The X Factor: Does Your Hospital Website Have What It Takes To Rank Online? Posted by Brian Davis | 10.30.15 3:55pm

According to a study conducted by Google and Complete, Inc., online searches drive 3x more hospital foot traffic than traditional forms of marketing like billboards and TV ads. The same study shows that 84% of patients report using online resources to find and choose a hospital for their medical needs. So, how do you connect with that 84%? One way is to rank on page one of search engines like Google.

Optimize for Relevant Keywords

To optimize your hospital site, you must understand how patients search for medical information on the Internet. It's critical to remember that patients – especially new patients – don’t talk about their health concerns using the same words as clinicians. Patients are more likely to search for symptoms than disease names, at least at first.

After researching, patients might use common words for diseases, medicines, and treatments, but they’re unlikely to search for extremely technical names and diagnoses. Use laymen's terms when educating patients on your site to promote traffic from those who have just begun their healthcare search.

Pro Tip: Incorporate the same keywords people are searching for online in the content of your website, and you’re more likely to show up at the top of search results for those terms.

Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly

According to the Google and Complete, Inc. study, almost half of patients who locate a hospital or facility on a mobile phone will make an appointment on the device, if the option is available. The take-away for hospitals is that convenience is important to people searching for a hospital facility online. If your website isn’t “responsive,” (i.e. if it doesn’t function and look good on all devices – mobile, laptop, desktop, and tablet), you could lose potential patients.

Mobile-friendly websites are easy to navigate on smart phones, include the same functionality as a desktop, and provide the information people are looking for. When your website is mobile-friendly, you stand a much higher chance of attracting and retaining the types of patients you want.

Pro Tip: Remember, mobile and tablet screens are smaller than desktop screens. Make sure you include the most relevant information at the top of your web page to ensure it’s seen as soon as a browser lands on your site.

Give Your Site a Regular Checkup

Hospitals educate patients about the importance of follow-ups and routine exams. The same vigilance should be applied to your website. Broken links, server trouble, and / or an outdated design could interfere with a user's ability to access – or easily navigate their way around – your site.

These are the same factors that search engines like Google use to rank your website in organic (unpaid) search results. If your website isn’t frequently updated, you could drop in rankings and lose out on potential patients who can’t easily use your site.

Pro Tip: Keep your website active with weekly blogs, relevant information, a responsive design, and the latest in technology updates. This will help your rankings and it will boost user experience.