3 Reasons Why Your Medical Practice Should Have a Blog

June 17th, 2015

doctor using computer

As a growing marketing trend among businesses and medical practices, blogging is a low risk and rewarding marketing tool to connect with patients online that goes beyond the short blurbs on social media. No matter the size of your practice, you can (and should) utilize a blog for your medical practice.

Here are three reasons why your practice should have and maintain a blog:

#1- Building a Brand

Blogging is an important tool for branding your practice. Modern logos and catchy slogans can only go so far, but blogging can build a personality for your practice through your content. You can show your practice’s community involvement, talk about new state-of-the-art equipment your practice acquired, or even breakdown complex research articles that shows your expertise in a friendly and relatable way. The content of your blog is completely up to you!

#2- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Google recently conducted a study and found that 77% of patients use search engines to research before scheduling an appointment with a doctor. The more SEO-friendly your web content is, the better your rankings will be in search results of that 77% of prospective clients who are doing online research. Posting quality content even just twice a month on your blog can greatly increase your ratings on search engines.

#3- Accessible Marketing

Finding a platform to write is easy! Many practices simply add a blog page to their already existing website, but if you don’t have a website or want a different look for your blog, there are free blogging services like WordPress or Blogger to help you out.

Now that you’re convinced to start a blog, actually writing the blog posts may seem like a daunting task but there is no need to worry! You have ample information and news that your patients or prospective patients want to know. Write what you know! If you need help, check out these essential tips for writing your blog.

For more information, check out our blog for tips on healthcare marketing. If you have any questions about search engine optimization or medical marketing, contact us today to speak with an SEO professional.

The Positive and Negative Role Google is Playing in Modern Medicine

May 15th, 2015

medical assistant looking at his reflection on a computer screen

Rather than turning to their personal doctors, many people are turning to Google first to diagnose their own ailments. Health-related searches now account for as many as 1 out of every 20 searches, according to Google.

Why?

Well for one, the rising costs of healthcare seems to be driving people to increasingly turning to Google to diagnose their health concerns. Unfortunately, this practice has led individuals to misdiagnose themselves.

In fact, a study conducted in 2012 found that out of every four British women who Google searched for an answer to a medical symptom, one misdiagnosed herself.

These practices have not flown under Google’s radar. They are working to ensure that they are providing their users with the most relevant returns they can. In February, they announced they will use a new app called Knowledge Graph to help eliminate the need for searchers to comb through numerous, conflicting returns for medical information.

Google’s attention to medical information is a positive turn because frankly, people are starting to seek medical advice online as much as their personal physician. Moreover, doctors themselves are even beginning to get behind this evolution. Some doctors have even started vetting the medical information found on Google. In addition, Google currently has 400 recognized conditions that have been reviewed by the Mayo Clinic.

Your medical practice can (and should) take advantage of this growing trend by engaging in good SEO practices. If you optimize your medical website to where you’re receiving an optimal ranking (on page 1 or 2), chances are your practice will show up on searches when people type in for relevant symptoms—especially if you specialize in that specific area.

Final note

While it is wonderful that Google is endeavoring to provide users with more accurate information about important topics, Google cannot be a substitute for patients actually seeing their doctor if they’re sick. That said, medical practices with optimized websites are easier to locate online.

Google will by no means eliminate your physical practice; however, you should be aware that you will likely have to learn to coexist with patients who have consulted Google before visiting your office. However, this arrangement can work in both of your favors if you embrace it.

Attaining Higher Web Traffic for Your Dispensary with SEO

April 15th, 2015

marijuana-cannabis

Medicinal cannabis usage is on the rise; therefore, now is the perfect time for marketers to begin working to market cannabis to the general public. Just like any other business, cannabis dispensaries should make use of search engine optimization to best market their products.

However, since medicinal cannabis has only recently begun to be more widely accepted, there is still a lot of work to be done before medical cannabis marketing is as successful as other healthcare products.

Lack of Access to Dispensary Information

One problem cannabis dispensaries face is that it is often difficult to list this type of business on Google Places. Currently, it is against the policies of Google Places to list a dispensary. Google Places does not have an option for a ‘Medical Cannabis’ menu category—they divert these kind of businesses to ‘Alternative Medicine.’ Yelp, on the other hand, does allow dispensaries under the category ‘Cannabis Clinic.’

Independent Directories to the Rescue

Now that more states are legalizing the use of medical cannabis, people have begun organizing the available strains into online vertical directories. One such directory is Leafly, which is based in Seattle, as well as Weedmaps and Shabong.

