When cancer strikes, time and access to quality care are of the essence. The value of running an oncology clinic is almost impossible to say, but valuable work alone doesn’t keep the doors open. Just like any other business, a failure to adequately market yourself is a surefire way to fail in the long term. In this case, letting the clinic fail because of insufficient marketing is a poor outcome not only for those running it, but also for those who might have saved time, money, and even their lives because of local care. Treating cancer is stressful enough as it is; having to drive long distances for care just adds even more obstacles and interruptions to patients’ lives. In this article, we are going to discuss how to market yourself as an oncologist using local SEO, using a technique that is too often overlooked for its marketing potential and cost: search engine optimization.
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What Is SEO?
The term search engine optimization (SEO for short) is the process of making your website and digital presence more visible to the search engines people use when researching businesses online. When 70-80% of consumers investigate a business online before visiting or making a purchase, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of showing up on the search page. More than that, however, your ranking on the search page also matters. 47% of people click on the first link the search page presents them with. That’s a lot of potential customers lost by virtue of not being at the very top.
What Is Local SEO?
You might start to ask: how do I get to the top of the search results page, considering how many oncology clinics are out there? Fortunately, you most likely aren’t competing with oncology clinics around the world, just the ones in your local area. This is where the distinction between SEO and local SEO comes in. You aren’t trying to be the first result on Google when someone searches “oncology clinic” or “oncology specialist,” you’re trying to be first when someone types in “oncology clinic near me.” This aspect of local SEO for oncologists is foremost among its differences from regular SEO. Google uses the location data of users to help determine what to show them and in what order. So, engaging in local SEO lets you use this aspect of Google to your advantage. Before you can really use local SEO to your advantage, however, you need to first establish an online presence.
Making a Website and Social Media Accounts
Local SEO can only amplify your already established presence on the Internet, not create it for you. If you don’t already have a website or social media account (or several), it’s useless. There’s nothing to amplify! Most of the strategies discussed in this article also only apply if you have a website, so if you don’t already have one, make one now! If you’re having difficulty with this, don’t worry, SEO Design Chicago can help with this, as well as any other digital marketing needs.
Local SEO Strategies for Oncologists
Assuming you have a website, you are already most of the way there. Local SEO strategies for oncologists entail specific methods you use when constructing your website to make it rank higher among the Google search results. These strategies are based on how Google determines the relevance of your website to the search terms the user entered. Let’s talk about some strategies here:
Keywords are common search terms that people use to find websites related to their topics of interest. Someone might enter “oncology clinics near me” if they were searching for local oncology clinics, which is an example of keyword use. Keywords are perhaps the most important means through which Google determines your relevance, so you need to find out what words people might use to find your business online. You’ll want to pepper these words and phrases throughout the text on your site, as it helps Google determine what topics your website is connected to.
In this instance, your intimate knowledge of the area you operate in can help, as you can use words that are more commonly used in your region specifically. Using competitors or other local businesses’ websites is a good way to find some of this local language, which can give your local SEO a leg up. Generally speaking, you want to mostly use keywords that topically relate to your business, a few examples of which are given below:
- Oncology clinic
- Cancer clinic
- Cancer clinic near me
- Cancer care center
- Best cancer treatment centers
As an industry-specific tip, it might be better to use the word “cancer” instead of “oncology,” as more people are more familiar with the former. If you want to find more keywords, you can always use Google Ad’s Keyword Planner, which provides you with a list of search terms people often use when searching for specific topics.
How you use headings, or the larger pieces of text that separate subsections of text on your website, also matters quite a bit to Google’s search algorithm. The words used in your headings are given extra weight in determining relevance, so make sure to use keywords. Doing so will undoubtedly improve your search results ranking.
How you use links, both internal and external, on your website also matters quite a bit for your local SEO for oncologists efforts. To both the Google search algorithm and human visitors of your website, the use of links adds a sense of credibility to what you are saying, in addition to looking professional. External links are emblematic of careful research on your part, but internal links are even more useful. Including them can help turn the traffic on one page into multi-page traffic.
Traffic is another important indicator to Google of how trustworthy and/or popular your website is. Getting a lot of traffic aids your SEO greatly. The good thing about this metric is that all of your advertising efforts help to increase traffic, so long as such advertising directs people to your website. Even general online attention directed towards your brand, such as on social media, will help get people to visit your website. So, you can see that any and all digital marketing efforts indirectly help skyrocket your ranking on the search page.
If you wish to generate local traffic to your website, be sure to connect with your surrounding community in any way you can. You can participate in and sponsor events, hire locals if at all possible, and even give to local charities. Oncology clinics are often beloved institutions by many communities, especially those which contain members whose lives you’ve touched. Involving yourself in your community is a powerful tool that is uniquely accessible to your industry. You don’t want to miss out!
Oncology Specialist Digital Marketing
It’s no secret that digital marketing is the next frontier of modern marketing efforts. As more and more people gain access to the internet, establishing a robust and visible online presence grows in importance to all businesses. When it comes to digital marketing for oncology specialists, however, there are some unique concerns that are worth addressing.
First, what makes a good oncology-related marketing campaign? The best answer is undoubtedly the appearance of professionalism. Unsurprisingly, people want to feel like they’re in good hands when being treated for cancer, so how you come off to potential patients is hugely important. This means that everything you put out, digital or otherwise, needs to have an emphasis on visual appeal. Your advertisements are what people will see before ever entering your clinic, so a crisp, flawless presentation is a must.
The second concern is related to ethics. How do you market yourself without seeming like you’re trying to profit off of suffering? Unfortunately, being too opportunistic with your marketing efforts is liable to be misconstrued as callous and uncaring. To avoid this, you can make sure to use softer language and present an exterior image of compassion. This encompasses both the language you use and how you use it. For example, it might be a good idea to use a female narrator for any video-based advertisements, as they are typically seen as persuasive in a more gentle way.
Type of Marketing
The final concern is the proportion of digital vs. traditional marketing efforts you should use. Older adults are not only more likely to develop cancer but are also less likely to see digital marketing. The solution is to use a balanced mix of the two. After all, the number of older adults using the Internet is growing rapidly. This trend will only skew more towards the digital side as time progresses. So, don’t neglect your digital marketing efforts!
SEO Design Chicago Can Help
If you’re having trouble with any of the aforementioned strategies, SEO Design Chicago has the resources and experts you need. We can even help with any local SEO for oncologists concerns you have, no matter where you are located throughout the United States or Canada.
- What is SEO?
- What are keywords?
- How do links influence SEO?
- Why is making a website important?
- How do I seem ethical in my marketing campaigns?