We all know that when it comes to websites, search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial. The healthcare industry is no different. When searching for a healthcare provider, or even for healthcare advice, patients typically turn to Google to find the closest and best option. Your practice’s website appearing at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) means that patients are more likely to visit your site, read through your content, and maybe even book an appointment.
However, for obvious reasons, Google has some unique and rather serious rules when it comes to medical SEO. They can be tricky to understand, but once you do, your website’s ranking will likely improve. Below, we broke down five important SEO fundamentals to understand – and implement – in order to drive more traffic to your site.
1. Use Medically-Correct Terminology
When optimizing your website for medical SEO, the first thing you should do is consider the terms that people will use to find medical professionals and/or advice. Using medically-correct terminology in each piece of content you produce is vital in order for your business to show up on the first (or first few) pages of the SERP.
Conduct keyword research to determine which high-quality keywords to target in your content. There are a variety of cost-effective tools (Semrush, GetKeywords, Moz Keyword Explorer, etc.) out there to help you do this. And remember, its best practice to avoid “stuffing” keywords into your content just for the sake of using them. You’re far better off placing specific, long-tail keywords into your content in a readable, relevant, and natural way.
2. Understand the EAT System
EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and it’s one of the most significant factors for how Google determines overall page quality rating. The main content that is produced and posted to your website must show that you’re an expert in the field; that you are an authority or the authoritativeness of the content; and that you can be trusted and users feel safe while using your website.
The EAT system is extremely important for medical websites. To achieve a higher EAT score, be sure that your content is created by individuals who harbor expert medical knowledge. Additionally, be sure that your content is frequently updated and reviewed by other medical experts.
3. Understand YMYL
One of the most important rules for medical SEO is what Google calls YMYL which stands for “your money or your life.” YMYL refers to web pages and content that could negatively impact the quality of people’s lives and/or their finances. Or, as Google describes in its Search Quality Raters Guidelines, “pages or topics that could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
All of this means that Google holds medical websites to a very high standard. Low quality web pages and content can be dangerous as well as present serious medical repercussions. Additionally, if YMYL standards are not met, it will be difficult for your website to rank in the search results. The best way to improve your YMYL SEO is to create content that’s medically correct and engaging.
4. Optimize for Speed, Security, and Mobile
For every website, not just healthcare, optimizing for speed, security, and mobile-friendliness will enable it rank higher on the SERP. Ideally, your website should take around two seconds to load, but it’s better to aim for under half a second. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check your site’s current speed.
Site security is another important factor in SEO. Healthcare sites should utilize a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to help encrypt the site and protect patients’ sensitive information. If your site doesn’t utilize SSL security, Google will penalize you.
And lastly, your site should be mobile friendly. The vast majority of searches happen via a mobile device so if your site is not optimized for that, users will quickly jump to your competition. The best way to make sure your site is mobile friendly is through responsive design – meaning your site automatically fits to the screen its being viewed on.
5. Optimize Your Google Business Profile
It’s vital to keep your Google Business Profile page as up to date as possible. When it comes to SEO, there are a few contributing factors beyond just your website. According to Google, the Business Profile is “an easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information.”
Completing your profile puts you in Google’s local pack – a group of 4-5 business listings that appeal above the organic search results on the SERP. The logic behind is that Google thinks that local results are more valuable than generic results for a specific search term or terms.
When completing your profile, be sure that the following information is available and up to date:
- Primary phone number
- Business description
- Business categories
- Hours of operation as well as seasonal hours
- Address and service area
- Google reviews of your business
Whether your company operates in the healthcare industry or not (seriously, we have clients in almost every industry), Americaneagle.com is your trusted web design, digital marketing, and SEO partner. We have a team of dedicated professionals ready to craft a strategy that helps your business achieve online success. Contact us today to get started. Or, click here to view a list of our other digital marketing services.