Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing today. Doctors who are looking to grow their practice should be focusing on SEO, as it can lead to increased traffic and higher conversion rates for their websites.
But doctors are medical experts, not marketing experts, so many doctors make SEO mistakes that hinder their success.
This blog post will explain why Search Engine Optimization is so critical for healthcare providers and how you can avoid the biggest mistakes many doctors make.
What is SEO?
Before we start, we have to answer a fundamental question: what exactly is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website so that your content has the best chance of ranking high on Google and other search engines when a user types in a query.
SEO helps medical practices grow faster than before because it helps increase a practice's visibility online. Google is the #1 place that most patients go to before they select a doctor, so it's important to rank well.
Why is SEO Important for Healthcare Providers?
Why should doctors use SEO? One reason: volume.
9 out of 10 patients turn to Google as their first step in researching a health condition or selecting a new doctor, so it's vital to rank high on Page 1. 93% of Americans use Google as their primary search engine, so the market is massive.
Search Engine Optimization can lead to more traffic and higher conversion rates for your website, so it's important you are using SEO correctly.
If you don't optimize your site with valuable content and good keywords, people won't be able to find or see it when they're looking online for healthcare providers near them!
Doctors are often unfamiliar with the benefits of Search Engine Optimization. Many doctors figure that Google will just "figure it out" and rank their website when patients are searching for their services, but they are unaware that they can take tangible steps to improve their rankings. SEO is a vital marketing channel to attract more patients and grow your practice.
The Top 3 Mistakes Doctors Make with SEO
For doctors who do realize the importance of SEO, there are still many myths and mistakes that are made. Three of the most common mistakes doctors make with SEO are below.
1. Focusing on desktop only.
The first mistake doctors make with SEO is focusing on desktop results only. Google treats desktop and mobile differently, and the vast majority of patients use a mobile device to browse the web.
Mobile visibility is especially important for local businesses like healthcare providers because many patients search for terms related to their location, such as "plastic surgeon near me." Because of this, getting your mobile website right is crucial.
Most doctors assume that if their desktop website is good, that their mobile website will work well, too. Unfortunately, this often isn't the case.
Websites often load more slowly on cellular connections, which can lead to frustrated patients and lower conversion rates. So when you're thinking about your SEO, make sure you audit the mobile experience of your website to ensure maximum visibility.
2. Failing to test user experience.
Related to mistake #1 is failing to test user experience. We've discussed how important user experience is on mobile devices, but it doesn't stop there. You can't assume that the way you might browse or use your website is the same way everyone will do it – you need to test how your website looks and functions on a variety of devices, browsers, and situations.
For example, your website might look beautiful on a desktop, but the styling might be off on mobile. Maybe your self-scheduler loads quickly on a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection, but becomes unusable on a cellular connection.
And if your website doesn't work well on certain devices, this can lead to lower click-through rates and lower search engine rankings. To ensure your SEO is the best it can be, you need to regularly audit and test the user experience of your website.
3. Placing too much emphasis on SEO.
There's no doubt that SEO is important for medical practices. However, there are some doctors who come to consider SEO their whole marketing strategy. That's a big mistake.
This is a mistake because you need to balance the needs of your website with other forms of online promotion and lead-generation tools (such as social media and paid advertising).
SEO is a valuable healthcare marketing strategy, but you should never put all your eggs in one basket. What happens if Google's algorithm changes and "demotes" your website? If you rely 100% on SEO, your patient volume could dry up overnight. That's why you need to diversify with other marketing channels, such as social media, pay-per-click advertising, and offline advertising strategies.
In short, it's important for healthcare professionals to understand how Search Engine Optimization works in order to create a healthy relationship with it. SEO is definitely an important piece of a marketing strategy, but it's not the only one.
SEO is a powerful marketing tool, but if you don’t do it right, your efforts can be wasted. These are just some of the many pitfalls that marketers often fall into when executing an SEO strategy for their medical practice.
If you need help with your SEO or want to learn more about growing your practice, contact us today! Our team is ready to collaborate with you on your practice marketing to help you achieve your growth goals.