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Healthcare SEO Best Practices

Our Expert Guide to SEO for Medical Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) enables businesses to increase web rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) and, therefore, help drives targeted traffic to their websites.

While all types of businesses should use SEO to increase their online visibility and generate leads, a sector-specific approach can certainly enhance your SEO performance.

By implementing a tailored medical practice SEO strategy, you can ensure that your website ranks highly for relevant keywords within your industry and – therefore – increases your reach within your target audience.

In this article, we’ll look at:

  1. What SEO for medical practices entails
  2. Top tips to boost your rankings

What Is Medical Practice SEO?

SEO for medical practices is simply a search engine optimization strategy that is tailored to your specific industry and target audience. 

While general SEO encompasses a number of elements, some of these are more relevant when it comes to healthcare websites and medical SEO. By focusing most heavily on these elements, you can increase your rankings more effectively,  enhance the impact on your target audience, and acquire more patients and/or clients. 

Top SEO for Medical Practice Tips

1. Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is the cornerstone of a successful SEO campaign, so don’t overlook this critical step in improving your online presence. Ranking for the right search terms will enhance the quality of the traffic that’s driven to your website and, as a result, will determine how easily and effectively you can convert prospects into patients. 

If your medical practice provides specialist healthcare services, for example, incorporating these into your on-page SEO elements will ensure that your web pages are displayed when users are searching for related content. Crucial on-page SEO elements include:

  • Title Tag: Descriptive and relevant to the content.
  • Meta Description: Concise summary for search result snippets.
  • Heading Tags (H1, H2, etc.): Hierarchical structure for content organization.
  • URL Structure: Clean, readable, and keyword-rich URLs.
  • Image Optimization: Descriptive alt tags and optimized file names.

In addition to this, keyword research will enable you to assess the search volume and competition of relevant search terms. By doing so, you’ll be able to target the keywords that are most likely to generate a significant volume of targeted website traffic. 

Healthcare SEMrush UAE analysis

2. Use Local SEO

Local search engine optimization involves using geographical information within your target keywords, so that your web pages rank for search terms that are modified by location. 

If you run a medical practice in Dubai, for example, there is little point attracting website traffic from users situated in New York, London, or Sydney as they are unlikely to become patients. Instead, you’ll want to focus on targeting users who are searching for your services within a relatively close proximity to your practice. 

So, a medical professional in Dubai may want to rank for local search terms, such as:

  • Best doctor in Dubai
  • Physiotherapist Dubai
  • Medical practice in Deira
  • Doctor’s office Al Wuheida

Although local search terms tend to have a lower search volume than generic keywords, they can generate website traffic that is far more valuable to the business. As a result, you’ll find that ranking highly for location-based search terms and using local SEO in your medical SEO strategy will have a positive impact on patient acquisition rates and will increase brand awareness within your target locations.

Best doctor in Dubai SEMrush UAE analysis

3. Encourage Patients to Publish Reviews

Online reviews are an effective way of showcasing the reputation of your business and they’re a valuable commodity for businesses across every industry. For medical practices, however, online reviews can be particularly important as potential new patients place a great deal of weight on the reviews they read online. 

A recent study confirmed that 90% of patients surveyed use online reviews when searching for a physician and 71% use reviews ‘as the first step when finding a new physician’. 

As well as building trust with potential new patients, online reviews and ratings also enhance the trustworthiness and reputation of your business in the eyes of search engines. In doing so, they can increase your rankings and ensure that your web pages are placed prominently on search engine results pages. 

So, don’t simply hope that your existing patients will leave online reviews at their own will. Instead, encourage and incentivize your client base to endorse your medical practice online.

4. Publish High Authority Content

Google and other search engines reward websites that publish new content on a regular basis and a steady flow of fresh content can help to secure high rankings. 

Of course, it’s essential that the content you publish is high quality, original, and engaging. As a medical practice, you may be publishing content that relates to important healthcare matters. This is the type of content that Google refers to as ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL), so you’ll face higher ‘page quality standards’ than other types of businesses. 

