Do you think blogging is just for informational or educational purposes, and doesn’t drive patients to your medical practice? If so, it’s time to reconsider. Hubspot reported on the results from a survey of over 1,000 business bloggers from 2017, and the insights are astounding.
84% claim their business blog delivers strong results or some results, which is a 6% increase compared to the year before. And bloggers who update older posts are 74% more likely to see strong results. Why? There are many factors that come into play here, but the short answer is “Google”.
If you just rolled your eyes, we understand. Many doctors and healthcare professionals wish their patients would stay off the internet when they have a health issue because it can send them scurrying down the wrong diagnosis path. However, the reality is that patients do start with Google—or Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine—when they’re trying to understand a health issue.
According to a report compiled by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 72% of internet users say they looked online for health-related information of one kind or another within the past year. They also turn to Google when looking for a doctor or health professional near them to treat their symptoms. Here’s the catch: 75% of users only look at the first page of search results, according to Search Engine Journal. Blogging is a one of the most effective ways to increase your ranking so that your practice shows up in the top Google search results.
1 Blogging & Google Ranking
If you haven’t already, one of the best steps you can take to improve your chances of ranking high in the search engines is to add a blog to your practice’s website, and then publish blog posts frequently. When done correctly, each blog post will add a new page to your website, which increases your SEO ranking. Google works on an algorithm that’s complicated, but the basic premise is that it’s looking for websites that continually publish fresh information that people are searching for.
Google doesn’t want to deliver outdated information to its searchers. So when websites are frequently updated it signals to them that the website is vital and continually offering new content. The more you publish, the more Google notices and increases your ranking. The higher your ranking, the better chance you have of prospective patients finding you. Simply put, blogging is hand’s down the best way to add fresh, relevant content on a regular basis.
2 Staying Power
Google’s top priority is to provide the right information for people who are performing searches so that they’ll keep coming back to use Google again. If someone clicks on the first search result but doesn’t find it helpful they’ll leave and go back to the search page. That’s a signal to Google that the top-ranking result wasn’t as helpful as they’d figured.
On the other hand, a general rule of thumb is that if a prospective patient clicks on a result and remains on the website for longer than two minutes, that tells Google that this website is actually very helpful. So, the amount of time that people spend on your website once they visit it is also a ranking factor. If a patient clicks on your website to get quick information, like a phone number, that’s likely to just take seconds. However, if they visit and read a blog or two, the minutes start to add up.
Another benefit of posting up-to-date, relevant content is that other professionals may link back to your site, which increases your credibility and improves your SEO. For Google to notice your website as a trustworthy and authoritative source that others are turning to, other websites—especially respected ones that also rank highly—need to link back to yours.
While it’s not impossible to get external links without a blog, it is much harder. Research bears this out. HubSpot has found that companies that have an active blog on their website earn up to 97% more links from other websites.
Finally, aside from Google rankings, blogging shows patients that you care enough about them to educate and inform them about what you do and how you can help them. A blog creates an invitation for a patient to reach out and start a conversation with someone in your practice. And that conversation is the gateway to a scheduled appointment.
If you need a boost getting started, check out our free list of 2 Months of SEO-Optimized Medical Blog Post Titles.
And if you’d like to discuss medical marketing further, we’re here to help. Baker Labs specializes in helping medical practices grow by utilizing customized digital tools and strategies, including blogging. Contact us for a free marketing assessment of your medical practice, or for a free SEO audit of your website.