn more about how 5-star reviews lead to a robust, polished online reputation that potential patients (and Google) can trust.
3. Speed up your practice's website
One of the factors that determines your search engine ranking is the speed of your site. If it takes a long time to load, this discourages users from waiting, and they might “bounce” (i.e., immediately leave your site). This shows Google that your site was not a good recommendation, and your site will be pushed further down the rankings. If your site is built with WordPress, there are several plugins you can install to speed up your site. Unsure if your site is running slowly? Check your website speed for free with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
4. SEO-optimize your target pages
Many practices make the mistake of investing huge amounts of time optimizing every page on their website. However, it is far more important to spend the most time optimizing your target pages. These are the pages you want to rank at the top of Google for certain keywords. For example, if you are an orthopedic surgeon offering hip replacement surgery, then you’ll likely want to rank for keywords such as “hip surgeon” or “hip replacement surgery.” You should pick one page for which you want to rank for these keywords. Optimizing more than one page would have the counterintuitive effect of competing against yourself.
Once you’ve chosen your keywords and target pages, the next step is to optimize these pages. There are many ways to do this, including the following:
- Ensure the keyword is in the title, URL, and meta description
- Write an engaging meta description that would make prospective patients want to select the link
- Ensure the content is well-formatted and interesting; note that images and videos can help improve page ranking
- Ensure the content is useful for patients (Does your page provide patients with the information they are searching for?)
There are many other strategies, too numerous to mention in one blog post, but these are enough to get you started.
5. Use Google Analytics to monitor what is (and isn't) working
Last, but not least, it’s important to monitor your progress. For this, you can use a free tool called Google Analytics. After installing the Google Analytics code in your website, Google can then track vital information about how users are engaging with your website. This includes, but is not limited to, information such as:
- Website traffic
- Traffic location
- Traffic source (e.g., Google vs. social media vs. ads)
- Time spent on site
- Exit pages (the last page users view before leaving your site)
- Landing pages (the first page users view on your site)
Further Information About Organic SEO for Doctors
Working at a medical practice can be, as you know, BUSY. Realistically, it can be difficult to find time for both running the practice, as well as handling practice marketing, including creating and implementing SEO campaigns. As such, many practices outsource such services to specialists, including companies like rater8 for help with healthcare reputation management, as well as companies such as Red Castle Services, which specializes in online marketing for doctors and SEO for medical practices.