In today’s digital age, having a solid online presence is crucial for healthcare organizations to attract new patients and stay competitive. And one of the most effective healthcare marketing channels is search engine optimization (SEO). However, healthcare SEO requires a unique approach that differs from traditional SEO practices. In this article, we will explore the key healthcare SEO practices and provide you with specific strategies to help you improve your healthcare website’s ranking in search engine results.
Google’s search quality principle E-A-T
Google’s search algorithm gives much importance to E-A-T regarding healthcare websites. Therefore, healthcare SEO must showcase the website’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness to users and search engines. Below are some reasons why E-A-T is vital for healthcare SEO.
SEO success in the healthcare industry hinges on expertise. To be competitively ranked by Google, hire individuals with a comprehensive understanding of relevant health topics to write your content, as inaccurate or out-of-date information could pose severe risks to those who trust it. By recognizing and rewarding writing from experts, search engines can better identify the material as accurate, reliable, and high quality – which allows for expecting higher SERPs (search engine results page) results.
This factor has a significant influence on healthcare SEO specifically and in general. Doctors and medical experts have specialized knowledge and expertise in their field, which can be a significant advantage when producing high-quality healthcare content. Such articles are more likely to receive engagement from readers, social shares, and comments, as well as backlinks from other high-quality websites. These factors are a strong indicator of the authority and relevance of content which is good to be shown higher in Google.
People need to feel confident that the information they receive is reliable and accurate. It is essential to follow best practices that help ensure accuracy, reliability, and transparency and make healthcare content trustworthy:
- Use credible sources such as peer-reviewed research papers, academic journals, and government health organizations as references to back up your claims.
- Provide references and citations for all sources used in the content.
- Be transparent about the sources of information and the author’s credentials. It includes providing the author’s name, certifications, and affiliations.
- Use clear, concise, and easy-to-understand language. Avoid jargon or medical terminology that may be difficult for non-medical professionals to understand.
- Provide balanced and evidence-based information. Avoid using sensational language or making unsupported claims.
- Update regularly: keep healthcare content up-to-date with the latest research and guidelines.
- Have healthcare content reviewed by medical experts or fact-checked by a reputable source before publishing.
In summary, E-A-T is important for healthcare SEO because it helps establish the credibility and reliability of healthcare content, which can lead to higher search engine rankings and increased traffic.
Improve your healthcare SEO by providing relevant information to your patients. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Understand your target audience: their needs, interests, and concerns, as well as their health conditions, treatment options, and information preferences.
- Respond to patient questions about their health, treatment, and lifestyle changes. Set up the frequently asked questions in Google structured data to have a rich snippet result on the search page.
- Addressing patient concerns such as fears, anxiety, and stigma associated with certain health conditions can help patients feel more comfortable and confident in seeking medical help. It can improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction, affecting the healthcare SEO behavioral factor.
- Provide information that patients can use to take action and make positive changes to their health. It can include advice on healthy living, diet, exercise, and managing chronic conditions.
- Use varied multimedia content, such as videos, images, and infographics, to make your content more engaging and easier to understand.
Local healthcare SEO
Local healthcare SEO strategies should be implemented for healthcare practices with a physical location to improve the website’s visibility in the local search results. It is crucial to ensure that patients in your local area can find you when searching for healthcare services. Here is how you can improve your local healthcare SEO:
- Claim your Google Business Profile to have your clinic or medical center placed on Google Maps. Ensure your listing includes accurate information, such as your clinic’s name, address, phone number, and hours of operation. Also, add photos and a detailed description of your services.
- Optimize your website for local search: include your location in your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and content. Use local keywords such as the name of your city or neighborhood. This approach is usually implemented in SEO for startups as well, and it’s actually suitable for any organization that has a physical address.
- Get listed in online directories such as Yelp and Healthgrades. Make sure your information is consistent across all directories.
- Build local citations by listing your clinic’s information on other websites, such as local blogs, news sites, and community forums. It helps to establish your clinic’s authority and credibility.
- Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote your clinic and engage with patients in your local area.
Online reputation management
Healthcare SEO should focus on managing the healthcare practice’s online reputation by actively monitoring and addressing patient reviews and feedback. Also, encourage patients to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile listing and other online directories. Good reviews should be requested – the negative ones appear unsolicited. Respond to reviews promptly and address any negative feedback.
HIPAA compliance helps protect patients’ personal health information (PHI). Healthcare organizations that are not HIPAA compliant risk exposing sensitive patient data, which can lead to severe consequences, including legal and financial penalties, loss of patient trust, and damage to their reputation.
Regarding healthcare SEO, HIPAA compliance can affect website design, content creation, and online marketing efforts. It helps protect patients’ personal health information (PHI). For example, healthcare organizations must ensure that their website is secure and that any patient data transmitted through it is encrypted. They must also be careful about how they collect and use patient information in their marketing efforts, as HIPAA regulations prohibit using PHI for marketing purposes without patient consent.
Mobile optimization for the healthcare SEO
Mobile devices have become the primary way people access healthcare information and services, making mobile optimization an essential part of any successful healthcare SEO strategy. Google has also indicated that websites optimized for mobile are more likely to rank higher in search engine results. Optimizing your website for a better user experience on smaller screens, faster loading times, and more straightforward navigation can provide the following:
- A great user experience
- Resulting in increased engagement
- The longer time spent on the site by users
- Potentially better conversion rates
Healthcare SEO should implement structured data to help search engines understand the website’s content and display rich snippets in the search results. You can use several Google structured data types for healthcare SEO. They provide additional information to search engines, which can help improve the visibility and ranking of healthcare websites. Here are some examples:
- MedicalCondition. This structured data type can provide information about a specific medical condition, such as symptoms, causes, and treatments. The similar one is MedicalSymptom.
- HealthTopic can provide information about a specific health topic, such as nutrition, fitness, or mental health.
- MedicalOrganization indicates information about a specific healthcare organization, such as its name, location, and services offered.
- Physician, as the name implies, is used for providing information about a specific physician, such as their name, specialty, and contact information.
Using Google structured data might significantly improve your healthcare SEO, providing patients with valuable information about medical conditions, symptoms, health topics, healthcare organizations, and physicians. Remember that rich snippets might decrease the number of visits despite the high ranking and outstanding visibility on SERPs, as users will have the answer to their request right on the Google page.
In summary, healthcare SEO requires a unique set of strategies and practices that cater to the specific needs and challenges of the healthcare industry.
Healthcare SEO requires a unique set of strategies and practices that cater to the specific needs and challenges of the healthcare industry to improve websites’ online visibility and ranking in search engines. Specifics like E-A-T, patient-centric content, local SEO, online reputation management, HIPAA compliance, and mobile optimization are essential for better search engine rankings.
Healthcare providers must focus on establishing credibility, creating patient-centric content and actively managing online reputation by promptly addressing patient feedback and reviews. By implementing these practices, healthcare providers can achieve better search engine rankings, increased traffic, and, ultimately, better patient outcomes.