Today’s consumers generally turn to search engines, notably Google, to find the right services and products for them. That’s right, they even search for various healthcare services and hospitals online. So what does this mean for your healthcare service?
It’s simple really — you must make your healthcare services easy to search for and find on the web. Without an optimized online presence, your facility is likely relying heavily on word-of-mouth referrals and super expensive traditional marketing methods like billboards, radio jingles, and TV ads.
But here’s the thing, effective marketing is all about reaching your target audience right where they are, and as of right now, your target audience is on the web.
Like any business that offers products and services, hospitals need a way to reach out to internet users since they could be potential patients. Since most of a hospital’s revenue comes from their patients, you should know the importance of establishing an online presence that will land them on the first page when a patient uses a search engine. And landing on the first page of a results page is possible through hospital SEO.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s the process of having your website appear on the top of the first page of a search engine result page.
Most would think that inserting keywords on your content and website that potential patients might use when using a search engine is the general definition of SEO. But it requires more than that.
What is Hospital SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO also has its specialized category of services for the healthcare industry: Hospital SEO. It is akin to putting digital road signs so search engines and online users can easily find you. Think of these search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc) as the middlemen who will direct potential patients to your healthcare facility.
For hospitals and healthcare institutions to stay in business and be successful, it’s essential to have a continuing influx of patients. However, if your patients can’t find you or have no idea what your facility offers, it wouldn’t matter if your staff is highly trained or if your equipment is state-of-the-art.
Does My Hospital Need SEO at all?
If no one’s paying for your services, then that would mean no revenue for you. That’s where the importance of hospital SEO websites comes in.
SEO for hospitals would require a concentrated effort made up of several elements that work together. It involves:
- Keyword optimization and inserting keywords naturally into your content and site
- Setting up your local listings
- Producing quality content consistently
- Optimized URLs for individual pages
- Optimizing in-site elements like alt tags and keyword meta tags
- Having backlinks from other high-ranking, relevant websites.
If an internet user entered “hospital near me” on a search engine, you’d want your hospital to appear first. And if some of the best cardiologists are working in your hospital, and a potential patient in your locality starts searching for “best cardiologists FL,” then you’d want that patient to find your hospital first. If they do, then they’re more likely to come to you for your specialized healthcare services.
Local search is by far the preferred way for patients to find healthcare providers online. Moreover, search drives three times more visitors to hospital sites compared to non-search. Due to that, most healthcare marketers agree that appearing in local searches is still one of the good ways of converting patients.
Why Should I Invest in Healthcare SEO?
In the addiction treatment space alone, about 86% of treatment seekers used Google search before scheduling their appointment. Additionally, 76% of them visited the treatment center’s website while searching for the best facility.
If done correctly, investing in SEO can drive up to 518% organic traffic to your site according to LegitScript data. And we all know that the higher the organic traffic to your website, the higher possibilities of getting potential leads!
SEO is a form of marketing that needs you to invest time and money for it to work. But once you see the returns on your investment, you’ll understand why almost every company, hospital, and treatment center is already doing it.
SEO for Hospitals: Where to Begin?
When it comes to hospital SEO, getting it right from the get-go is paramount. This means having a solid digital marketing foundation in place.
Most hospitals and healthcare services currently enjoying high rankings and quality organic traffic have had help from SEO specialists and digital marketing agencies. These agencies and specialists understand that Google’s algorithms, which determine which site appears on its search result page, constantly change. There is no fixed formula, and digital marketing agencies are aware of that. That’s why they keep themselves updated with the latest trend.
Before looking for a basic guide for hospital websites on the internet, it might be a good starting point to hire SEO and marketing professionals. Online guides like this article will help you understand the basics of hospital SEO, so you’ll understand your digital marketing agency’s jargon and process when they convey their plans to you.
Improving Hospital Website’s Performance on Search Engines
Here are some ways you can boost your hospital website’s SEO performance:
Publish Quality Healthcare Content
One of the factors that search engines consider is if a website produces new and relevant content consistently. Consider topics that are currently trendy to catch the attention of internet users.
It also helps to include data, facts, and stories that will help the target audience trust your healthcare institution. If you have healthcare workers who can publish good content about your niche, that would help boost your site’s performance.
However, if you can’t spare some time to create content for your website, you can always opt to find good content writers in the medical field to do it on your behalf. Make sure to find content creators who are knowledgeable about hospital SEO and can also write quality content for your target audience.
On-Site SEO Techniques
On-site SEO techniques refer to the elements of your website that have a significant impact on SEO. Some of these are your website loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and title tags.
Get A Mobile-Friendly Website
Having a mobile responsive website is also another way to improve your SEO performance. Google favors those sites that are mobile-friendly over those that are not and takes time to load.
44% of mobile users book appointments with hospitals after finding their information online. In addition to that, mobile-friendliness is one of Google’s factors for ranking when patients search a keyword on search engines.
Title tags are essential SEO factors too. These are elements that determine the titles of your web pages or blog posts. This is what’s displayed on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) as the clickable headline for a given search result.
SEO Meta Description
Users can find the meta description just below the titles in the SERPs (search engine results page). The description briefly summarizes the page’s content. Although the maximum character count for these are up to 160, the ideal number of characters should only be within 130-155 characters.
An alt tag is a text attribute placed on images that describe what the image contains for the benefit of the search engines.
H1’s and H2’s
Header tags are also important SEO factors as they also signal to search engines what your website talks about.
Anchor Text Links
Anchor text is the text with a hyperlink to either an internal or external website. The anchor text should be relevant to the page you’re linking out to.
Off-Site SEO Techniques
Under this category are off-site resources that offer backlinks to your website. Google prioritizes websites that are being mentioned with backlinks by other relevant healthcare websites. These off-site resources can be blogs and articles, healthcare directories, and social media posts.
There are various healthcare directories you can sign up for. Being listed in these directories are ranking factors as well! Make sure to be listed in reputable directories for better results!
Healthcare Social Media
Although it is debatable whether healthcare social media has an effect on SEO, it still matters as it brings in social traffic from huge platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIN, and so forth. Have a good social media campaign in place and use it to improve your inbound leads.
Hospital SEO is primarily about local SEO. One of the importance of hospital SEO websites is for the site to appear in local searches. Appearing in local searches means that potential patients around your area can find your healthcare facility easily with a high chance that they’ll book an appointment with you or will go straight to you in case of an emergency because you’re near their vicinity.
The importance of hospital SEO websites is not something one can stress enough. Most patients requiring medical services today would first turn to the web before scheduling a visit to the facility.
Savvy business owners and hospital administrators must therefore make sure that their healthcare services are readily searchable and visible online. And the most effective way to do that is through SEO.
With that in mind, RxMedia is your much-needed digital marketing prescription to grow your business, so you can continue to focus on giving healthcare prescriptions in your hospital. We’ll diagnose any issues affecting your digital marketing and provide tried and tested solutions so you are never lacking quality leads.