As a medical institution operating in an industry where many others do what you do, competition for new patients is fierce. These days, patients are finding hospitals and healthcare providers online. Just as you may search online for an esteemed local dentist, inexpensive gym membership, or highly recommended business hotel, your patients are searching online for specialized and trusted healthcare providers. So how do you turn up at the top of their search results? The answer is search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is the process of improving your online presence to increase your ranking in search results. It involves a lot of moving parts and is an ongoing process that is always changing. Take a moment and think of one service you offer that you would like to educate more prospective patients on. Do you have it? You can actually reach new patients interested in this service by setting up a special landing page on your website and optimizing it for search. Below are 6 steps to help you get started.
1. Identify the Keyword You Want to Target
Your first step to creating your specialized landing page is identifying the keyword you are going to target. SEO is all about keywords. After all, the keyword is what people are typing in to search engines; it’s how you get found! You should already have a service in mind. Is that going to be your target keyword?
You will want to conduct a little research to find out exactly what people are typing in to search results. If the word you thought of was “oncology”, compare it against other phrases like “cancer care”. See what your competitors are doing, send out a survey to current patients, and use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to see which term gets more searches each month. If you find that “cancer care” is more searched, but you prefer oncology, it’s okay to use both. Just use “oncology” in the navigation and then sprinkle “cancer care” throughout the content.
2. Set up the Specialized Landing Page in Your Sitemap
Once you have identified the keyword for your landing page, set up a page in your sitemap. Determine where it fits best and whether or not you want it to be hidden from search. If you are setting up the page for an AdWords campaign, you may want to exclude it from your sitemap and search. Otherwise, leave it visible.
Make sure you name it properly in the navigation. It is best to name it after the keyword you are targeting, but if that is not plausible, just make sure it is accurate and descriptive (see cancer care vs. oncology example above).
3. Add Relevant Meta Tags
Once your landing page has been created, you will need to fill out the Meta data to help it get found in search results. Meta data are HTML tags that communicate to a search engine what a page is about. The results you see in Google are pulled from the Meta data of a site.
Meta Page Title: Use 55 characters or less to give your special landing page a page title. This will show up in the tab at the top of your browser and as the link in search results. Don’t forget to include your keyword here!
Meta Page Description: Use 155 characters or less to describe what this landing page is about. This will show up below the Meta page title in search results. Again incorporate your keyword here!
Another HTML tag you will want to create is the H1 header tag. There should only be one H1 on your site and it should accurately title the page. If you chose oncology as your keyword, the H1 tag should be “Oncology”.
4. Develop and Format Your SEO-Friendly Content
Now that your page and Meta data are set up, you are ready to start adding content. Keep in mind that content is king. Search engines have become extremely good at understanding context and high quality content. Create content that is going to educate and assist the end user. This is where you will want to include your keyword 3-5 times.
And it isn’t just the content that is important; how you format it matters too! Your page should have at least 250 words and should include additional H2 and H3 header tags to separate sections. Include bulleted lists where possible and don’t forget to bold important phrases! Linking to other pages on your site is also a great practice to keep in mind.
5. Incorporate Optimized Images
Images are also an important part of formatting. Images help break up the content and add a visual aesthetic to the page. Gather images that support the content on the page. Ensure that they are high quality, yet web friendly. This means that the images are 72dpi in resolution and not too large. A large file size will slow down your page load time and will actually hurt your SEO! Once you have added the images, ensure that they have Alt tags. An alt tag is another HTML tag that defines the contents of an image for search engines as well as users with screen readers.
6. Include a Specific Call to Action
Your final step is to make sure that your page content has a solid call to action (CTA). This CTA will take the reader to the next step. After all, what was the point of all this work if you aren’t converting the user? Whether your CTA is to fill out a contact form, call the hospital, or send an email, you will want it to be easy to complete. Include actionable text and a link to your contact page at least once on the landing page.
If you need assistance with setting up a landing page for your healthcare website, contact Informatics.
View the rest of the healthcare digital marketing blogs from this month:
How to Make Social Media Work in the Medical Field
Medical Professionals: 5 Features of Your Next E-Blast
5 Keys to Maintaining a Successful Healthcare Blog