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Medical Practice SEO

SEO for Medical Practices: How to Pick the Best Keywords

Medical Practice SEO

Getting high search engine rankings and maintaining them demands consistent work over the long term. You have to stay up to date on search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, search engine results criteria, and the competition for rankings. For this post, we will focus on researching and choosing keywords, a key SEO practice.

Here are our four tips for doing the best keyword research.

1) Make A List of Keywords

Content is king. But identifying the keywords your medical practice needs to rank for comes before creating content. Consider the medical services you provide and compile a list of keyword phrases you would like to rank for. Note the keywords that are most unique to your medical practice are your core keywords.

2) Choose A Research Tool

Using keyword research tools can help you find the best keywords. Here are some popular keyword research tools that can expedite the research process.

  • SEMrush: Requires a subscription. You can try this marketing tool by signing up for a free 7-day trial.
  • Google Keyword Planner: A free tool, you can use it by setting up an Adwords account.
  • Moz: Requires a subscription. You can try this marketing tool by signing up for a free 30-day trial.
  • Ahrefs: Requires a subscription. You can try this marketing tool by signing up for discounted 7-day trial for $7.

With the right too in hand, we are ready to dive into competition research!

3) Research Your Competition

First, identify your local competition in your medical field and research their websites. Note the following:

  • Their ranked keywords.
  • Their pages earning the most organic traffic.
  • Their terms and phrases other practices also rank for.
  • The most popular keywords in your industry.

Based on this research, create a list of keywords that fit your practice.

4) Research keyword metrics

Now it’s time to take that list of keywords and ask a few questions about each.

1. What is the monthly search volume?

2. How difficult would ranking be (keyword difficulty score)?

3. Does it present any local search opportunities?

In general, the higher the search volume and the lower the keyword difficulty, the easier it is to rank for a given term. For example, an orthopedic practice in San Francisco wants to rank highly for the term ‘knee replacement San Francisco.’ That phrase has a high search volume, but also a high keyword difficulty. By contrast, ‘total knee replacement surgery San Francisco’ also has high search volume but is much less difficult.

Medical Practice SEO Penalties

7 Tips for Medical Practices to Avoid SEO Penalties

Medical Practice SEO Penalties

Though achieving a top three spot in search engine results doesn’t happen overnight, losing high rankings does. That’s because Google and other search engines penalize for mistakes and deliberate attempts to manipulate their search rankings.

Here are seven ways your practice can avoid SEO-related penalties.

1) Create high-quality content

Search engines exist to show users good content that satisfies their search queries. Create unique, valuable content and search engines will reward you with high visibility.

2) Hire a reliable, professional SEO firm or expert

Why make mistakes that can cost your practice when hiring an expert is so much more cost-effective and good for your ROI? On the flip side, an SEO professional can help your practice quickly climb up the search engine rankings.

3) Optimizing for the right keywords

Your site may have a page that ranks highly for keywords such as ‘5 Tips for Hiring the Right Personnel for Your Surgeon Practice.’ The content may be excellent but ranking highly for search terms that bring website traffic but no foot traffic to your practice is useless. Instead, focus on ranking highly for competitive terms like ‘best orthopedic surgeon in Tampa, Florida’ will help drive website traffic and new patients to your practice. Also, avoid trying to rank for broad, highly competitive SEO terms such as ‘best orthopedic surgeon.’ Instead, focus on longer phrases of more than four words (also known as ‘long tail’ keywords).

4) Optimizing metadata and tags

Title tags give an overview of the content of a page for search engines and site visitors. It’s easy to overlook metadata and title tags, which can be flagged and penalized. Check the title tags of all of your pages to ensure there are no duplicates.

Meta descriptions are the maximum 160-character descriptions in search results under the title tags. They summarize the content of a page. Duplicate meta descriptions give the wrong description of a page, which leads to lost views and rankings penalties.

Free tools such as Screaming Frog and Google Webmaster Tools can search for duplicate content on your site.

