To appear in relevant search results and attract more patients to your website, you need a local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. Follow these tips to boost your rankings.
From cold symptoms to wound dressing, an after-hours GP or a same-day appointment, when ailing Australians are looking for health treatment, Google is often their first source of relief. In fact, 78% of adults in Australia use the internet to find health-related information (Source: Australia's Health 2018 In Brief. 2018). And it’s not just the younger generation on the internet either; 69% of Australians aged 65 and over have used the internet to investigate health issues (Source: Research Australia).
Whether you’re the multi-hat wearing practice manager, a sole GP or a multi-doctor mega-clinic, effective online marketing helps your practice grow by connecting you with the community you serve. A strong online presence makes you accessible and credible. Appearing in search results allows patients to choose you over the doctor down the road, helping to grow your practice into the preferred clinic in your area.
So, how can you ensure your website appears among the top results when a prospective patient searches Google? That’s where the local SEO strategy comes in. SEO is a carefully planned, ongoing activity that helps your website rank highly on search engines. And local SEO helps Google prioritise results that are near the person searching. After all, if Google doesn’t love you, your patients can’t find you.
Here is what you can do to begin improving your local SEO.
Be found for treatment, condition and practice-related searches
When many people think of SEO, keywords are one of the first things that come to mind.
Keyword examples include:
- Loss of sleep
- Iron infusion
- Skin check.
Picking the right keywords for your practice is vital since it’s those words or phrases that draw the right kind of traffic to your site. Use keywords naturally throughout your site as you describe your practice or write blog posts on specific health topics.
Educate patients with content
Content marketing is a powerful educational tool that establishes your credibility with prospective patients and helps position your practice as the best in the area.
To really stand out online, it’s important to produce content for patients in different stages of the information search. Blog posts and videos targeting broader search terms, such as ‘lack of sleep’, can attract those who are at the very start of their journey. This is called an informational search, as the user is wanting to learn more about why they are experiencing the issue at hand. Creating an article on the ‘top reasons for disturbed sleep’ can draw in the prospective patient. Finishing the article with a call to action, such as mentioning that your GP can advise on ways to improve your sleep, will entice the person to book an appointment.
User experience: Make it easy for your patients
In recent years, user experience has become one of the main ranking factors. User experience includes how fast your website loads and if it is mobile friendly (remember that most people search on their phones).
Grab a coffee and check the speed of your website: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights
Most of us are impatient and will click something else if a site is loading slowly. If your site speed is under <89 with speed ranking, talk to your website team about how to make it load faster.
Be secure: SSL certificates
SSL certificates are the technical name for security protection on your website. SSL certificates secure personal information such as credit card details, name, and contact details on websites. SSL encryption used to be more common for shopping sites, however having an SSL certificate is now standard practice.
So how does an SSL certificate relate to SEO? It is now one of Google’s ranking factors. If you don’t have an SSL certificate (shows as https) Google shows warns users that the site isn’t safe. Most users choose a different site at that point – you’ve probably done the same yourself.
Appearing in local searches: Google My Business
Since most people search from location-enabled devices, Google began to respond by showing personalised, local results. Google My Business (GMB) is the branded knowledge panel that appears when you search for a business name. It also allows businesses to show in the maps listings that appears in the first few search results for local services.
Some quick Google My Business tips:
- Make sure you have a Google My Business listing. If not, create an account.
- Double check that your practice name, address and phone number are correct and appear exactly as they do on your website.
- Upload educational content to your Google My Business page. The content appears similar to a Facebook post and can really boost your rankings.
While this article provides an overview of SEO and some tips to help you rank higher in Google, these tactics are just the tip of the iceberg. Performing well on Google takes consistent effort over many months – and when you get too busy to nurture your online presence, you’ll slip back down the search results.
That’s why many practices choose to hire Splice Marketing. Our SEO services can help you grow your practice at a steady rate. And while we use our marketing skills, you can use your medical knowledge to treat your patients.
If you’d like get a digital diagnosis of your practice, find out more here. You’ll get much more value than expected.
Australia's Health 2018 In Brief. (2018). [ebook] Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/fe037cf1-0cd0-4663-a8c0-67cd09b1f30c/aihw-aus-222.pdf [Accessed 26 Sep. 2019].