Use Data Aggregators to Increase Traffic

The best way to increase traffic for your dispensary is by making sure that your data is uploaded (or updated) to the major data aggregators. The four main aggregators include:

  • Axciom
  • Factual
  • Neustar Localeze
  • InfoGroup (a supporter of medicinal cannabis)

Given that InfoGroup is cannabis-friendly, it could pave the way for Google Places.

What else can you do?

You can also use Google MapMaker to create your own categories to add to your dispensary’s listing. It is often easier for a dispensary to get custom categories approved through using MapMaker. Afterwards, the dispensary can claim their Google Places page much easier. Already have a Places page? You could consider un-claiming it, set up your MapMaker, and then reclaiming it.

Every election more states are voting to legalize medicinal cannabis. If you’re already involved in the cannabis business, now is the time to start incorporating SEO practices to ensure that your dispensary has all the web traffic it needs to grow towards success.

Let the search engine optimization experts at SEOMedical discuss how our healthcare marketing solutions can help your grow operation achieve greater online exposure. Contact us today if you have a question or would like to request more information.

4 Reasons Why Hospitals Must Embrace SEO

March 30th, 2015

healthcare

More often than not, people turn to the web to solve their problems before seeking out the help of a professional. Health concerns are no different. In 2012 alone, more than 70% of people sought answers to their health concerns online using the power of internet search according to Pew Research. The information these individuals are looking for range from information about a disease, symptoms and treatments to specialists and physicians.

With so many people researching health-related information from behind the comfort of their keyboard, hospitals and physicians are wise to incorporate some basic SEO strategies into their business plan in order to ensure that their facility ranks high on search results.

Below are four reasons why hospital marketing directors ought to consider using SEO to reach potential patients:

1. New patients are only a search away

The rising cost of healthcare is at least partly responsible for turning people from their physician’s office to Google for answers to their healthcare questions. Websites like WebMD—which is where a large portion of healthcare concerned people end up—are capitalizing on this need. However, it seems people are not relying on the sites alone. Most internet browsers (as much as 77%), ultimately turn to Google in hopes of being directed to an appropriate website.

2. Make advertising easier

Word of mouth is still important when you engage in SEO because without authority, you won’t be able to attract new users to your website. In addition, word of mouth and searching online for information are connected because once one person has located helpful information, they are likely to recommend that information to their friends and family.

3. A high-ranking website can increase appointments and reduce anxiety

Most people experience a certain level of natural anxiety about visiting the doctor. If they’re sick, usually the first step people take is to Google their symptoms to see if they can find a diagnosis on their own. This leads either to relief (possibly unjustified) or to panic. Hospitals and physicians can use SEO to their advantage by listing stories of successful visits and treatments, as well as information about physicians. This can help to alleviate some fears your patients will have about coming into the office.

4. A strong staff = patient trust

Typically, you can trust the information you receive about healthcare from a hospital’s website. The same can be said for your physician’s office. This is especially true if physicians partner with an SEO expert who knows healthcare topics. These SEO professionals can create very informative content that will help to develop relationships between patients and doctors before they ever meet.

To speak with an SEO professional specializing in medical marketing and search engine optimization, please contact us today. In the meantime, you can also learn more about us by browsing our website and blog.

Cloud Computing: Wave of the Future for Healthcare Organizations

March 16th, 2015

innovation-technologies

More and more businesses are looking toward the quickly evolving world of cloud computing to help run their business more efficiently and with better collaboration. This is especially true in the world of healthcare, where roughly two-thirds of mid-sized organizations are using cloud computing.

Recently, Dell Inc. published a survey in which 2,038 IT professionals for mid-sized healthcare organizations were polled. Of these 2,038:

  • 43% have private cloud storage solutions in place
  • Another 43% have employed a hybrid cloud
  • 46% percent of cloud users stated that they began using the cloud because it allowed them more freedom to allocate resources. Cost savings motivated another 39 percent.

Dell’s Healthcare and Life Sciences chief medical officer Cliff Bleustein believes cloud computing can help act as a facilitator for collaboration between various medical practices. Moreover, Bleustein feels that healthcare’s future will be found in “intelligent data repositories” and in the ability for healthcare providers to be able to “incorporate clinical workflow functions and predictive and prescriptive analysis” into their IT plan.

Dell is not the first company to notice the trend of healthcare facilities incorporating cloud computing into their business plans.

