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Common Medical SEO Mistakes

Professional medical SEO experts like me can identify not only the best practices to improve ROI, but also the common mistakes to avoid. Other consultants make these errors when the provide services to their clients so I want to inform you of what to avoid. The first clue something is wrong is a lack of increased website traffic or patient appointments. Your existing SEO team may be suffering from the erroneous belief that these methods work, when they can really waste time, money, or even make your website less attractive to search engines.

Search engine optimization may seem like a task anyone can tackle successfully, but that idea is rather naïve and stems from a misunderstanding of how complex the entire process is. SEO techniques constantly build on each other, grow, and change so that what may have worked last year may actually be a detriment this year. Google and other search engines update their ranking algorithms frequently and marketers must keep up to stay relevant. Someone calling themselves a medical SEO expert needs to understand not only these dynamic optimization methods but also the medical industry. Successful SEO strategy has many facets and just as many opportunities to make mistakes. Not knowing anything about the industry is the focus of the information below.

The most damaging error in medical or any industry search engine optimization is choosing the wrong keywords to focus on. Keywords and phrases are those things that people type into the search engines to find what they are looking for. A person looking for a doctor may use the location, the word doctor or physician, and any specialty they particularly need. A good keyword phrase may be “New York general practitioner” or “New York family doctor,” but you cannot assume they are the right ones to target. These two keywords require two different optimization strategies if you want your website to rank high for both of them. However, the best SEO methods will do nothing if you choose keyword phrases that no one uses to search for a doctor of medical business like yours.

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Keyword phrases with multiple words in them are also called long-tail keywords. These target online audiences more effectively, as virtually no one would just search for “doctor” or “medical office.” A long-tail keyword phrase would have three to five or even more terms in it. The vast majority of searches done for medical practices include the location such as city, region, or zip code, and the specialty, such as pediatrician, dentist, or cardiologist. This means that the keyword phrases used for individual medical offices will vary greatly.

Consider this example. It would take a huge amount of time, energy, and money to rank for “New York doctor.” Why? Competition. A huge number of other doctors in New York probably want to rank for this keyword phase as well. Some of them may be brand new and fail to get any results with this term. Others have had a practice ongoing since before the dawn of the internet age and have been continuously optimizing their online presence for this keyword virtually forever. A new medical office trying to compete with that is like a kid running on an elementary school playground trying to win against an Olympic sprinter.

Targeting more precise and specific long-tail keyword phrases is the key to grabbing your piece of the internet public’s eye. Use neighborhood names, zip codes, or counties instead of just New York. Use whatever branch of medicine you specialize in instead of simply doctor. The people who go to search engines and make these more unique searches will find your website and have a much higher chance of becoming new patients.

The most specific location and specialty keyword may not always be the best choice. It is possible to become too specific and therefore not attract a large enough amount of organic traffic. For example, if you offer medical prosthetics in a smaller town like Moraga, California, using the phrase “Moraga medical prosthetics” may not work. The competition might be very low, but the number of searches for that keyword done monthly might also be small. You may get on the top of the search engine results pages, but there will be no one there to see it. An experienced SEO expert knows how to weigh keyword popularity against competition and come up with the right combinations to get your website in front of the most interested people possible.

In conclusion, choosing the wrong keywords to target for medical SEO results in less chance of gaining new patients. This is because of increased competition for certain keywords where medical offices are more common and because of fewer searches being made for more specific keywords in areas where medical offices are scarce.

The experienced SEO professionals here at Solution21 understand the unique challenges faced by medical professional in different regions and specialties. Our keyword discovery and analyzation process focuses on a perfect balance between high search volume and low competition that will help you rank better on search engines and attract a more targeted audience to your website. Call or email us right away to receive a free consultation and get answers to your SEO questions.

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