Getting backlinks for your medical website can be a tedious process. Like a lot of SEO strategies, it requires an ability to defer gratification. But building a good portfolio of backlinks can—if done correctly—help deliver consistently high rankings in organic search.
Let’s first take a step back and understand why backlinks are so important in your search marketing campaigns. A backlink, put simply, is when the URL to your website is placed on another website. The URL on the other site “links back” to you.
Why do search engines care? Because search engines want to be sure they are listing credible sources at the top of their results. Backlinks are seen by search engines as “votes” for your site.
In this case though, all votes are not equal. After black-hat SEO practitioners gamed the system early on by acquiring huge numbers of spammy backlinks, search engines were programmed to get smarter. Now it’s far more important to have quality and credible backlinks.
That shift in emphasis is good for the marketing person working in a small to mid-sized community medical office. You can integrate your backlink strategy with your offline marketing with ideas like the following.
Sponsor a local event
Events today are almost always posted online and the “billboard,” so to speak, will often list the sponsoring businesses. Just ask if you can have your link included in the online marquee. Since you’re helping pay for the event, the organizers will likely be more than happy to give you the backlink.
Contribute content to the local newspaper
With all newspapers having a digital presence now, you can offer to write free guest content for your local community paper. Perhaps you have an opinion about the current COVID-19 landscape that you want to put out there. Maybe it’s something seasonal that people are asking about. Or maybe there’s just some trends you’re noticing among your patients that you feel warrants further discussion.
Whatever it is, it will be content the local newspaper will appreciate having and posting in their digital edition. Make sure to have your byline include the URL of your office website.
Build a referral network
You likely already network with other physicians in different areas of medicine, helping each other out with referrals. Why not bring those referrals into the digital realm and exchange backlinks to them? A visitor to your site can find a helpful list of specialists that you have confidence in. The backlinks on the other sites will bring you both direct traffic, as well as enhance your SEO portfolio.
The digital referral doesn’t have to be limited to healthcare. You may already be a part of associations like your local Chamber of Commerce. If not, this is a good idea for a host of marketing benefits that go beyond your website. Most Chambers list their members’ websites and a backlink from here is highly credible with a search engine.
Backlinks are not a magic wand. You still have to create a good website and produce valuable content. The value of backlinks won’t be immediately apparent. In fact, it may never be directly apparent. But the indirect value of backlinks in getting higher rankings on search, which in turn leads to organic traffic, is as indisputable as anything in digital marketing. It’s worth the time to do it.