5) Optimizing website for mobile

Most of the traffic nowadays comes from mobile phones. Having a site that is fast performing and easy to use on a mobile phone is a critical SEO ranking factor. Also, from the potential patient perspective, having a site that loads slowly leads to a higher bounce rate (rate at which site visitors leave before taking action to purchase, subscribe, book, etc.).

6) Optimizing for local search

For medical practices, competing in the local market is essential. Optimize your on and off-website presence for local search. This entails using keywords that include city, town, or other geographic designation, including service area in HTML tags, and optimizing  business listings on Google My Business and other directories such as Yelp.

7) Earn High-Quality Links

For SEO purposes, the quality of links coming into your site is more important than the quantity. One quality link can boost your ranking in search engines, whereas poor quality links can harm it. Aim to build relationships with other businesses that have high domain authority and excellent overall reputations. Never try to boost your domain authority and search rankings with paid links.

Medical Practice Digital Marketing

8 Strategies for Improving Your Medical Practice’s Digital Marketing

Medical Practice Digital Marketing

Has your practice set goals for 2021 yet? How about this goal: To get more in return for your marketing budget than ever before?

Here is our list of digital marketing strategies to put you on the path to achieving it.

Optimize Your Online Presence

Website: Many of your patients and prospective patients find out about your practice from your website.

  • The content must be optimized for search and local search (SEO) by an expert familiar with SEO for your medical field.
  • Your content and layout must also be attractive, or users won’t be interested.
  • All the main technical aspects need to be sound: a. It should be optimized for mobile devices b. compatible with every browser c. open fast enough to avoid high bounce rates (visitors leaving)
  • Your website should be secured with HTTPS encryption.

Social Media: Think of social media as a massive free lead generation tool. Optimize your Facebook page and ads, and create compelling, shareable content for posts. Don’t post too often. If you want to tap into a younger market, Instagram may be an intriguing platform. And take advantage of the free social media analytics tools, especially the tools that help you track demographics and create targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Business Listings: These are the listings that potential patients see when they perform local searches or look for your practice in directories. Optimize your Google My Business page and any directory listings (Yelp, Trip Advisor, etc.). Check that your business name is the same across your entire web presence, and that your email, phone number and address are also the same.

Utilize Paid Search

Organic website traffic is important, but you need to incorporate some paid traffic as well. This way your website will appear near the top of the results in searches for all your major keywords.

Utilize Retargeting Ads

Visitors come to your website and leave all the time. Why not target them with ads that remind them about your practice and the need that drove them to visit your site? Perfect Audience, AdRoll, and Chango are three prominent retargeting networks.

Utilize Video

Video has more engagement than any other content medium on the internet. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google, so creating videos will drive a lot more traffic to your website. Simply use a phone for recording, get a decent microphone, and you are ready to start.

Utilize Email

Email is alive and well. Approximately 4.3 billion people use it! We recommend a two-pronged email marketing strategy: Reaching out to future or potential patients while staying in contact with current patients.

Guest Blog

Your expertise is in demand. Well-known publications and high-ranking health websites with large audiences often publish pieces by doctors. Ask the publication or site for a link in exchange for writing a free blog post or article.

Engage Your Audience Consistently

Whether it’s answering questions via online chatbot, over the phone, through email, or in the comments section on social media, being consistently communicative with your patients and potential patients strengthens your reputation.

Host Live Events

You can use Facebook or YouTube to host live streaming events on health-related topics. Invite patients and potential patients from your Facebook followers or YouTube subscribers to generate interest in your practice.

Medical Practice Content Marketing

On-Site SEO for Medical Practices

On-site search engine optimization (SEO) involves optimizing the content and all the other elements of your medical practice’s website. For this blog post, we will focus on optimizing the content, including written content, title tags, meta descriptions, internal links, and URLs.

Great content accomplishes two things:

  • It gives your audience a better experience.
  • It helps search engines better understand your website.

