The world of healthcare is getting more competitive every day. All people have to do is do a quick Google search to find the nearest urgent care or hospital and choose from the list Google presents them. There is only so much room, however, on that first search engine result page. That is why it is essential to make your way to the top of the Google rankings in order to grow your business. This technique is called local search engine optimization and is so important for hospitals to incorporate into their marketing plans. You must take advantage of this digital marketing tactic if you want to increase your number of patients.
In this article, we will discuss what local search engine optimization for hospitals is, why it is important for hospitals, and some of the best local search engine optimization practices you can utilize to become the top hospital in the city.
What Is Local SEO for Hospitals?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, for hospitals is the process of improving the quality and quantity of your website content to increase conversions and website traffic through search engine results. SEO targets organic search results instead of paid search results. The techniques used to market for hospitals are all similar to the SEO techniques used for other industries.
Local SEO is the same idea as SEO, but with location-based targeting. That means you are focused on targeting a local audience within a set of parameters instead of a statewide or nationwide audience. For example, someone may search “hospital near me” or “closest hospital near Las Vegas.” Those keywords tag it as a local search with geographical boundaries. So, a hospital in another state does not appear on the search result page. If you have established a consistent connection with returning patients but want to enhance your marketing plans or attract more patients, then local SEO for hospitals is a great tool to help get you started.
Why Is Local SEO for Hospitals Important?
Just like any other hospital or business looking to expand its market base by gaining more patients or customers, it is imperative to promote your hospital in a time when the healthcare competition is intense. You will need a lot of hospital SEO services and other marketing strategies to make your hospital stand out from the others in the surrounding area.
By marketing for hospitals using SEO for healthcare, you can bring better leads and patients to your hospital. SEO provides a higher ROI as well as an increase in credibility, visibility, traffic, branding, and reputation. That’s why traditional marketing tactics like TV and print media are becoming less popular.
The main reason marketing for hospitals using local SEO is so important is that potential patients can locate you easily on the internet if your hospital is listed under the first three results on Google, which is also known as the local pack. This raises your website’s visibility majorly as it is the first set of results a user will see on the search result page. People also tend to perceive the first results as more credible than the results below it.
Credibility and Reputation
Using local SEO when marketing for hospitals helps cement the credibility and reputation of your hospital. Like we said before, the higher up your website is on the search result page, the more credible and authoritative it is perceived to be by users. A potential patient is more likely to click on your hospital’s website as a result even if they know nothing about your business. A vote of confidence can be linked directly to Google’s website rankings.
One of the best parts about utilizing local SEO for hospitals is that it focuses primarily on organic search results, not paid search results. That way, you spend less money on acquiring new patients when marketing for hospitals. Also, with local SEO, it means a patient is already doing the hard work of searching for your type of business. You just need to present yourself to them.
Best Local SEO Techniques for Hospitals
It may seem intimidating or confusing to get started with implementing local SEO techniques into your marketing plan for your hospital. But don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it seems. While there is not really a wrong place to start with promoting your hospital, starting off on a strong foundation will be very beneficial. Here we have listed the most useful local SEO techniques to use in order to become the top hospital in the area.
Keywords Are Key
They may not seem like much, but keywords are going to be an integral part of your hospital SEO strategy. We could even argue that they are the most important part of all the best local SEO techniques that will be beneficial for your hospital.
Keywords are the words you include in your website content that is related to your institution. Keywords are important because when Google sends its web crawlers to comb through websites that relate to a user’s search query, it will look for these keywords in your website content or Google My Business profile. If it contains a keyword, Google will tag it and index it, and present it to the user on the search engine result page. The more keywords you have, the higher up Google will display your website.
To choose relevant hospital keywords, you have to understand how your potential patient thinks. Start with making a list of the most relevant keywords that reflect the services your hospital offers. For example, you could choose “pediatric care,” “cardiac care center,” “organ transplant services,” and the like.
Web Design and Development
Don’t disregard the web design and development of your hospital’s website. The user experience on your website is just as important as the services you offer. A potential patient will leave your website if it takes longer than a few seconds to load. That’s why it’s essential to make sure your hospital’s web design and development are the best they can be.
Web development also includes web design, which refers to the layout and accessibility of your website. You want your website layout to make sense and look attractive, whether that’s the actual color scheme you use or the relevancy of the menu options. Include the name of your hospital or logo somewhere near the top of the pages where people can easily spot it. Your website must also be user-friendly and accessible. That means no extra pages that don’t really make sense to the hospital or a difficult layout to manage. It is also imperative to make sure your practice is optimized for mobile users. More often than not, people are searching for local businesses on their phones, so making sure your hospital’s website can be mobile will make a world of difference.
Google My Business
Google My Business is great because it allows you to tie together all the previous best local SEO practices. This is a profile you can create on Google for your hospital. Within the profile, you can include:
- Hospital name
- Website link
- Physical address of hospital
- Hours of operation
- Contact information (phone number, email, etc.)
- Business category
- Photos and reviews
All of these will help improve the credibility and authority of your hospital. Incorrect or missing information could mean you are missing out on potential patients.
Citations and Links
With everything else in place, it is time to start creating citations and links for your hospital’s website. Both of these will improve your hospital’s SEO marketing efforts.
A citation is just a directory listing of your hospital along with an address and phone number. There are general directories you can choose from, like Facebook and yellowpages.com, local directories such as your city’s chamber of commerce website, and more specific medical service directories. Make sure the name, address, and phone number for your hospital are accurate across all directories.
There are some directories you have to pay for, so ensure that if you do pay for a spot in a directory, it will drive traffic and conversions. Otherwise, it is better to use a free directory.
Getting to the first spot at the top of the search engine result page requires incorporating links and backlinks into your website. These links should be from other credible, established websites that offer similar or complimentary services to yours. A great way to start with links is to establish a professional relationship with other clinics and medical practitioners, and then ask to trade links.
Put It All Together
Now that you have the basics on how to utilize local SEO to market for hospitals, you can put it to good use to bring in more patients and gain website traffic and conversion!
We know this was a lot of information all at once, but don’t worry about having to learn each new local SEO technique because that’s what SEO Design Chicago is for! We will do all the work for you so you can continue expanding your hospital and making the lives of those around you just a little bit better. SEO Design Chicago has worked with hospital clients in Chicago and across the country providing marketing, consulting, and digital strategy services. Even if you are not located in Chicago, we have worked with clients everywhere from Las Vegas to Austin to Miami. No matter where you are, SEO Design Chicago is the agency for you. Contact us today for more information!
- What is SEO for hospitals?
- How do I choose relevant keywords?
- What is a citation?
- Why is SEO important for hospitals?
- Why is link building important?