If you’ve stumbled across this website, chances are you have a medical website that’s not performing the way you’d like. If that’s the case, we’re here to help. Ranking medical websites, or any websites for that matter, on Google, is no easy feat. Does it really matter? In short, the answer is yes.
There are a number of reasons to employ a good SEO strategy for your medical website in order to rank higher in the search results on Google and other search engines.
Does SEO Matter for Medical Websites?
SEO matters for healthcare websites for a number of reasons. In addition to boosting web presence and visibility for doctors and other healthcare providers, medical SEO can help you to outrank your competitors, manage your practice’s reputation, increase traffic, and gain new patients.
In today’s modern world, there is heavy competition among medical professionals, making medical SEO more important than ever. With local businesses that offer essentially the same services as you, it’s imperative to stand out in the digital world in order to have a competitive edge.
The digital age we live in today means more and more people are relying on internet searches and the results from those queries to locate different services, medical services especially.
When potential patients have a medical problem, if they don’t already have a primary care physician or doctor they trust, they turn to the internet. These people have specific inquiries and motives behind their searches – they have needs.
Medical SEO allows you to tap into those needs, responding directly and engaging with potential customers and patients.
To rank your medical website on Google, you have to employ an effective medical SEO strategy.
Benefits of Medical SEO for Health and Wellness Websites
Increase in organic traffic
What SEO does for all websites, not just those in the healthcare industry, boosts organic traffic. Organic traffic can be defined as the users who visit your website based on a Google search.
What’s the benefit to organic traffic? Well, with more traffic, you can increase your leads for potential patients.
If you have a larger, global reach, you have the potential to monetize your site through either ads or affiliate revenue as well.
Acquire new patients without advertising
Long gone are the days of most traditional marketing services. In today’s marketing climate, you need to take a step into the digital realm.
Marketing can be an extremely expensive ordeal. Thankfully, the days of radio, print, and television advertising are largely gone, as these methods become increasingly obsolete.
With a properly implemented medical SEO strategy, you can avoid costly advertising services.
Increase new patient appointments
When you are utilizing digital marketing to boost your local SEO, you reach many prospective patients in your geographical area. When your medical site is optimized for SEO, your website appears before those of your competitors in the organic search results.
Increase in patient reviews and engagement
Patient reviews are hands-down the number one factor that will get you more patients. Part of this is done by your performance as a healthcare provider. You have to provide excellent quality care to get excellent reviews.
Reviews also serve as a way to manage your reputation. By engaging with patients online and replying to reviews, you are able to do some damage control, should any negative reviews arise.
Always be polite, courteous, and understanding in your replies. Try to explain the situation to the best of your ability without coming off as aggressive or defensive.
Increase Patient Confidence in Your Practice or Clinic
Medical SEO can be used, not only to improve your website rankings but also to increase patient confidence in your services.
Patients have more confidence in medical practices that show up high in search engine results pages when they are searching for something related to your services offered.
Rank Medical Website on Google: How To
YMYL & E-A-T
YMYL and EAT are two huge contributing factors to the success and failures of medical websites. Let’s take a closer look at what these acronyms stand for and what they mean from an SEO perspective.
YMYL stands for ‘Your Money, Your Life’ and refers to the fact that some websites (medical websites included) play a direct role in the livelihood of the users who view them. They have the potential to directly affect the user’s health, financial stability, safety, future happiness, or other aspects of livelihood.
Google does not mess around when it comes to websites that it views as YMYL. Writers of YMYL websites and posts must have the proper E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) to give advice or information on YMYL topics.
Expertise Authoritativeness and trustworthiness
Each of these topics that make up the E-A-T acronym contributes to a site’s ranking factors. As medical professionals, it’s assumed that you have each of these attributes – expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Expertise refers to the amount of special knowledge or skill one has in a particular subject. To be an expert in one’s field is to have a substantial amount of expertise.
Authoritativeness is the quality of having authority in a certain discipline. When one is considered an authority on a given topic, he or she is considered an extremely reliable source of information on said topic.
Trustworthiness doesn’t have a definition, as it’s a concept everyone in the world is familiar with. Internet users and searchers need to feel that the information they are receiving comes from a trustworthy source.
Plain and simple, if a user doesn’t trust you, they will leave your site. Google notices this and will place your site lower in search rankings.
How to Increase Your E-A-T
You can demonstrate your expertise by writing about what you know. Ensure your content is accurate, comprehensive, and easy to understand.
You can help your authoritativeness by posting many substantial, well-researched articles on a particular subject. This boosts your authority on that given subject.
You can also boost your authoritativeness by having others refer to you on their websites. This could mean guest posting, speaking at public events, or getting mentions in online medical publications.
You can boost your trustworthiness in pretty straightforward ways. Ensure your contact information is up-to-date and accurate, as well as your consumer services. Offering patient support as well as a site that has secure financial transactions also helps.
One simple way to improve the EAT on your website is to have an ‘About’ page that discusses the staff at your clinic, their degrees and certifications, and other qualifying information.
