If you’re looking for effective, affordable ways to grow your healthcare practice, search engine optimization (SEO) deserves to be at the top of your list.
With Google getting 1 billion health-related questions every day, or 70,000 searches per minute, not investing in SEO is missing out on this HUGE part of the market.
By getting your business on the first page of Google and other popular search engines, you can get in front of these searches and make sure that people see and click on you first.
Plus, as we proved with one of our medical clients, SEO can achieve as great, if not greater results than paid ads – and for less money.
Today, we’re looking at how to dip your toes into this area of digital marketing with an on-page SEO strategy.
What is on-page SEO for healthcare practices?
SEO is one of the pillars of digital marketing and refers to all the ways in which you can make your website and pages more discoverable and understood by search engines, most often Google.
Three main buckets of SEO work together to make this happen: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
On-page SEO consists of making sure the right information is included in the right places on your web pages. This refers to elements like text, titles, images, meta descriptions, and other on-page elements.
For reference, off-page SEO refers to tactics outside of the pages themselves (potentially even your website), while technical SEO mainly refers to changes you can make to code to improve visibility and website ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
While this article deals with on-page SEO, stay tuned for dedicated off-page and technical SEO articles soon.
How to do on-page SEO for healthcare practices
Great news! Of the three SEO buckets, on-page SEO is the easiest to implement.
If you already have existing pages and want to know how to improve them, run them through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
If you’re starting from scratch, or just want to overhaul your existing strategy, here are 4 steps to follow for effective on-page SEO:
- Research how your customers are looking for you on search engines
The first step is understanding how your target audience searches for the services you provide on search engines.
To do this, you can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner. Technically, this is a tool for paid ad research, but it still gives a baseline for how many people are searching organically.
Just enter your services or a competitor’s website; the tool will provide you with relevant, popular keyword ideas.
When choosing which of these keywords to focus on first, here are a couple of things to look at:
- Search volume: How many people are searching that keyword every month? Higher search volume means more searches, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore low-volume keywords completely. They’re often easier to rank for, meaning a bunch of low-volume keywords related to your business could potentially net you more eyeballs faster than one or two higher volume keywords.
- Competition: How many companies are bidding to get paid ads in front of people searching for that keyword? This is relevant because if people are bidding on ads for your keyword, they’re also likely trying to rank for it with SEO too. High competition could mean a harder, longer time getting your content on the first page of Google organically.
With these two factors in mind, take the keywords that make the most sense for your services and focus on creating a page for those first (travel medicine, annual checkup, injury rehabilitation, etc.).
- Create your content so that search engines can understand and rank it correctly
Now it’s time to actually create your content.
It’s worth first searching your keyword on Google and looking at the existing content. This is content that Google already sees as being the best for your targeted keyword, so if you want to rank on the first page too, you’ll want to take some pointers.
Plus, going through them will help you understand how to format your page.
For example, if you search “travel medicine” and the majority of top pages all have the same sections in a similar order (who we are, prices, testimonials, location, etc.), that might be something you want to follow too.
When filling in your sections, avoid boilerplate text or copying text from other places. When it comes to topics that warrant high-quality, reliable information, like healthcare, Google rewards unique, helpful content that incorporate the following:
This means pulling back the curtain to show who you are, what you do, and why you’re qualified to do it.
This means including testimonials, bios on your practitioners, credentials behind your services, awards you’ve won, and anything else you can think of to convey E-E-A-T.
- Make sure the right information is placed in the right places in the right way
After you’ve gone through and written your content naturally, go back through with an SEO lens.
This means making sure that your targeted keyword is included enough in the following places:
- Title and H1 (ideally as close to the front as possible)
- First paragraph of your article
- Naturally throughout the text (avoid stuffing your keyword as many times as possible)
- Section headers (i.e. H2, H3, etc.)
- Meta description (the snippets of text you see below titles in search results)
- File names
- Image alt descriptions (only if it makes sense based on the image)
You also want to use short paragraphs, include small-sized images and videos (smaller file sizes mean faster pages, which Google likes), bullet lists, and generally take a question-answer format to your content (FAQs at the bottom of your page are an easy way to accomplish this).
Plus, the shorter and more concise your text is, the more likely you’ll end up as a Featured Snippet at the very top of Google for your keyword.
For guidance, you can look at how the article you’re currently reading is formatted.
- Help boost other pages on your website
With service pages, you’ll want to keep the focus on the Call to Action (“Schedule an Appointment Today!”, but a targeted internal linking strategy (fancy speak for linking to other pages on your website) can help boost your on-page SEO.
For example, if somewhere on your page there is text that relates to another service you offer, link to that page! Not just that, but link to it using the keyword that page is targeting.
For example, if on your travel health page, there is a natural place to talk about annual check-ups, link to your annual check-ups page using “annual check-ups” as your anchor text.
This is why keeping a running document listing all of your pages and what keywords they’re targeting can be helpful. That way, whenever you create a new piece of content, you can look at your document and see if there is an opportunity for an internal link.
How to know if your on-page SEO is working
To know if your on-page efforts are working, you need two things: key performance indicators (KPIs), and the tools to help you measure those KPIs.
Some common metrics used to measure on-page SEO include:
- keyword SERP positions (your pages should be ranking higher)
- organic traffic to your site (more people should be visiting your pages)
- leads (more people reaching out to you about your services)
Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide valuable insights into a website’s performance, including which pages rank well, which keywords drive traffic, and where users drop off.
By regularly monitoring these metrics with the help of free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you can keep track of your progress and quickly spot areas for improvement.
Hire a Digital Marketing Consultant for SEO Today
As you can see, as effective as it is, SEO is no small feat. It comprises many parts, often part of a larger digital marketing strategy.
But hopefully, now, you have a basic understanding of how to get started with on-page SEO, something you can combine with off-page and technical SEO as we cover those down the road.
Until then, if you have any questions or are looking for help with your digital marketing efforts, get in touch with our digital marketing consultants today.