When discussing SEO, you may hear the terms ‘backlinks’ or ‘link building strategies’ thrown around quite a bit. Similar to any other industry, backlinking is part of an effective SEO strategy. In the world of digital marketing and search engine optimization, trust is a major factor.
Backlinks are like votes of confidence for your site. The more backlinks you have, the more Google believes you are a credible, authoritative, and trustworthy source of information. Google and other search engines reward websites that have numerous, high-quality backlinks since they want users to get the best possible information out there.
What are Backlinks and Why Do They Matter?
Backlinks to a medical website are very important. People want to place great trust in their doctors and other industry leaders. As such, Google places special emphasis on ensuring that medical practice websites that show up in Google search results are the best of the best, particularly for a healthcare website.
Other search engines are important too, of course, to target as part of your marketing strategy. However, Google is the gold standard. This is especially true for medical practices.
A strong link-building strategy will help your healthcare website to get more traffic, rank higher in organic search rankings, and give your target audience the most useful information on healthcare practices.
The goal of any digital marketing strategy is to increase website rankings in organic search results by obtaining as many backlinks as possible. In doing this, you see practice growth and eventually earn backlinks naturally.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links on other websites that direct back to your medical practice website. Sometimes referred to as link building, acquiring backlinks is a component of healthcare SEO basics. Not only do backlinks bring traffic to your site, but they act as votes of confidence. The more backlinks your site has from authoritative websites, the more Google trusts that you as a healthcare provider know what you’re doing. They can also assist in bringing potential patients to your website. Encourage new patients to engage with your website as well.
Why Do You Need Backlinks? and How Do They Affect Healthcare SEO?
Backlinks are a great strategy for boosting SEO. A strong backlink profile suggests to Google that you have valuable content and that users will benefit from visiting your site. They also suggest a high degree of trust and authority. Backlinks to a medical website are a huge aspect of a digital marketing strategy for a healthcare provider.
The medical field is considered a YMYL industry in the eyes of Google. YMYL stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life’. When a website has YMYL content that, when untrue, inaccurate, or deceptive, could have an immediate and dire effect on the user’s livelihood. These include considerations such as health, financial security, safety, and overall happiness.
Google leaves no room for error with this type of content. Medical providers with experience and expertise need to be the ones who write (or review) medical content. So, you can see how important trust and authority are in healthcare SEO.
Not All Backlinks Are Created Equal
Not all backlinks are created equal. A valuable backlink comes from an authoritative site, a site with a high DA, or a site with an otherwise proven track record. A backlink with little value comes from a new or spammy site or a site that is irrelevant to your content.
A very high-quality backlinking strategy is to obtain backlinks from news or media outlets or websites that end in .edu (a university website, for example).
If you want to boost your local rankings, try to obtain local backlinks. If you want to expand your global reach, you should acquire backlinks from global sites.
Domain Authority 101
Domain Authority (DA) is a score used in search engines for ranking purposes. It was developed by Moz and is used to determine how likely it is that a website will rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs).
DA is calculated by taking into account the number of referring domains and the total number of backlinks. Though it is not an official part of Google’s ranking algorithm, it is a useful predictor to determine the likelihood that a page or site will rank well.
Many digital marketers focus a little too much on DA. It’s important to remember that DA is not part of the official ranking algorithm of Google, but a mere predictor of a page’s success in SERPs.
How To Get Quality Backlinks To Your Medical Practice Website
Healthcare marketers will be the first to tell you how important it is to obtain high-quality links to your healthcare practice site. Building links gets you more traffic, more patients, and more trust.
Quality links to your medical practice website can help you to achieve all of these things. It takes a bit of work, but in the long run, it’s well worth it.
Healthcare directories such as WebMD.com, Doctors.com, HealthGrades.com, etc. are all beneficial in obtaining what is known as ‘citations’. Citations are like a type of backlink but they are found in a directory. Set up a profile page on these websites and the resulting backlink will be a highly authoritative domain in the eyes of Google.
College and University Websites
If your specialty is something that is taught in medical schools or undergrad colleges or universities, you could potentially get backlinks by searching course curricula in order to see if you write about something that is being taught. Contact the assistant professor as the main professor will likely be too busy to get back to you.
These backlinks will come from a .edu site and will show a great deal of authority. Marketing professionals see backlinks from .edu sites as highly desirable in helping a page rank.
General Business Directories
Yahoo, Yelp, Google, etc. Set up profile pages on these directories as well as on Google Maps and Google My Business. Other pages can be helpful too. In addition to the links themselves, you’ll increase the online presence and brand recognition of your healthcare practice, a crucial component of your digital marketing strategy.
