SEO FOR DOCTORS AND MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS
What is Search Engine Optimization for doctors and medical practitioners? What is SEO for doctors and medical practitioners?
If you are reading this, chances are you are a Medical practitioner or owns a clinic or hospital and will like to:
- Generate more lead with organic content and data which may lead to more foot traffic to your physical address.
- Rank higher on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo
- Be more competitive locally and internationally
- Improve website performance and offer better user experience
- Increase traffic to your website.
- Make your online doctor website accessible and findable online
- You want to stand out from the too much noise of the crowded medical practitioners business website.
SEO for doctors and medical practitioners is all about optimizing your healthcare website so the search engines can find you. It has taken me years to realize how to do this and it works every time. SEO is one way you help people find your healthcare website. It’s similar to how retailers put their stores in the busiest part of town so that customers frequently drive by their location.
SEO for doctors and medical practitioners is not a cost but an investment that imparts results in the long term. You cannot expect a miracle to happen overnight—it takes weeks or even months to reach the top-of-the-results chart. There is no fixed way to accomplish this; however, a combination of several methods can help you achieve higher rankings in a calculative (and not manipulative) way.
Check out our post on optimizing real estate website with SEO. It ranked number 1 and 2 within 4 days. See proof below
What’s a Search engine and how do I use in SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
A search engine is a tool that searches the Web for websites relevant to real-time queries entered by users. Depending on the search string, search engines return results, which are called search engine results page (SERPs). Usually the engines get it right and display the most relevant results. There are no fixed rules used by the search engines to display accurate results.
Every time you drive by a Domino shop, there’s a chance you might stop in for a pizza. Similarly, every time you see a search result from a particular organization, you might visit their site to read an article or buy an item. The busy part of the Internet, the best place for your online location, is in the search engines listings where over a billion people read every day.
Importance of SEO for doctors and medical practitioners for your healthcare and medical practice website
SEO is organic, and as your healthcare website goes up the rankings, you get more traffic. Studies related to various factors of SEO such as:
- link building
- user-engaging content etc
Indicate that sites visible in the first few pages of search engine results garner more traffic than the rest. For example, if users want to search for clinic near them online, they usually click site links that appear on the first or second SERP without bothering to scroll through the rest; they do not want to spend too much of their valuable time and are looking for a quick resolution.
Not only will traffic to your medical site increase as a result of SEO, but the recommendations of users visiting your website will help you get more hits and attract new customers. The reach and scope you achieve by implementing SEO leads to a larger target audience.
How Much Does SEO Cost for doctors and medical practitioners when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
This is perhaps the best part about SEO for your healhcare business. You can apply all of the most important SEO principles to any existing website for free. All you need to do is learn these SEO techniques and spend 30–60 minutes on each page of your website.
Since over half of all websites on the Internet have less than 8 pages, you can probably optimize your website in less than an 8 hours.
For bigger blogs and business website, you might need some help from a professional SEO. The cost of such services varies. If you are not sure what to do then an easy way to get some SEO done is to get someone to help you do an SEO Audit on your healthcare website and advise you on SRO for medical practice.
SEO Goal for doctors and medical practitioners when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
To get started with SEO for doctors and medical practioners in your medical practice, set a goal. For example your goal can be, “at the end of three months, my website will appear in the top 15 listings for at least one of the following keyword phrases that I choose.”
- Get a doctor online
- Online healthcare platform
- Telemedicine Nigeria
- Telehealth in Nigeria
- Telemedicine provider
- Online doctoe consultation in Nigeria
- Instant virtual health care
- Affordable health care plans
- Free online doctors
- Online dermatologist in Nigeria
- Fertility clinic in Ikeja
- Clinic in Shomolu
- Ask a doctor
- Mobile clinic near me
- Talk to a doctor near me
Then do the following when as you plan to implement SEO for doctors and medical practitioners:
-Think of ten things visitors or patients to your healthcare website will search fo
-Convert these into keywords
-Ensure pages on your website include the keywords
-Get high-quality links to your website (note—you can’t use links from Facebook, Twitter, and many other popular sites because they use a linking technique called “nofollow” to cut down on abuse)
-Make sure every page on your website has at least one link from another page on your website.
