99% of doctors have a website. But 99% of doctors' websites leave money on the table every day for one reason: they don't rank well on Google.
If you're like the 99% of doctors who want to grow their practices, ranking higher on Google is the best path to success.
But to do that, you need to think like the 1% of doctors who actually do it right.
The good news is that you can get more patients by improving your Google rankings. It isn't easy, because Google holds doctors to a higher standard than most businesses (we'll explain why). But it is possible.
In this article, we'll peek "under the hood" of Google and show you the steps you need to grow your practice by ranking better on Google as a doctor.
Why SEO Matters for Doctors
According to NBC News, 9 out of 10 patients in 2021 use Google as their first step in researching a medical condition or finding a doctor.
How high your website ranks has a direct impact on how much traffic your website will get.
Consider this: the top 3 results on Google get 94% of all the clicks.
But fewer than 1% of people ever click through to Page 2 of Google or beyond.
Website traffic directly impacts your patient flow. If you want to increase the number of patients you see each month, you need more people on your website.
Bottom line? If your practice website isn't on Page 1 of Google, you're missing out on patients.
But oftentimes, doctors have a hard time ranking well. Why? Well, Google has a few things to say about that...
Why Do Doctors Have a Harder Time Ranking Well?
Google uses thousands of signals in its algorithms, but the most important signal for healthcare providers is called YMYL.
YMYL stands for "Your Money or Your Life." It's Google's way of figuring out which websites have sensitive content that could impact the financial well-being or living standards of their users (i.e., "Your Money or Your Life").
Healthcare falls into this category.
It makes sense when you think about it: Google doesn't want to promote websites that have inaccurate (or harmful) medical advice – that would be bad for them and bad for their users.
So Google holds doctors' websites to a higher standard. Every businesses' website should be beautiful, load quickly, and be easy to use. But if you're a doctor, your content has to be accurate and incredibly trustworthy.
If it isn't, you'll probably run afoul of Google's rules on YMYL...and that means lower rankings.
If you want to rank higher and comply with google's YMYL rules, there's one SEO concept you need to master: E-A-T.
What is E-A-T, Anyway?
E-A-T is an acronym that stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness – and it's vital to good rankings if you're in the YMYL world.
Google's E-A-T algorithms try to answer these questions"
- Expertise: Is the author of this content qualified to write about what they're writing about? Are they publishing new research in their field or are they just passing on what someone else wrote without adding anything original or unique to the conversation?
- Authority: Does this website or author have genuine credibility as a reliable source of information on its topic(s)? Can you see other trusted sources referencing it? Do others in the industry reference this website or author when discussing similar topics?
E-A-T is just one of many signals Google uses in its algorithms, but its importance has grown in recent years. Conveying that your doctors have Expertise, are an Authority on the topics they're discussing, and are Trustworthy is important to ranking well.
How to Use E-A-T to Get Started on Your Journey to Better Rankings
The tricky thing about E-A-T is that there's no one thing that you can do or say to improve your ranking. There's no hard-and-fast way to improve your E-A-T.
E-A-T isn't a checklist.
There is no E-A-T "score" that Google uses, per se.
And it's not just about content – it's also about how Google perceives the website and its publisher as an authority on what they're publishing.
It's important to do a "soft audit" of your website occasionally to see how Google might perceive your E-A-T. Here are some things to keep an eye on to improve your E-A-T:
- Demonstrate the industry knowledge you possess by providing clear answers for any common questions your patients have. Consider updating your doctors' CVs on your website to reflect published scholarly articles and other contributions they have made to research in their field (Expertise)
- Share information and back up your assertions with reputable sources such as other doctors, peer-reviewed papers, etc. This not only demonstrates that you have Authority, but shows your readers that you're committed to providing only high-quality information (Authority)
One of the best ways to improve your E-A-T is by publishing high-quality content. Through the blog on your website, you can share informative and helpful content such as:
- Contributions your physicians have made to research & development in their field
- Information on patients' medical options
- Frequently asked questions about the services or procedures you offer
- New research published in medical journals
This content can (and should) come in a variety of formats, like videos, infographics, blog posts, and engaging graphics.
Publishing this type of content online is an effective way not only to share information, but also to be found by potential patients via Google searches.
For E-A-T purposes (and HIPAA compliance), you'll need to make sure that your content is accurate, fact-checked, and does not contain medical advice.
Your doctors don't necessarily have to write all of the content, but they should proofread it for accuracy. The last thing you want to do is give less-than-optimal advice – that will land you in trouble with Google.
Get People Talking
As you create great content that is helpful to patients, you're likely to attract links and mentions from other respected sources in your field – these are great for E-A-T and SEO!
If possible, try to get mentions in your local press, too. One element of Google's algorithms is what other people are saying about you, not just what you say about yourself. Getting links and mentions from reputable sources is a great way to elevate your content in Google and get it in front of more people.
Conclusion paragraph: At the end of the day, patients are far more likely to visit a doctor that has better Search Engine rankings. If you're not getting enough traffic from Google, it may be because your E-A-T is subpar. Consider implementing these E-A-T strategies to rank better on Google and win more patients.
Want to fix your E-A-T and rank higher than your competition? Contact our team today. Our SEO experts can provide tangible steps to improve your ranking on Google and win more patients in no time.