A top search ranking may be harder to achieve than it once was, but hospitals shouldn’t despair. Quality content and conversion-driven strategies can still improve SEO rankings and turn leads into patients.
Like many aspects of digital marketing, SEO is continuously evolving. As search engines have become more nuanced, search engine results pages (SERPs) have begun to include pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media information, news, videos, and local maps. These additional features may have hospitals asking: is a #1 SEO ranking achievable or even relevant?
Fortunately, hospitals don’t necessarily need to aim for the top result to have success. Your hospital can still build an engaged audience by developing high-quality, informative content.
By addressing users’ specific interests and establishing yourself as an authority on a particular topic, you can increase click-through-rates (CTRs) and generate valuable conversions. Here are five tools that your hospital can use to attract new patients without obsessing over that number one spot.
1. Informative copy and a friendly user experience
A 2016 survey showed that for many patients, website usability is more important that trustworthiness when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider. That’s why it’s important to make your website visually appealing, easy to navigate, and quickly scannable.
Quality content is also an important ranking factor for Google. To take advantage of this, make sure that your copy is clear, concise, and relevant to target patient populations. Instead of packing each page full of general keywords, focus on writing descriptions that are compelling, concise, and informative for patients seeking information about your services or doctors.
2. Landing pages dedicated to specific conditions
Patients often get lost or confused when they have to search through a hospital’s general website to find the information they need. Creating a specific landing page is an effective way to speak directly to their needs and highlight applicable treatment options.
Plus, landing pages can help hospitals rank higher for a particular condition, as opposed to trying to rank the entire site. By including narrower long tail keywords relevant to the condition at hand, you increase your chances of being noticed by Google’s algorithms and showing up in SERPs.
3. Smart keyword choice
As mentioned above, long tail keywords cater to users’ precise interests, such as “rotator cuff surgery near me” or “local laser ablation for varicose veins.” Unlike more general keywords, these highly specific and localized search terms target patients who are looking for treatment, rather than those who are simply gathering information.
Instead of competing with the plethora of established resources on a given condition, these keywords help your hospital get in front of patients who are close to conversion without an inordinate amount of effort.
4. Focus on conversion
It’s not enough to generate a lot of traffic to your site or landing page — you want patients to move forward by providing their contact information or scheduling an appointment. In order to increase conversions, you’ll need to have a clear and visible call to action (CTA) on your website.
Your contact information and phone number should be easy to find, and your patient forms should be simple and intuitive. When visitors are able to quickly locate information that is relevant to their condition, they are more likely to pursue treatment at your hospital. Make sure to keep language consistent across all your touchpoints so potential patients have a cohesive experience.
5. Continual optimization
The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, so it’s important for hospital marketing teams to check in regularly for best practices. Do regular searches to see how your hospital shows up in SERPs and what your website looks like on mobile. As 40% of users will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load, it’s also important that your site speed is up to par. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see what’s slowing down your page and how to make simple improvements.
While there are strategic ways medical marketers can increase their SEO rankings, it’s important to remember that being the top search result isn’t necessarily the key to success. Instead, patients are increasingly looking for relevant information that speaks to their needs. By providing engaging copy and a positive user experience, your hospital is likely to build a loyal audience and see an increase in conversions. Ultimately, Google recognizes quality content, which means that your continued success will likely boost your SEO rankings as well.