“A study conducted by a reputed digital marketing agency Bluecorona asserts that nearly 73% of patients transitioned online to find a health practitioner and 89% use search engines for healthcare-related queries.”
“In the last year alone, nearly 80% of all the patients relied on the internet to search for medical information and medical practices. And over 70% of healthcare-related queries take place on a mobile device!”
If you come to think about it, the burst of search engines – Google/Bing/Alexa – have all come to have a cause-and-effect relationship with the present consumerism, and the medical industry is no exception.
The same is beautifully put forth by Google’s recent report on buying behavior online.
Google’s Conception of Purchase Journey
If you are in some way aligning with healthcare, pharmaceuticals, medical clinics, or medical offices, looking to improve your business, then this guide is exactly for you.
We are going to breakdown on how to improve your medical services online, focusing on Trigger & Purchase points (as seen in the picture) – by local SEO setup. Subsequently, we will deal with strategies that will help to pull out the potential consumers from the ‘Exploration-Evaluation’ infinite loop (as seen in the picture) – by getting professional help from digital agency service providers.
Important Local SEO Components For Online Medical Help
The purpose of SEO is to boost up the quantity and quality of inbound traffic to your website organically. Search Engine Optimization, abbreviated as SEO is the strategy that all the online businesses perform to rank themselves higher on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
You know why?
This Google report has observed several online shopping touchpoints: search engines, review sites, video sharing sites, portals, social media, comparison sites, forums, interest groups/clubs, retailer sites, aggregators, blogging sites, the voucher/coupon sites, branded sites.
And the biggest advantage in getting ranked higher on search engines is that the results are customized based on the searcher’s location.
This is particularly useful for businesses in the medical field.
To tap-in this advantage, one must move to a more technical aspect of traditional SEO – that is Local SEO.
Further, focussing on the following components of local SEO will fetch you the desired results:
- Claim your Business Listing on Google My Business / Bing Places
- Optimize Your Website For Mobile
- Employ Local Schema
- Rank For Featured Snippets
- Perform Citations Audit
Google Serp-Local AD
Google Serp-Local Map Pack
Google Serp-Answer Box & Local Organic Results
#1 Claim Your Business Listings Online
Google My Business is an official Google tool to make business listings and make them displayed on Search Engine Results, maps, and social networks. It’s like your “business card” but online.
Remember Trigger/Purchase points as discussed earlier?
A person searching on Google for medical help in the locale or neighborhood gets your business listed on the search engine due to proximity of the location. It eventually makes the person a prospect!
You may refer to this guide on setting up Google My Business.
However, if you have already claimed your listing, “optimize” it. Your local map pack ranking is determined by two things: proximity and rank.
While proximity is uncontrollable and depends on the searcher’s location, you can keep your listing updated with the latest Name, Address, Phone Number, Map Location. Additionally, make sure to add your website URL, opening hours, photos/videos, attend to user reviews to increase your visibility online.
Pro-tip: If you practice with multiple practitioners, but needs to optimize for your specific services, Google My Business can handle that as well. Refer to the official guidelines to represent your business on Google here.
#2 Optimize Your Website For Mobile
We had already disclosed that over 70% of online healthcare queries take place on mobile devices. Therefore, it is even more important for businesses related to healthcare to keep their websites mobile-friendly.
- By optimizing your website for mobile, we mean to say:
- Accessible and functional in every web browser
- Easy to read and navigate on all devices
- Quick to load content, images, and video
- Responsive. So it adapts to fit the user’s screen or is specifically designed for mobile users
- Employing HTTPS to keep the website secure. This is important to services like telemedicine, physiotherapy session, yoga training, fitness coaching, etc.
#3 Employ Local Schema
Schema markup is all about highlighting specific content on your webpages, thereby signaling Google crawlers to consider the information that you want to highlight.
Remember the ‘Exploration-Evaluation’ infinite loop?
This gives you good control over your content strategy. And with this, you can help buyers exit the ‘Exploration-Evaluation’ infinite loop to reach the purchase point.
What kind of elements can be highlighted with schema?
