Are You There Yet?
Did you know it is estimated that 80% of consumers today research health information online? With the wealth of information out there, how do you drive patients to your Website? And once they are there, how do you get them to make an appointment?
The patient perspective
Internet users conduct nearly five billion searches every month on major search sites. And while you may not think patients are searching for you, the statistics tell a different story.
Savvy, educated patients are more prone to search for health information on the Web. And the more involved the procedure, the more likely a patient is to research it. In marketing, we call this a high-involvement decision. If the risk or cost of a product or service is high, patients are more likely to do secondary research.
Optimising your site
There are several keys to a successful healthcare Website. However, take care in creating your site. You don’t want to overload the patient or make it difficult for them to find what they are looking for.
Keeping it simple is your best bet in several ways.
I recommend you have the following information visible on every page:
- the location of the practice with optional Google Map
- phone number (should be displayed at the top of the page)
- either your Online Booking Button or an Appointment request
- office hours
Then pages that contain information about your practice’s services and so on. I also suggest you have a strong headline that speaks to the unique benefits your practice offers.
But be careful with the amount of information you include and the way in which you present it.
Never, ever use “Flash” technology on your site, which appears as splash pages or some sort of animation. It is completely incompatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Most Web designers are simply artists. A lot of ‘cool’ features will actually impede your ability to be found in an organic search. What’s more, those flashy bells and whistles can slow down the loading time for your Website. People are incredibly impatient on the Internet. You’ve got literally one or two seconds to grab their attention.
Search engine visibility
Most searchers never get beyond the top ten search results. In fact, many never get past the first one or two listings. But how do you get your site in the top rankings?
Search engine optimisation (SEO).
There are no tricks to boost your Web site’s organic (free) ranking. It takes hard work and most importantly, good content. If you have an SEO company promise that they can get your website ranking highly without creating optimised content, walk away, they are likely using “black hat” tricks that WILL get your site blacklisted by Google eventually.
These are some basic elements that should be optimised:
- Keywords are important. Earlier we mentioned that patients are more likely to search for more expensive procedures. So, if your practice offers premium treatments, be sure to list them as keywords. Remember to think like a patient and use terms he or she would use. Also, use synonyms of your keywords, and don’t “stuff” your content with the keywords. Also remember that not everyone will just search for “chiropractor” or “physiotherapist”. Often the search term will be something like “chiropractor to help with back pain”. So use that in your content. For example, on your “Back Pain” page you might use an opening heading that says “Are you looking for a chiropractor to help with back pain?” An exact match!
- Title tags. These are words or phrases at the top of each page that describe that page’s content. Most search engines value these highly. Be sure your Web designer incorporates them, along with meta tags.
- Search engines are drawn to sites that have a lot of written text and content that increases regularly. So updating your content regularly is the #1 key to helping you get a better ranking. Also, be careful that your practice name is written out and not just included as a logo image. These are mostly invisible to search engines.
- Some search engines value sites that include numerous links to relevant sites. However, they must be relevant to your content. Links to your site from other “authority” websites are also highly valued by Google because they position you as a respected authority.