You invested serious time and money to create a beautiful healthcare website, so you want patients to find it. Hyperlinks — both internal and external — are important for a good website ranking, so you need an SEO strategy that includes both.
If your website doesn’t have a structured plan regarding both internal and external links, it’s time to make one. Use this guide to learn more about establishing links that will boost your search ranking.
3 steps to a successful website linking strategy
1. Link between pages on a healthcare website
Embedding internal links between different pages on your medical practice website helps establish authority throughout the site. This practice also helps create a site architecture that makes it easier for search engines crawling your site to find all the pages.
Internal links can also give PageRank — a formula that assesses the value of a webpage by examining the quantity and quality of other pages that link to it — to key pages on your site. Essentially, this is a must for boosting your Google ranking.
A few best practices from Google to keep in mind when developing your internal link plan include:
- Add navigation pages into your internal link structure.
- Make sure all the pages on your site are reachable through links.
- Link to related pages so it’s easy for patients to find similar content.
- Create anchor text that helps patients and Google navigate your site better. (Just don’t use the same anchor text on different pages, as this will confuse search engines.)
Additionally, all pages on your site do not hold equal weight, so decide what’s essential and include the most links to these pages. This should be content you want patients to find when searching for topics you specialize in, according to Yoast.
Check out: 5 pages your medical website needs
2. Link your medical website externally
As noted above, when trusted online sources link to your medical website, it presents you as an authority in your field. These links also help Google understand what your practice does, which increases your ranking power.
A higher rank can direct prospective patients to your site, so it’s important to garner as many quality, relevant external linking opportunities as possible. Here’s a citations checklist that includes online directories where you can link to your practice.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Apple Maps Connect
- Better Business Bureau
- Healthcare specialty association and accreditation websites
- Online directories of your local newspaper(s) and TV and radio stations
- Local Chamber of Commerce online directory
- Additional local and hyperlocal online directories
- Niche directories like veteran-owned businesses, if you are a veteran
Your social media profiles are also an important place to include a link to your healthcare website. Facebook is a valuable online directory noted above, but don’t stop there.
All of your social media profiles should be linked to your practice website. This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and any other relevant channels.
Writing captivating social media posts that include links to your site is also important. When content resonates with your followers, they’ll like it and share it with their own networks.
Google doesn’t consider social media a direct ranking factor, but research from Optinmoster has shown a correlation between high-ranking websites and a robust social media presence.
Healthcare social media 101: Getting started with social media marketing for practices
3. Get external sites to link to your site
Inbound links — i.e. backlinks — are hyperlinks to your site from external websites. This is important because quality of content is part of the Google algorithm used to display search results.
Links to your healthcare website from other prominent sites are considered a sign you’re a trusted source. Your website will likely rank higher in search results if you’re considered an expert in your field.
External links to your healthcare website are deemed a strong signal to search engines because taking this step requires time and attention from the site administrator. Beyond that, a link to your site essentially endorses your brand and invites users to leave the existing site for yours.
Clearly, inbound links hold serious weight, so it’s important to garner as many quality, relevant linking opportunities as possible. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Write articles for relevant external publications.
- Reach out to healthcare specialty association and accreditation websites.
- On your website, include links to major healthcare associations and groups you belong to, as well as specialty accreditations.
- If your practice is involved with any nonprofit groups, ask them to include a link from their website to yours.
- Use Link Explorer to find major sites where your competitors have inbound links and ask those site administrators to also link to your practice.
- Ask any major healthcare brands you highlight or sell as part of your practice — i.e. nutrition supplements or aesthetics services — to link to your site.
- Earn good karma and more inbound links by sponsoring local groups and events in your community, donating time to area non-profits, and volunteering in your city or town.
Your healthcare website doesn’t add much value if patients can’t find it, so linking should be an essential part of your SEO strategy. Create a comprehensive plan that includes both internal and external links because they work together to boost your search engine ranking.
Want more medical practice website content? See the blog post “Understanding Google search ranking factors for healthcare websites.”