4 Ways to Interact with Your Patients Better Using SEO

July 30th, 2015

In a day and age when people often first go to Google to diagnose symptoms before consulting a doctor, having valuable, informative content on your website is vital to the success of your medical practice’s online presence.

In addition, it is vital to increase your visibility to potential customers by making your website easy to find.

doctor at work

See the four search engine optimization strategies listed below to learn how you can help increase your online visibility and improve your interaction(s) with your patients.

1. Understand your audience

When dealing with SEO, your main job is to learn how your audience behaves and thinks while online, or else you’ll never achieve your end goal—increasing you patient volume. Once you’ve broken this code, you’ll have a better understanding of the interests, expectations and behaviors of your current patient load and be able to anticipate the needs of those who are in the market for a new doctor.

2. Make it easier for your users

You need to ensure that the content posted on your website falls in line with the interests your patients have, and that this information is easy to access. Achieving both of these will increase your website’s value. In addition, if you’re able to better target your content, you’ll be able to draw in more patients.

3. Search engine optimization

In order to achieve the best possible reach to potential patients, you need to find the right balance between optimizing for your patients and for search engines. While your content needs to appeal to your viewers, you still want search engines to rank your website well.

For starters, ensure that the content you upload still feels human and approachable. Not only do you want your audience to stick around and read your content for their benefit, but you also need to achieve this goal since search engine evolution requires it.

4. Take this data and do something with it

Once you’ve cracked the code of what your patients want, you need to take this data and use it to help further your practice. By analyzing the data, you can see how to make your campaigns stronger than the previous ones. Marketers who can use data to their advantage are able to increase the visibility of their practice, as well as better engage their patients—both of which will help with your conversion rates.

Continue browsing our blog for more actionable tips on enhancing the SEO for your medical practice. Contact the healthcare marketing specialists at SEOMedical to learn more about our internet marketing services.

When and Why You Should Perform an SEO Audit on Your Practice’s Website

July 16th, 2015

audit laptop

In your practice, you more than likely routinely inspect medical equipment and technology to make sure everything is operating smoothly and efficiently. But when was the last time you inspected your practice’s website?

More than likely, you’ve never audited the website for your practice, which is a shame because periodically auditing your content (and website as a whole) can ensure that it is performing at optimal levels. You can also perform an SEO audit that will diagnose problems and identify areas of improvement.

Using a Professional or DIY?

When it comes to SEO audits, you have options. Some options will set your practice back lots of time and money. Smaller medical practices, or facilities that have limited funds, can opt to perform a Lite SEO audit which, while not exhaustive, will be able to pinpoint major website issues.

According to the Online Marketing Institute, getting an SEO audit from the pros could cost your practice a minimum of $1,000, and could quickly surpass $5,000. In a professional SEO audit, you’re paying for:

  • A very person knowledgeable in SEO to conduct the audit
  • A 30-100+ page report that includes problems and recommendations on how to fix website issues
  • Access to professional consultation if you have further questions and/or concerns

For the reason of money alone, a small medical practice would benefit from learning to perform these tasks themselves.

DIY Audit Tips

If you have the skills, why not save your practice some money and try to perform an audit yourself? Here are some areas you should focus on.

  1. 1. Overall technical health of your website
    Making improvements to your website’s technical performance is one of the most valuable things you can do to increase visibility and visitor engagement.
  2. 2. Analyze functionality
    Your website needs to function for your visitors. Google will give you an SEO hit in rankings if people leave your site because your website is too confusing to navigate, has slow page load speed, etc.
  3. 3. Analyze website content
    When you hire a professional SEO auditor, you’ll usually receive an overview of how your content fairs and how well it’s optimized per your keywords. Your goal (as content is concerned) is to include content that people want to read, but also content that will keep them on your website to look around (the hook). If you can keep people interested in what you have to say, it will reduce your bounce rate.

For a medical office, it is unlikely that you have anyone on staff that has the skills and knowledge necessary to perform a full-scale SEO audit; however, in a pinch you could probably save your practice money by performing the above three tips. Moreover, even if you’re not interested in performing an entire SEO audit, having well-written content that keeps visitors on your site and having a website that functions well is always a plus!

If you decide you do need the help of a professional, look no further than SEOMedical – the healthcare marketing specialists. Contact us to discuss getting an SEO audit today.

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.