SEO Services for Healthcare Providers: Strategies for Patient Acquisition

by Bogota

Recognizing the difficulty of SEO for conventional healthcare services, that would be a great opportunity for healthcare providers who have their own website. Realizing this, they can use SEO services to promote their medical services. Because an IT developer and there is also a medical practitioner might not have information technology in the field of SEO. But in this, we need to find the right SEO services and know how to run SEO services properly for medical services. The step to find the SEO services is no different from finding information with SEO. But of course, because it’s a service to our site, we need to know some information providers of SEO services. And now let’s say that you are on the right page to find information about SEO services in healthcare.

SEO is the most effective way to increase your website’s ranking to be on the first page and to advocate the services through a search engine. This is according to the practicality of searching for information on the internet by accessing the search engine, then we type the keyword of what we want to know. If a service has successfully put their site on the first page of search, the service would have a greater chance to be known by the public. This SEO has several stages and it takes a relatively long time, but believe me, the strategy is very powerful.

Here’s where the problems start to appear – conventional healthcare services have difficulty promoting their service. It is often not commensurate with the advertisement made. When the internet has become a medium of passing information that is easy and the cost to reach a service is still relatively cheap. However, conventional healthcare services still use the old way, which is enough to create posters, banners installed around the area of their practice and also. But the development of this ad does not provide a significant change in the number of patients. Because patients are now smarter in selecting a service they want to use. They do not just believe in the recommendation of a service; they also see the information about the service on the internet. This is where the conventional healthcare service is left behind. They are less understanding how to promote the services on the internet to gain new patients. Because the promotion services on the internet also have their own ways, one of them with the help of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The free trade agreement of ASEAN would make the pattern of competitive business in healthcare services become tighter because the boundaries to find a job have been opened freely. This means there will be new competitors such as healthcare workers from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and so forth. One effective step to attract patients is by promoting the healthcare service to the society.

Nowadays, there is a crucial role for healthcare providers to develop their services. It is important for them to serve high-quality medical services. The main key is to gain the patient’s trust. Some marketing scientists said that to build trust, we should attempt consistent action and make patients perceive what we want. Let’s put it in healthcare services – the best way to show our consistency to the patient is to give them excellent medical services. But at the same time, we have another door to step in order to give a service to the patient, that’s the competitive phase. We should always consider that healthcare service is a part of the service industry, where there will be tight competition between each other. So the question is, how do we develop our service in order to beat the competitors? The simple answer is by increasing the number of patients.

Importance of SEO services for healthcare providers

Cost effectiveness: SEO is perhaps the most cost-effective marketing strategy because it targets users who are actively looking for your services online. SEO’s inbound nature helps to save money as opposed to outbound strategies like cold calling. While cold calling can still be an effective strategy, the leads generated cost 61% more than leads generated by an inbound strategy like SEO. And since SEO also targets users who are actively searching for products and services like those provided by your organization, the traffic resulting from SEO is more qualified than many other marketing strategies, resulting in cost savings for companies.

Increased traffic to website: Top positions on the search engine result pages receive a majority of the impressions and clicks, so ranking in these top positions can result in significant traffic increases for your website. SEO also focuses on creating keyword-relevant and informative title tags and meta descriptions, which show up in the result pages. Optimized tags and descriptions help to increase click-through rate, which also promotes increases in qualified web traffic.

SEO has become a widely adopted online marketing strategy because of its effectiveness. While the benefits of SEO are vast, here are the top 5 reasons why a healthcare organization should utilize SEO.

Online health information consumption is growing rapidly, with over 60% of internet users stating that they have researched a specific medical treatment or procedure. It is likely that the number of consumers researching health information online will continue to increase as internet access becomes easier and more convenient. Nearly 50% of these consumers are researching a specific hospital, medical facility, or health services. This creates a unique opportunity for healthcare providers to reach potential patients who are in need of today’s healthcare services. It is evident that healthcare providers can no longer ignore the importance of an online presence and search engine optimization (SEO) to their organization.

Overview of Sotavento Medios, a digital marketing agency

At Sotavento Medios, the current service offerings include SEO, PPC, and digital media buying through programmatic display and video. In addition, Sotavento offers a full spectrum of digital marketing services for the Hispanic demographic in the United States. Sotavento founder, Jesse Alvarado, a Hispanic marketing specialist, saw a crucial need for Hispanic patient acquisition for healthcare providers. This demographic represents the largest minority in the country and will vastly impact the healthcare marketplace with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Sotavento Medios has extensive experience in Hispanic marketing and can provide culturally relevant advertising strategies that are tailored to patients’ language and needs. With the launch of the Affordable Care Act, Sotavento Medios is currently seeking to expand its services to the health insurance sector for both private and public exchange health plans.

