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When a healthcare organization has a successful website, it connects them with patients seeking their services. However, with the volume of websites online and the traffic flowing through the internet, it often seems impossible to make those connections. It explains why some patients can’t find the healthcare services they need. This is why it is vital to have a well-functioning website that follows SEO to reach those people looking for you. In this article, we will take a look at what it takes to get search engines to recognize your healthcare website and review a few of the top tips that will assist you in fine-tuning your online efforts.
Think about when you use the internet to search for information. You typically use a search window and enter a question, phrase, or something related to what you are looking for. The search engine races through web pages it has indexed and uses keywords from your query to narrow down results that appear as a list of websites and web pages that have a connection to your query. The results are known as SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages.
You may scroll partway down the first page before you find an option that best fits what you are seeking information on. You may check out more than one result on that page before you find what you need. Typically, internet users rarely scroll past the first page. This is why SEO is so important as it assists website owners in getting their pages on the first page of an organic search. This is accomplished by using various SEO techniques from SEO services for health organizations.
For your hospital, practice, or healthcare organization website to appear on page one in a Google search, it takes several techniques that we will explore below. When the techniques are properly executed, your website increases in ranking. SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. The implementation of SEO includes good tactics (white hat) and bad tactics (black hat). Avoiding black hat techniques will aid in your SEO efforts.
Black hat organic marketing involves the use of a variety of supposedly secret tricks. These tricks are meant to push websites up the ranking scales used by search engines. There was a time when it did not matter what SEO tactics were used but now, the algorithms used by search engines continue to evolve to thwart black hat methods. The result is penalties that negatively affect the ranking and visibility of healthcare websites and web pages.
To get a healthcare website seen by those seeking the services, in an already saturated medium where competition is fierce and outranking websites is key to getting noticed, penalties can hurt those SEO efforts. This is why it is so important to learn what SEO techniques are the best, produce the best results, and won’t result in penalties. Here is a look at the best practices that will push your healthcare website up the rankings scale.
Healthcare SEO includes something known as on-site, or on-page techniques. This is a term that references a variety of things that are related to your website. They include such items as the code, words (content), and images (pictures). These are elements that you have control over and with correct SEO practices, you can give your website an edge.
Some on-site techniques worth pursuing include:
Anchor Text Links
An anchor text link is an important part of a backlinking strategy. Essentially, a piece of text that appears in your content that goes to another webpage that has relevant content is an anchor text link.
Text that appears on a webpage that is either bold or in italics is good. That is because the search engine bots that crawl websites focus on this kind of text. After all, if it is bold or in italics, it is highlighting important text.
Content continues to be the most important factor of any website. When you keep changing content by either adding more or making frequent updates, search engines eat that stuff up. New content keeps your site fresh.
The menu that appears at the foot, or bottom, of a webpage, can bring you significant traffic. Search engines view footers as a key to unlocking the relevance of a website or webpage in SERPs.
Considering that the majority of internet users surf the web with handheld devices, your website has to be mobile responsive. This means that the elements of each page fit on the different size screens of handheld devices.
Site speed, or page speed, is the term used to describe the speed a web page loads on a screen. Slow loading sites slip down the ranking pages of search engines while fast loading sites climb the scale.
There are various types of tags. They include:
Alt Tags – These tell search engines what are in images
Metadata – These are description tags that explain what your webpage is about and are visible as part of SERPs
H1 and H2 Tags – These are header tags that tell search engines what your website is about
Keyword Meta Tags – Only search engines see these and they help them to properly index your pages according to the keywords used
Title Tags – These coding elements determine the titles of your webpages
An effective backlinking strategy comes from properly executed off-site, or off-page SEO techniques according to Forbes Magazine. There are several ways to do this including:
Blogs and Articles
Blogs and articles permit you to publish relevant content that draws targeted traffic to your website.
Getting your healthcare website listed on various online directories under relevant headings or categories will also assist in directing targeted traffic to your website.
The distribution and publication of press releases expose your services to a wider audience and allow you to promote specific topics related to your healthcare service.
Online reviews can be a great source of new traffic to your website. The average internet user will read seven different reviews before making a decision. As there will be both positive and negative reviews, it is important to respond to both. Remember to remain HIPAA compliant in anything you post in an online review response.
A lot of people use social media channels like search engines. This is why you should have active profiles on various social media platforms and be prepared to engage with users.
Local search, as local SEO is commonly referred to, is where you optimize your website to produce traffic from location-based searching. For example, if your healthcare service serves more than one community, then it would be wise to have different landing pages for each of the communities served. It essentially personalizes the search results and makes users feel as if your service cares about their community as your website appears to focus on it.
Citations are crucial when search engines use them to evaluate the online authority of your healthcare service. Citations include some things but focus on online references to your business. These can be in the format of name mentions, your business address, phone number, links to your website, and any other way your healthcare organization receives an online mention.
Directories have been mentioned but one thing that will benefit your healthcare SEO more than anything else is consistency. This is true with directory listings. The fact that having a lot of listings in online directories is helpful, but if those listings differ considerably from one directory site to another, it is almost as if they cancel each other out. Search engines rank websites with consistent directory listings more favorably than inconsistent listings. So, the solution is to hunt down existing listings, resubmit or correct them to what you want your branding to be, and expand from there.
Online reviews play an important role in SEO per this article on Inc. Magazine. So much so that online review sites should be part of your reputation management process. Not only do they give you valuable feedback on what customers think about your healthcare services, but you also gain insights into how to improve what you are doing to serve those customers. Social media plays into this as well because Facebook is the top consumer rating website. Keeping tabs on your profile there will prove beneficial down the road.
It is tough enough to try to drive traffic to a healthcare website these days with so many of them getting launched daily. However, if you follow white hat SEO practices, you stand a better chance at reaching those people who are searching for your services. SEO is search engine optimization and involves a few things you can do connected to your website to attract better rankings from the search engines. When your website ranks better, it attracts more attention. But to gain that attention, your website must meet certain search engine criteria. The tips listed above outline a few of the top tips that will help your healthcare website get noticed by search engines.