The internet is a crowded space, with nearly 1.7 billion websites online right now, according to Internet Live Stats. What this means is that simply having a medical practice website isn’t enough to get found by prospective patients.
If you want patients to find your doctor website before a competitor’s, it needs to be optimized. Read on to uncover what it means to have an optimized medical practice website.
5 components of an optimized website
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of Americans own a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center. For one in five adults, this is their only way to access the internet, as they don’t have a traditional home broadband service.
Considering the heavy use of smartphones, it’s not surprising that Google is now primarily focused on mobile content for indexing and ranking purposes. The tech company announced a slow shift to mobile-first indexing in November 2016, and by summer 2018, it started to impact local businesses — including physician websites.
If your practice doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website, it’s probably negatively impacting your rankings. The best websites provide the same value on desktop and mobile devices, so make sure this is the user experience you’re providing.
Check out: What Google’s mobile-first index means for doctor websites
2. Strong keyword foundation
More than one-quarter (27 percent) of people use the internet to find local businesses every day, according to BrightLocal. Choosing the right keywords will help your ideal patient base find your medical practice website in a variety of searches.
Despite Google’s frequent algorithm changes, HubSpot notes keyword research is one thing that has remained consistently beneficial. Your ultimate goal should be to score a higher ranking than your competitors on keywords and phrases most valuable to your practice.
Keyword research isn’t just something you conduct once; it’s a commitment. HubSpot recommends re-evaluating your selected terms and phrases every few months, so be prepared to invest significant time and energy into this necessary process.
Also see: How to choose healthcare SEO keywords for a doctor website
3. Sticky calls-to-action
The primary goal of a physician website should be to convert visitors into patients (i.e. persuade visitors to schedule appointments). Including several calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout your website is a proven way to boost appointment bookings, but making them “sticky” takes it up a notch.
A sticky CTA can be seen as you scroll, so visitors never have to search for them while navigating your website. Combine sticky CTAs with a one-click calling feature that allows patients to contact your front desk without leaving the webpage for an improved patient experience.
4. SEO-friendly content pages
The content on your medical practice website is typically what draws visitors in. Therefore, content pages should be optimized to get the most from them.
An optimized web page is centered on a specific topic, according to Moz. The subject should be included in the title tag, URL, image alt text, and several times throughout the page content. Links should be included to increase traffic, and the page should offer unique content on the subject at hand.
5. Fast-loading pages
The amount of time it takes your healthcare website to load matters. In fact, it takes an average of 22 seconds for a mobile landing page to fully load, but 53 percent of mobile visitors leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load, according to Google.
Since July 2018, Google has used page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches. Only pages with the slowest user experience are affected by the Google “Speed Update,” but you don’t want your practice to be among them.
If your practice website isn’t optimized, you’re probably not ranking very highly in search engines. The good news is you can increase your visibility and get more patients into your waiting room by adopting an SEO strategy that puts your practice on the map.
For more on this topic, check out the blog post “How to write medical website content that performs in local search.”