SEO is probably one of the most common digital marketing terms you’ve heard. Search engine optimization is the process of creating quality, useful content that answers questions people are seeking answers to. Check out this article on what search engine optimization is to learn more.
Think about how you interact online and how you use the internet. If you’re looking for an answer to a question you likely head straight to a search engine like Google or Bing to find an answer. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant or a new doctor, every search you performed is done so with the intent of getting the answer that best matches your needs. That’s what search engines are in the business of ranking websites that meet users’ needs.
One of the most complex parts of search engine optimization is understanding what is required to rank. We know that the content on your site plays a part, internal and external links are important, and site engagement is crucial. But what else makes a difference? How do you stay up on search engine optimization and keep it fresh and exciting so you maintain your rankings?
Pay Attention to Google Algorithm Updates
Google is the most widely used search engine online. Since it launched in 1998 it has, on a regular basis, updated and tweaked its algorithm. The algorithm is what signals to Google what to look for on websites and how to rank them.
Most algorithms are named after animals, however, some of the more recent algorithms have been named after what they target. For example, the “Mobile Update” released in 2015 targeted websites that were not mobile friendly. It favored websites that are responsively designed, navigation that’s easy to use with your fingers (because many people are browsing from their smart phones), the efficiency of forms that can quickly be filled out, and well-spaced buttons.
After the Mobile Update a “Quality Update” was issued. Like many updates this one rolled out quietly. This algorithm favored high quality content and penalized sites that had user generated content that wasn’t useful. Additionally, websites with excessive and obstructive ads were also penalized. When working on your medical website design
In 2013 “Hummingbird” was released. This update allowed for more flexible phrasing on the website due to Google’s improved semantic search capabilities. For example, if you’re a dentist looking to get in the top listing for “pain free dentists” Google might also consider that your website is ranked for “gentle dentists” since these terms are synonymous.
When working on your medical website design it’s important to think about how these algorithm updates will impact your plan. Consider how you’re mapping out the content on your site, how your navigation is structured, and how your website meets the needs of each person visiting.
Update Your Website
Today’s online visitor is fickle. They want quick answers to their questions and get bored quickly. By keeping your website up-to-date with regular content you’re providing useful information to visitors and signaling to Google that your website is helpful.
As you continue to add content to your website you’re given the opportunity for that content to be indexed, ranked, and finally accessed by visitors. This technique should be a big part of your medical marketing strategy.
The more fresh content that is on your website the more time people spend on your site. As you interlink these pieces of content and visitors click through Google sees that people are spending a generous amount of time on your site. This tells Google that you’re worthy of ranking. The higher you rank the more likely you are to get visitors and leads through these pages.
Make Your Site Fast
When working on website design for healthcare providers it’s easy to want to add all the fun bells and whistles to make it interesting. The important thing to remember is that while you might benefit from these additions, they can all slow your website down.
Make it a point to continually optimize your site’s speed. Ensure images are small enough that they load quickly, that additions of new forms or videos doesn’t slow your site down, and that it works well on your mobile device.
Always Work on Link Building
If the U.S. dollar is the most widely trusted currency in the physical world, then in the world of SEO link building is its counterpart. Link building is a signal to Google and to other visitors that your website is trustworthy and that any websites you’re linking to are trustworthy.
There are two types of link building strategies. First, you want to focus on internal linking. By continually updating your internal linking you’re directing people on a page on your website to other related content that they might find helpful. The best way to do this is to use anchor text that is descriptive and obvious.
Internal links allow people to navigate through your website, establish an information hierarchy, and spread “link juice.”
External links are links that are typically hard earned and go from one website to your website. Quality links can take a long time to get, however, they’re invaluable when it comes to maintaining a fresh SEO strategy. When someone from a website links to your website they’re giving you a vote of confidence. As you build these links Google will begin to look highly upon your site and improve its ranking for whatever keywords you’re targeting (as long as the anchor link is properly described).
Build a Social Media Presence
A social media presence allows you to engage in a two-way conversation with your audience. By adding share buttons to your website and blog, creating a presence that makes people come to your social channels for information, and encouraging sharing you’re showing search engines that you’re engaged with your audience.
Additionally, social shares of your content show as a definite vote of confidence from people who have had experience with your business. In website design for medical practices, this is one of the best referrals you can get (read more about how social media impacts your website).