Ranking well with search engines like Google is the number one way medical and surgical practices gain organic (free) web exposure. More online exposure means more website traffic, which will result in more leads and ultimately more patients. But let’s start from the beginning.
What does it mean to “rank well” and how does one go about doing it?
Three words: Search Engine Optimization.
Or SEO for short.
In this technological era, the majority of people use search engines like Google to learn more about specific medical conditions and to find trustworthy doctors. SEO is a digital strategy that helps medical practices be found online by their searching prospects. If you want to learn more about SEO and how Google works, check out this blog post, How Google Works & Why It Matters to You.
A Word about Keywords
The first step to improving your medical practice’s SEO is choosing the right keywords for your website. What makes a keyword “right” vs. “wrong” is whether or not it meets the three primary criteria of relevance, volume, and difficulty.
The keywords you optimize for should be relevant to your patients and your practice. Make a list of the words, phrases, and variations of those words and phrases that your ideal patient would type into a search bar when describing their medical condition or looking for a product or service to relieve them. For example, if you’re an optometrist or managing an eye care center keywords like laser eye surgery, cataract treatment, and vision problems would all be relevant to your patients. Keywords like optometrists in Knoxville, TN and Tennessee eye doctor would be relevant to your practice.
The amount of traffic a keyword produces is ultimately contingent on how many people are using it. For a keyword to be valuable, you’ll want that number (search volume) to be moderate to large. If there aren’t enough people looking for Knoxville optometrist, consider switching around the word order of the key phrase to optometrist in Knoxville or using a synonym like Knoxville eye doctor instead.
Depending on the strength of the competition and your own website’s authority, it might be challenging to rank for your favorite keywords. This is because there are only 10 slots available on Google’s first page of results. If you’re a new website or an older website learning to optimize, you’ll have to displace someone who’s already in the top 10. Choosing a keyword that is too competitive will make it almost impossible to move up in rank. By focusing on less competitive keywords, you can start to gain authority and perhaps tackle a more difficult keyword at a later date.
Balancing relevance, volume, and difficulty can be tricky, but if you look hard, you can almost always find a sweet spot. If you’re just getting started, use keywords that have relatively low competition to build authority and then work your way up. If you’re having trouble coming up with keywords, think about what terms people are searching instead of words that convey your business. Often times, using keywords that describe the symptom of a medical condition (e.g. double vision and headaches) can be just as powerful as keywords that describe its solution (glasses and laser eye surgery).
An inbound marketing strategy with a primary focus on SEO has been proven to help patients find solutions to their medical problems. Learn more about inbound marketing for your medical or surgical practice here.