Here’s the scenario: You have invested in a beautiful new website with all the bells and whistles. It looks great. It reflects your newly “upgraded” and remodeled brand aesthetic. But months go by and…not much. You’re not generating consistent web traffic, traffic growth, or new patient leads. Something must be wrong.
It’s a common complaint. Like a car with leather finishes and voice-activated controls but no engine, a website without the technical ability to generate leads is an empty shell. So, what could be the culprit?
Very likely, it’s connected to search engine optimization (SEO).
One the greatest pitfalls of healthcare practice digital web strategy is overlooking or misunderstanding the importance of SEO – the ways in which your site is ‘optimized’ for search engines so that they (i.e. search engine heavyweights like Google or Bing) can easily index and rank your website to meet online search results.
In short, without SEO your website is likely to experience inconsistent (or nonexistent) web traffic which limits your chances of attracting new patient interest and, ultimately, patient conversion.
Because SEO strategy is important.
There is no question that digital inbound marketing is essential to every business. We live in a digital world where, on a global level, half of consumers say they discover brands online.1 As search engines live at the top of the discovery funnel, it is critical that your marketing strategy includes a robust SEO strategy.
Today, 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and growing organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. 2 SEO generates sustainable, compounded results that outlast any campaign or ad – look at it as compound interest: it just gets better with time.
So, what can you do? Here are three things that will improve your SEO strategy right now:
- Audit your website to identify and fix technical issues that might be impacting your site’s performance.
If you do have an individual or team who is managing your website and SEO strategy, it’s good practice to have them conduct regular check-ups to track your website’s technical ‘health’.
Two major factors that impact performance are site speed (loading time) and how the website responds to different viewing devices (meaning that content is legible and engaging on every screen size, from a mobile phone to a desktop computer).
Poor responsive design or slow site speed can negatively impact your site in two ways: user experience and search engine ranking.
Data shows that 40% of consumers are at risk of leaving a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load and Google has made it clear that their algorithms will penalize sites that are not mobile-friendly. 3 This isn’t surprising given that mobile web-browsing exceeded desktop in 2016 for the very first time. 4
- Build a robust content strategy to drive inbound traffic through custom posts that engage prospective patients.
Search engines index and measure the ‘value’ of a website by assessing the content that exists there. That’s why 72% of marketers view content creation as the best SEO tactic to boost results, and why companies everywhere are dedicating more and more of their marketing budgets to content generation. 5
But while it might seem that more content is better, quality is king.
In 2011, Google’s ‘Panda’ Search algorithm update was a game-changing initiative because it began to inhibit spammy websites and low-quality content from continuing to rise in search engine rankings purely because they had a high ‘volume’ of words. Now, the golden rule is substance: brands must create content that warrants linking to, that merits reading and internalizing, and that adds new perspectives, engaging insights and valuable information to the world wide web.
Looking ahead, building a strong content strategy will be rooted in video. Just as the advent of Instagram and ‘image marketing’ has superseded text, video is projected to claim 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
- Discover the importance of “off-site factors” like smart link-earning.
A common mistake in SEO is looking at your site in a silo when the Internet is the definition of interconnectedness. The more ways in which you generate credible inbound traffic and connect your website with the outside ‘system’ the better and one of the most popular ways to do this is by linking.
We say this with caution because, in the past, many sites would try to ‘game’ the system by buying links and participating in indiscriminate link-building networks. But this is no longer effective. There are no shortcuts, and any company or marketer who tries to convince you otherwise is willing to lead you astray to make a quick buck.
Now, the cornerstone of a good SEO strategy is link earning. Concentrate on developing content that is worth linking to, and developing relationships that will help drive traffic to your site in ways that make sense and add value to Internet users.
Don’t know where to begin? Are you in need of SEO support and SEO strategy guidance for your practice website?
1 Global Web Index, 2016
2 Hubspot, 2017
3 Search Engine Land, 2016
4 StatCounter, 2016
5 Ascend2, 2015