SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a term or concept that you’ve probably heard a lot about.
Having a good SEO strategy that generates results is of high importance to any practice looking to attract new patients. Before we jump into why SEO is so important, let’s start with some of the basics.
What Is SEO?
SEO is short for ‘Search Engine Optimization.’ Basically, it’s a marketing strategy focused on ranking a website and/or web pages strategically and organically on Google and other search engines.
What Is Organic Ranking
Organic visibility is basically non-paid search engine results.
For example, when a patient types in “obgyn near me” into Google, it’s the websites that show up in the results (not the paid ads).
Organic ranking makes a huge difference in attracting new patients to your website and practice.
The higher your website is on the list of search results, the more likely a patient is to visit it, and schedule an appointment.
What Are Keywords And How Do They Impact Organic Ranking?
Keywords are the search terms people use to find a website.
To use the example above, “
However, not all patients use the same keywords.
One patient might search for “obgyn in Denver” while another searches for “Denver gynecologist.”
Both of these keyword searches will generate different results. Most likely, you would want your practice to rank for both.
There are a number of keywords that patients use to find physician practices. This makes keyword research and planning one of the most important parts of building an SEO friendly physician website.
Why Is Good SEO for Physician Practices So Important?
The latest studies show that 77% of patients now do online searches before making an appointment.
If your practice’s website does not rank on the first page for a patient’s keyword search, it’s very unlikely they will find you to schedule an appointment.
This is especially true when it comes to new patients.
The majority of web traffic is driven by Google (80% of all searches). Yahoo! (9.5%) and Bing (8.5%) are also used, but to a much lesser extent. At any rate, if these search engines cannot find your practice’s website relative to a keyword search, you miss out on your greatest (and most cost-effective) marketing opportunity.
SEO Isn’t Just About Building Search Friendly Websites
Another important factor of having a search friendly website for your physician practice is to make the site better for people too.
Patients value a positive experience when visiting and returning to a website.
If a website ranks well but does not provide a good experience, most prospective patients will move on to find another practice.
Can’t Search Engines Just Figure Out My Site And Keywords Without Being Intentional About SEO?
Search engines have come a long way and are very good at indexing, but they still need help. Search engines place the responsibility on the website owner to tell them what keywords to rank for.
For example, some patients type in “obgyn near me” while others put a space and type “ob gyn near me.” Both of those keywords will generate different results even though the patients are obviously searching for the same thing.
Making The Right SEO Moves
The right SEO moves can generate a number of new website visitors. However, making the wrong SEO moves, can bury a website deep within the search results, making it unlikely people will discover the practice.
Having an SEO strategy in place that is well executed will help your practice’s website rank higher, and as a result, will attract a higher number of new patients.