Founded in 2010, Sotavento Medios is a boutique, performance marketing agency that provides digital advertising and marketing solutions to the healthcare industry. Based in Los Angeles, Sotavento Medios focuses on driving patient acquisition for healthcare providers. The leadership team has over 20 years of collective experience in digital marketing and advertising for healthcare brands. The agency was born from a passion to help healthcare providers adapt to the rapid changes in the digital age of marketing. The team at Sotavento Medios is on a mission to provide innovative digital advertising solutions that will become the new standard in healthcare marketing.

Understanding SEO for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers are often unsure about the value of SEO since search results have now become infused with ads and are hard to distinguish from other forms of information. A study by Google indicates that 75% of users visiting the health content site had clicked through a sponsored link for the branded drug. So it’s not only about getting visitors to click to the healthcare site but also to optimize the content of the site in such a way that the users don’t get misled by the paid sites. For users to find accurate and reliable information from healthcare providers, it is critical to ensure search results reflect a true representation of the health industry.

SEO is not an isolated technique but it’s an echelon of practices that gives health to many web marketing actions. It’s the link between social media, online PR, PPC, content, and usability. That is the reason healthcare organizations are considering SEO as an established long-term strategy with better ROI compared to ad words where there are chances you may fail to get desired results after heavy investments.

Healthcare organizations are gradually recognizing the significance of search engine optimization (SEO) in their digital marketing scheme. SEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. Often times, the higher and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO targets different types of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific and gives a website web presence.

Key concepts and terminology

The section aims to provide an understanding of the key terms and concepts used in SEO. It is important to comprehend these concepts before implementing the strategies. The section begins with the basic term ‘SEO’. It is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines. Quality of traffic is visitors who are genuinely interested in the content on the site. The term SEO encompasses many different approaches which help in achieving this goal of higher quality and volume of traffic. These methods can be broadly categorized into ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ techniques. The former is an ethical approach to SEO, focusing on the human audience and completely obeying search engine rules and policies. This method is effective in the long run. The latter technique is an attempt to improve search engine rankings which does not obey the search engine rules and policies. This technique is effective in the short run, but is likely to result in the site being banned from the search engine. This concept is particularly pertinent to healthcare providers due to their classification in the Google search engine. With their recent classification as YMYL websites, it is vital that they follow SEO techniques which do not affect their reputation and result in them being deemed unfit for purpose to users.

Benefits of implementing SEO strategies

Increased credibility and trust in your website. Of course, ranking high is not possible if you do not have high quality content on your site. Often great content goes uncovered. It is widely acknowledged within the SEO industry that high search engine rankings are directly correlated to the amount and quality of credible links that point to your website. This means that other businesses, organizations, and individuals in your industry are vouching for your content. Earning such links are a result of providing valuable information and is a testament to your credibility. And of course, with utilizing best SEO practices, even your website’s code structure and loading time can be a good indicator of credibility to both users and search engines. This is a great segway into the main point about securing your rank and credibility, which is the great need for web page quality improvement within the healthcare industry.

Increased visibility and branding. When people search for your products and services, you obviously want to appear as high in the search engine rankings as possible. Just think about this, when you search for “best cancer treatment for a senior citizen” or “most advanced hip replacement” you are looking to resolve a very specific need. These are the types of cases in which a high quality search engine referral is crucial. The research shows that top ranking sites are visited more often. A recent iProspect study revealed that searchers do not always know what they are looking for when starting a search query. Yet, when the results were explained to them, it was concluded that they expected to find what they were looking for. So, even if searchers do not realize it, the simple act of explaining the results creates an expectation that the information should easily be found. This brush up against the transactive theory of brands, which is a psychological behavioral theory that a brand is a set of associations linked to a name or mark. When the brand is known and the consumer has a set expectation, there will be a high level of ease in decision making and there will be satisfaction upon using this brand. This means “just what the patient wanted” in terms of high quality healthcare service. E-Patients are also becoming an ever more important phenomenon, the more high quality the patient, the more likely they are to be consuming an equally high quality service.

Most of these benefits will be familiar to marketers from other industries, but it’s important for healthcare providers to understand their importance in the context of their own industry, with its particular difficulties and risks.