An effective doctor’s bio is a great way to showcase your achievements and accomplishments while providing Google with the necessary credentials to trust the content you produce.
Content is King
Content is one of the top methods to boost the SEO of your medical website and rank higher in search engines. A simple way to increase the content output of your healthcare website is to have a ‘blog’ section.
Here, you can write different posts on subject matter that is relevant to your practice. For example, if you are a dermatologist, the following topics could potentially be blog posts:
- Best Sunscreens for Kids
- Hyaluronic Acid: Is It Effective?
- Should You Try IPL At Home?
- Best Ways To Protect Your Skin This Summer
- Best Ways To Minimize Scars and Stretch Marks
Now, these are mere suggestions for your healthcare website and have not had proper keyword research implemented to determine if they are worth writing about. We’ll get into that below.
As long as you are producing high-quality, well-written content that directly answers your users’ queries, there’s a good chance you may end up with the number one search result! You may even wind up getting your website featured on Google’s rich snippets.
Implement Keyword Research
Keyword research refers to searching for and analyzing different terms that users input into Google when they conduct internet searches. The analysis is in regard to how many people are searching for a particular term, and how competitive it is to rank for that term.
There is no point in writing content that a.) no one is searching for, and b.) you won’t be able to rank for in search results.
In addition to writing content that people are searching for and that you can rank for, proper keyword research helps you to directly reach your target audience.
Now, for the above-mentioned potential blog posts for a dermatologist’s website, I did not conduct keyword research to determine if these posts would be worth writing. Keyword research would be required to see if those would be good topics for blog posts.
Keyword stuffing, the practice of over-inserting specific keywords throughout the copy of a blog post or article, is outdated and should not be a method of ranking for important keywords. Google’s algorithms are smart. They will understand what you’re writing about without keyword stuffing.
Produce Content Regularly
Regularly producing fresh, well-written and high-quality content helps a great deal with medical SEO. In addition to helping you establish a returning audience and appearing more in Google rankings, new content also helps you to gain authoritativeness.
It’s important, however, to not simply churn out irrelevant or low-quality content. You need to produce fresh content that gives valuable well-written information, thorough, and well-researched.
Different types of content
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
There are four different types of content that you can use in your medical SEO strategy and overall content marketing strategy.
Authority content is content that positions your medical practice as an authority on a certain topic. As we’ve discussed above, having authority in your given niche is an absolute must in the world of medical SEO.
Your patients need to know that you are an authority in regards to your specialty – or they will go somewhere else!
Offer invaluable information to your readers that is well-written, well-researched, and nothing short of credible. Using the proper tone demonstrates to your readers that you understand your target audience and their needs.
Producing high-quality, authority content is a great way to gain backlinks naturally as well.
Attraction content is meant to bring users to your medical website. You can have the best healthcare site in the world, but it won’t matter if no one is clicking! Attraction content is meant to be shareable, readable, and popular.
Ideas for attraction content pieces for a medical website would be:
- 10 Ways To Relieve Headaches Naturally
- 6 Common Causes of UTIs You May Not Know!
- 5 Things You Need To Be Telling Your Gynecologist
As you can see, attraction content is usually in the form of ‘listicles’ – they may seem a bit cheesy, but they’re very popular with readers. And they’re popular with content creators because they work!
Affinity content aims to give yourself a bit of humanity, showing your readers that you are similar to them. This helps your readers to take preference you over the competition.
Affinity content can typically be used in conjunction with other types of content. For example, a content piece can be both affinity and authority content.
It’s all about how you can emotionally resonate with your readers. Things like shared world views, sharing personal anecdotes, and the like are all things that can help your readers to realize your humanity.
As its name implies, action content is all about getting your users to take action. Whether that means booking an appointment online, ordering medical supplies from your site, or simply signing up to be on an email list in order to get more leads – it’s all about action content.
Use Social Media Channels to Promote Content
Social Media is a whole different ballgame in digital marketing that goes beyond the scope of this post. However, you can use your social media channels to promote content. This increases engagement and is a great way to interact with new users and potential patients.
Check Out the Competition
Particularly with regard to local competitors, you want to see what’s working for them. Using tools such as SEMRush and Ahrefs allows you to take a look at your competitors and see what they are ranking for.
If it’s a site with a similar DA (domain authority) or DR (domain rating), there’s a good chance you can get ideas for your content strategy. If other websites that are similar to yours are ranking for a certain keyword, you should be able to rank for that keyword as well.
what is DA? is DR the same?
DA (domain authority) and DR (domain rating) are two metrics that have been established by Moz and Ahrefs, respectively. Though they are not official components of Google’s algorithm or ranking factors, both are used as predictors as to which sites will rank based on a combination of factors, such as the number of backlinks and backlink quality.
Backing Up Your Credibility With Backlinks
One way in which Google gauges how credible your website is is through your backlink profile.
Your backlink profile is comprised of how many domains link to yours, how many pages link to yours, how many total backlinks you have (do-follow being of the highest importance), and the quality of your backlinks.
