With 71% of American adults searching for healthcare-related information online, it’s more crucial than ever to have a properly optimized website in order to attract new and current patients to your healthcare website. Whether you’ve just redesigned your healthcare website or are planning to in the coming months, it’s important to know the technical issues, crawl errors, incorrect redirections, poor design, or outdated tactics that could lead to a drop in traffic from search.
Follow these steps to ensure your healthcare website can easily be found by users on their search for their healthcare needs.
SEO for Healthcare Websites
Audit current inventory
Head over to your website and take a look at the content you already have up there, which types of pages you have and any technical elements that may need adjustments. Some of the aspects you want to consider are:
Page Titles and Meta Descriptions – these are elements that show up in search engines and tell the user what the page is about. A well thought-out meta description can entice users to click on your site, rather than a competitor.
Meta tags and Body Copy – keyword stuffing is a way of the past. Google favors content that is original, relevant and informative. If adding a targeted key phrase to your body copy doesn’t sound natural, Google will pick up on it and could end up hurting you more than helping.
Image alt-text – search engines can’t “see” the images you post on your website, so it’s important to include an alt-text for every image on your site to ensure search engines can understand what the image is and place it in relevant search queries.
Stuffing your website content with keywords is out, and long-tail keywords are in. Remember the key to good keyword research is to think about what your target users are searching for, not what you want them to be searching for. Additionally, your keyword selection should be as specific and relevant as the services you offer. If you specialize in a certain area, take advantage of it to drive the right patients to your facility.
Update or redirect old pages
When bread gets stale, you either get rid of it or find a way to repurpose it (croutons, anyone?). The same concept goes for the content on your website. Content has a shelf life and eventually, when left unattended it becomes stale. Whether the information is outdated or there are links that no longer lead to a new page, you need to decide if your content can be updated, redirected or removed all together.
Update to responsive design
Roughly one in three patients have used mobile devices daily for healthcare research and/or to schedule appointments. If your new healthcare website isn’t “mobile friendly”, it won’t rank as well in mobile search results and users won’t be able to find you. Google officially announced this mobile algorithm update earlier this year, so make sure to plan your new site accordingly or else you’ll be a victim of “mobilegeddon”!
Utilize off-site sources
Social media, email marketing, guest blogging, social book-marketing sites, press releases, etc. are all factors that need to be considered in your SEO strategy. The more ways you can bring people to your healthcare site from outside sources will not only increase your brand awareness but it will also boost your inbound efforts.
Create a seamless user experience (UX)
If your brand new website was built in a not-so-user-friendly way, users may react by staying on your site for only a short time or completely bounce off your site, returning to the search results to find a different healthcare website. Over time, these “short clicks” and other usability metrics tell Google that your website isn’t satisfying the users for the queries that they are typing in.
While patients still leverage both online and offline sources for healthcare information, it’s been reported that search drives nearly 3x as many visitors to healthcare sites compared to non-search visitors. That means, if you aren’t taking your SEO efforts seriously… now is the time to start doing so.