SEO Tips for your Medical Website

If you are operating a medical website in the healthcare industry, your potential clientele is out there. By improving your website’s search ranking, you can find clients and succeed.

Google is not the only search engine, but it is the most important. Google is the primary influence for most SEO efforts, so when Google released its Search Quality Raters Guidelines in November last year, webmasters sat up and took notice.
The report contains 160 pages of detailed tips and strategies to help medical practitioners improve their website SEO, so if you want Google to show your website a bit of love in 2016, you had better make sure your SEO is Google friendly.
As any doctor knows, patients come first. If you look after your patients well, they will stick with you in sickness and in health. The same applies to websites. Unless you provide a high quality user experience on your website, patients will not want to stay. However, before you even reach this point, the challenge is to create a great website that actually shows up in the search listings.

What Does Google Look for in a Medical Website?

Google uses complex algorithms to determine whether a website is high quality. These examine the site’s content, design and maintenance. They also rate user experience, author expertise and your overall internet reputation. So if your website has very little content, is poorly designed, you think leeches are a valid treatment, and there are hundreds of bad online reviews slating your cavalier attitude to patient care, you should probably start worrying.
Luckily, it is not all bad news and there is plenty you can do to achieve a top ranking. Let’s breakdown each item and see how you can improve your medical website’s SEO performance.

Content Management

Content quality is critical. Google looks at the quality of your website content above all other factors when determining where your website should be in the search rankings.
The trouble is that content creation is not a five-minute task. After all, you are a busy medical professional, so you don’t really have time to write pages of fascinating content. But that doesn’t matter, right? You can just copy some stuff from another website and pass it off as your own.
Actually no, you can’t. Google penalises plagiarised content for one thing, and for another, minimal creative content will harm your position. You can’t even get away with stuffing a load of keywords on to your pages to make up for poor content. Google hates keyword stuffing almost as much as it hates plagiarism.
Sorry, but you are going to have to bite the bullet and produce good content people will find interesting. And if you really don’t have the time, outsource the job.
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User Experience

User experience is inextricably linked to quality content. If users come to your website and find nothing of interest, they are unlikely to hang around for very long. Search engines (Google) take note of user behaviour when calculating your ranking position. If your most important pages (the home page, about page, contact page) are not well structured, it tells google about the general quality of the rest of the website. The more users who bounce away, the harder it hit will your position.

Expertise

Google doesn’t recognise all the blood, sweat and tears you put into studying for a medical degree, but it does pay attention to your qualifications, awards, and online recommendations. Having articles cited and research papers published all go a long way towards establishing your reputation as a professional and expert in your field. Combined with great content, this is a powerful method of securing a high ranking. However, if you have a lot to say on your accomplishments, keep them separated from the main content on the page through a pdf link to your credentials. Google does not like a 5000 word webpage!
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Medical Website Design

First and foremost, websites need to be mobile friendly. If your website is older than the Ark, you may wish to take a look at this aspect of your website design. Aside from this, other issues worth looking at include website navigation, ad placement and your ‘Contact’ page.
Medical websites need to be carefully managed. Content needs to be kept updated and refreshed. It is definitely worth hiring a professional to manage your website if you run a larger practice. Either way, SEO recommendations change in a heartbeat, so if you want to achieve a good search position, stay abreast of what’s happening in the world of SEO.