Sure, you’ve been asked from time to time from fellow colleagues about how you manage your website and heard the word SEO being thrown around, but the concept of SEO seems so complex, that you have moved it to the bottom of your to-do list over and over again. So let’s start at the beginning. Your website is the single most powerful tool that you own. Aside from referrals from your patients, your website is a key component to your growth and reputation in your community— the question is, are people finding it when they do an online search?
I’ve had the same conversation many times with clients – I ask them about their current website goals, online marketing strategy and if their website has been optimized properly. And quite often I get similar answers like “My web guy said he took care of that when he designed the site”…or “I’m pretty sure its been done, but I’ve never looked at it.” Unfortunately, there are companies out there billing thousands of dollars for this service and taking advantage of this behavior. Sadly, the business owners who do need help optimizing their site don’t know where to start since there are so many options out there with varied pricing structures, automated programs and empty promises about search engine ranking.
So what exactly does SEO mean and how you can benefit from it? Let’s take a look at some of the basic steps you need to take in order to leverage the power of SEO and Online Marketing as part of your overall strategy to increase your patient flow.
1. Your List of Keywords is Great—But it’s all in Your Head
The most important thing you can do is sit down with your team and brainstorm a list of at least 100 keywords that describe your practice, treatments, services, products, symptoms, specialized procedures, etc. and jot them down with the group. This list can and should be used for SEO and all of your online marketing efforts. If you haven’t completed this exercise in the past, but your “web guy” told you he’s done the SEO, then believe me when I tell you that your site is not properly optimized for your specific practice and you’ll need to hire a reputable firm to get the job done right.
2. Your Medical Practice Description and Why it’s Important.
After completing the keyword exercise, pull out the top 20 keywords and highlight them. If you put all those words together, you can easily create your business
description. This description is also extremely important because it is the first thing people read when your site comes up on keyword searches. You
should always create a short and a long version of your business description, which is simply a combination of keywords, your mission statement and your practice goals. This description should be placed in your meta-tag code along with your keywords in order to properly optimize your website and achieve an adequate search engine result. Any medical marketing firm, SEO company or knowledgeable web designer can help you put this in the code on all your pages.
3. Search Engine Submission
This part is easy, but often times, is forgotten when a website is launched. Your keywords and business description will also come into play here, as you will need to submit your site content to several search engines. Although there are some big players that still charge a fee for this, you can easily search for “free search engine submission” and retrieve several sites that are willing to list your web submission for free. The more sites that have your content, keywords and contact information will increase your exposure, search ranking and the ability for your prospective patients to find you.
About Wendy Hamel
As co-founder of Med-Marketers, and serving as Director of Client Programs, Wendy is directly responsible for guiding creative strategy and overseeing client services for the company. Wendy has over 10 years of marketing and management experience serving technology, healthcare and retail. Wendy’s background includes consulting and strategic marketing for orthodontists, plastic surgeons, pediatricians and primary care physicians in the Greater Boston area.