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SEO and Online Marketing for Medical Practices – Part II

Let’s take a look at Part II – some of the basic steps you need to take in order to leverage the power of SEO and Online Marketing as part of your overall strategy to increase your patient flow.

4. Content is Key—Keywords that is….

Here is another opportunity to use that list of keywords. The content on your site may be a great resource for prospective patients, however, if your website is low on search engine results, your web traffic will suffer—which means less new patients for you, and more for your competition. In addition to updating your meta-tags and submitting your website to search engines, you’ll need to reinvent your content focusing on carefully using those keywords as much as possible. Keyword density is a combination of the number of times a keyword or a keyword phrase, in proportion with other words, appears on a web page. The more times the keyword appears in relation to the total number of on page words, the greater the overall keyword density. Always remember that you are writing content for humans to read and not for the search engine robots. If patients find your website to be useful and readable, they will stay on your page for a longer time to learn more about you and your practice. Search engines will also find them useful, index them in their database, and rank your website above others.

5. Local Business Search

A lot of medical practices rely on local search results to direct patients to their website, but aren’t aware that they have control over these results.  Let’s face it, most patients are looking for a doctor that is close to their home or office and search for medical facilities in a certain geographic location.  That is why claiming your business on all the local business and social search sites is so incredibly important and absolutely must be included in your online strategy.  Some of the sites I manage for my clients include Google Places which is tied into Google Maps, and social search tools like InsiderPages and Yelp. By claiming and managing your business on these sites, you are enabling patients to find your updated and complete office information, you are given the ability to communicate with patients, add photos of the office, link to your website, get insights to make decisions, read patient reviews, post coupons & live updates for free and view a performance dashboard to see how your site is doing. These free tools can result in measurable success if they are actively managed.

6. Social Media

I could write a completely separate blog on this topic because the possibilities of using Social Media as part of your Online Marketing strategy are endless.  If you aren’t using Social Media for your medical practice, now is the time.  And if the idea scares you, by all means, start small.  Some of my clients are using just Facebook to connect with their patients, and as they get their feet wet, it is a comfortable starting point to drive a significant amount of relevant traffic to their website.  However, if you want to take your online presence to the next level, you may consider starting a blog using a site like WordPress and write about medical procedures or new products and services that you’ve introduced to your practice.  Once you get the ball rolling, consider joining Twitter and post updates from your medical blog to Twitter and Facebook so you are reaching even more potential patients.  Blogging isn’t for you?  Try joining LinkedIn to make connections with colleagues in your specialty and start a group posting discussions about patient care, referrals, medical marketing, etc…focus on practice referrals from colleagues.  As I mentioned, the possibilities are endless.

7. Track Your Progress

So now that you’ve learned about the importance of SEO, local search tools and social media, you are well on your way to understanding how to increase your web traffic and ultimately gain new patients from a thoughtful and useful web presence.  Understanding is half the battle.  Tracking your progress is another. There are many free tools out there, but my favorite is Google Analytics. Make sure to implement (or request access from your web admin) and review website analytics. Don’t forget to note dates of when your efforts take place to understand increases in web traffic and referrals.  You won’t know if all your hard work has paid off if you don’t have tracking mechanisms in place to begin with, and you may be surprised when you see those numbers increasing steadily due to your new and improved focus on your online marketing efforts.

Now you can use this knowledge to implement the programs that are within your reach or take what you’ve learned to help choose the right medical marketing company to implement your goals. Whatever path you choose, implementing a strategy that executes a progression of online marketing efforts brings you closer to your overall practice goal – getting more patients to walk through your door.

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About Wendy Hamel

As co-founder of Med-Marketers, and serving as Director of Client Programs, Wendy is directly responsible for guiding creative strategy and overseeing client services for the company. Wendy has over 10 years of marketing and management experience serving technology, healthcare and retail. Wendy’s background includes consulting and strategic marketing for orthodontists, plastic surgeons, pediatricians and primary care physicians in the Greater Boston area.

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