Five Steps for a Great Medical SEO Campaign

Even if a medical practice has an excellent website, it is not going to be effective if no one can find it. This is where search engine optimization, or SEO, comes into play. The goal of SEO is to increase search engine visibility by incorporating key phrases and words into existing online marketing efforts. SEO includes creating links and building content geared towards boosting a site’s placement on search engines such as Google. With more than 8 million Americans searching for medical information online, it is not a strategy that should be ignored. Here are five ways to incorporate an effective SEO campaign to boost the online visibility of a medical website.

Step 1. Set SEO Goals – The first step in creating a great medical SEO campaign is to set your goals. Ask yourself the following questions:

• Why do you want to market your medical site?
• What results do you want to get from your medical site?
• Are you promoting a particular product or service or your medical practice in general?
• Are you selling ad space to boost your revenue?
• What is it that you want visitors to your medical site to do?

The choices you make at this point set the tone of your SEO campaign. You can’t be everything to everybody. Setting goals helps to narrow the focus of your SEO efforts and increase the effectiveness of such a campaign. Once you have clearly established your goals, you can begin putting together a campaign more likely to produce results.

Step 2. Research Keywords – SEO basically starts with a keyword search. You want to list relevant keywords related to your medical specialization, geographic area, specific treatments and services you offer or even specific conditions or diseases. Do a brainstorming session and come up with as many relevant terms related to your practice as possible. The next step is to narrow down these keywords and phrases as much as possible to the ones that match your online marketing goals.

Step 3. Improve Content Flow – What it really boils down to is content. The content should flow as easily as possible. Even though you may be using a lot of medical terms, it is important to keep the content as easy to read as possible. Avoid “keyword stuffing” or throwing in keywords for the sole purpose of boosting your ranking. Naturally spacing keywords within content is a much better approach to achieving your SEO marketing goal. You also want to update your content on a regular basis. Thousands of new sites are jumping into the already crowded online marketing arena everyday. If you don’t keep your content fresh, even the best keyword placement won’t be effective .

Step 4. Use Links – Another way to boost traffic to your medical website is through linkbuilding. When creating rankings, search engines use several factors including importance, relevancy and authority. At one time, some medical sites would buy links before submitting their websites to directories to generate more links. However, this is generally frowned upon by most major search engines – and may result in your site being blacklisted or banned. Your best bet is to generate legitimate links by focusing on content. Another way to generate links is to contact websites with similar content – this is especially convenient in the medical profession – and asking them to post your link. Another option is to use backlinks that lead back to your site.

Step 5. On-Site Optimization – In order to ensure that search engines can properly index your site, it is wise to incorporate some on-site optimization techniques into your medical SEO campaign. Basic on-site optimization techniques include alt tags, header tags, a site map and internal anchor text links. This, combined with solid content, helps achieve better search engine rankings. You want to avoid a site created with Flash, for example, since these sites are difficult to optimize effectively. You want to identify target terms (see Step 1) and then use on-site optimization techniques to boost your ranking.

When in doubt about how to approach a medical SEO campaign, it is best to hire a professional to do the work to get the best results. However, an effective medical SEO campaign can also be created on your own if you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. It all depends on how much time and effort you put into your online marketing. A carefully created and maintained website geared towards the right target audience can be an extremely effective part of your medical marketing campaign.

Shared from the blog of our SEO expert and medical speaker, Mike Newhouse. Invite him to your next event for an in-depth discussion on creating internet marketing strategies.