The rapidly changing world of search engine optimization (SEO) continues to keep moving. Websites that lag behind risk getting pushed down in the search listings and out of the view of potential clients. The problem is especially acute for a doctor’s office, with its tight window of opportunity to get new patients to the website and re-educate existing ones.
Here are the current SEO trends and how they impact medical offices in particular.
Some things never change
The first trend to start with is the one that never changes. Producing great content is still important. The acronym used is EAT—Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. You want your content to communicate all of these things.
As frustrating as Google’s constant algorithm updates can be, it’s important to keep this mind—they are always looking for ways to quickly identify the best content in a given field and that rewards the website that’s trying to do it the right way, rather than use black-hat SEO tactics. So content is still the king.
Content consumption updates
This is one area that keeps changing and every field—indeed, every individual readership base—is different. Does your target audience prefer to read or to watch videos? Will they download an audio MP3? It’s the job of your marketers to know this.
The way you can help is by producing content across a variety of platforms—take a popular topic and put it out there as a long-form article, a shorter video clip or a longer audio file someone can listen to on their commute. Then let your marketing people start tracking what works.
You know the answer box that appears on a Google search with a simple and concise answer to a searcher’s question? These are especially important in the medical field where people type in longer queries looking for answers to whatever is wrong. There’s a tool called “Rich Snippets” that you can add to the back end of your site that will enhance your content’s chances of winning this prestigious spot.
Make it easy for search engines to find you
The spiders that crawl a website have their own set of preferences in how they want to consume content and it can be summed up in one word: fast. Structured data is becoming the preferred means of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do this. It enables you to concisely tell a search engine exactly what your content is about and the use of meta-tags helps the spider organize it. Yes, even the search engines are impatient on the Internet these days.
Your website simply has to load fast. Just like you want your patients coming in each year for an annual physical, so too should your website be brought in for a technical audit. If you’re not working with anyone that knows how to do this, be aware that most agencies will do this as a one-off service.
If you don’t want to go in the full-scale website physical, then at least quickly check your site speed with this free tool and make sure you’re holding your own.