With increased internet searches for medical information, search engine optimization (SEO) is quite imperative to grow your overall patient base or attract a certain type of patient. An effective SEO campaign tailored to meet the specific marketing needs of your healthcare organization ensures that your prospective patients find your website and access the information or service they want. Prepping your website for each season should be exciting and rewarding, so spend some time looking at your website to see where it needs some contouring to look attractive and at the same time provide a wonderful user experience.
Take the case of a plastic surgery website. Medical SEO is highly relevant for plastic surgeons in the summer season, with people looking for beach-ready bodies, minimally invasive/minimal downtime procedures etc. Plastic surgeons have to make sure that patients looking for their services find their website. From the point of view of reputation and brand building also, website optimization is vital for lead generation and conversions for all medical specialties.
Effective Medical SEO Strategies
- On-page and Off-page Optimization – On-page optimization refers to the optimization efforts made on your website that are clearly visible. These include keyword research, content marketing involving adding/modifying content, conversion and layout, XML sitemap submission, optimizing Meta data and Schema Mark-up, title tag optimization, URL optimization and image optimization (adding before and after photos in the case of a plastic surgery website). Off-page optimization is done outside of your website and usually not visible on the website. This includes directory submission, press release creation and submission and listing management (for example, Google Plus local listings). Both types of optimization are required to keep your site fresh and useful always.
- Social Media Management – Social media is a powerful tool to let your audiences know quickly what all healthcare services you provide. Instead of concentrating on a particular social networking site, put your efforts on all major social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. You can post blogs, images and videos on these sites and drive the attention of your targeted audience. Campaign management on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is quite effective.
- Reputation Management – Managing the reputation of a healthcare institution is very important since safety concerns related to healthcare services are very high. Make sure that your practice or hospital information is up-to-date throughout the web. Pay attention to online reviews as they have the greatest potential to influence new patients. Update incorrect and outdated information regarding your practice on review listing sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, and Vitals among others. Respond to patient reviews while addressing negative reviews carefully and politely. Claim and update your Google Local information. Optimize your local listings including the listing of services, images and other relevant data. Ensure that social mentions of your physicians, practice or hospital are monitored and managed effectively.
- Search Engine Marketing – Search engine marketing utilizes advertisement opportunities with Google AdWords, Facebook, Bing and others (for example, pay-per-click advertisement) to immediately get your site in front of a large number of people searching online. Your ads and landing pages should be highly personalized and relevant to better target your website. Consider your budget and identify appropriate conversion opportunities for the effective implementation of this strategy.
Need for Mobile-friendly Designs
As more and more people are now using smartphones and tablets, mobile-friendly designs are very important for healthcare websites to attract targeted audiences. Moreover, Google updated its algorithm to use a website’s mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal from April 21, 2015. When designing your website for mobile users, keep in mind that most mobile searchers are maybe in on-the-go situations, or maybe engaged in some other activity. This reinforces the necessity of making your site accessible, appealing and informative.
Responsive web design (RWD) is the practical option if you want your business website to perform well on both mobiles and desktops. This design is attractive and is simple to read and navigate across all mobile devices, irrespective of the screen’s size. It provides a great user experience.
A non-mobile optimized site can bring you the following difficulties and make people quickly leave your site without any intention of coming back. Here are some major issues.
- Small Text – Though this may not be a problem on a desktop computer screen, it can be a major deterrent for mobile users. Font size may also not fit on the small mobile device screens that are not well-optimized.
- Stretched Navigation Bar – Attractive navigation bars are fine for bigger screens. Such navigation bars may appear stretched out on small screens if the site is not mobile optimized and prevent visitors from reading the content properly.
- Confined Graphics – Buttons and links may appear close together on a small screen which makes it too hard to click them.
- Flash Elements – Flash elements including videos and banners won’t display properly on a non-optimized site due to their larger size.
- Slow Loading Speed – When a mobile device tries to load a non-optimized website with a lot of images and text, it will take a long time to appear, or may not appear at all. It is important to design the website for quick load and download times.
With a mobile medical website design, you can eliminate unnecessary functions from your site, enhance its usability and give more reasons for mobile audience to visit your site. You can design the website specifically for mobile devices and maintain two separate sites or you can choose to have a responsive web design (RWD). A mobile medical website design is simply a different version of your site built with better navigation that makes surfing and scrolling on a small screen easier. This will contain all the same pages and contents as your desktop version. Mobile users can access the site from anywhere without downloading any app. However, this option is not suitable for healthcare organizations having budget limitations, or having websites without enough content to maintain two sites. RWD is a more viable solution in this regard because in this case, websites are designed to respond to the screen size of a variety of devices. The major benefits of RWD are:
- Single URL – With RWD, there is no need to maintain two separate URLs and struggle a lot to rank for both. You can put all your optimization efforts on a single URL.
- Google’s Preferred Version – The search engine giant gives preference to a responsive design. This is the design recommended in its guidelines for mobile website development.
- Enhanced User Experience – RWD is often considered the best way to provide optimal user experience. This design makes it easier for the mobile audience to find, read and share content. Mobile users can easily navigate through your website just as a desktop user.
- Increase Conversion Rate – As your site is optimized for different types of devices, your visitors can access important elements within your site irrespective of which device they are on and this will increase the conversion rate.
Are You Prepared?
- Use Google’s Mobile-friendly test to find out whether your practice website is mobile compatible.
- To find out about usability issues and errors, use Google’s Mobile Usability Report
- Make sure that Google’s mobile bots are able to easily crawl your website.
- Ensure that every web page in your site is mobile friendly.
- See to it that users can easily click on buttons, links and other elements on your mobile site.
A mobile friendly, fully optimized and dynamic website that ranks high on search engines will bring you new patients while meeting the needs of existing patients.