Specific Provider Directories
If your practice gives a specific service, such as mole removal or breast augmentation, see if you can find a directory specific to the service you provide and create a profile page. This is highly relevant in healthcare SEO as well as a great way to acquire more patients. Search engines are highly likely to rank your page to a specific service in the healthcare industry. You can also possibly rank in searches related to your specific service.
Local Medical Directories
If there are any local directories in your area, be sure to create a profile page on those as well. This is especially important, not only for the SEO of your site but also in patient acquisition.
Make a note that the inclusion of your link on profile pages of directories is considered more of a citation than a backlink (same as maps) but helps to significantly boost local SEO. Local SEO is of particular importance if you are also interested in reaching potential patients in addition to increasing your rankings.
Contributions and Publications
If you have previously published content, online or otherwise, you can reach out to the publisher for a backlink. If you are getting involved in local events or medical conferences, see if they can link to your website. This will also help boost your local SEO.
Another way to gain backlinks to your medical practice website is by submitting a guest post on other high-authority medical sites, though this is only feasible if you have the time and patience to do so. Guest posts can help you earn links from high-quality external websites, though it can be time-consuming. You can usually get 2-3 links to your own website from a guest post.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a great option if you have the time (or an assistant) to respond to queries. There is a medical subfield in which journalists and reporters are looking for experts in a certain field for credible reporting.
Subscribe to HARO to be notified by email about these opportunities. Medical practices can strongly benefit from this link-building technique. HARO queries tend to produce quality links from highly authoritative websites to help your page rank and generate traffic.
Employ an Effective Content Strategy
This will help backlinks to find you instead of having to find sites to link back to your medical practice website. Think of it as a passive backlink campaign. Create linkable, quality medical content to naturally gain backlinks from high-quality and authoritative sites. Focus on unique content, patient cases if you have the permission to share, create infographics that other sites may use, etc.
High-quality content is the best way to obtain backlinks passively from other sites. Producing content that provides the user with helpful information and unique strategies is a foolproof way to build backlinks from a well-known site. A strong strategy to boost healthcare SEO is always to provide relevant, helpful information in the form of consistent, quality content.
Content marketing is a great tool to employ in order to get a rise in search engine results. In the high-quality content that you produce, be sure that you target keywords appropriate to your field. Your target keywords should be relevant to your site, something you can rank for, and something that users are searching for.
What NOT To Do When Building Backlinks To Your Medical Practice Website
Don’t Buy Links!
Google punishes this practice. You may find companies on Fiverr or another service that offers to link back to your website. This is a blackhat SEO practice that is frowned upon in the industry. A website should obtain links naturally for an SEO boost.
Google will punish your website by de-indexing it or removing it from search results. As search engine rankings are the ultimate goal, you definitely don’t want to do this.
Don’t Waste Your Time On Low-Quality Backlinks
Considering the fact that not all links are created equal, take your time and resources and use them toward finding high-quality backlinks from sites with a lot of authority and minimal spam scores. Medical practices in particular need to employ this link-building technique in order to gain trust in the eyes of Google.
When considering search marketing, your link-building strategies need to be aimed at finding the highest quality backlinks that are most worth your time. For many marketing industry professionals, link building is the most difficult (and time-consuming) aspect of medical SEO.
Don’t Waste Your Time On Backlinks From Sites That Get No Traffic
Yes, you want the link to be more authoritative in the eyes of Google, but considering the fact that link building is a time and resource-consuming practice, you want to be able to also get some traffic from those backlinks. The sites you target should have some decent traffic to be worth the time in your medical SEO campaign.
If you are only employing a backlink strategy to increase your DA and your chance of ranking, then you don’t need to worry too much about the site’s traffic. Though, in general, a website that is highly authoritative and high in quality will generally get decent traffic naturally.
As long as you are aiming for the best link from a high-quality website, it’s likely that the website gets good traffic on its own.
Don’t Hire A Medical SEO Agency That Gives You a Monthly Link Quota
These agencies will give you tangible results in the form of backlinks, but normally they will be poor-quality sites, spammy sites, paid backlinks, or other blackhat SEO tactics that Google penalizes.
Similar to buying links, a monthly link quota is a big red flag. Your healthcare practice should produce enough high-quality content that there is no need to employ this practice to gain links.
Link Building is a Crucial Component of Your Medical SEO Strategy
As you’ve seen, getting links to your website from other pages is a great digital marketing tactic for search engine optimization. Search engines see backlinks to healthcare providers’ websites as votes of confidence.
Considering the importance of expertise, trust, and authority in the eyes of search engines, it’s clear that healthcare providers need to focus on more backlinks in order to rank higher, increase traffic, and generate new patients.
Remember, the best link is usually not the easiest link to obtain. Link building takes time and dedication. Eventually, using the methods we’ve discussed on getting backlinks to a medical practice website combined with a quality content strategy, your links will increase significantly.