-Give your post or pages interesting titles
-Watch your traffic stats and search for your keywords every week or two to see if your SEO is working
SEO Basics for doctors and medical practitioners: How Search Engines See Your Site
The most important thing to remember during the implementation of SEO for doctors and medical practitioners for your healthcare site is that search engines aren’t people. They’re robots. They won’t rank your healthcare website higher because you have nice looking picture of doctors and nurses or a nice looking video on your site . In fact, search engine robots can’t even see pictures or videos. Search engine robots (also called spiders) deal almost exclusively with the text on your website. They look at the title of your page, its headers, its paragraph text, and its links and they ignore almost everything else.
When I finally started using Search Engine Optimization on my WordPress websites the results were amazing! I thought that you could only promote an entire website for certain keywords, but eventually realized that you can actually promote each individual page if you wish. People often neglect promoting a single page on their website.
For example I had a fantastic article and I was getting approximately 8 visits per day to this article. After investing a small amount of time performing search engine optimization for this Post directly, I have turned 8 visits into nearly 2500 visits per day. This is just for one article on a website. Of course this website has many more articles and I have done promotion for approximately 210 posts only. Can you imagine when I get around to the other 541 posts?
SEO for doctors and medical practitioners – Using Search engine marketing for your medical practice
When you use a pay-per-click approach (Search engine marketing also known for short as SEM), your site appears at the top of Google’s Search engine result page. However, the moment you stop paying for ads, the site will no longer be visible. On the other hand, SEO results are not dependent on ads, and with efficient maintenance, your site will appear at the top of the charts without having to advertise.
You do not pay Google or advertising vendors to achieve the top spot on the Search engine result page, Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Note that at times, you may need the services of a digital marketing agency for various reasons, such as providing quality content on a regular basis or obtaining better online advertisement and exposure for your clinic to reach targeted audience faster.
SEO for doctors and medical practitioners and user experience for your health care business
SEO and user experience go hand-in-hand. The future of SEO leans toward creating an enhanced user experience. For example, internal links on your website that point to relevant pages and content not only help search engines crawl your site but also result in easy navigation.
Ultimately, SEO implementation should focus not on search engines but on the user’s requirements and intent. Keeping this broad picture in mind, attracting users with engaging content and design is a recommended SEO trait that, in turn, aims at creating an awesome user experience.
For example, Google advocates for mobile-friendly sites and ranks those sites higher, because mobile has become the de facto platform for business compared to desktop- or laptop-based sites.
Challenges in SEO for medical practice when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
The world of SEO has its hurdles. The following are various challenges you may come across when you implement SEO in your design projects:
Time constraints in Medical SEO when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
As I mentioned earlier at the onset of this post, people expect an SEO implementation to deliver quick results. In reality, it takes weeks or even months to see a positive result. A true SEO consultant always adheres to legitimate tactics and does not try to fool the search engines.
Using devious tactics can help you gain results, but it wont be long before you are caught, resulting in penalties. Violations can cost you dearly. Some penalties are relatively lenient:
Your site is not featured in the top results as a result of being downgraded. But there are also severe penalties, including delisting your site from the search results (it depends on the severity of the violation).
Avoiding irrelevant, spammy content in your medical SEO when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Content is king, as you will hear often in SEO training and tutorials. Well, content-driven websites usually fare well with SEO implementation, provided the content is engaging and relevant. Simply stuffing your content with keywords may not lead to good results. You need to understand user intent via their queries instead of focusing on what search engines like. For example, if your site advertises Mobile Clinic Service in Lagos, then using irrelevant content such as furniture reviews or top schools in Ibadan would be misleading.
The focus of the content must not distract users. Users must receive the information they expect when they surf your medical website.