High Quality Content

Your practice may have the best surgeons, nurses, and staff in town. However, if your website has poor content, many prospective patients will look elsewhere for their medical needs.

The text needs to be easy enough for an 8th grader to read and free of obvious errors. But readability alone will not earn better search engine rankings. Publishing expert, trustworthy, and authoritative content that is relevant to your audience’s search queries will.

Comprehensive Content

Generally, Google rewards comprehensive content pages with high search rankings. Comprehensive content addresses topics in full. This serves the audience by giving them all the relevant information about the topic on one page.

On the wrong side of things, Google punishes poor content and short content pages that lack content and or address topics only in part. Google has a name for this kind of content: thin.

Let’s take a look at the difference between thin and comprehensive content in the case of two imaginary orthopedic surgeon practices.

Surgeon Practice 1: Thin Content

The first practice intends to publish informational pages about all their main surgical operations under a ‘Procedures’ tab. Their target audience is made up of patients and prospective patients.

So far, there is nothing wrong. They go ahead and publish a dozen content pages. Each page is around 350 words and deals with a specific surgery. One page is titled, ‘Minimally Invasive Hip Surgery at San Francisco Orthopedic’. Weeks go by, but this practice sees no improvement in search engine rankings after all this work.

Surgeon Practice 2: Comprehensive Content

The second practice has the same goal: To inform their audience about their surgical procedures. But during their consultation with an SEO agency, they learn that one of the keys to creating great content is fleshing out topics in full on each page.

So, instead of focusing on specific types of surgery such as minimally invasive hip surgery, the orthopedic practice publishes a page on the whole topic: ‘Hip Replacement Surgery at Orlando, Florida Orthopedic’. A few weeks after publishing a few 1,500 to 2,000-word pages like this, the practice’s website starts climbing up the search rankings.

That’s the power of comprehensive content.

Compelling Content

To rise above the competition in search results, content needs to be valuable and unique.

Value

Providing value consists of publishing content with well-written prose and compelling insights from a medical practitioner with extensive knowledge. Medical experts should provide the latest information in their field, along with research studies and examples. Content becomes more compelling to patients and future patients when content creators incorporate various content types, such as images, screenshots, videos, and infographics.

As a medical practice, it’s your duty to thoroughly inform patients and prospective patients. Text-only content is one dimensional and, in general, far less engaging than content packed with research studies, patient testimonials, infographics, and blog posts.

But content is only valuable when it’s crafted with expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness for a medical – especially content for a medical practice.

Unique

Uniqueness is all about offering something your competitors lack. That can be new research studies or new insights into treatments, surgeries, and procedures. It can also be a more user-friendly website with better customer service.

A simple way to find new ideas for content is to answer common questions patients ask. If you are an orthopedic surgeon, patients may want to know how long it takes to heal from knee replacement surgery or the difference between partial and total knee replacement surgery.

You can recall questions like these from interactions with patients and or search through the FAQ’s on your own site and the websites of other successful practices.

Optimized Keywords

Content must contain keywords relevant to user search queries to rank highly. Effective keywords are based on competitiveness and relevancy to search engine searches.

What Are Keywords?

Phrases searched in search engines, such as “orthopedic surgeon near me” and “hip replacement surgery recovery time.” If your practice has pages optimized for the keywords users search, you have a chance to rank highly for these searches.

Optimized keywords are relevant to search queries. They also show search engines the topic of your content, which brings more traffic to your website.

How do you find good keywords?

Some keywords are obvious.

For example, the home page is the most important and most viewed page on any website. It should be optimized for a keyword phrase that includes the practice specialty and its main geographic service area. For example, a pain clinic in St. Louis, Missouri: “Stetson Pain Treatment Center, St. Louis.”

Some keywords require research. You can do your own keyword research by checking competitor websites to see keywords they rank highly for. Identify what keywords you have a chance to rank highly for based on competitor position.

