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.