Factors to avoid in your Medical SEO marketing when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Factors such as:
- manipulating content
- aggressive link building, and
- poor content
- Duplicate content
- Stale content
may eventually prove detrimental. Search engines like fresh content. Therefore, if your content has not changed for a long time, or if you have used duplicate content from another website, your site will not appear in the top results.
Black-Hat SEO vs. White-Hat SEO in implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Black-hat SEO can be defined as deceptive and underhand techniques used to scale up to higher rankings in search results. Most people tend to underestimate the potency of search engines in determining whether the techniques used are appropriate or deceitful.
However, search engines are getting smarter by the day and can figure out whether you use improper tactics and strategies to fool them. Black-hat SEO may get results in the short term, but eventually you will be penalized by the search engines. Examples of Black Hat SEO Method are:
- Keyword stuffing
- Door way pages cloacking
- Link farming
White-hat SEO is the opposite of black-hat SEO and is focused on using optimal, organic tactics to help your site rank higher in search results. Usually it means adhering to the guidelines provided by the search engines and playing by the rules. When implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners you must only use White-hat SEO method. Factors such as:
- quality link building
- user-engaging content
- and optimal performance
are some of the white-hat SEO strategies used by SEO consultants to streamline accessibility and visibility in search rankings. In short, you need to focus on user intent rather than try to fool the search engines.
On-Page SEO consideration when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
On-page optimization is related to factors controlled by you or your code that have an effect on your site’s rankings in search results. To create an optimal experience, you need to focus on the following page-optimization factors:
- Title tags
- Meta keywords and meta descriptions
- Engaging content
- Image optimization
- Interactive media
- Outbound and internal links
Web Crawling consideration when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Web crawlers or web spiders are internet bots that help search engines update their content or index of the web content of various websites. They visit websites on a list of URLs (also called seeds) and copy all the hyperlinks on those sites.
Due to the vast amount of content available on the Web, crawlers do not usually scan everything on a web page; rather, they download portions of web pages and usually target pages that are popular, relevant, and have quality links.
Some spiders normalize the URLs and store them in a predefined format to avoid duplicate content. Because SEO prioritizes content that is fresh and updated frequently, some crawlers visit pages where content is updated on a regular basis.
Other crawlers are defined such that they revisit all pages regardless of changes in content. It depends on the way the algorithms are written. If a crawler is archiving websites, it preserves web pages as snapshots or cached copies.
Crawlers identify themselves to web servers. This identification process is required, and website administrators can provide complete or limited access by defining a robots.txt file that educates the web server about pages that can be indexed as well as pages that should not be accessed.
For example, the home page of a website may be accessible for indexing, but pages involved in transactions—such as payment gateway pages—are not, because they contain sensitive information. Checkout pages also are not indexed, because they do not contain relevant keyword or phrase content, compared to category/ product pages.
If a server receives continuous requests, it can get caught in a spider trap. In that case, the administrators can tell the crawler’s parents to stop the loops. Administrators can also estimate which web pages are being indexed and streamline the SEO properties of those web pages. Googlebot (used by Google), BingBot (used by Bing and Yahoo!), are some of popular crawlers indexing the web for their respective search engines.
Indexing when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Indexing methodologies vary from engine to engine. Search-engine owners do not disclose what types of algorithms are used to facilitate information retrieval using indexing. Usually, sorting is done by using forward and inverted indexes.
Forward indexing involves storing a list of words for each document, following an asynchronous system-processing methodology; that is, a forward index is a list of web pages and which words appear on those web pages.
On the other hand, inverted indexing involves locating documents that contain the words in a user query; an inverted index is a list of words and which web pages those words appear on. Forward and inverted indexing are used for different purposes.
For example, in forward indexing, search-engine spiders crawl the Web and build a list of web pages and the words that appear on each page. But in inverted indexing, a user enters a query, and the search engine identifies web pages linked to the words in the query.
During indexing, search engines find web pages and collect, parse, and store data so that users can retrieve information quickly and effectively. Imagine a search engine searching the complete content of every web page without indexing—given the huge volume of data on the Web, even a simple search would take hours. Indexes help reduce the time significantly; you can retrieve information in milliseconds.
