The healthcare industry accounts for an incredible 17.7 percent of the United States’ gross domestic product, which is more than any other industry. Healthcare providers account for a huge portion of the national economy, are responsible for creating millions of jobs, and—naturally—now represent a significant portion of the nation’s web content.
If a healthcare provider hopes to be discovered and hopes to offer useful information to potential clients (or patients), they will need to engage in a proactive digital campaign. Search engine marketing for healthcare providers can produce remarkable results—without taking active measures to increase digital visibility, many of these companies will never be discovered.
Conducting a successful search engine marketing and search engine optimization campaign is hard work. While you may be able to see immediate results, it is unreasonable to expect a company (in any industry) to land on the front page of Google overnight. However, by taking a few specific actions, you can begin climbing up the search engine rankings and making your way to the top.
Because health information can often have a significant impact on a person’s well-being, Google’s search criteria for firms in the healthcare industry are often even stricter than the standards it poses upon other sectors. Below, we will discuss some of the most important things for healthcare providers to know about search engine marketing.
1. Hire a Healthcare SEO Expert
Healthcare providers know as well as anyone that expertise can make a major difference. Naturally, in order to get the diagnosis and recommendations that your business needs to improve its digital presence, hiring a healthcare SEO specialist is a great way to begin your campaign.
There are many digital marketing challenges that are unique to the healthcare industry. Google has especially strict standards for healthcare companies, meaning your content will need to be verifiably accurate, supported by reputable sources, and also crafted in a way that can effectively answer people’s questions (something known as search task accomplishment). They’ll also be able to help you navigate the unique legal landscape that exists within the healthcare industry, including creating legally safe copy, addressing HIPAA regulations, and more.
2. Conduct a Complete Audit
Conducting a complete site audit can help your healthcare enterprise better identify its current strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Looking at the technical components of your website, such as page speed, redirects, and broken links, will enable you to make some easy changes that will immediately improve your page rankings. A detailed audit, as your digital marketing team will provide, can also help you identify possible keyword ranking opportunities, interlinking opportunities, and other ways each piece of content you create can become more effective.
3. Expand your Digital Footprint
The internet is something that is constantly expanding and if your enterprise fails to expand along with it, this means the portion of the internet you can claim as your own will be shrinking with each passing day. It is not enough to simply throw up a website and hope for the best—developing an effective web presence will need to be a constant, ongoing, and relentless effort.
Beyond your initial website, your healthcare company should also establish Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media pages as needed. Even if your company does not seem especially “social”, the mere fact that there are more than 3.6 billion social media users makes establishing a web presence an absolute necessity. Using Buffer and other content posting tools will help make it much easier to manage multiple platforms at once.
4. Create Organic Content
Google wants to encourage experts in highly personal industries, such as healthcare, to continue finding ways to demonstrate their expertise. The company wants to encourage content that useful, reliable, optimized, and easy to access and any company that is willing to put in the effort to genuinely do so will quickly begin to distinguish itself from its competitors.
While there are a few shortcuts your business could maybe use to artificially (and temporarily) improve its rankings, there is no getting around the basic need for organic and original content. Regularly creating new blogs, guest posts, updated landing pages, and other types of organic content will give your site regular boosts that, eventually, can land it on the front page.
5. Use Credible Internal and External Links
As suggested, Google applies extra scrutiny to healthcare companies. In this industry, echoing inaccurate information can cause direct harm to readers. For a company to rank well and continue ranking well on Google, every link directing to and from a particular site will need to be reliable. Take some extra time to ensure that every source you do is one that medically credible. The National Institute for Health (NIH) offers a useful guide for determining the reliability of online medical information.
6. Define Your Target Audience
When improving your web performance, it will also be crucial to clearly define your target audience (and also define the value your business offers). Knowing where your target market lives, the types of sites they are likely to visit, the type of content they prefer to consume, and other important details will help make it easier to maximize the value of each digital advertising dollar you spend. Even if it seems your product might have universal appeal, narrowing down your range of possible buyers will put you in a much better position to succeed.
7. Keep an Eye Out for Algorithm Updates
Once you make it to the front page of Google, your battle still isn’t over. In fact, this usually means it’s really only just begun. Google updates its algorithms on a regular basis, which can have a tremendous impact on how certain enterprises and pieces of content are performing. For example, following the recent Google medic update, many healthcare businesses found themselves scrambling to create content that was authoritative, useful, and optimized for better performance.
It can be difficult to predict what each additional update might contain. However, Google’s general search task accomplishment standards can help healthcare marketing companies forecast the types of content that are likely to last. By continuing to learn more about how Google’s algorithms (elements of which are not entirely public) actually function, it will become much easier to generate the types of content that actually deliver.
Digital marketing has become essential in almost every industry, and the healthcare industry is no exception. By hiring a healthcare digital marketing expert and following the other useful tips included in this guide, you can push your content towards the front page of Google and help your business grow.