In the first part of the “Improving your SEO” blog series, we highlighted that the majority of patients looking for a new doctor or healthcare provider rely on the internet to find their best local options. PatientPop survey research from 2020 shows that 74.5 percent of patients have gone online to find out about a provider or care.
While prospective patients are online, they pay close attention to patient reviews, trusted healthcare websites, business directories, and practice websites to consider their options.
In this last part of the blog series, we’ll show you how citations and links to your practice website from other highly regarded websites, also contribute to boosting your search rankings and help bring more patients to you. We’ll also include a list of resources so you can get started building those links and citations, and further enhancing your online presence.
Why are links and citations important?
Citations and links from trusted online sources to your practice website help Google understand what your practice does and where it does it.
They increase your visibility.
Links to your practice website and mentions of your practice on other websites (citations) are proven to increase overall online visibility. That’s because both establish your presence in more places across the internet where prospects are likely to look for services like yours. The best links are links that bring visitors to your website.
They boost your search ranking.
Links also build your website’s potential ranking power and help funnel prospective patients to your website or practice location. As other organizations and websites make reference and link to your practice website, that reinforces your authority to Google and other search engines.
These types of inbound links have always helped websites rank better in Google’s organic search. However, in the past three years, links have gained influence with local search rankings, too. Of course, any link to your website from a high-ranking site carries power and is one of the best ways for a practice to attract more potential patients online.
They help you earn good community karma.
Beyond bringing in new patients, links and citations can also show others that you support and play a role within your local community.
When you sponsor or support local groups and events, donate your practice resources to regional nonprofits, or volunteer your services to your town, other organizations and websites will link to your practice website in reciprocation for your time and services.
There’s tremendous value in that, as it shows other local organizations support your practice, and that you are a presence in the community, beyond the healthcare industry.
To bolster your opportunities at local links to your practice website, consider joining your local healthcare and business associations, chamber of commerce, and other significant organizations.
Top tips to boost your practice website’s citations and links
To add your practice information or website link to relevant citation sites or inbound link opportunities, start with the following:
For website citation opportunities:
- Join local healthcare and professional associations to anchor your practice to your geography.
- Place listings on local websites associated with the cities, towns, and neighborhoods where you’d like to have more patients.
- Get listed on sites that rank well for terms related to your practice and specialty.
- Take advantage of any factors that entitle your practice to be listed in niche directories, like a list of veteran-owned businesses, for instance.
For inbound link opportunities:
- Link your social media profiles to your website. These profiles can include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and any other relevant social media channels your practice uses.
- Note your verified membership to any major healthcare associations and medical organizations on your website, and include links to them. Also list any specialty accreditations your providers hold, with links to each of those organizations.
- List your practice in major healthcare directories for your specialty.
- If your practice is involved with nonprofit organizations, have a link set up from each nonprofit organization website to your practice website.
- Find industry websites where your competitors have inbound links to their websites, and get links from those industry websites to your practice website, too. You can use Moz Link Explorer to research the links your competitors use. (Note: requires starting an account for 10 free queries per month.)
- If you sell any major healthcare products or brands as part of your business (including health supplements or aesthetics services), ask those brands to include links to your practice website on their site.
Finally, ensure you have local citations for the following:
- Google my Business
- Apple Maps
- Better Business Bureau
- Your local Chamber of Commerce online directory
- Your local newspaper(s) online directory
- Your local radio station(s) online directory
- Your local TV station(s) online directory
- Additional sites in your practice specialty
- Additional local and hyperlocal directories
See other blog posts in the three-part SEO series:
3 tips to optimize your business and healthcare listings for local SEO
How your website can help boost your search ranking
See how PatientPop helps healthcare practices improve SEO