15 Techniques To Promote Your Medical Practice Online
Having made a substantial investment, in terms of time and money, in launching your healthcare facility website, it is now time to make this investment count. Search engine optimization of your healthcare website will go a long way in making potential local clients aware of your facility. This activity is not going to cost you a bomb. In fact with minimal investments you will be able to achieve all your revenue targets within the first year itself. A note of caution, organic SEO takes at least a year to produce results. However, local SEO can produce results much faster than general SEO.
Local SEO optimisation is a technique that makes your healthcare facility and your website visible to people located near your practice. It is akin to yellow pages and potential patients can find your office and know about your services.
Why is local SEO crucial to your healthcare website?
MarketingCharts.com, part of the Watershed Publishing network, in a study conducted in the year 2009 reported that more than 82% people use search engines to find local businesses including healthcare facilities. The study concluded that close to 60% consumers use Yellow Pages and close to 50% consumers refer to local directories to find local businesses. In view of the fact that local consumers increasingly seek healthcare services online it is imperative your website and your healthcare facility are visible to them online.
Here are 15 techniques to help you promote your medical practice online:
Submit your website to search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing
Google, Yahoo, and Bing are the three major search engines. The first thing that you should do is submit your website to these search engines.
User friendly website
When you commission an internet marketing company to create a website, make it known to them that you desire a user friendly website. Make sure all the data/content on the website is in conformation to Google Webmaster guidelines. Page titles and Meta descriptions should be optimized with appropriate keywords. Each page title should include your healthcare facility’s name and one or two keywords you feel are relevant to your area of specialization. The keywords enable local internet users to find your website.
Use Google Analytics
Your web host will probably offer you a package deal that includes analytics. However, opt for Google Analytics, a free web analytics tools. Setting up Google Analytics is a simple process and you can do that in less than five minutes. With this tool you will be able to access web traffic data. You can access data like number of visitors to your healthcare website, time spent on your website, physical location of the visitors, and how they reached your website. This information is nothing short of a goldmine.
Next add your healthcare facility information to the local Google business directory. Google+ local is free and simple. Your listing information should include your healthcare facility description, services offered by your facility, details about you and your staff, photos, videos, and special offers. Make sure your listing has a 100% score.
Social networks business profile
What better way to spread the word about your practice than through a social network. Sign up to business pages of LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Foursquare to promote your practice amongst your patients, friends of patients, and friends of friends of patients on these networks. However, make sure you claim your website URL e.g. facebook/cosmeticsurgeonofdallas.
Online marketing blitzkrieg
The techniques we discussed till now were free. However, this technique is going to cost you some money, but it is money well spent. Hiring a digital marketing agency to run Google AdWords allows you to select keywords, create relevant ads, and attract targeted customers to your website each time they search the internet for healthcare related services. You pay Google only when your advertisement is clicked. You have the freedom to set a budget and can start as low as $20 per week. Google AdWords gives you the opportunity to target consumers in specific locations whether it is a county or a district.
Local listings and local directories
List your website in local listings and local directories. A majority of such directories are free and this a great way to create inbound links to your website. This is a great way to increase web traffic to your healthcare website.
Get relevant to Google
Get involved in forums in your area of specialization. Create a profile on such forums and add value by making meaningful contributions. Doing so, increases your healthcare facility’s relevance to Google.
Optimize your website for mobiles
Smartphones and tablets are the preferred devices to access internet on the go. Optimize your website to suit such platforms by incorporating a flexible website design. Ensure your website is uncluttered and loads faster than your competitors.
Social sharing buttons
Ensure all social sharing buttons like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc are present on your website. Also make sure each page of your website has your healthcare facility phone number and email address.
Webmaster tools help you identify issues that would be detrimental to your website. Use webmaster tools to fix issues before they snowball into huge unmanageable problems. Using webmaster tools ensures search engines like Google and Bing find your website every time a local search is made.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” this may sound cliched but local directories like to display pictures. Get a professional photographer and shoot some stunning pictures of your facility and upload them on your website.
Encourage Feedback and Reviews
Local directories are unique in that they encourage and support reviews and feedback. Reviews add credibility to your healthcare practice and improve page rankings.
Write a blog about your area of specialization, new developments, management of health conditions, your services, and promote it on various channels. Besides increasing your business, blogging will improve your writing and you will also gain a few thousand followers.
Whenever you add your information to a social network, a local directory, or a forum, make sure you are consistent. Your healthcare facility name, address, contact info, email address, URL, and services offered should be the same everywhere.
Now let’s come to the business end of the discussion. If you have read all the above points carefully you will probably feel you don’t have the time to do all these things besides managing your medical practice. Well, all this takes only a few hours a week. However, if you still feel that you have time constraints, hire a good Search engine optimization company that uses ethical white hat techniques to optimize client websites and ask them to do all the above and more. This article will then serve as a checklist of things you and your SEO firm has to do!