Internet usage is growing daily, and most people turn to search engines like Google to search for any information they need to know. This is even in regard to searching for a doctor in their locality.
Instead of asking other people, patients use Internet to search for “doctors near me” and get the list of all doctors they can find near their location. In such a situation, it is important for doctors to set up a website and rank in the search results.
There will be at least thousands to millions of content for each keyword. In such a scenario, getting ranked on the first page of the search results is not an easy task.
This is where you can use SEO to make relevant changes to your website. This can make your website rank higher and make you more visible to your patients who need your services.
How Does SEO Work for Doctors?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help doctors reach new patients organically without having to spend too much on advertising and other marketing services.
Every time when a person searches for any medical keyword on the Internet, the search engine goes through all pages related to the keyword and ranks them accordingly.
Some keywords have millions of search results, while some have around a few thousand search results. The ranking of these pages is determined based on several factors. For a website to rank among all these competition, the website should have undergone the necessary optimizations.
As a doctor, it will not be enough even if you rank in the second or third pages. Only the websites that are ranked in the first page will get more clicks and engagement.
So, SEO is very important if you wish to dominate the online medical world.
Why Do Doctors Need SEO Services?
Each day, more and more people are turning to Internet to search for anything that they want to know. Be it about a product, a local hospital, or a doctor for a particular ailment, they use search engines to get information about it.
In such a scenario, establishing a website and optimizing it has a huge benefit for you and your medical practice. Below are some of the benefits you get through SEO.
- Improve website traffic
Instead of spending a lot of money on advertising to get traffic for your websites, you can implement SEO strategies and optimize your website to get more qualified, organic traffic.
- Beat your competitors and capture their website traffic
In search engines, your competitors are those who rank above you. By making the necessary changes in the websites and improving its performance, you can not only get more new traffic but also capture the traffics that they already have for yourself.
- Increase monthly leads and patient appointments.
Through SEO, doctors can get more organic traffic for their websites and get quality leads. These leads can go through the website, and if they find it helpful, they might reach out to the doctors for personal appointments.
- Build authority for the websites
Search engines rank websites by how relevant and helpful they are to the user’s search query. When a doctor’s website get ranked in the first page, or even in the first rank, they automatically gain the trust of the patients that they are experts in the field.
What Are the SEO Strategies for Website Optimization for Doctors?
SEO is an elaborate and complex process, and it takes time to show results. It aims for long-term growth and gives the website the boost it needs to get ranked higher in the search engines.
Here are the steps that are to be followed when creating an SEO strategy for a doctor’s website.
1. Understand the treatments provided by the doctor
You should first understand everything there is about the doctor’s website before starting to optimize it. Check which field they specialize in and what treatments they provide for their patients. This can help you decide the number of web pages you need to create for the website.
Having an idea about the treatments provided can also help you figure out the keywords that you need to focus on while drafting the content for each web page. You can also use these keywords in the home pages and increase your chances of ranking in the search results.
2. Create a website with a separate webpage for each treatment
Once you have a good idea about various treatments provided by the doctor, start working on creating a website for the doctor. A website is a must for any business, because it is where the users get to know about the services provided.
Create separate web pages for each treatment or, however, you feel necessary. The main reason behind creating separate web pages for each treatment is to provide ample information regarding each treatment. Users learn more about the services and decide whether they want to undergo them.
3. Set up a Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP) is none other than the updated version of Google My Business (GMB). It is a free business listing from Google that allows a business to increase its visibility by appearing on Google searches, Google Maps, and other Google services.
GBP has many features that can help doctors appear in front of their patients when they search for them on the Internet. You need to list your doctor’s practice on GBP to leverage all the benefits of SEO.
While setting up a business profile for doctors, you can add information like the services provided, location, products, contact details, images, videos, and so on. All these are done for the users to find relevant information from the doctor’s profile and visit them for treatments.
4. Conduct SEO audit
SEO audits are performed to identify which web pages perform well and which need improvement to enhance user experience. SEO audits analyze various aspects of the website and help identify where they are lacking and what hinders them from ranking on the search engine results page (SERP).
Some aspects of the web page that undergo SEO audit are
- site speed,
- web page indexing,
- page loading speed,
- hosting features,
- mobile friendliness, etc.
SEO audits can be conducted with the help of SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, etc.
5. Do a holistic competitor analysis
The next and most important step would be to conduct a competitor analysis on other doctors in the locality. This can help you identify who the main competitors are for the doctor and what marketing strategies they follow to reach their target market.
To conduct a clear competitor analysis and get maximum information, you should first clarify what field your doctor specializes in and what position they have in the current marketplace compared to their competitors.
Conducting a competitor analysis on competitors can help you
- identify new opportunities,
- identify the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses,
- identify what strategies they use to reach their target market, and
- create new strategies based on their winning strategies.
6. Keyword research
Keywords are the terms that the users use to search for anything on the search engines. Google is designed to provide the most relevant and helpful content for its users.
To get ranked, you should let Google understand that your content is relevant to what the users are searching for and make it rank you on the search results.
This is where keyword research comes in. You can conduct an in-depth keyword research and find out what terms the users are using to search for the doctor. You can then use these keywords while creating content for the website.
You can focus more on local keywords and identify how people near the doctor’s location search for them. You can use these geo-targeted keywords to rank on the search results of people near you.