For instance, if you were an orthopedic specialist and only one of your competitors ranked in the top five organic results for the term ‘5 things to know about joint replacement surgery,’ you could aim to rank highly for the term by publishing a blog post.

Where to place keywords in content?

Years ago, keyword placement and frequency within copy could manipulate search engine rankings. Back then, to achieve better rankings, it was common practice for content publishers would jam these phrases all over the text without worrying about the quality of the content.

Today, search engines reward high-quality content that stays on topic and penalize keyword-stuffed, off-topic content.

That said, content will generally rank higher when the keyword is included in the first 100-150 words of the body text. Using keywords early clearly communicates page topic to search engines.

Related Keywords

Imagine an orthopedic surgeon practice wants to publish an information page about hip replacement surgery. Today’s sophisticated search engines realize the phrases ‘hip replacement surgery’, ‘minimally invasive hip replacement’ and ‘standard hip replacement surgery’ are related.

This means you don’t have to repeat the same phrase throughout your copy. In fact, Google might even penalize you for that if it doesn’t sound natural. Today there are no “magic” keywords that boost search rankings.

Keyword mapping

You need to assign a unique keyword (topic) to each content page. This will ensure your websites pages will not compete against one another in search engine rankings.

Specific vs. Broad Keywords

The broader the keyword, the lower it will rank in search engines. The more specific the keyword, the better the chance it will rank highly in search engines. Also, site visitors will be engaged with your site because you are providing them with the content they want to see.

Optimized Metadata, URLs, and External Links

Optimizing meta descriptions, tags, URLs, and including external links improves user experience and helps Google understand your site (which boosts your SEO).

Title tags

Try searching for a keyword like ‘total knee replacement in Los Angeles.’ Notice how the top 3 results will have this keyword in the title. There is a strong correlation between top-ranking pages and optimized title tags (title tags with main keywords near the beginning) Also, title tag modifiers help you rank higher for keywords.

For instance, if you want to write a blog post about the attributes of a good orthopedic surgeon, write the title from the patient’s perspective, for example: “5 Tips for Finding an Orthopedic Surgeon.”

Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are the text visible to searchers in search engine results pages that describe the content on a web page. They appear immediately below title tags. Google limits meta descriptions to 160 characters. Optimized meta descriptions include the main keyword and are limited to 160 characters or fewer.

Consider using a metadata template like this one:

  • Title tag: This Is A Webpage Title Tag
  • URL: https://website.com/page-title
  • Meta description: This is a [content overview]. Learn how to get [special benefit] from this [content description]. This description should be no longer than 160 characters.

h1 and h2 Tags

Wrap the title of your page in h1 tags and subheadings in h2 tags in source code to help Google understand page topics. WordPress adds the h1 tag to blog posts automatically.

URLs

URL structure is an important ranking signal. Remember to make URLs short by including only the keyword and the necessary content. For example, the Orthopedic and Spine Institute of Los Angeles ranks in the top 3 for the search term ‘total knee replacement in Los Angeles’.

Their optimized URL: https://www.laorthoexperts.com/total-knee-replacement. It’s fine to include more words than the keyword in your URLs.

External Links

External or outbound links improve page ranking in search results. Users may not trust information that makes claims but includes no outbound links.

Time to go publish some great content!

Focus on creating a great user experience by publishing high-quality, comprehensive content, and higher search engine rankings will follow. This will bring more and more prospective patients to your website.

Pandemic Medical Marketing

Adjusting Your Medical Practice’s Content Marketing for A Pandemic

Pandemic Medical Practice Marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its tenth month. There is widespread cautious optimism that the worst is over. Vaccines will soon be distributed, and social distancing and masking are by now second nature for people. But there is still a long winter ahead and many major population centers will be at least partially locked down.

What does this mean for your medical practice’s content marketing? It should remain COVID-sensitive indefinitely.

 

Are your marketing campaigns still COVID-proof?