Forward indexing and inverted indexing are also used in conjunction. During forward indexing, you can store all the words in a document. This leads to asynchronous processing and hence avoids bottlenecks (which are an issue in inverted indexes). Then you can create an inverted index by sorting the words in the forward index, to streamline the full-text search process.
Information such as tags, attributes, and image alt attributes are stored during indexing. Even different media types such as graphics and video can be searchable, depending on the algorithms written for indexing purposes.
Search Queries consideration when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
A user enters a relevant word or a string of words to get information. You can use plain text to start the retrieval process. What the user enters in the search box is called a search query.
Authority, trust & relevance. Three powerful SEO strategies to consider when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Google has evolved considerably from its humble origins in 1993. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, once reported that Google considered over 200 factors to determine which sites rank higher in the results. Today, Google has well over 200 factors. Google assesses how many links are pointing to your site, how trustworthy these linking sites are, how many social mentions your brand has, how relevant your page is, how old your site is, how fast your site loads… and the list goes on.
Does this mean it’s impossible or difficult to get top rankings in Google? Nope. In fact, you can have the advantage. Google’s algorithm is complex, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand how it works.
In fact, it can be ridiculously simple if you remember just three principles. With these three principles you can determine why one site ranks higher than another, or discover what you have to do to push your site higher than a competitor.
These three principles summarize what Google are focusing on in their algorithm now, and are the most powerful strategies SEO professionals are using to their advantage to gain rankings.
The three key principles when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners are: Trust, Authority and Relevance.
- Trust when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Trust is at the very core of Google’s major changes and updates the past several years. Google wants to keep poor-quality, shoddy sites out of the search results, and keep high-quality, legit sites at the top. If your site has high-quality content and backlinks from reputable sources, your site is more likely to be considered a trustworthy source, and more likely to rank higher in the search results.
- Authority when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Previously the most popular SEO strategy, authority is still powerful, but now best used in tandem with the other two principles. Authority is your site’s overall strength in your healthcare market. Authority is almost a pure numbers game, for example: if your site has one thousand social media followers and backlinks, and your competitors only have fifty social media followers and backlinks, you’re probably going to rank higher.
- Relevance when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Google looks at the contextual relevance of a site and rewards relevant sites with higher rankings. This levels the playing field a bit, and might explain why a niche site or local business can often rank higher than a Wikipedia article. You can use this to your advantage by bulking out the content of your site with relevant content, and use on-page SEO techniques to give Google a ‘nudge’ to see that your site is relevant to your market.
You can rank higher with less links by focusing on building links from relevant sites. Increasing relevance like this is a powerful strategy and can lead to a high rankings in competitive areas.
Before implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners, know this: How Google ranks sites -Google’s top-10 ranking factors
You may have wondered if you can find out the exact factors Google uses in their algorithm. Fortunately, there are a handful of industry leaders who have figured it out, and regularly publish their findings on the Internet.
With these publications you can get a working knowledge of what factors Google use to rank sites. These surveys are typically updated every second year, but these factors don’t change often, so you can use them to your advantage by knowing which areas to focus on.
A short list of some of the strongest factors contributing to high search rankings:
- Word count.
- Relevant keywords on page.
- Responsive design.
- User signals (click-through-rate, time-on-site, bounce-rate)
- Domain SEO visibility (how strong the domain is in terms of links and authority).
- Site speed.
- Referring domains (number of sites linking to your site).
- Keyword in internal links.
- Content readability.
- Number of images
If your competitors’ pages have more of the above than yours, then it’s likely they are going to rank higher. If your pages have more of the above than competitors, then it is likely you will beat them. Combine this with an understanding of the recent.
The above factors are from the Search Metrics Google Ranking Factors study released in July, 2015. The Search Metrics study is an in-depth look at the highranking factors in Google. If you want a deeper look, you can browse the full report by visiting Ahref.