7. Develop content structure
After competitor analysis and keyword research, the next step would be to develop a content structure for the web pages. Structuring the content that you are going to write on each page can make things far easier to understand and interpret for both the search engines and the users.
This can let Google crawl the pages easily and rank far better than competitors. Structured content can help people find and understand your content easily. As the content structure gets better and better, the rank and readability of the content also get better.
8. Create helpful content that meets users’ needs
Google only ranks web pages that provide helpful and meaningful content to its users. To rank higher in Google, you should create content that satisfies the user’s needs and gives them answers to what they are searching for.
Many people think of blogs when it comes to content marketing. While blogs play a major role in content marketing, they are not the only form of content that doctors can aim for.
You can also create medical content in other formats like
- case studies,
- video content,
- medical update information, etc.
Create as much content on your doctor’s niche as possible and build authority for their websites. Try and find different types of content or information that you can add to the website and keep updating regularly.
9. On-page components
On-page SEO is what brings countless new visitors to your website. After all the website optimization, get on with all the on-page components that you can optimize for maximum results.
On-page optimization is important for your website, because it lets Google understand what your website is all about and how it can add value to the users. They help optimize the website for both search engine bots and audiences.
Here are some on-page elements that can be optimized for higher ranking in search results.
HTML Meta Tags
- Meta description
- Headers (H1)
- Subheaders (H2, H3, etc.)
- Canonical URL
- Robots. Tag
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
The URL is the address of any website. The keywords you place in them are one of the Google’s ranking factors.
- The images should be less than 100kb.
- Use Alt Text for images that hold keywords.
- The image should be in WebP or AVIF formats.
Keep internal links (links to other webpages of your website) and external links (links from other relevant websites) to share the authority of your website.
10. Link-building strategy
Backlinks are one of the Google’s ranking factors, and they help build authority for a website. A higher authority in a niche means you can rank higher on search engines. This can get you more organic traffic and increase the conversion rates for your websites.
There are some ways to build links for a website.
- Guest posts
- Working on listicles
- Press Release (PR)
- Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
Just because you want to build backlinks for your website doesn’t mean you can get them from any website. There are some criteria you need to follow before choosing a backlink. Below are Google Webmaster guidelines for choosing a backlink for your website.
- Choose a website that is relevant to your niche.
- Its organic traffic should be more than 1000 per month.
- It should have organic traffic for relevant keywords of our industry.
- Its relevant domains should be higher than outbound domains.
- It should not participate in link scheme.
- Its organic traffic and referring domains should not be falling at the same time.
11. Ensure the web page gets indexed
Once all the aspects of a website are optimized and fixed, the next step would be to make sure the web page gets indexed by Google. Only when Google indexes a web page, it can be ranked and found by the users.
Here’s the process of how Google indexes a web page.
- Crawling: Google bots crawl the web pages and scan the relevancy of the content.
- Indexing: Google analyzes the web pages and stores them in the database.
- Ranking: Google algorithm searches for and picks the webpages that are most relevant to the user’s search intent from the database.
12. Work on fixing Core Web Vitals
Once your web pages are indexed, start working on fixing the Core Web Vitals. Core Web Vitals are a metric that is used to measure the page experience of a web page on both mobiles and desktop devices.
There are three attributes that are used to measure the Core Web Vitals of a web page.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures the loading speed of a web page
- First Input Delay (FID), which measures the page interactivity
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures the visual stability of the page
These three metrics are very essential for Google Page Experience. So, ensure you optimize these three factors to get ranked in search results and give your users the best page experience.
13. Analyze the website’s performance
SEO is not done until you analyze and make improvements in its performance. Now that every step regarding SEO is completed, the next step would be to analyze and measure your website’s performance.
There are hundreds of metrics that you can use to measure your website’s performance. Google algorithm has over 200 ranking factors to rank a website on the first page.
There are different tools online that you can use to measure these metrics. These tools differ from each other based on their functions and what you need them for.
Some of the aspects that you need to analyze in regard to the performance of a website are
- organic traffic,
- keyword ranking,
- SERP visibility,
- Click-Through Rate (CTR),
- bounce rate,
- website authority over time,
- page speed,
- time spent on page, and
- conversion rate.
SEO is a never-ending process; you need to optimize them regularly to get the best results. You need to improve your website repeatedly until it appears in the featured snippets.
14. Develop new strategies using the previous analysis reports
Once you have made all the necessary improvements and finally got your web page on the first page or even the featured snippets, you can implement the strategy while creating other web pages.
Develop new optimization strategies based on the previous analysis and regularly optimize them for the best results. Continue this process till each page ranks in the search results.
Getting ranked and appearing on the first page of the search results may not be an overnight fix, but it will definitely give you the desired results if you are consistent and optimize your web pages regularly.
The above steps will help you optimize your website and get ranked in the search engine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Local SEO is a strategy that helps doctors target users that are in and around their locality. They can target and get more visits from patients who are physically located near them.
Local SEO involves website optimization and getting ranked higher on search results for location-based searches, e.g., Doctor near me.
Nowadays, most people prefer to use Google to search for hospitals near them instead of asking other people. Also, they will only visit doctors who rank higher in search engines.
So, doctors need to get online and use SEO tactics to optimize and appear in front of their target audience.
Marketing allows doctors to reach out and connect with their audience online. They can target their audience on platforms that they frequently use and market their services.
They can also use marketing to promote preventive care by publishing blogs or newsletters to create awareness and inform them of any updates or new medical advancements they should know.