At Advice Media, we’ve been building the web’s most beautiful, engaging websites for over two decades. But they’re not just great looking sites; they are also really hard working, ranking highly in organic search.
It’s easy to assume organic search is a thing of the past, as Google, Bing, and the other search engines all denigrate organic results in favor of paid search. Those would be your pay per click ads that either show up as listings atop search engine results pages (SERPs) or as display ads usually on the right side of regular webpages. It’s true that paid search has really taken over much of the real estate on a typical SERP, but that’s no reason to give up on organic search.
To rank in organic search your site needs search engine optimization, which is another thing we’ve been providing at Advice Media long before others had ever heard the acronym SEO. Here are some of the ways we ensure our practice websites rank as highly as possible in organic search.
Why does it matter?
As we discussed in this month’s first blog, the days of patients finding your practice — whether it’s dermatology, dental, cosmetic surgery, or another specialty — through word of mouth are over. Today, potential patients use the internet to search for healthcare providers.
You would assume search is used for comparing which new TV to buy, but probably not for healthcare decisions such as who can place a dental implant. Not true. Various studies have shown that about three quarters of potential patients use search engines to find a practitioner. Almost 90 percent use search when conducting research on a medical procedure they’re considering.
And we all know what happens when you’re not on the first page of organic listings — no one sees you.
How we make your site rank higher
At Advice Media, we’ve been at the forefront of the ever-changing world of search engine optimization since the beginning. As a Google Partner, we often know about changes in the two billion lines of code in Google’s famed algorithm before they are made public. We also know what Google and Bing reward when deciding which sites to return to answer a searcher’s query. Here are some of the things we do to move your site up.
- We build quality sites — Our sites are well-designed and beautiful for the visitor. Plus, they’re easy to understand for the search engine webcrawlers. Navigation and sitemaps are easy to understand. Our sites have tons of rich, well-written content that is constantly being updated and added to (new content is rewarded in search).
- Mobile friendly — From the start of a site design for a new client, we build the site for both desktop and mobile. That means our sites work seamlessly no matter where the site visitor is accessing them from. Our mobile design is streamlined from desktop, yet it still looks and feels like the same practice. If your practice website isn’t mobile friendly, visitors are gone in an instant. That’s a problem, since the majority of search now comes from mobile devices, and that includes healthcare.
- Content, content, content — If your website still has the few bullet points that everyone assumed was the way to go five or 10 years ago, it’s not ranking in search. About five years ago, Google devalued keywords (because the system was being gamed) to reward content instead. Now, your site needs content about the procedures you specialize in, and that content needs to be well-written and informative. Beyond its value for search, great content helps potential patients see that you’re an expert, making it easier for them to move to action.
- Keywords, meta tags, etc. — All of the things done behind the scenes of your website are crucial for search ranking. These are your title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, and the like. Basically, their job is to help the search engine webcrawlers understand what your pages are all about. A meta description tells the webcrawler what a photo or video actually is since it can’t visually see it. Same with other tags and keywords. We constantly make sure all of this information is easily understood by the search engines, which makes your site rank higher.
- Social media links, backlinks, citations — We advise our practices to have an active social media presence, and those social media pages need to link back to the main site. We push for links from and to other sites. All of this boosts SEO.
- Google My Business — We ensure all of our practices have claimed their Google My Business page. Beyond that first step, the information must be fully fleshed out and accurate, including photos where appropriate. The idea is to make the most of this free service from Google. Plus, it helps with search ranking.
- Directories — All search now is local. That means if you search for “Mohs surgeon” and you’re in Daytona Beach, Florida, your returns won’t include dermatologists from Alberta, Canada. It’s assumed you’re interested in having a potential skin cancer removed using Mohs methods, and that you want to have someone in your area perform the procedure. There are dozens of directories out there, and we ensure the information about our practices (name, address, phone, hours, etc.) is consistent across every one through the use of a tool we call Local Power. This consistency boosts search ranking.
- Reviews — Everyone is a reviewer today, and this isn’t just movies and restaurants. It includes medical practices. Sites such as HealthGrades, RealSelf, Yelp, and myriad others are out there, and potential patients are reading the reviews of your practice. We make sure all of our practices are encouraging reviews from patients, are responding to reviews they have received, and are always looking to engage with reviews. This is not only good customer service, but you guessed it, it’s good for search.
Now you know a few of the methods we use at Advice Media to help our medical practice websites rank as highly as possible in organic search. If your site is languishing down on a second or third page, maybe it’s time we talk. Call us or fill out a contact form, and let’s get to work optimizing your practice website.