Last summer, HIMSS Analytics reported nearly the same findings—that roughly 80% of mid-sized healthcare facilities were using cloud computing to streamline their data. In addition to the high number of users, HIMSS discovered that only a small portion of the healthcare population (about 6%) felt uncomfortable storing sensitive data (i.e. patient records) in the cloud. The biggest concern this 6% had about cloud computing was the ability to keep data safe.

The versatile nature of the cloud means that healthcare organizations are able to use it for a multitude of functions. This includes everything from data storage to hosting software and making HR programs easier.

Centegra Health System chief information officer and CFO David Tomlinson was one administrator who initially voiced concerns about the safety of cloud computing in the healthcare field. For him, his biggest concern was the transportation of his current system in-house storage to the cloud. He also voiced concerns about the access he would have to his health system’s data via the Internet—specifically what would happened in the event of an outage.

Tomlinson’s concerns were alleviated and he is now pleased with his decision to begin using the cloud.

“It’s the wave of the future because it offers lower cost points and lower total cost of ownership,” he said.

Have a question about medical marketing technology and information? Contact us to request more information.

6 Myths about SEO and Your Medical Practice

March 2nd, 2015

Implementing successful SEO strategies in the medical field is growing in importance. Doctors and physicians everywhere are starting to realize the value of enhancing the online presence of their practice (or in some cases, creating one).

However, over the course of this growth, many myths about medical SEO (and SEO in general) have arisen. Keep reading for 6 of the worst of SEO myths for medical practices:

1. You have to notify search engines before they’ll rank your website.
Once you’ve let search engines know that your site is functional, you don’t need to tell them anything else. Google will find and index your site automatically.
Read the rest of this entry »

3 Steps to Better Local SEO Performance

February 16th, 2015

medical-assistant-working-behind-her-computer

Healthcare has proven to be one of the most competitive markets, especially in terms of local SEO. This is due in large part to how often medical practices acquire new patients—a number that is comparable to the restaurant industry.

Another reason why the competition for local SEO is stiff in the healthcare industry is that medical offices usually obtain new patients through direct-response marketing, which thrives on search engine optimization. Direct-response marketing refers to potential customers turning to Google to find the service they need.

For the medical field specifically, patients frequently rely on Google to find a specialty physician. Direct-response marketing makes logical sense in healthcare because people don’t just visit an immunologist on a whim. For this reason, and others, medical practices can greatly benefit from including SEO in their marketing efforts.

Here are three tips your medical practice can implement to improve their local SEO:

1. Find a balance between medical jargon and everyday terminology.

While someone who’s been researching his or her condition may know some medical terminology, the average person will not. This means you will need to include both medical jargon and common words on your site. Including both terms will help increase your internet rankings by encouraging a wider range of audience.

2. Give more focus to your local audience.

Your main focus when building your marketing strategy is to focus on those potential patients located nearby. You are more likely to attract local residents to your practice than lure people from several cities away. For this reason, if you spend your efforts (both marketing and SEO) locally, you will have a more effective online marketing campaign overall.

3. Focus on quality content.

Producing content related to the medical field can be fairly painless since there are many opportunities to create high-quality content. With such a vast number of medical specialties, the list of topics that can be written about is virtually endless. Furthermore, these topics can be manipulated to fit your local market by pulling in some of your practices’ keywords.

We hope these tips help improve your practice’s SEO strategy and thus attract more clientele. For additional medical marketing solutions, check out our blog or contact SEOMedical today.

Google Hummingbird Changing the Face of Medical Marketing

February 2nd, 2015

Having a visible online presence is vital for increasing the number of patients you have regardless of whether you are opening a new medical practice or if you’ve been established for years. Even if you’ve never heard the terms SEO or SEM, you are well aware that your patients (established and potential) will perform Google searches on you. For this reason, you need to have a website that has a favorable rank on Google; however, this task can be daunting.

While search engine algorithms seemingly change on a whim, there is definitely a rhyme to their reason. Recently, Google’s algorithm, named Hummingbird, proved to have a significant impact on medical marketing.
marketing-against-bright-white-room-with-windows

What does Hummingbird mean for your practice?

Google Hummingbird is meant to be more precise and faster than Google’s previous algorithms. For physicians with websites, this means if your online presence is built on a foundation of poor internet practices, then Google is going to lower your rank. In addition, this new algorithm is going to pave the way for a more organic SEO. Therefore, if your practice is quick to change, you’re more likely to be rewarded.

One advancement that Hummingbird will provide is voice operated Google searches (i.e. iPhone’s Siri and Android’s Google Now). More people are using these features to look up information online, meaning Google has had to change their formula because of the more complex nature of voice searches. This is a huge benefit due to the ‘on the go’ nature of most people today.

