2017 is looking to be a great year for SEO. As healthcare providers looking to reach out to more consumers and make further strides into profitability, you need to have a winning SEO strategy in place. What are the things you need to do to spruce up your medical search engine optimization, especially as 2017 brings new challenges?
The most important thing your practice needs to remember is that there are no shortcuts. It’s a slow and steady process, to rank favorably in Google’s search listings and beat the fierce competition.
Contrary to many people’s expectations, you can’t do the least work or make some quick arrangements to suddenly be up there.
Once you’ve understood this, the pieces fall in place. So here’s what to focus on as you prepare for 2017.
Making Google Trust You
It’s a gradual process simply because Google needs to trust you first. Only then will you be able to rank in the first page of its SERPs. You need to earn Google’s trust, and that’s a process in itself. On top of that you have Google’s SERP experimentation to contend with.
Trust must be built in terms of:
- Indexed age – When Google initially discovered your webpage or domain
- Healthy link profile – Quality links to your site from reputable sites, and
- The quality, resourcefulness and relevance of your underlying content
These factors are important even from the point of view of patients visiting your site for help. The content needs to give them what they’re looking for. These aspects of trust need to be addressed first.
Check if your back links are from quality sources having quality content. Perform link cleanup when required.
Get the content of your site rich in information. Make it original, relevant and new each time. The trend is developing now to have as much quality information as possible in long, 2000-word content or in shorter data-packed pieces. This reflects in the search results.
Schema Markup to Communicate with Google
Make sure you use schema markup. It helps Google and other search engines to know what your site is about. This is especially important now since Google wishes to put up rich snippets so users can find the stuff they’re looking for more easily. Google’s use of Quick Answers has also risen from around 22% by the end of 2014 to more than 40% as 2016 began. Schema helps to make your text really appealing for snippet boxes, by clearly expressing what your site content is about.
RankBrain and artificial intelligence are prominent factors with regard to SEO in 2017. This machine learning is Google’s third most important ranking factor and therefore healthcare businesses must make sure that their websites are easy for a machine to interpret and Schema can help with that. It will keep your site prepared for the future because artificial intelligence (AI) is very likely to grow in the future.
Get the Fuller Picture of Search
As important as building up Google trust is getting the fuller picture of the search trends that would shape SEO in 2017. That will help you do the right things to attain SEO efficiency. Experts have pointed out the following dominant trends:
- Instant Answers: Instant answers are rising, whereby Google answers many of the queries by themselves. That means people wanting to get information about something can be happy with the quick answer Google provides on the search results and close the search, without clicking any of the search results. Now this could lead to traffic going away from you.
- User Intent in the Search Process: The greater importance of user intent in targeting content – this trend began with the Hummingbird and continues with RankBrain. Searcher intent is now more important for targeting content than keywords. Not that keywords aren’t part of the equation. Rather, variations in keyword structure can significantly alter search performance. Understanding the intent behind the searcher typing the search term or search phrase is important. Content creation should be based on that.
- Site Speed and User Experience across Various Devices: User experience and speed should be consistent across multiple devices. While it’s always been said that websites must load faster on mobile, tablet and desktop, the user experience also needs to be pleasant and flawless. Google has been known to act against pop-ups and overlays. Sites providing better user experience and generating better engagement have better search results performance.
- Rising Importance of Voice Search: The rise of voice search must be noted too. It isn’t a major trend yet, but it surely is getting there. Voice search could begin to impact results in the near future and so you need to think of the kinds of content that could capitalize on voice searches.
With all this information in tow, you need to go about making changes wherever needed for your healthcare website and online marketing efforts to bear fruit this year.
Realizing What Your Goals Are
Ensure that you have analyzed and mapped your organization’s goals for the year. Then, in the light of the aforementioned observations, analyze how your SEO efforts could help you meet those goals.
- Are you looking to attract new customers to grow your revenue?
- Are you looking to increase the number of existing customers coming in?
- Are you primarily concerned about lowering your costs?
Bringing more traffic and ranking for more keywords are more direct goals, but you need to get the bigger picture of what your practice is looking to attain and line up your SEO practices accordingly.
Improving and Measuring Your SEO Performance
It’s sensible to build a map that links keywords to content. Study your goals and bring out a list of keyword phrases and terms, and then analyze how they rank. Then you can take the steps required to improve rankings for these specific keywords. You can also figure out which keywords are most important for you and prioritize your SEO efforts accordingly.
Finally, you need to conceive a system to report and measure the progress of your SEO efforts for those respective search terms. This is something you and your entire SEO team must be able to study to understand how much progress has been made.
All the metrics such as search volume, conversions, and customer retention need to be included to measure your performance.
Strengthen Your Content Team
Heading into 2017, content still is king. Google wants to provide the most relevant content for users. For that, the content in your web pages and externally submitted blogs and articles must provide readers with the answers they are looking for. Epic content and dense content have become effective, and all leading search engines including Google give more importance to websites that feature quality content with reliable back links.
Thoughtful videos help too. Present your video in such a way that all popular search engines can locate it. It is important to include a link to your website on the video, or in its description. The best option is to create your own YouTube channel where you can regularly post your video content. Make sure that the name of the channel is relatable and easily findable. You can share your video URLs on various social media platforms to direct traffic to your video content.
That is what will help you climb up the Google rankings while making your content worth sharing in the social networks. Having a great SEO writer does make the difference, especially since the high value content should include keywords but not be overstuffed with them.
Consider Mobile Optimization
With more people preferring to browse the web from their phones, and to befriend Google’s “mobile first” version indexer, it is important to optimize your website for mobile devices. This is best achieved with the support of mobile SEO services. It is estimated that mobile search has increased by around 43% this year and people use their smartphones and tablets to search for local business information and reviews. Almost eighty percent of customers shop online using their mobile applications. In this scenario, healthcare businesses must think of developing their own app for iOS and Android phones.
Focus on Local SEO
Local search results are becoming more important. Local SEO has become a powerful determining factor as regards the sales and marketing of a local business. You need to pursue a good local strategy and be optimized for geo-targeted searches. Then, each time someone searches for a local healthcare service/business in your locality, your organization’s name will show up with all details such as location and contact information. Make use of business directories such as Yelp, Superpages, Qype, and TouchLocal for effective promotion of your services to targeted local consumers.
Adopt AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages
Google gives importance to accelerated mobile pages and this favoritism is expected to increase in the coming years. Designed as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices, AMP keep users engaged with Google search on mobile devices. Google has started showing AMP results in their image search results. 2017 will very likely see Google making it easier for people viewing AMP content in its search results to find and share URLs that lead directly back to publishers, rather than Google itself.
Google is forever alert and responsive to the needs of internet users and keeps tweaking its algorithms in accordance with changing trends and requirements. Ever since the concept of digital marketing came into being, SEO trends have been in a constant state of flux and will continue to be so. The above mentioned points should arm you with all the information you need to spruce up your healthcare SEO and make your clinic, healthcare practice or organization a respected one in 2017.