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Did you know that 75% of internet users do not go beyond the first page of search results?

Additionally, 81% or more of all patients today conduct an online search before scheduling an appointment with a doctor. Even if they have received a referral from another healthcare provider, this is true.

Needless to say, the benefits of SEO for doctors can be tremendous.

It’s important to know that SEO is somewhat of a long-term investment. More of a marathon than a sprint. To be successful with it and achieve first page Google rankings, there needs to be an ongoing, consistent, strategic, and intentional effort. There’s really no way around that.

Additionally, Google’s search algorithm continues to change and evolve. But this doesn’t mean that things are out of your hands.

Here are five actions you can take as a doctor to help boost your keyword rankings:

1). Review the Analytics and Rankings

The best place to start is to get a baseline of what keywords you’re ranking for, the keywords you want to rank for, and your progress thus far.

You can use tools that Google provides to export this data – Search Console and Analytics.

I recommend reviewing four things closely with this step:

  • What are your current most valuable keywords and landing pages?
  • What is the user flow from those pages to your Appointments page?
  • What keywords/pages present the most short-term opportunities for improvement (pages currently ranking on pages 2-5 of Google results)?
  • What keywords/landing pages are underperforming?

2). Review Your Keyword Strategy

I once heard one of my business mentors ask an important question, “What is the difference between what you think and what you know?”

Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients who think they know the keywords to target, but when we did a deep-dive analysis of the keywords being used, it didn’t align with what the patients were searching for.

In my view, this is an important lesson. Don’t rely on what you think patients are searching for. Instead, use data-driven tools like SEMRush to analyze and know what patients are searching for. Then target your SEO efforts based on the data.

3). Review and Revise Your Site Navigation

As a doctor, your website should be easy to navigate for patients. They should quickly be able to find the information they’re looking for.

Large healthcare systems are notorious for having difficult-to-navigate websites, which patients hate. Just ask them.

The good news is that it represents opportunities for doctors who have their own websites to out-rank the healthcare systems in search results. Here’s why:

If your website is difficult for patients to navigate, it’s also difficult for search engines to crawl, which leads to lower rankings.

Make sure your website is intuitive for your patients and Google. It can only help your rankings.

4). Review Your Site’s User Experience (UX)

Along the same lines as the previous point, you want to make sure that your site is user-friendly. With Google’s Core Web Vitals update, this is now more important than ever.

If a site has a poor user experience, the patients typically just bounce off. What happens then? In most cases, they find another provider.

Pay close attention to things like how quickly your website loads, images, page flow, and hyperlinks (both internal and external).

5). Review and Revise Your Content Strategy

Anyone who has spent more than two minutes discussing medical SEO with me has heard me say, ” The days of build it and forget it websites are long gone.” The truth is, you can’t be successful with SEO without being laser-focused on creating great content that is beneficial to patients.

In my experience, patients want several things when they are searching for health-related topics.

  • Clear answers to their questions.
  • Accurate information from an actual doctor who is local to them.
  • Information they can understand. In other words, avoid or explain all medical terminology.
  • Information that is actionable for what they’re searching for. Provide solutions (i.e., “in this case, come see a doctor…”)

Again, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. But it’s always good to review and update how you are doing. Taking these five actions above can only help improve your SEO success.