Google will also be integrating the social cues of their users into their algorithms. For example, Google+ users who visit certain businesses (in this case a doctor’s office) will receive links to this business more often when they’re searching for related businesses. More importantly, these results will start to be returned to people you interact with via social media and you will begin to receive results on places they frequent.

If this algorithm sounds complex, you’d be right; moreover, it’s completely on purpose. Google is working very hard to eliminate spam marketers and those who practice black-hat SEO. Hummingbird seems like it has the possibility to eliminate spam returns from your search results.

In the course of developing a marketing and SEO plan for your medical office, you also need to pay attention to how your office will be viewed by a search engine, and more importantly, internet searchers. Visit our blog for more information, or contact SEOMedical for assistance building your plan.

How Personal Trainers Can Use SEO to Pump Up Their Business

January 16th, 2015

personal-trainer-helping-his-client

Being a personal trainer often entails finding your clientele via word of mouth, which can make it hard to earn a steady paycheck. One way you can increase the number of people who know about your services is by creating a website.

With the help of these 4 SEO techniques, you can increase your website’s traffic and hopefully your client base:

  1. 1. Keyword Identification

    Your first big hurdle is understanding what words people interested in a personal trainer will use when performing a web search. For instance, you should include the words “personal trainer(ing)” and the city you’re based in. You can also use keyword software, like Google AdWords and Keyword Tool, to help see the frequency of certain words. Once you know which keywords to use, incorporate them into title tags, your page’s URL(s), any blogs you write, press releases and advertisements.

  2. 2. Use Local SEO

    Take advantage of all the local profile sites you can join, such as those offered by Google, Yahoo and Bing. These services will put your business’ important info online and in a place where people already go to for information. Not only can potential clients find you on these sites, but they can also leave reviews, which will help strengthen your business’ reputation. In order to reach the greatest number of people, make sure you fully complete your profile.

  3. 3. Posting High-quality Content

    Submitting blogs to fitness websites can also increase your presence online. Not only does publishing content online increase your exposure, but it also establishes you an authority on the subject you’re writing about. The more blogs you write and publish, the more likely you will start receiving quality backlinks to your blog and/or website, which helps boost your online visibility.

  4. 4. Become a YouTube Star

    Posting videos of your training sessions can give your business a boost as well. Not only can it give potential customers an idea of what your training is like, but it also provides an example of visual marketing. Furthermore, all of your videos can be linked with your keywords; thus, increasing your search rankings.

Setting up an SEO solution for your business can be tricky, especially if you’ve never ran a business before. Contact SEOMedical to help with all of your SEO needs, or visit our blog for more information.

SEO 101: 7 Basic SEO Essentials for Your Medical Blog

December 29th, 2014

medical-professionals

It is just as important for your medical practice’s blog to practice SEO techniques as it is for technology-based businesses. When using SEO techniques, remember Google is looking for active websites—meaning they are regularly updated with quality blog posts. Google also looks for the following key items to raise the website’s page rank.

  1. 1. Write for patients, not engines

When Google assesses your practice’s website, they are not going to be looking for content that is geared toward search engines. The higher-ranking webpages are ones that provide their customers with well-written, useful information.

Here’s a good resource for tips on creating great web content for your site.

  1. 2. Make a list of target keywords

If your website is not achieving the page rank you’d like, chances are you’re not highlighting the correct keywords that your patients are using to find you.

  1. 3. Titles should work for search engines and readers

To help search engines pick up your blog content, you should make sure that you place keywords in your titles, and are most helpful within the first words.

  1. 4. Place keywords/phrases in the opening sentences

This goes for both webpages themselves and blog posts. You should work hard to get keywords in your introduction paragraph.

  1. 5. Place keywords in your meta description

Moreover, it is recommended that your meta description keywords should be incorporated in the form of a question. No, you’re not on Jeopardy, search engines just read them better this way. Typically, the keywords are also bolded to enhance the visual focus and being a question can get people to click on and browse.

  1. 6. Place keyword(s) in your web page’s URL

Although search engines skip pronouns and articles, they will easily notice keywords. Placing keywords in your URL will increase the likelihood that your practice will be high on your patient’s Google search.

  1. 7. Add in keywords to article sub-headings

If you’re going to include a sub-heading to your articles, you should not only make sure to ad in keywords, but you also need to ensure that they stand out from both your heading and the rest of your text. You need to make sure that your sub-heading stands out because most readers are in fact, skimmers. If you set up your headings thoughtfully, you can direct readers where you want them to read.