When it comes to ensuring that your website is visible on the big three search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, a lot has to be said about covering “the basics”. There are thousands of signals that make up a search engine’s algorithm, so it’s next to impossible to chase them. My advice? Don’t chase the search engines… chase your customers (i.e. the patients). The purpose of this article is to provide you with tried-and-true takeaways so you can do just that.
What is SEO?
Let’s start with the basics. Search engines use a variety of signals to determine how to rank your website on their results page. SEO (which stands for search engine optimization) is the focus on optimizing your website for these ranking factors. A few important examples include:
- Technical Factors: How quickly does the page load? Are there any broken links or duplicate pages? Can the search engine spiders easily determine what each page is about?
- On-Page Content: Is the content useful and relevant to the user’s search query?
- User Experience: Does the user like what they see? Did they click-through to more pages, or immediately leave the site?
- Social: Does your content get shared on social media? How many other websites are linking to your site and validating your content?
Why is SEO Important?
We are now in a world where people with a problem to solve or a question to answer go straight to search engines for a resolution. In fact, 85% of all internet browsing sessions begin on a search engine. This includes a large audience of potential patients looking up symptoms and treatments for ailments, researching medical procedures or making appointments with a new doctor. Therefore it’s very important that your website is present on these search engines to capture this audience.
The healthcare industry is already a very competitive one and most healthcare websites are not fully optimized for search engines. By making sure your site works properly, has good content and is helpful to the user, you could get a leg up on the competition. This advantage will help you to rank higher than your competitors in search results and capture more of the traffic of potential customers.
What can you do?
It’s easy to point out what you’re currently doing wrong, but that wouldn’t be all that actionable, would it? Instead, I’ll leave you with eight tips below. For more information on SEO for healthcare websites, Zeon Solutions recently hosted a webinar that defines advanced tactics and strategies.
- Make sure your site is working properly and loads quickly.
- Optimize the site for mobile users.
- Ensure the site structure is organized and that important information is easy to find.
- Make sure each page has a clear theme and that it isn’t too busy.
- Write unique metadata titles for every page so that your search engine listing has a clear title in the blue link.
- Make sure you have unique H1 tags in place for each page so that search engines can understand what your page is about a little quicker.
- Maintain a blog with interesting posts that your users will ideally interact with and share.
- Maintain a social presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you have any additional tips for improving organic visibility for healthcare websites? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Image credit: jfcherry via flickr