Another well-known authority on the SEO industry, called MOZ (previously SEOMOZ), release a survey every two years, combining survey data from world-leading SEOs, and a very detailed analysis of how Google functions today. MOZ also publish this information for free on their site.MOZ Ranking Factors Survey
Why is keyword research so important for SEO for doctors and medical practioners in medical practice?
Keyword research is the first and most important stage of every SEO project. Keyword research is the most important stage for two main reasons:
- If you rank your site highly for the wrong keywords, you can end up spending lots of time and effort, only to discover the keyword you have targeted doesn’t receive any traffic.
- If you haven’t investigated the competitiveness of your keywords, you can end up investing lots of time and effort into a particular keyword, only to find it is far too competitive to rank, even on the first page.
These two pitfalls are often the ultimate decider on how successful any SEO project is.
What exactly is a keyword when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners ?
A keyword is any phrase you would like your site to rank for in Google’s search results. A keyword can be a single word, or a keyword can also be a combination of words. If you are trying to target a single word, then you must be ready for a race dash. Single word keywords are extremely competitive, and difficult to rank highly for in the search results.
Here’s some different kinds of keywords for your medical SEO when implementing SEO for doctors and medical practitioners
Head-term keywords: keywords with one to two words, i.e.mobile clinic.
Long-tail keywords: keywords with three or more phrases, i.e. Telehealth platform in Nigeria.
Navigational keyword: keywords used to locate a particular brand or website. Examples would be Facebook, YouTube or Gmail.
Informational keyword: keywords used to discover on a particular topic. This includes keywords beginning with ‘how to…’ or ‘what are the best..’
Transactional keyword: keywords entered into Google by customers wanting to complete a commercial action, i.e. ‘ask a doctor online’.
In most cases, targeting head term or navigational keywords for other brands is competitive and not worth the time or effort. Despite their high traffic numbers, they will generally not lead to any sales. On the other hand, long-tail, informational and transactional keywords are good keywords for most Local SEO for doctor projects. They will lead to more customers.
How to generate a massive list of keywords.
There are many ways to finding the right keywords for SEO for doctors and medical practitioners. Before you can find keywords with loads of traffic in Google, you must first develop a list of potential keywords relevant to your business.
If you spend your time trying to cast too wide a net, you can end up targeting keywords irrelevant to your audience. For example, if you are an online clinic in Nigeria, examples of relevant keywords might be:
- Online clinics in Nigeria
- Online health care platform in Nigeria
- Ask a doctor online near me
Irrelevant keywords might be:
- Hospital patients
- How to visit our online clinic
- Doctor keyword in Nigeria
You can see how the first pool of keywords are more relevant to the target audience of Online clinics, and the second pool of keywords are related but unlikely to lead to customers.
Keeping relevance in mind, you must develop a list of potential keyword combinations to use as a resource, so you can then go and uncover the best keywords with a decent amount of traffic each month in Google.
Listed below are powerful strategies you can use to help with generating this list.
- Steal keywords from competitors.
If you’re feeling sneaky, you can let your competitors do the heavy lifting for you and snatch up keywords from their sites. There are many tools out there created for this sole purpose. A simple tool is Ubersuggest. If you enter a page into this tool within seconds it will scrape a list of the keywords your competitor is targeting on their page. You can then use this to bulk out your keyword list.
- Analyze your own master list
Assuming competitors have been thorough with their research isn’t always the best strategy. By brainstorming combinations of keywords, you can generate a giant list of potential keywords. To do this, sketch out a grid of words your target customer might use.
Split the words into different prefixes and suffixes. Next up, combine them into one giant list using the free Mergewords tool. With this strategy you can quickly and easily build up a massive list of relevant keywords.
Johnson Omoregie is an SEO specialist/Website Developer/ SEO Copywriter/Content Developer. He eats and sleeps Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Digital Marketing. And help business generate leads and conversions through Organic Traffic. He is the author of Business Profit Blueprint: Million Dollar Tips To Promote Your Business And Increase Profit.