Don’t Just Keep Up With Your Competition, Be Better.
We’ve spoken at length in our blog posts about the best practices that healthcare providers including chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, and OBGYNs should follow with their online marketing. A common theme in our posts is that if you don’t keep up, you will be left behind because people do a lot of their searching and researching for doctors online. More importantly than keeping up, though, to have better online medical marketing ideas and practices than your peers. From mastering SEO for doctors to blogging and social media, you must be willing to invest time, and yes, money, into your online presence to ensure that your website peaks on search engine results pages and entice new patients to choose your practice. It’s important to keep up with best practices and changes to SEO guidelines as well as to keep an eye on what your competition is doing so that you can top their efforts.
Keywords and Readability
One of the first things you need to do is make sure that your website is at the top of search engine ranking pages. Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to getting to the front of Google searches. However, SEO isn’t keyword stuffing your content. Readability is king. The content, including the headers, body content, and Meta descriptions must be readable and include an appropriate amount of keywords and phrases that your target audience will be searching for. Unfortunately, there is not a hard and fast number that is considered the optimal number for a keyword to appear. Readability of your web content has become much more important to search engine rankings. This means that your website has to make sense to your potential patients. It is tempting to showcase your technical medical knowledge with the fancy medical terminology, especially if you rely on a lot of referrals from other physicians. But you should always include the layman’s term so that your web content matches the words your average American seeking medical, dental, or optometry services will type into Google to find a practitioner. A great example of this is the laparoscopic gastric band. While this term is accurate, many of the people looking for bariatric surgeries will search “lap band”, so you will want to include both as well as keywords like weight loss surgery in your content to make sure that the information you present, matches what people are searching. Another piece of advice for readability and search term matching is to use questions, as it is common practice for a person to search with a question. An OBGYN website might include questions like “What is an IUD?” or “How often do I need a Pap Smear?”
Regular content updates
You will want to keep the content on your website and social media pages to date and fresh. There’s no need to rewrite your whole website every so often, but making use of an embedded blog and updating a news page is a great way to keep a steady stream of fresh, readable, and SEO primed content building on your web page.
So, yes, blogging is important. Not only does it create a library of keyword dense content for your website, it also allows you to delve into your philosophy of care and share your passion for your practice with visitors to your website. You don’t want to include a lot of heavy content on individual web pages, but enough to demonstrate your expertise and enticing details about the services you provide as most visitors will skim through the information. Once a person decides that you might be the best provider for them, he or she will learn more about you by reading your blog, watching your videos, and checking out your social media presence, including reviews. So make the most of an embedded blogging option to share information about yourself, your practice, and your philosophy of care to further convince visitors to your website that you are the provider they have been looking for.
You might also want to keep an eye on the blogs of your competitors as well as other healthcare providers to see what they are up to. There are a number of online marketing specialists who blog who you can follow to stay up to date with blogging best practice.
Design and Imagery
The design of your website is important too. First, it must be mobile friendly. An ever increasing portion of American adults conduct their search for chiropractors, dentists, and doctors from their phones or tablets and if your website takes too long to load or doesn’t display properly, they will click to the next option. Second, Google penalizes websites that are not mobile device friendly in their search engine algorithms. Second, your website is your online face and connection to potential patients. Make sure it looks modern, professional, and trustworthy. It is worthwhile paying for a quality website. It might be tempting to save money on a cheaper option or to try to use a template on your own, but in the long run, this will not help your practice to attract patients and you will not be outperforming your completion, but eating their proverbial dust.
Book online function
When you are working to build your website, having an online calendar and booking function will help to convert visitors into patients. If they can request an appointment with you with a click of a button on their phones, that eliminates the need for the potential patient to remember to call your office. Even a click to call option helps to make this conversion. Converting visitors to patients should be your goal and you need to make it easier for the visitors to your website to choose you.
Social Marketing offers two benefits. First, having a strong multi-channel online presence adds authority to your website, increasing its value in Google search algorithms. Second, and potentially more importantly, it allows you to share more information with potential patients and engage with them. You can respond to comments and reviews, to thank them if they praise you and in the case of a poor review, to extend an offer to make things right. Social media is a powerful tool that you can use to your best advantage to improve your online presence and reputation.
The moral of all of these best practice points is to invest in your online marketing and to seek professional advice, services, and support as necessary. Everyone is making websites and engaging in social media, so if you want your practice to be successful and grow, you must be better than the competition.