Challenges specific to healthcare industry

These needs are quite different from other industries. For example, a person seeking to purchase a new iPod may do research to compare various models with the goal of making a purchase in the near future. In contrast, a consumer may seek general health information just to satisfy their own curiosity with no intent on seeing a healthcare provider. Both of these scenarios are quite different from the needs of someone who is researching treatment options for a new diagnosis that will greatly impact their life.

– They want general information to maintain their good health and prevent illness. – They need specific information to cure a self-diagnosed ailment. – They need decision support on behalf of someone else regarding treatment options for a diagnosed ailment.

However, the healthcare industry is a unique mix of information supply and demand. Generally, when consumers seek information from the internet, it is to fulfill one of three distinct needs:

According to a recent study by Pew Internet & American Life Project, 80% of internet users have searched for a specific topic online, which translates to about 93 million Americans. The same report stated that 8 million American adults have gone online to find health information. Based on these statistics, it’s evident that the online market for healthcare is immense.

Effective SEO Strategies for Patient Acquisition

There are a number of effective SEO strategies, each of which can be used to help in improving patient acquisition for healthcare providers. Keyword research is commonly stated as being the first step in developing an SEO campaign, and it is undoubtedly the most crucial. A sound PPC campaign can generate fast results for an SEO campaign, as it provides a wealth of data in relation to which keywords are converting into sales. This data can then be utilized in SEO efforts, with the focus being on those keywords which have shown to provide a good ROI. Google’s keyword tool is the most common tool for this, however there are many 3rd party tools which offer more advanced data. That data provided by the keyword research should be used to determine how many new pages should be created on a website, and a plan for which pages are required. A page should be created for each keyword, and long term a content siloing strategy should be implemented. This is the process of grouping keywords into categories, and then building a section on a website which covers a category in depth, then interlinking those pages. An example of this in a healthcare setting might be a GP offering consultations for a number of different health conditions. A separate page should be created for each condition, and then links should be created to a main page about the service, and then between related conditions. This would be a very organized and efficient way to build a large site which covers a wide range of medical services.

Keyword research and optimization

Utilizing the right keywords on a healthcare website is necessary to increase relevant traffic. High rankings and increased traffic will not lead to increased patient acquisition if the healthcare provider is ranking for the wrong terms. For example, a healthcare provider may specialize in varicose vein treatment. This provider may optimize their site for terms related to “vein treatment” or “vein surgery.” This may attract traffic looking for general information on the subject. If the provider has a treatment that is largely cosmetic, it may behoove the provider to instead optimize for “cosmetic varicose treatment.” This way the traffic the provider is attracting is by patients more specifically seeking the service he has to offer. A good mix of very specific keywords with high conversion rates and more general informational keywords can be used in different types of content to ensure the right type of traffic is attracted.

Research and analysis of how patients search for medical services is required in order to effectively optimize for patient acquisition. Keyword research tools such as WordTracker and Overture are free and can effectively provide an extensive list of how often words are searched and how the words have evolved over time. Building a list of key phrases and words will categorize the keywords so that they can best be utilized for appropriate optimization.

On-page optimization techniques

There are a few distinct stages in successful on-page search engine optimization, the first of which is keyword optimization. Keyword optimization is making sure that your webpage ranks for the terms you are targeting. This is vital because achieving high rankings for irrelevant terms will bring you the wrong type of visitor. There is no point in optimizing a GP and Family Doctor with a website that ranks #1 for family doctor and #20 for GP. It is best to rank highly for both terms, but relative to the search volume of the terms and the individual page. This is because the two terms essentially mean the same thing and you will most likely only want to promote one page, thus avoiding competition in the rankings between your own pages. If the search volume dictates that only one page should be promoted, then that page should be optimized for the term with the higher search volume. High search volume equates to a larger audience and more visitors to your site. This takes us back to the family doctor/GP analogy. If a Family Doctor has 500 visitors a day to his site (national and international) and primarily wants to attract more local patients to his practice, he may want to target local residents by having another page specifically for the term GP. The GP page would be the one primarily promoted with the intention of it being the first encounter between potential patients and the doctor. So getting back on topic, keyword optimization initially involves choosing the right keywords to target. This may seem obvious, but it’s not unusual to find websites ranking highly for terms that are irrelevant to their content. On occasion, it is also necessary to establish which variations of a word attract most visitors. For example, in America, it is more common to refer to a health center, whereas in Canada it is health center. The easiest way to compare the search volumes is to look for the combination of all similar terms in the Overture Keyword Tool. Once you have decided which keywords to target, the next step is to edit META tags. A general rule for editing Meta Tags is to be similar to or use the wording of the content on the page itself. This is because search engines often penalize irrelevant Meta Tags. An irrelevant keyword is the equivalent of a broken promise to the visitor; it will bring the wrong type of visitor and will result in that visitor leaving the site as soon as he/she realizes the content is not what they were looking for. The final part of keyword optimization is using the keywords within the content of a page. This should be done in a smooth and coherent fashion. One simple method is to use the tactic of writing more content. This is because it is awkward and unnatural to repeatedly insert a keyword into a small amount of text. It’s important to note that inserting keywords into content should not compromise the quality of writing in any way.

