SEO For General Practitioners
SEO for Practitioners: Unless you’re working to become the next Mayo Clinic or WebMD, your SEO (search engine optimization) will be all about establishing an online reputation in your local area.
People all around you are busy getting online and searching not only for doctors but also for specific treatments, information on conditions, and advice on how to address certain medical situations. Essentially what you’re trying to do is get your information, your brand, and your practice to show up online ahead of your competitor.
Knowing exactly what angle to take when deciding how you want to shape your SEO strategy can be confusing — that is if you don’t know your patients or the type of patients you want to attract to your practice.
If you start from a position of knowing the types of patients you treat, the type you want to attract, and the services you offer them, SEO is simple, natural, and can honestly even be a little fun.
Simple Ways to Improve Your SEO
Your first step is to decide what purpose your site will serve — will it simply let your patients know where you are or what you do, or will be an informational resource? Will your information be related to general health, or do you want to take the lead locally in addressing specific issues? Do you want to focus on pure medical questions or venture more into public health? All of these answers will determine how you use the following, elemental tips around using SEO.
- Use Keywords: Keywords are simple words, terms, and phrases that your patients might be plugging into various search engines when they have an issue. For example, if a patient is looking for a new local cardiologist, they’ll search for term “cardiologist” and their local city. If they’re looking for more information on, for example, “fibroid embolization”, that’s the term they’ll use. You’ll want to make a list of the keywords that matter most to your practice and incorporate those into your site in page titles, headings, ‘about’ pages, and wherever else it makes sense.
- Seriously Consider Blogging: This sounds like a big commitment, but it doesn’t have to be. The point is simply to produce regular, informative content — something search engines absolutely love. You have a lot of flexibility here, so consider anything from interviews with staff and physicians to sharing opinions on the treatments you offer. Just keep a steady flow of content going (once a month is a good, minimum goal) and remember to always add a disclaimer at the end indicating that the content is merely information and should not be used as medical advice.
- Be Natural: It’s easy to get carried away with those first two, so remember the golden rule of healthcare — “It all starts with the patient.” All of the content on your site should sound like a human wrote it. This serves a dual purpose — not only does it make things easier on your readers, but search engines are getting better every day at picking up unnatural content and penalizing sites with lower rankings.
- Keep it Simple: We know those sliders and videos that start immediate when someone visits your site may look great, but they slow down your page load times; search engines really dislike slow load times. Media is fine, but think twice about anything that starts to move or flash automatically when someone visits.