Integrated Communications

5 SEO Tips To Keep Hospitals in the Game

Nov. 3 2015
Stephanie Peugh
Marketing Manager

Digital Strategies For Healthcare

With how quickly things change in our digital world, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest SEO tactics. And let’s face it; hospitals are competing for patients at every level. They are up against corporate machines like the telemedicine movement, CVS, Apple, Kaiser, Walgreens, even Lowe’s just to name a few. Everyone wants to own patient engagement.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably part of the well-oiled machine that keeps your healthcare organization’s digital marketing strategies going. Wondering what your team can do to engage patients online and get even better ROI from your SEO efforts? Well, you’re in luck.

We’ve compiled a list of technical SEO tips that will compliment your digital strategies and keep you in the game.

Digital Health Marketing Strategies

1. Make sure your site is responsive.

A recent marketing study shows that 51% of time spent on the Internet in the U.S. is on mobile devices, and 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.

Furthermore, Google announced this year that they now use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal that will effect how your site ranks on mobile search results. Moral of the story: if your website is not responsive, you’re losing out on organic web traffic.

2. Site performance can affect relevance.

To get patients in the door, they need to be able to access the information they searched for quickly. The longer your site takes to load, the more likely the searcher will bounce back to other search results. Google translates this behavior as dissatisfaction, which is a #1 ranking factor.

To remain relevant, you’ll need a well performing site.

While there are hundreds of factors that affect the speed of your site, some are more common than others:

  • Un-optimized images
  • Content served without HTTP compression
  • Too many CSS image requests
  • No caching information
  • Excessive plugin use
  • Not using a CDN for static files
  • A slow web host

For a quick assessment on your organization’s website, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

3. Publish content... lots of content.

We mean readable, usable, and interesting content that will help your patients. Examples of digital health content marketing strategies include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Post regularly on your blog
  • Build a page dedicated to educational resources
  • Hold webinars, podcasts
  • Post YouTube videos

A solid content strategy can be extremely helpful when it comes to SEO. Make sure that all of your new content flows with best practices information architecture to compliment your SEO strategy.

Just who is searching for health-related content?

  • 80% of people in the U.S. have looked online to search for ailments, symptoms, and treatments.
  • 54% of millennials search online for health information and rely upon online ratings to make decisions on which physician they’ll see.

Create helpful, unique content that showcases your specialties and expertise! Take a look at how Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles leveraged their Doctor’s expertise with their new Doctor Search.
 

Doctor Search CHLA - Hospital SEO Strategies

4. Be social.

If you’re publishing useful content, then SHARE it via social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Also, did you know that as of 2014, YouTube became the second largest search engine? When you choose platforms that align with your target audience, you increase the likelihood of them encountering your brand. Think about all of the link-back potential!

Can you add a Twitter feed to your website? Can you easily embed YouTube videos?

Don’t forget the added benefit of integrating your social channels on your site!

Embeddable videos and social feeds are a great call-to-action that can encourage site visitors to become even more engaged with your organization.

5. Optimize your use of keywords.

Of course keywords are at the foundation of SEO, but make sure to use the appropriate keywords in the most natural places on your website.

Keep in mind that  people do not always search for the exact terms that you would use as a healthcare professional. For example, you might think to search for an “orthopedic specialist,” but a patient might simply search for the term “foot doctor.”

There are several tools that can either help determine which keywords are best for your industry, or assist in determining what keywords could help your Local SEO ranking. A good content management system (CMS) can make it easy to manage your keywords in places that count, like the Alt Text for your images, meta tags, title tags, and heading tags.

SEO Tips for Hospitals - Optimize your keywords for phrases that your patients may be searching for

Now what? Convert those website visitors into patients, of course.

Isn’t that the whole point of SEO? Make sure your website is a modern tool that will help you engage and acquire new patients. To stand apart from your competition for patient engagement, your web property should be modern, easy to navigate, and super useful.

So what technologies do you have right now that could be integrated with your website?

If your site hasn’t gone through a refresh in the last 3 years, it’s time to evaluate what you might be missing in functionality:

  • Is it easy to make appointments online?
  • Can you add directions to your facilities?
  • What about emergency room wait-times?
  • How is your content organized currently?

Make sure your website is appealing, has interesting features, relevant content, and make it incredibly easy for patients to get in contact with your organization.

Is your healthcare website set up for SEO success?

Learn how our custom web solutions make the technical side of SEO a piece of cake! Contact us for a complimentary assessment today!

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