Off-page optimization and link building

Also, monitoring the effect of social media efforts can be done through various tracking tools. There are many ways to track where traffic is being generated from and if it is related to social media activity. If it is determined that social media efforts are not having a huge effect on traffic, a strategy adjustment may be necessary.

Measuring an effective off-page optimization plan can be done through a variety of tools. One of the most common ways to measure link activity is through link tracking. There are a variety of software and sources that will monitor which websites are using your links and how they are using them. It is important to monitor this regularly as there may be activity related to your site that you do not want happening, and thus links will need to be removed.

Finally, utilizing press and PR strategies can increase your site’s traffic. Using press releases to target certain high-value aspects of your website can garner more attention and potentially result in more traffic to your site.

Another way to increase your website’s exposure is to utilize social media interaction. Social media has become a huge tool in gaining website traffic and advertisement. Creating a strong social media presence with regular interaction can have a huge effect on increasing your site traffic.

Off-page optimization is crucial in determining a site’s credibility. There are many ways to do this. The most well-known is link building, which is the process of getting other websites to post links to your site. It is important to have high-ranking websites posting links for your site in order to have an effective off-page optimization plan. Posting links on low-ranking websites or non-relevant websites can actually have a negative effect on your site. Thus, it is important to focus your link building efforts on websites that are relevant to your industry.

Content marketing and creation

Step one in the content creation process is crucial to SEO. Before creating your first new page, you will need to perform keyword research. The research must be data-driven. Utilizing keyword analysis tools from Moz, SEMrush or WordTracker can provide quantitative data to support which keywords you should optimize for. Try to focus on long-tail keywords – these keywords are much more specific and easier to rank highly for. For example, a long-tail keyword might be “types of herniated disc surgery” while a broad keyword might be “herniated disc”. Long-tail keywords consist of at least 3 words and will typically generate less traffic; however, your traffic will be more qualified and the competition level is much lower. Following keyword research, you will also want to analyze the search queries that are currently driving traffic to your site. This information can be used to cross-reference with the new keywords from your research to optimize the new pages.

Your site’s content is easily the most critical piece of the search engine ranking algorithm. Content exists in a variety of forms: landing pages, social media, blogs, articles, white papers, and visual advertisements. A misconception that most businesses and site owners have is that content creation is an ongoing process. While it is true that ongoing optimization is essential, content creation is a process that occurs at the launch of a new site or the beginning of a campaign.

Local SEO for healthcare providers

Google My Business is essential for local SEO. It’s free and will enable you to appear in local search results for queries specific to your services. Not only will this increase your visibility and click-through rate, but it has significant implications for local SEO. Google My Business also allows for customer reviews, which can help your business to stand out from the crowd.

Local SEO is essential for healthcare providers who need to attract nearby patients. Local SEO relies on factors like a Google My Business listing, local keyword and link research, and optimized location pages. This is a lot of work, but the hard graft is worth it. It’s reported that 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone went to a store within a day, showing the importance of local search marketing.

Measuring and Tracking SEO Success

– Number of new visitors – to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in attracting new patients – Increase in search engine referrals – to determine how well your site is ranking in the search engines for your target keywords – Keyword referral rates – to check which keywords are driving the most traffic to your site so you can focus your efforts on the most effective keywords. This can be done using keyword referral rates on pay-per-click campaigns for healthcare and transferring that information to organic rankings on a particular keyword.

