Nearly 80 percent of people use the internet to find out about local businesses more than once a week, according to BrightLocal. For healthcare practices that seek new patients, showing up in organic search results is imperative. To rank for relevant search queries, you’ll need to follow key SEO strategies, such as optimizing your medical website.
You may be thinking, “I’ve already done that!” And sure, your website may already load quickly and be formatted for mobile search. Your website may also have relevant content with a strong keyword foundation.
But what you might have missed are search engine optimizations for your title tags, meta descriptions, and alt image tags. It’s important to include specialty, location, and relevant keywords in these parts of your website.
Keep reading to find out how these optimizations can elevate your medical practice website in search results.
Fully optimize your healthcare website
As of January 2022, there are more than 1 million professionally active physicians in the U.S., according to the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Not every doctor has a website, but it’s safe to assume a large proportion in your local area does, creating some serious online competition.
In its current state, your practice website covers all the SEO basics. You’ve carefully selected relevant keywords, your content is high-quality and shareable, URLs are customized for each page, and load speed is lightning fast — to name a few features. That is great, but your savviest competitors are doing the same thing, so you need to take it up a notch.
Depending on who developed your website, it’s possible that your specialty, location, and relevant keywords were not included in your title tags, meta descriptions, and alt image tags. Updating these key areas on your website will help your healthcare website get more organic search traffic.
Take your web presence to the next level
Now you know what needs to be done to boost your local search ranking. But if you’re not sure where to start, here’s an overview to guide you through it.
The title tag is exactly as it sounds: the title of the web page. This clickable description appears as the headline on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Moz recommends keeping title tags under 60 characters, as anything more could cause it to be cut off with an ellipsis. The software company’s research has revealed 90 percent of titles will display correctly at this length.
A brief summary of the page, a well-written meta description entices patients to click the link. These descriptions should contain enough information to clearly introduce the page’s original content.
Ideally, the target character count for a meta description is 50 to 160 characters, according to Moz. Anything longer could be truncated.
Meta descriptions do not directly impact Google’s ranking algorithms for web search. But updating them is a key medical SEO strategy because they impact click-through rate, which can lead to more favorable results in search queries.
Alt image tags
Used to explain the appearance and function of an image, alt image tags better describe the context of the page to search engine crawlers. They also make it easier for visually impaired patients using screen readers to understand images and display in place of an image if the file doesn’t load. Most popular screen readers limit alt text to approximately 125 characters, according to Moz.
Example healthcare website optimizations
You’re serious about enhancing your web presence, but need to see the optimizations described above in practical application. Transylvania Urgent Care* — specializing in the treatment of monsters — has already stepped up its website optimizations. Here’s a look behind two of the clinic’s webpages.
Transylvania Urgent Care homepage
In the example above, Transylvania Urgent Care has optimized both the title tag and the meta description of the website’s home page. Both their title tag and meta description are succinct and clearly describe the medical services the practice offers.
In the example above, you’ll see that the urgent care website has added an alt tag to one of the images on the practice’s homepage. The alt tag describes the image to website visitors. This enhances the user experience and offers the practice another opportunity to use relevant keywords, such as [wounded wing].
Transylvania Urgent Care blood poisoning service page
Above, you’ll see another example of a title tag and meta description, but this time for a page describing a medical service. The title tag and meta description are optimized to include relevant keywords, such as [blood poisoning treatment in transylvania] and [blood poisoning treatment].
Here’s an example of an alt tag for an image on the same blood poisoning treatment page. The image shows the service the practice offers, and the alt tag offers a text description of the image. Here the practice can include relevant and related keywords, including [blood transfusion] and [blood poisoning].
Too busy to optimize your healthcare website?
If you’re ready to boost your local search results but don’t have the time to worry about it yourself, you can count on PatientPop to deliver. We’ll optimize your healthcare website the right way by including appropriate keywords and relevant information, giving you a leg up on the online competition.
Visit this webpage to learn more about PatientPop custom healthcare websites.
*Transylvania Urgent Care is not a real healthcare practice. (At least we don’t think it is.)
Frequently asked questions about healthcare website optimization
Why is SEO important for healthcare?
Three out of four people search online to find information about healthcare providers, dentists, and medical services, according to a patient survey. This means patients use sites like Google to place search queries on doctors in their local areas, as well as research symptoms or illnesses they may be dealing with.
As an expert in your field, you are in the unique position of satisfying these search queries with relevant content. Search engine optimization is important for healthcare practices because each search query represents a prospective new patient to your healthcare practice. SEO strategies help increase the chances that your medical website will rank in organic search results.
If a healthcare practice has a nice website, do they still need on-page optimization?
Consider your website as one of the first impressions you make to a new patient. A well-designed and easy to navigate website is critical for providing a positive user experience.
But a beautiful website is not a substitute for an optimized website. What good is a beautiful website if no one can find it? The best websites are both appealing to the eye and appealing to search engines.
Why invest in SEO for your healthcare website?
Investing in search engine optimization is important for any healthcare website because it helps you reach patients when they have the highest intent. For example, someone searching for a dermatologist in San Diego has high intent of making an appointment in the short term. Thus, a good medical SEO strategy helps you reach those patients who are looking for you.
How do you find a credible healthcare digital marketing company?
When vetting any healthcare marketing solution, it’s important to evaluate whether the company is experienced in healthcare and can ensure security and healthcare compliance. You also want to ensure that they understand your specialty and the medical services that you provide.
A good customer service model is paramount, as well as the ability to demonstrate and measure success.
What should you do next?
1. Schedule a free PatientPop demo.
2. Measure your online performance using our free scanner.
3. Looking for a healthcare marketing solution? Read “How to find the best healthcare marketing solution for your medical practice.”