Early in the pandemic during the nationwide lockdowns, many marketers for medical practices suspended ad campaigns. Medical appointments and procedures were delayed for months, especially elective surgeries. Though practices began opening at limited capacity in the spring, the delays created an appointment and elective surgery backlog.

Some cities and states recently reinstituted lockdowns. Many, many patients are facing negative health consequences due missed appointments and procedures.

Content marketing in this environment requires extra sympathy, flexibility, and patience. Here are some ways to create it:

Build your brand as you work through backlog.

Your backlogs may take months or even years to defray. Launching ad campaigns targeting new patients who may have to wait around for months would be a poor allocation of your marketing budget.

Instead, focus on campaigns that enhance your brand image. You can create value for your patients and prospective patients by posting content on your website and social media. Here are a few ideas:

  • -general informational content (on your practice’s area of medicine)
  • -explanation videos about procedures and treatments
  • -virtual seminars on topics such as managing symptoms until surgical intervention is available

Communicate clear expectations to patients.

It’s important to keep your patients up to date. Overall, the at-risk populations (and their family and friends) have had the toughest time physically and mentally during the pandemic. You can earn their trust by creating content that addresses their worries and reassures them that your practice will take care of their health.

You can post COVID policy updates on your website banner, send emails, and post links on your social accounts to your practice’s updated COVID-19 policies (on your website).

Update Google My Business listings.

Your patients and prospective patients perform local searches for medical practice listings and directions to your medical practice. Make sure to update your business hours and continue updating your COVID-19 policy posts on Google My Business (these posts expire after seven days).

Medical Content Marketing

Online Content Marketing: Why It’s Essential for Your Medical Practice

What is content marketing?

At the most fundamental level, content marketing for medical practices is about creating content aimed at converting potential patients and retaining current patients.

 

Why is it necessary?

Dedicating time and energy to bringing value to your audience through high-quality content can only benefit your practice.

How so?

It may help to think of content marketing like public relations. The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as “a strategic process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Public relations spokespeople create compelling narratives that enhance their organization’s reputation. For medical practices, your content marketing is like your spokesperson.
It builds and enhances your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness with your patients, potential patients, and other practices and organizations in your medical field.

 

How does it work?

In traditional marketing, businesses send out ads then wait for customers or clients to come buy their products and services. In online content marketing, businesses reach out to potential customers and clients wherever they are (search engines, social media, email, etc.).

Here are some proven strategies that should be part of your content marketing plan:

  • Create a patient-friendly website.

Your website is the first contact your patients and potential patients have with your practice. Nowadays most people quickly scan websites on mobile phones. That’s why your content needs to be easy to read (8th grade level).

It should inform visitors on the medical care you provide. Pages describing procedures and or treatments are helpful. Staff bios can add a personal, trustworthy touch to your practice’s website.

 

Have a focused social media effort.

For most practices, one or two social media platforms are enough. And Facebook needs to be one of them. According to Pew Research, seven in ten U.S. adults use Facebook. The Facebook community are highly engaged with medical content. Here are a few content tips for any social platform:

  • Optimize your social pages, especially Facebook. You can copy and paste some content from your website like the about and the contact information.
  • Share your accomplishments, recognitions, and honors.
  • Be involved with the local community. Post positive messages about local sporting events and school graduations. Post photos of you and your staff with people in the community.

 

Monitor your practice’s online reputation.

Most of your future patients will find out about your business online. Yelp and Google reviews can have a huge positive impact. Consider the following:

  • 90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians*
  • 43% of patients would go out of their insurance network for a practice/provider with favorable reviews*
  • 66% of patients surveyed feel it’s very important that healthcare providers respond directly to negative reviews*

*Statistics from Softwareadvice.com’s 2020 Master Patient Experience Survey

 

ElevationMD Content Marketing

We can work with you to create a comprehensive online content marketing plan for your practice. Give us a call to get started.