Physician Search Engine Optimization Basics: Tools You Can Start Using Today
When potential patients are looking for a new physician or medical provider, what do you think is their first step? Here’s a hint – they don’t open the yellow pages.
Like for many other services, they use a search engine to figure out what they need and who is best for the job.
When patients from your area are browsing online for a doctor close to them, chances are your practice isn’t coming up in the top of the rankings – which means you are losing hundreds of prospective patients and revenue every day. Research shows that most searchers never look past the top 10, sometimes even the top 3, meaning you’re missing out on over 80 percent of patients who search online.
So, the real question is, “How do I get my site to the top of the rankings?”
Well, there are a few simple things you can start doing today that will affect the way search engines will rank your site.
The first thing to always keep in mind is most search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! are all focused on one bottom line:
Give the best search experience with highly relevant and informative results to their searchers.
In other words, they value sites that provide information that is helpful to the person performing the search. In fact, every search engine company has a team of highly skilled employees who dedicate themselves to making sure this happens.
Let’s go over some of the major factors that will affect your rankings.
Content is King
The more relevant and useful the information on your site is, the better. Search engines love informative, current, up-to-date content that relates to your field.
Keywords are what searchers use to find the results they want, which is why you need to make sure your site contains these words to rank. For example, if you are a vein specialist in Dallas, when someone searches for a specific physician like “Dallas vein specialist”, you should be popping up in the search results.
You Need Backlinks
Receiving backlinks can be a difficult and frustrating process, but it is crucial to ensuring your page stays on top. If you don’t know what a backlink is, picture it as a vote. Every link you receive on other sites that point back to yours is a vote to rank on the search engine results page. Keep in mind not all links are created equal, and neither are the sites they are on. Quality versus quantity is a good rule of thumb.
Make sure the programming language you are using for your page is crawlable for search engines. Crawlable means that the search engine spiders can move through your title tags, meta description tags and header tags to identify what your site is about.
Be aware that the way users interact with your site can play a big role. Is the site well thought out and organized? Is it aesthetically pleasing and easy to use? Can your readers access the information they are looking for quickly?
The Need for Speed
What many practices don’t realize is their site needs to run like a well oiled machine. If it takes more than 3 seconds for your site to load, you’ve already lost. In a society of instant gratification, searchers want relevant results and they want them fast
A Few Quick “Don’ts” to SEO
In the word of SEO, there is keyword placement and keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is an entirely different beast that search engines hate and will penalize your site for. Try to not place any more than three percent of your copy with keywords.
Placing invisible text in on your page to rank higher is a huge no-no when building your site. A good example of invisible text would be placing white font with a white background. The crawlers will see it, but the readers will not.
Make sure your site is filled with quality, relevant content that is beneficial to the reader. Content that isn’t useful won’t be valued by search engines and ultimately drop you to the bottom of the rankings.
Search Engine Optimization can be a confusing and even frustrating practice at times, but it is absolutely crucial if you want your site to rise to the top. Keep in mind there are many things that can affect how your site ranks and that it will definitely not happen overnight. If you would like more help in optimizing your physician website or need help with physician marketing, give us a call. We’ve helped thousands of doctors just like yourself soar past their competitors and we can do the same for you.