Marketing may be the last thing on any hospital and healthcare organization’s mind right now given that most are already filled to the brim and overwhelmed by the explosive number of COVID-19 cases, but the truth is, now is the time that patients need you to reach out most. Marketing isn’t just about making witty videos and graphics to advertise your services and get ahead of the competition, it’s also about facilitating smooth patient communication and sending important and accurate information out to the public during a time where false and dangerous claims quickly go viral.
Proper health communication is one of your roles as a healthcare provider, and now that we’re amid a global pandemic with the end still not in sight, that role is more important than ever. To aid with that pursuit, one of the techniques you can invest in is search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO as a tool for improved healthcare communication
SEO helps increase company awareness by boosting your website on the search engine results page (SERP). Studies show that the higher a company’s website is on SERPs, the more impressions and traffic they get. This helps your healthcare communication efforts significantly as patients and concerned individuals can easily find your website online with just a Google search.
Healthcare SEO became so prevalent that it sprouted its own industry. Medical SEO companies offer their services to hospitals and healthcare organizations and companies to ensure their websites get a high ranking on SERPs. Besides the direct benefit of SEO, other SEO tactics also contribute to improving patient and public relations.
How can you effectively do SEO in 2021?
The thing about search engine rankings is that the criteria are kept a closely guarded secret by search engine developers. Sometimes, Google will give hints and go on record to confirm that they prioritize certain criteria over others, but as a whole, SEO experts rely on their study of search engine algorithms to determine what their clients need to do to improve their ranking. The tough part here is that search engine algorithms are always changing, which means your SEO strategy has to change with it to stay effective. SEO experts constantly have their ears to the ground, tapping into insider information and attending conferences to understand the direction search engines are taking. This way, they can plan a tactical response to the change and implement it as soon as it happens, getting a head start over other competitors. For healthcare providers, getting ahead of websites owned by unreliable sources and companies making unscientific claims is important because you need to get the truth out to as many people as you can, which is only possible if you implement SEO effectively.
We asked various medical SEO companies for updated tips, tricks, and trends for SEO in 2021, and here was their response.
1. Prioritize user experience (UX)
Beginning May 2021, Google will put more weight on UX in the ranking factors. They listed several metrics that they will use to determine the quality of UX, among them are the following:
- Page loading speed. Pages that load slowly create a poor UX, especially in a time where fast internet is becoming more accessible. Audit your site regularly to ensure no pages are loading for longer than 3 seconds.
- If your site doesn’t contain much information or content, users won’t have a reason to stay and browse. Take advantage of your website and post anything you think current and future patients may need, from contact information to a blog that provides useful information on COVID-19 statistics, vaccine rollout progress, and other timely health-related topics.
- Users won’t want to browse a site that isn’t secure, especially if it requests personal information like emails or credit card details. In some cases, search engines even block your site from being accessed by users, which will negatively impact your communication efforts. Ensure all your software and security certificates are updated. Invest in more advanced security if your site contains sensitive information.
Prioritizing sites that provide good UX is also advantageous to Google because then it can recommend to its users the sites that have high-quality and engaging content to its users. Furthermore, a superior website UX leads to more effective and fruitful communication with patients and site visitors.
2. Be more mobile-friendly
Mobile phones have overtaken desktop as the most-used device to access the internet. Given this, your website should be designed primarily with mobile users in mind. Google recognizes the importance of mobile-friendliness in web development and rewards websites with more mobile-friendly design by ranking them higher on the SERP.
3. Incorporate voice search
Assistive technologies like Alexa and Siri are on the rise, and more people every day use these assistants to do online searches. You should target keywords popular among voice search, which often include long-tail keywords and more natural speech, instead of the shorthand that’s used by keyboard search users.
4. Non-text content
Studies are showing a significant percentage of internet users largely prefer to consume content in non-text form. This means infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. Many companies are diversifying their content in response to this trend, and that’s something healthcare providers should consider too. Many medical SEO companies recognize the rise of novel content formats and offer the equipment and talent necessary to produce high-quality and compelling content. It’s also noteworthy that Google now features video content on its SERPs, meaning, you have an additional chance of catching user’s attention if you also produce videos. As a healthcare provider, you should take advantage of this format and post content that doesn’t translate well in text, like instructional videos for first aid and lifesaving procedures like CPR, Heimlich maneuver, etc.
Healthcare providers already have a lot on their plate given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon your other, equally important duties. You need to continue to fight against rampant misinformation which could lead to more unnecessary hospital visits and deaths. Use technology to facilitate better science and health communication and form a more fruitful and trusting relationship with your patients and the general public.
Article Submitted By Community Writer