Monday, September 20, 2010

5 steps to get patients to your website

You want to get more patients so you put up a website. Great start, but just having a website is not enough. Your website must also be visible to search engines so that people searching for your services can find you.

Making your website visible to search engines is done through a process called "search engine optimization" or SEO. You can hire experts to do it for you, but you can also achieve some results yourself. Keep in mind though that SEO is not an exact science, is constantly evolving and requires extensive monitoring and maintenance. It also takes time: Time to do the work and time for the work to take effect.

If you'd like to drive traffic to your health care website, we've provided 5 basic SEO steps below.
  1. Identify a specific niche or service you want to promote. Make it as narrow as possible because it is nearly impossible to optimize your website for everything you do. The more specific your focus, the more relevant search engines will see your website.
  2. Add relevant content and use targeted keywords. Using information from step 1, fill your website with information about your niche or service. Determine what keywords people will use to find your services and incorporate those terms in your content pages. Elaborate on your service, how it is performed, how you perform it better than others, etc. To build trust, this is a good place to incorporate testimonials or link to your reviews.
  3. Use meta data. Meta keywords, descriptions, titles and H1 tags all help search engines (like Google and Yahoo!) understand what your website is about. Make sure every page has unique meta data using the same information from step 1 and 2.
  4. Incorporate social media and a blog. Your social media circles are having a growing effect on search results, particularly with Google. Your social media connections can move you up in search results and can drive traffic to your site. Social media profiles also create valuable links (see #5) and help you build trust and relationships with potential patients. Most patients choose health care providers because they know, trust or feel comfortable with them and having a presence on social media is a great way to do that if you do it right. (Take a look at our previous post about how to engage patients using Facebook.) Using a blog is a great way to build links to your site as well as add valuable content that your future patients are looking for.
  5. Attract links to your website. Each link to your website helps search engines understand how valuable and relevant your site is. Therefore, you want as many websites linking to your site as possible (caution: do not use link farms or link exchanges because this can actually hurt you.) A few ways you can do this is by publishing content on your blog, issuing news releases and engaging in social media.
Again, these are just basic steps but they will make a big difference. It will take time, effort, monitoring and tweaking to achieve results. If you don't have a website or need a turn-key solution, you could try our Internet Marketing profile packages. They're already optimized and ready to go.

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