by Paul Lee | SEO Expert
A Guide to What Matters Most
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business. The value of getting to that front page of Google – and the competitive nature of the fight to get there – is a fact of life for all businesses. This is especially true in the health & wellness industry, where there’s a lot of money at stake and a lot of competitors fighting it out for a piece of the pie. And research suggests 80% of people search online before going to the doctor. It’s vital that you get this right.
By Health and Wellness providers, we’re talking about:
- Dentists and Dental Practices
- Medical Doctors
- Naturopathic Doctors
- Plastic Surgeons
- Foot Doctors
- Sleep Specialists
- Mental Health Providers
- Physical Therapists
- Medical Spas
So, is medical SEO different than SEO for a plumber or lawyer? The answer (as you might expect) is yes and no.
How is Health & Wellness SEO the Same?
In some respects, SEO is simply SEO. It’s the science and the art of sending the correct signals to the search engines so your pages will rank higher in search results.
That is often the same for a chiropractor or dentist as it would be for any other business.
- Get your details consistently right.
- Optimize your pages – their titles, descriptions, headings, and text.
- Make your site error-free, mobile-friendly, and fast as lightning.
- Publish useful information that answers your potential patients’ questions.
- Emphasize your location and the areas you serve.
- Get lots of good reviews.
- Get links from other sites to yours.
So, if you’re a podiatrist in Puyallup or a dermatologist in Bellevue, you’re going to want to do all those things. And you need to do them consistently right over a long period of time.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Medical SEO does have some major differences, and you’ll need to pay special attention to them if you want to really outrank the competition.
What Makes Health & Wellness SEO Different?
SEO for healthcare providers and companies differs primarily in the importance of some of the signals we send to Google. And in fact, if we can sound slightly heretical here, these aren’t so much about actual rankings as they are about converting people to patients. Rankings still matter! But they only matter if they drive sales, and that’s what these tips are about.
We want to do everything we would normally do for search engine optimization, but we’ll pay more attention to these three areas:
1. DIRECTORIES STILL MATTER
In the past, a big part of SEO was making sure your web site was listed in as many of the hundreds of “web directory” sites as you possibly could. Over the last few years, the importance of these “web citations” has waned, and while they are still a ranking factor, for more and more businesses, it’s not the top priority.
For health & wellness providers and companies, however, that’s not true. Some of the bigger directories of physicians and healthcare providers are still important sources of traffic and links for your web site. You want to be listed in every medical or health directory you can possibly find, because people are actually using them.
Even better, the directories are often a source of reviews, which brings us to our next topic.
2. REVIEWS CARRY MORE WEIGHT
Obviously, all businesses want good reviews. Google has admitted that reviews are a big part of their ranking algorithm, and they are doing that in response to customer demand. But it’s even more true in the medical and health sector. The average person reads at least seven reviews before making an appointment.
Because of the personal nature of your business – the intimacy of the connection between patient and healthcare provider, and the importance of getting that connection right – people will do extra research and make their decisions even more carefully than they would for a retail store.
That means you need reviews, and lots of them. If you don’t already have a review strategy in place, you need one. A good digital marketing firm can help you with ideas and techniques to get great reviews from happy patients. Every positive review is not only a boost for your rankings, but it’s also a boost for the confidence of your incoming patients.
But people don’t want to just hear about what other people think, they want to hear from you directly. That leads us to our next point.
3. CONTENT IS TRULY KING
Finally, the last area of emphasis for health & wellness SEO is the content of your site. Blog articles, videos, infographics, web pages about your services – all of it should be thorough, high-quality, and incredibly helpful.
People searching for a neurologist or cosmetic surgeon are going to do more research than someone buying a printer. They’ll want to know more about you. They’ll have lots more questions and need a lot more answers before they feel good.
Any good medical SEO plan is going to be centered around the content. Answer the most common questions from your patients. Educate them about medical issues or health concerns. Inform them about techniques or technologies that distinguish you from competitors. And then the phone will ring.
When we talk about health and wellness SEO, it’s true that in many ways it’s similar to other industries. However, there are important details that help you connect with people and ultimately lead them to becoming patients. Partner with a company that knows how to do exactly that. Give us a call today and we’ll develop a specific and customized plan for your SEO that will bring results.