The healthcare industry has traditionally been slower in taking advantage of online marketing opportunities than other industries with a less location-based mentality. Healthcare businesses may focus more heavily on local advertising because most people want to find a local GP, dentist or pharmacy (although they may be more willing to travel when visiting a specialist).
Most healthcare businesses have a user-friendly website and online booking system; however, many still do not optimise this in order to reach more potential local customers.
Here we will look at how search engine optimisation (SEO) practices, paired with a highly convertible website can work for your business.
When it comes to optimising user experience, page speed is extremely important. If your page loads slowly, then searchers will probably click away within seconds, and if this happens often then you have a high “bounce rate”.
You can avoid this by:
- Optimising your website’s code
- Hosting your site on a high-quality server
- Using smaller, correctly compressed images
- Combining and minimising scripts
- Looking for broken links and minimising redirects
When potential customers are searching online for a business like yours, your website essentially becomes the face of your business. You want patients to receive the same sort of warm and reassuring welcome they would when walking through your doors to be greeted at reception.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your website accurately reflects the warm professionalism of your practice, rather than presenting as a cold and impersonal business.
The Home Page
The simplest way to make your home page clear and user-friendly is to have all of your essential information listed there; who you are, what you do, where you are, and how customers can get in touch with you right now. Ensure that the rest of the website is easily navigable from the home page, so if visitors are looking for a particular service it is just one click away.
Listing your main services is important of course, but this may not be as straightforward as a clinic listing GP consultations, pathology and nursing. Think about the unique services offered by your business. If you have a GP with a particular focus on men’s or women’s health, then make sure that is listed. If your dental practice has always focussed on making children feel comfortable, then mention this special focus on children’s dentistry. These extra pages are good for SEO, meaning potential patients are more likely to find your website and to find exactly what they are looking for when they get there.
The “About Us” Section
This is one that is easy to get wrong. Companies either tend to become overly self-indulgent when writing about themselves or in fear of falling into this trap they avoid “about us” pages altogether. The answer is to find a happy medium. Having photos of your staff will help new customers to feel like they already know something about you when walking through your doors for the first time, and listing the qualifications, specialities and interests of your team gives potential patients confidence that they are choosing the right healthcare professionals.
Linking your staff profiles to your online booking system makes it simpler for patients to choose the practitioner with the speciality or holistic knowledge that best suits their needs.
Payment Options And Booking Platforms
You may feel that talking to customers about the costs of treatment is something better done face-to-face. While this may be true for certain services, most customers want to know what to expect upfront – especially before an initial visit.
Most health practitioners who offer bulk-billing display this prominently on their website, however, you should also mention which services can be covered by private health insurance and whether you offer interest-free repayment plans. Giving potential customers this information upfront, while they are still in the online research phase, can make all the difference between them choosing you or choosing one of your competitors.
And while detailed information is important, it should never get in the way of a clear and simple booking process. Make sure your phone number and a link to your online booking system are visible from any page of your website. If a potential customer is searching online for a healthcare professional, you want it to be a smooth and simple progression from their initial search query through to booking an appointment with you.
The News Section
Just like the “about us” page, many businesses struggle to get their blog or news section right. Adding new content to your website is great for SEO, but this should always be quality content that is useful for your audience.
If you write articles on topics that your customers actually want to read, perhaps explaining common health issues or treatment options, then you have created an opportunity to really engage with your audience and keep them coming back to your website. At the same time, their trust in you and your professional authority grows.
Location and Landing Pages
Did you know that Google actually prioritises local search? There are a number of things you can do to make sure search engines know where you are and which suburbs you serve, but having your business name, address and phone number prominently displayed throughout your website is one of the simplest things you can do to help boost local search results.
If you have multiple locations, then giving each one a dedicated page populated with relevant information is a must. Again, integrating this with the booking system so that potential customers know which days they can find practitioners at particular locations will help in their decision-making process.
If you already have your service pages sorted out, then you are a step ahead, but you must also learn to think of these service pages as landing pages. Remember, if a searcher is looking for a particular service, rather than your business in particular, then the first page they land on from the search results may be your page explaining remedial massage, rather than your home page.
Make sure it is easy for a searcher to orient themselves wherever they land on your website, and that your landing pages include all the initial information search engines need to point searchers to you, and all the information those potential customers need once they land there.
Including your contact details in the footer is one very simple way to make sure this information is always readily accessible from every page.
The footer should also contain clear and well organised links to each page on your website (or at least the most important pages) making navigation clear and simple for website users whether they have visited your site before or not.
Posting patient reviews may not always be appropriate, but depending on your industry and services, displaying positive customer feedback can provide an excellent opportunity for potential customers to build trust in your business.
Dentists and others might also want to think about posting before and after shots of services such as teeth whitening or straightening so that their outcomes can speak for themselves.
One of the key factors that will affect your page ranking with Google is whether or not your website has been optimised for mobile use. If that wasn’t enough incentive to get this right, then think about your customers. How likely is it that they will want to search, research and book an appointment from their mobile? Don’t assume that they will ring just because they are holding a phone in their hand.
Of all the potential methods you can use to get website traffic, search engine optimisation is still the most important. Unlike paid ads, SEO doesn’t have to cost you a cent, and even if you do pay a professional team to execute your SEO strategy, the return on investment easily outstrips any other marketing strategy. The other advantage of SEO? It is focussed on long-term gains, not short-term quick fixes.
Traffic and Rankings
When it’s done right, SEO should drive traffic to your website and boost your ranking on search engine results pages. In terms of on-page SEO, it’s all about internal linking and choosing the right keyword strategy.
Back to that footer. Helping customers navigate your website with links in the footer is great, but this is not the only place internal links should appear. Making sure you include links to other pages on your website everywhere where it makes sense (in written content, headers, etcetera) will not only help users find everything they need easily, it is also one of the key factors Google will assess when determining the quality of your website.
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming – just one more thing to fit into your busy day – then talking to an expert team about the best strategies to pursue for your business could be the next step.
If you enjoyed this article on boosting website traffic, then check out these other Marketing.com.au articles:
- Clever Content Optimisation Tactics Necessary to Avoid Common SEO Mistakes
- 3 Effective Ways to Improve the UX and SEO of Your Website
- 10 SEO Trends You Can No Longer Ignore in 2019
- Local SEO Guide for Growing Your Business
- 5 Important SEO Trends That Will Help You Stay Ahead in 2019 & Beyond