However, don’t let this dissuade you from publishing content on a regular basis. Instead, use this as the basis of a strong and innovative content marketing strategy that incorporates your target keywords while delivering informative, accurate and meaningful information to your target audience.

5. Optimize Your Google Business Profile

A Google Business Profile is a free listing that allows businesses to appear on Google Maps and on Google Search. When it comes to SEO for medical practices, a Google Business Profile should be an essential part of your strategy. After all, making it easy for patients to find your practice online and in real-life should be a top priority. 

Once you’ve claimed your Google Business Profile and verified your business, you’ll be able to optimize your profile with a variety of information, including:

  • Healthcare services
  • Practice staff
  • Opening hours
  • Contact details
  • Photos of the practice
  • Website URL

By personalizing the content and publishing more than merely basic business information, you can boost your search rankings and ensure that potential new patients have easy access to the practice information they need. 

Google maps imagery

6. Improve the UX

The ‘user experience’ (UX) your website offers will impact how users behave when they land on your site, and it can make the difference between acquiring new patients and alienating your target audience. 

When executing your SEO strategy, ensure you conduct a UX audit and determine how improvements can be made to enhance the user experience. This may mean refreshing your brand design, simplifying site navigation or simply making the typography on your website more readable. 

Users are more likely to remain on your site, engage with your content, and make direct content with your practice when your website offers a good UX. In turn, it will impact both conversions and rankings.

7. Optimize Meta Titles and Descriptions

Meta titles and descriptions are shown on search engine results pages, and they are an important way of enticing users to click on the links to your web pages. When you’re crafting them, be sure to use persuasive and motivating language that compels your target audience to act – but be sure to incorporate your target keywords too. 

By using your target keyword in a web page’s meta title and description, you can boost the page’s rankings and ensure that your web pages are shown on SERPs when users search for related terms. 

8. Use Images and Videos (and add alt text)

Integrating a wide range of content into your site can enhance its design and improve the UX, but it also keeps search engines satisfied. What’s more – visual content is often more popular than text, so users may engage more frequently and more meaningfully with images and videos.

An introduction video gives users an opportunity to ‘meet’ a physician, for example, while a detailed infographic can provide them with important information regarding healthcare procedures and services. 

Whatever types of images or videos you use, make sure they are fully optimized for target keywords. By including your keywords into image titles and alt text, you can tell search engines what the content and the web page is about and, therefore, increase your rankings accordingly.

9. Enhance the Technical Performance of Your Site

Technical SEO is a branch of search engine optimization that should never be ignored. After all, Google wants to direct users to websites that will deliver an optimal UX and enhancing the technical performance of your site will enable you to do just that. 

Although technical SEO is far-reaching, there are some initial tasks you can undertake to improve the technical aspects of your medical practice SEO strategy, such as:

  • Optimize Website Speed: Minimize loading times for better user experience.
  • Mobile-Friendly Design: Ensure your site is responsive and looks good on mobile devices.
  • XML Sitemap: Create and submit an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl and index your pages.
  • Robots.txt: Use this file to control which pages should not be crawled by search engines.
  • Canonical Tags: Implement canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues.
  • HTTPS: Secure your website with an SSL certificate to improve security and rankings.
  • Structured Data Markup: Use schema markup to help search engines understand your content better.
  • Internal Linking: Link relevant pages within your site to improve crawlability and user engagement.

Implementing a Successful Healthcare SEO Strategy

As you can see, SEO for medical practices covers a wide range of elements and requires technical expertise and experience. Furthermore, you’ll need to undertake consistent optimization to ensure that you achieve and retain high rankings.

From in-depth keyword research and content creation to website design and technical performance, getting expert help with all aspects of your medical SEO strategy can enhance results, increase online visibility and accelerate success.

Based in London and Dubai, Trafiki Digital is a digital marketing agency with over a decade of experience in growing companies in both the UK and the Middle East through targeted SEO services. Contact us today for a 30-minute consultation.

2024-01-22T17:19:43+00:00July 18th, 2023|Blog|
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