Building a solid backlink profile takes time and effort – that is until your content begins getting recognized and acquiring backlinks naturally. Though, in the initial stages, it can be tough work and take up a lot of resources.
One popular way for medical websites to get high-quality backlinks from reputable sources is through HARO (Help a Reporter Out). It involves signing up for a site in which journalists seek out credible sources to contribute to their articles. There are many opportunities in the healthcare industry.
Considering the fact that most medical professionals don’t have the time, energy, or drive to deal with HARO, it’s a great task to outsource and can land you backlinks from authoritative websites such as Forbes, NY Times, WebMD, and more.
Another way you could obtain backlinks is by reaching out to publications you’ve contributed to in the past. If they have a mobile version of the publication, you could ask for backlinks to your website from that domain.
Check out our guide for detailed information on how to acquire backlinks to your medical website.
If you’ve ever conducted a search on Google and clicked on a site only to reveal that the site is taking too long to load, chances are, you exit that site and choose another one. Page speed is of great importance to the overall user experience, which is why Google and other search engines consider it one of the ranking factors.
Low-quality websites that take longer than three seconds to load will typically fall in the rankings.
To show up on the first page of Google’s search results, test your site speed and make any necessary optimizations to ensure it loads in less than three seconds.
A quality web design will be mobile-friendly. Most users in today’s day and age are accessing websites via smartphones or other mobile devices.
For a site or web page to be mobile-friendly, it should be streamlined across all devices and provide the same, high-quality user experience.
Google’s Local Pack & Other Directories
Ensure your medical practice’s business page is established on local directories and Google My Business. This ensures your medical site is reaching your target audience in local searches on Google in a given service area.
Local businesses that are registered on Google My Business and in Google’s Local Pack have a competitive edge over other healthcare websites that are not. Google My Business is an excellent resource to reach a local audience.
This is a component of medical SEO that is occasionally overlooked as it’s not one of the ranking factors in general SEO.
Site Not Ranking On Google? Here Are the Likely Culprits
Are you having issues with your site’s search engine rankings? Maybe you’re performing a Google search and don’t see your site appear at all?
It can be difficult for websites in the healthcare industry for a number of reasons. Most medical websites fall for the following reasons:
If you don’t have enough content on your site, it will be difficult to appear in organic results. With limited content, you are also telling Google that you have little authority. Other pages will appear before yours in the search engine results pages.
If you have a lot of content, but the majority of it is ‘thin content’ (i.e., posts with fewer than 400 words), Google takes that as insufficient information to answer search queries and may designate your web page as lacking in quality content.
Insufficient content decreases your overall page quality, which is something that definitely will not help you to rank medical websites on Google.
Websites that have technical problems such as broken links, faulty redirects, low site speed, mobile-friendliness, missing XML sitemaps, and other similar issues are problematic to any search engine. Such websites are likely to have low-quality pages in comparison to other sites that keep up with the technical side of things.
Ensure your site speed is up to par, is mobile-friendly, uses redirects properly, and has no broken links in order to ensure Google and other search engines don’t label your sites as low quality.
The page quality truly does matter, as Google wants the sites that it ranks on the first page to provide an excellent user experience.
You’re Targeting the Wrong Keywords
When you’ve got health and wellness websites that convey medical information, it’s important to understand who your target audience is.
If the goal of your healthcare website is to gain new patients and increase patient appointments, you have to be sure you’re targeting the right users.
In addition to targeting the right audience with proper keywords, you need to ensure that have enough search volume.
While in some instances it’s OK to target keywords with little to no search volume, it’s not normally the most effective use of a blog post or article.
As well as targeting keywords with decent search volume, you will need to be sure you are targeting keywords with an appropriate keyword difficulty for your website. If you are going after keywords that are too competitive, you will likely not be able to rank for them.
Search Engine Optimization is a powerful tool, when used correctly, for the healthcare industry. Google and other search engines use their algorithms to determine which pages should show up first in search results.
Employing an effective medical SEO strategy ensures that you are doing everything right in the eyes of the Google Gods.
Is it a bit too overwhelming? That’s understandable! It’s not for everyone. It’s no wonder that medical professionals around the world rely on SEO specialists or digital marketing agencies to handle this aspect of the business for them.
If you think that you need help with your medical SEO, don’t be afraid to reach out to the experts. After all, it’s a LOT to be an expert in a medical field AND in search engine optimization – it’s OK if you can’t do it all!
Sometimes it’s a better idea to outsource because, if you aren’t getting your SEO right, it won’t benefit you in any way. It’s a multi-faceted amalgam of different factors and the way they interact and interplay with each other, ultimately working toward the same end goal. Combined with data and analysis, it’s an extraordinarily intricate concept.
If you’re looking to outsource your search engine optimization efforts, you need to make sure the agency you hire is employing best practices and have some examples of case studies for you to see.
Avoid any SEO agency that claims ‘guaranteed’ results, as this generally means they aren’t doing things according to Google’s rigorous standards.
Remember, results won’t happen overnight and it will take time to gain in the rankings – but it will be well worth it!