The best way to know if your SEO strategy has paid off in attracting new patients is to monitor the success of your SEO initiatives in driving site traffic and acquiring new patients. This can be done by comparing traffic statistics before and after the implementation of your SEO campaign. Some metrics you may find useful include:

Tools for monitoring SEO performance

There are many tools available to track your SEO success. Some are free, and some require a monthly subscription. These tools help to track your keyword rankings, on-site and off-site optimization, and measure organic search traffic. Some of the free tools include Google Analytics, Good Keywords, and Yahoo Web Analytics. Google Analytics is a tool to help you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your flash, video, and social networking sites and applications. It is a free tool that is highly customizable and allows you to access an array of different information. Good Keywords is a Windows software that helps you find the best keywords for your website. It is mainly used for pay-per-click advertisers, but anyone who needs to find a good set of keywords can benefit from this software. Yahoo Web Analytics is an enterprise site analytics tool that is extremely flexible and can be adapted to a variety of websites. Although there are many free tools available, some may find more success through the tools that require a subscription. One of the most well-known tools that require a monthly subscription is SEOmoz. This is an easy-to-use tool that helps you track the growth of your website’s organic and search rank. SEOmoz provides a detailed analysis of the various ways to improve your website’s rank and has helped many businesses find big improvements in their search rank. A similar tool is Advanced Web Ranking. This tool provides an accurate and data-centric view of your website’s position in search engine rankings. These tools often prove to be a good investment for many businesses that depend highly on their website’s traffic and search engine rank. By using these tools to monitor your SEO performance, you will know whether or not your hard work is paying off. Whether you aim to regularly use free tools or invest money into a monthly subscription, the importance of having your search rank measurable by any means is very significant to the overall success of your SEO.

Metrics to analyze patient acquisition

It is important to understand that correlation between the performance of a website in the search engine results and the increase in paying customers. This can be difficult to quantify offline, particularly given the usually long lead time between someone first visiting a website and making a purchase. E-commerce websites with transaction tracking, providing a clear indicator of revenue and return on investment from organic search, are an ideal situation to be in. In reality, revenue and ROI are still key measures for any website, and can be demonstrated by attributing increases in sales or contracts won, beyond the level that would have been expected without the SEO campaign. Study the products of customer acquisition and brand lift through market research, and tie this to an increase in relevant traffic from the search engines. All of this will help to close the loop between organic search and business results, and get more investment in SEO in the future.

Metrics provide a standard, fiscal or objective measurement used to gauge your performance, relative to the website’s performance goals. When identifying the metrics that are important to you and your organization, focus on a core set of data that will tie your SEO strategy to bottom line measurements.

Continuous improvement and optimization

Continuous improvement involves iterative changes to website content and design based on the analysis of organic search performance to impact search rankings, and increase visitor engagement and conversion to a patient. As stated in the introduction, successful SEO for a healthcare provider can result in patient acquisition that has an 8-10% greater ROI than traditional forms of outbound advertising and can have a compounding effect. Continuous improvement is a multi-step process. Firstly, test hypotheses by making specific changes to keywords and content. Measure the changes in search rankings and the clickthrough on those keywords. Iterate by continuing to make changes to those areas to maximize results. The next step is to take a broader analysis of underperforming parts of the website. Using Webmaster tools and analytics it is possible to filter landing pages by keyword to determine which pages are performing poorly in relation to the search terms they are being found by. Use these as entry points into the site and analyze design and content to determine how the page can be better optimized to increase relevance. This method is also effective to determine which pages are not being indexed by search engines. A third method is to make use of A/B testing on design and content with the aim to increase visitor engagement and conversion. Using analytics measure the difference in engagement metrics and if successful make these changes permanent. Step four is a repeat of the metrics analysis to determine the impact of these changes on patient acquisition from organic search. Regular repetition of this process is the key to continued improvement in SEO.

How Sotavento Medios specializes in SEO for healthcare providers

Understanding the Healthcare Landscape:

Medical Keyword Research: Sotavento Medios would likely understand the specific medical terminology and keywords that potential patients in Singapore use to find healthcare services. They would conduct thorough research to identify relevant keywords with high search volume and low competition within the healthcare niche.

Content Strategy for Patient Education: They might create high-quality, informative content that addresses common medical concerns and showcases the healthcare provider’s expertise in specific areas. This content could include blog posts, infographics, and videos adhering to compliance regulations.

Building Trust and Authority:

Optimizing Credibility Signals: Sotavento Medios might focus on optimizing healthcare providers’ websites to establish trust and authority. This could involve showcasing doctor biographies, patient testimonials, accreditations, and awards.

Local SEO Optimization for Healthcare: They might leverage Google My Business optimization for healthcare providers, ensuring accurate information, positive reviews, and consistent citations across healthcare directories to improve local search ranking.

Compliance with Healthcare Regulations:

Understanding HIPAA Compliance: Sotavento Medios would be aware of the importance of adhering to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations when managing healthcare provider websites. They would ensure all SEO service comply with data privacy and security rules.

Focus on Ethical Marketing Practices: They would likely prioritize ethical marketing practices that avoid misleading information or exploitation of patient vulnerabilities.

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