What’s more confusing… diagnosing your patients, or trying to wrap your head around all this “SEO stuff” you keep hearing about?
I know, I know… it’s not even close!
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret:
SEO actually doesn’t have to be so complicated.
The bad news?
The online marketing experts love to over-complicate it.
So, stick with me, friend!
Today, we’re breaking down SEO for doctors & health practitioners: what it is, why it’s important for growing your wellness practice, and how to easily implement SEO into your marketing strategy.
As always, let’s start with the basics.
What in The World is “SEO”?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization (see why everyone uses the abbreviation?). 😉
It involves increasing the chances that your website will show up in search results when people search for topics related to your business on search engines, like Google.
Maybe that sounds complicated, but it’s not.
Think about the last thing you searched for on Google.
Maybe you wanted to know…
- How many feet are in a meter?
- Nearest natural pet store?
- How to lower anxiety naturally?
And Google gives you hundreds of pages of answers, right?!
So the question is… how does Google choose which websites show up first?
Search engines prioritize websites that follow certain “SEO ranking” factors that lead the search engine to believe your website is the perfect answer to what a person is searching for.
If you’re a bit confused, stick with me!
We’ll dive deeper into the “how” later on.
Why SEO For Doctors Matters.
Now, you might be thinking…
“Why in the world is this so important for me as a doctor?”
“Can’t I just focus on growing my social media accounts instead?”
“I’d rather build human-to-human connection, not human-to-Google”
I hear you!
Social media can be a powerful tool, and in-person networking is always a fantastic idea, but people go to Google for answers first, plain and simple. Especially for their health problems. The bottom line is that “Dr. Google” is alive and well, and you might as well use this to your advantage.
When done well, SEO can lead to a consistently booked out practice, full of ideal patients. Plus, SEO is an investment that keeps on giving, unlike paid ads that stop providing any benefit the minute you cut the ads budget. Once you’ve gained SEO momentum, you’re likely to reap the benefit (incoming leads) for a very long time 🙌
Breaking Down SEO for Doctors: How It Works.
Okay, so now that you understand why SEO is important, let’s look at how it actually works. If you’re anything like me, understanding how something works makes you more likely to follow through on the actionable recommendations at the end 😉
The most important part to understand is that search engines (like Google) use bots to “crawl” website pages on a regular basis, gathering information about the type of content that’s available there.
You can think of these bots like tiny SEO bugs, crawling through every page of your website, taking inventory of what’s available.
While this imagery might give you the heebie jeebies, it’s a pretty good representation 😂
What these bots are really trying to determine is how well suited your page is to answer the questions that various users are typing into Google. It does this through a variety of factors, which help it determine the page’s relevance, authority, & helpfulness.
Okay, we’re ready for the actionable stuff. 👏
SEO for Doctors: Actionable Steps.
Here are some key steps to help you start crawling the ranks of Google. 🚀
1. List Your Business With Google!
You know when you search online for a restaurant, dentist’s office, or any destination for that matter, and there are a few results that show up at the top, next to a map?
You want to show up here if you’re a local physician with a brick-and-mortar practice!
To do this, register, verify, & update your information on Google My Business (now known as Google Business Profile). This gives you an excellent chance of showing up when locals search for your profession and/or specialty.
2. Add “Key Phrases” to Your Website.
Start by brainstorming the things your ideal patient might search for online – these are referred to as “key phrases”. For example, let’s say you’re a functional medicine doctor who specializes in PCOS. Your key phrases might include…
- PCOS Doctor in Seattle
- PCOS Specialist
- Root Causes of PCOS
Get the idea?
These key phrases are a big deal for SEO!
So, once you have your list, start adding them to your website copy.
This is especially important at the top or “above the fold” as designers like to say. This is the place that is visible to your readers before they start scrolling down the page.
And the Google bots are obsessed with this location on your website. So, as tempting as it might be to use a clever headline here, don’t do it – the Google Bots hand out gold stars for clarity, not creativity.
Pro Tip #1: Gaining SEO momentum is a lot easier if you’ve chosen a specific niche for your practice. Take a peek at my recent blog post on choosing a niche for help in that department.
Pro Tip #2: Using your new key phrases in your website copy (words) is important, but there are also some areas on the backend of your website where you can add the same phrases. Look for these settings: Page Titles, Meta Descriptions & Alt Text. You may be able to login to your website & find these settings yourself, or you may need to ask your web designer/developer for a hand.
3. Publish Regular Blogs to Your Website.
Now that we’ve got your main website pages updated, it’s time to let Google know you mean business by posting high-quality content on a regular basis.
Consistently posting to your blog signals to Google that you are an expert in your field.
Now…I know writing blogs is time consuming, so consider finding yourself a great copywriter to help – even one blog per month can make a difference. Copywriters are great because they already know about SEO, and can help you pick topics & key phrases that are easier to rank for. 🙌
Pro Tip: If you end up going the DIY route, I recommend doing some “keyword research” before picking your blog topics. Ubersuggest.com is a great website to help with this. You can type in various key phrases and it will show you how many people are searching for that particular phrase each month. Plus, how competitive it is to rank for that particular phrase! For each blog post you write, try to select a key phrase that has a high search volume, and low competition. Use this phrase in your blog title and throughout your post.
Lastly, regardless of whether you decide to write your own blogs, or hire a copywriter to write them, be sure to check out my recent article on content stretching where I explain how to get the most of your blog investment!
4. Prioritize Quality, Always.
Now, I know this probably sounds obvious. But creating content that is truly valuable to your readers – I’d even go as far as to say bingeable! – is important for improving SEO.
This is because the longer someone stays on your page, the better it looks to Google Bots.
So, don’t just crank out content for content’s sake. Try to publish things that answer burning questions. Stuff that will keep people reading from one sentence to the next, and sticking around on your site longer!
5. Promote Your Website!
The more, the merrier, so keep the traffic flowing:
- Include your website on all social media profiles
- Promote your blogs on social media regularly
- Make sure your website is included in your email signature
- Offer a “Lead Magnet” on your homepage & send people over to snag it
The Real Magic in SEO For Doctors.
I hope you found some helpful nuggets in today’s post!
Perhaps the most magical part of SEO is that someone who doesn’t even know they’re searching for you can find you online, book an appointment & get the life-changing support they need to heal & thrive. 🌟
If you’re looking to put together a more comprehensive marketing strategy, I’d love to chat. Feel free to schedule a free 15-minute strategy call with me.
I’m here to help!