When patients in your local area Google medical services like the ones you offer, do they find your practice? Does your website listing actually show up on Page 1 or 2 of the search results? (Because let’s face it—people rarely look past the first couple of pages.) And when they do eventually find your site, are they impressed?
If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s definitely time to work on your online presence. With more than three-quarters of people using search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo to start their searches for health information, you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity of attracting new patients through the Internet.
Here are 5 steps you can take to boost your web presence and grow your practice:
1. Have an impressive & easy-to-use website.
Patients will consider your website a reflection of you and your medical practice. If they think your website looks outdated, unprofessional, or unappealing, it won’t take long for them to move on to another medical provider’s site. To get people’s attention and keep them on your website, it should have a clean and attractive design, and it should also be easy to navigate from page to page.
It’s also crucial to have your contact information prominently displayed, as well as clear calls to action (such as “Book an Appointment Today!”) that lead your site visitors to the next step. And you can’t forget about making your website mobile-friendly! Your site should incorporate responsive design technology to ensure it is easy to view and use on all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. According to Pew Research Center, 52% of smartphone owners say they have used their phones to look up health or medical information.
2. Make your website easy to find in search engines (through SEO).
Websites are great for gaining more exposure… but only when they actually rank well in search engines. If you’re a plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, but your medical website doesn’t get high organic rankings for search terms like “Scottsdale plastic surgeon,” “Scottsdale plastic surgery,” “breast augmentation in Scottsdale,” or other terms related to your services, you’ll have a hard time getting found online by the right patients.
You can improve your organic rankings (meaning you’re higher up in the natural search results) through search engine optimization (SEO). A few of essential SEO strategies include keyword optimization; the use of high-quality, relevant content on your site; trustworthy inbound links; management of your online listings; and more. The key is to make your medical website user-focused and easy to find in search engines.
3. Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to capture more attention in search results.
SEO is a definitely a must-have for your medical marketing, but if you’re only focused on organic rankings, you’re missing half the equation. There’s also paid search advertising, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. These ads are the sponsored links that show up at the top and bottom of the search engine results page.
While it takes time to build your SEO and organic rankings, PPC advertising gives you instant visibility in search results. That means that even if your practice isn’t showing up organically until page 10, you could have an ad that appears right at the top of page 1, meaning you can’t be missed! Medical practitioners who go after both organic and paid listings have the best advantage online.
4. Manage your online listings to improve your local SEO.
Many physicians and medical practitioners have their practice information listed on numerous sites across the web, from the Yellow Pages (YP.com) to Yelp. It’s great to promote yourself on the Internet this way, as long as all of your information is accurate and consistent.
When you have conflicting business information—such as in your practice name, address, and phone number—it makes your website appear less reputable to search engines such as Google, which can ultimately hurt your local SEO. The best course of action is to keep all of your online listings (especially on your Google My Business page) consistent and up-to-date. This helps to improve your practice’s rankings in local searches.
5. Work on improving your online patient reviews.
Did you know that 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians? This means the majority of patients are going to sites such as RealSelf, RateMDs, and Yelp before deciding whether to book an appointment with you. You could be the most seasoned specialist with plenty of happy patients and still miss out on new appointments simply because you have poor online reviews or not enough of them. Remind your patients (especially your most loyal ones) to post reviews about their experience at your office. Also, be sure to respond appropriately to any negative reviews that are posted.
All of the digital marketing strategies above take time, effort, and expertise. That’s why it’s typically best to have qualified Internet marketing experts do the job for you.
Here at Scorpion, we have Google-certified medical marketing experts who can handle your website and digital campaigns so you can focus on treating your patients. We also have a comprehensive lead tracking platform that lets you see your website traffic, organic rankings, paid search performance, new leads, and more. Contact Scorpion to find out how you can take your medical marketing to the next level!
For more helpful tips, download our online reviews guide for medical practitioners.