Doctors, dentists, hospitals, and other health care providers use medical SEO, or search engine optimization, to attract patients. It’s possible to attract a particular type of patient, or patients within a certain area, with search engine optimization.
It’s also possible to protect the business’s reputation with SEO. With so many websites offering patients, vendors, and others the opportunity to review the practice, it’s important to deliver the message and content intended. Strong search engine optimization strategy helps patients to identify the practice’s website and review important information as the owner or owners intend it.
Build Referral Trust
Patients may be referred by a primary care or specialist physician. However, today’s sophisticated medical consumer is likely to go online to perform some research about the referred doctor, hospital, dentist, laboratory, or other health care provider.
It’s essential for the individual to know that the provider is both skilled and qualified. Many patients also want feedback on the office’s user-friendliness or complaints posed by others who’ve visited the business.
For that reason, the medical or health care website is built to provide education to the patient or others who will visit the practice. An educational site usually means it’s easier for those searching for the practice to find it on search engines like Google. It’s important for patients or vendors to find the site quickly, because this fact alone can inspire confidence and greater trust in the practice.
Current patients may also perform research about the practice. A negative post on a review site or a long wait for services at the office can prompt a patient to search for information about the practice. Negative news about the hospital or practice almost ensures that existing patients will search for more details.
Existing patients ability to easily find the practice website and/or recent news about the business is important. The ease with which current or future patients can find information will help to retain them. Search engine optimization is a key component of building and maintaining the practice.
Online Marketing and Branding Strategy
It’s clear that every word about the practice or provider counts. A practice or hospital that doesn’t believe in providing information to patients may lose current or prospective patients to competitors who provide the data they’re looking for.
According to the Wall Street Journal, more than a billion websites are competing for search engine’s page prioritization. A health care search engine optimization service search evaluate the website’s SEO and SEM (search engine marketing); social media presence, listening and marketing; paid search; content marketing; brand monitoring; digital lexicon analysis; competitive intelligence analyses and audits; and conversion rates (CRO).
Total Online Marketing Strategy
Online marketing strategy should also consider user experience. Website graphics and technology should work together to promote the provider’s perspective. Color and graphic design are just as important to the user’s perception of the practice. A jarring color scheme may get the user’s attention but might not promote the practice’s intended perspective.
What’s more, a website that hasn’t been updated in a while can give the user an unintended message. He or she may automatically conclude that the practice or provider doesn’t care about communicating well or that younger patients aren’t welcomed by the business. In particular, it’s important to consider mobile design and features that make using the website easy for current or prospective patients.
One question that comes up is about handling so many important items that are not health care providers’ specialty or within their comfort zone. There are companies dedicated to medical marketing such as Solution21 that work with medical professionals on their website design and improve the visibility of their website by executing medical SEO strategies.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, about 50 percent of patients and vendors are using mobile devices to communicate with health care practices today. Because of the large number of site visits from mobile devices, it’s critical for the site owner to consider the impact of the mobile Internet. Site design must be mobile-responsive now.
It’s also important to consider that a growing number of patients use multiple screens or devices to access information about a doctor, dentist, hospital, laboratory, or other health care provider. Unfortunately, more than half of doctor, dentist, hospital, laboratory, or provider sites aren’t designed for positive user experience.
If the user expects to find the site with ease and has difficulty using it, a gap between what he or she expects to experience can affect his or her decision to visit the provider.
Patients have the option to access massive amounts of information about their symptoms, disease or condition, and treatment options by searching online. Higher authority sites, like Mayo Clinic, can help the patient to prepare for a provider visit. According to WebMD.com, more than 70 percent of online users report that they searched for health-related information over the past 12 months.
Providing patients with relevant health information can assist the physician in making an accurate diagnosis. When patients prepare for the visit by writing down current symptoms and medications they take now, they maximize personal and provider time.
Search engine optimization is just one of the tools to assist practices and providers in attracting the patients they want to serve. More patients use the Internet to prepare for a doctor or provider visit than ever. More patients than ever prepare for physician phone or video calls by researching relevant information.