- Medical Condition (information regarding a specific medical condition)
- Medical Web Page ( for a single-topic web page about a health/medical topic)
- Drug (medical drug information)
- Medical Guideline (a medical guideline)
- Medical Scholarly Article (a page with a record, abstract, or full text of a medical scholarly publication)
Get yourself familiarised with how to employ schema markup on your website for local SEO, by clicking on this previous blog post.
Pro-tip: Generating schema code by itself does not guarantee a top spot on SERPs. It will only make it easier for search engines to interpret & most likely to be included in the first few search results. You need to back this schema markup with a niche-focused content strategy.
#4 Rank For Featured Snippets
Featured Snippets & Knowledge Panels are some typical applications of schema markups for local SEO. Refer to most useful tips by Neil Patel to rank better in Google’s Featured Snippets.
Google Serp-Featured Snippets & Knowledge Panel
#5 Citations Audit
Moz offers citation checks that will ensure the consistency of Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) listings.
The more consistent and greater your citations are, the more relevant your business is to Google crawlers. And relevance is a major factor in determining local rankings, according to this Moz study.
In addition to Bing and Google, you can list your business on other (reputable) directories – Apple Maps, Manta, Healthgrades.com, etc.
Now that we have mentioned Bing, is it time to start paying more attention to this search engine? Click here to know more on this.
How Can Medical Students And Doctors Enrich Online Medical Resources?
Medicine is one of those professionals to which the highest levels of ethics are applied. However, with the explosion of free information, “Dr. Google” began to don the role of giving free medical advice.
However, research indicates that patients largely understand the need for credibility when accessing an informative website. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research revealed that patients mostly consider usability, simplicity, and source authority when looking at online medical information.
“This opens a gateway of opportunity for medical students, doctors to make a mark in the online world through building informative websites, and engaging content.”
They can empower patients with the skills to determine reputable websites themselves. This blog recommends using the STANDS technique with patients:
- Source: Does the resource cite recognized authorities and provide their credentials?
- Transparency: Is it open and obvious whether the site’s mission is educational or commercial?
- Accessibility: Is the site available without registration, and is there a way for users to contact someone with questions or concerns?
- Neutrality: Is the information available purely as a resource, or does the site benefit financially from what its users do (such as buying products or visiting advertised websites)?
- Documentation: Is the site updated when needed by recognized medical experts?
Security: Can users access content without forfeiting personal information?
We have extensively covered the essential functionalities of a Doctors’ Website in one of our previous blogs. Do check it out!
Local SEO vs Digital Marketing With Online Medical Resources
The upcoming year is expected to witness:
- Voice-search and long-tail keywords that will answer health-related issues, explain surgical procedures, or even simplify medical terms will be preferred by the user.
- Healthcare businesses will be proactive to rebuild or empower their reputation through trustworthy medical content and quality customer service for their patients in this period of “infodemics”.
- Marketers need to adapt keywords to current search trends to stay relevant.
Based on the stats that we presented at the start of our blog, local search may be a key component of your overall marketing mix. However, it shouldn’t necessarily be the first place you start with your online marketing.
Other factors like the age of your website, availability of an in-house marketing team, and the physical location of your business may influence whether the local search should be your primary focus, or whether you might be better served to take a look at organic search, PPC ads. or social media first – which fall under the ambit of Digital Marketing services.
Additionally, you might also want to read our previous blog post on why Digital Marketing is essential for the Healthcare Industry?
Need Professional Help?
Local SEO may not be fully successful without optimizing the traditional aspects of SEO like Title Tags, Descriptive Tags, Alt Tags, H1’s & H2’s, XML Sitemaps, Anchor Tags. In addition to it, Online Reputation Management is necessary to sustain/improve the rankings on SERP.
Here is a short video excerpt from ColorWhistle’s Digital Transformation Series – How Much A Medical Website/SEO Cost?
You may either choose to hire a freelancer to build a WordPress Medical website or implement digital marketing strategies, but nothing can outweigh the return on investment from a digital agency. A digital agency is a one-stop solution for all your design, development, and marketing needs. After all, building a website/implementing SEO is not a one-time thing but a continuous, on-going process.
Give us a call at +1 (919) 234-5140 or Fill-in contact webform here. We are happy to assist you in scaling up your business online!