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With a rising numbers of consumers who turn to the web to choose a healthcare provider and find health-related information, having an SEO strategy is important.
Well, you might think that you already have a well-designed practice website for online health consumers. But the fact is, a website is only useful if people can find it. Ranking high in search engines is directly proportional to the quality of content, content presentation, and an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
The healthcare industry is metamorphosing progressively to cater to digital healthcare consumers. These are the new-age patients who make better-informed healthcare decisions by doing thorough research on the Internet before booking an appointment at a practice. With a drastic change in consumer decision-making patterns, the online space for healthcare marketing is teeming with high competition for search traffic.
An effective SEO strategy can mean the difference between a full waiting room and an empty one. If your website doesn’t rank well with search engines, it can mean your patients/potential patients may turn to other competitive practices whose website ranks higher. An effective SEO strategy increases your search engine ranking and overall web presence, which allows you to be found when a potential customer conducts an online search.
Let’s have a look at some statistics:
Google partnered with Compete, Inc. and fielded over 500 hospital researchers to understand what influences healthcare selection and what role digital plays in the journey. Here are some highlights from the study:
• 84 percent of patients use both online and offline sources for practice research.
• Search drives nearly three times as many visitors to practice sites compared to non-search visitors.
• Patients primarily search on symptoms and condition terms toward the moment of conversion.
• 44 percent of patients who research practices on a mobile device scheduled an appointment.
Undoubtedly, the key to decision-making for patients who booked appointments is - digital content. SEO is therefore the most important part of any practice’s Internet marketing strategy that helps to draw more website traffic and improve search engine rankings. It involves thorough knowledge and smart use of keywords along with content optimization as the essential ingredients to ensure a website is positioned better. It also requires a deep understanding of website analytics, keyword search, keyword analysis, and organic SEO implementation.
Since the majority of online users looking for any type of information do not usually look beyond the first page of search results (more specifically beyond the top two to three listings), an SEO strategy has become a must for practices to thrive in competition. SEO is quite cost-effective compared to other marketing strategies that can help generate a generous return on investment, thereby cutting down marketing costs.
Various research studies and statistics have shown an upsurge in the use of smartphones and tablets to access the Internet. With this dramatic explosion in mobile usage, users will largely search for their health options right in their hand. Google found that 44 percent of patients who research practices on a mobile device make an appointment as compared to 34 percent for desktop users. Practices can leverage SEO to rank higher in search engines, which makes it easier for prospective patients to find and choose your practice for their medical care.
Manish Chauhan is Digital Marketing Manager at myPracticeReputation which is an easy-to-use reputation management solution for physicians to help monitor, protect and promote their medical practices at all times in the simplest way possible.