What is search-engine optimization (or SEO)? When you Google the definition of SEO there are a wide range of definitions. One of the more concise definitions that we found comes from Kristopher Jones’s book entitled “Search Engine Optimization: Your Visual Blueprint for Effective Internet Marketing.” And it reads like this: “Search-engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of setting up your Web site so that it ranks well for particular keywords within the organic search results of major search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing.” Another online definition of SEO says that it is “a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine” (Webopedia). Anyway, you get the idea, right? SEO is essentially a marketing discipline that focuses on growing the visibility of your website in organic (aka non-paid) search engine results. SEO involves both the creative and technical elements required to drive traffic, improve rankings, and increase attention in search engines. There are soooo many aspects of SEO and (as we stated above) WHOLE BOOKS written on the subject. However, in the coming months, we’re going to do our best to extract the most relevant aspects of SEO and explain how they can be applied to your medical practice. Again, there are many factors that influence SEO such as: the words and content on each of your website pages, whether fresh content is regularly produced, the way other websites are linked to yours on the internet, etc. SEO can sometimes simply be a matter of making sure your website is structured in a manner that search engines understand.
But here’s the thing: SEO isn’t only about building a website that is search engine friendly (although that’s important). It’s also about making your medical website better for your patients as well. In fact, the two go hand in hand. When visitors type a query into a search engine box and land on YOUR website you have to ask yourself, will they be satisfied with what they find? This is the principal question that search engines try to answer billions and billions of times every day. Because remember, the search engine’s principal job and responsibility is to serve relevant results to online searchers. So ask yourself, who are your target patients? Which procedures do you want to target? What are these patients looking for on your website and make SURE your site delivers that information to them.
The reality is that SEO is a constant challenge for various reasons. The search engine landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and that in itself is a challenge. In addition, SEO is a continuing challenge because there are over 200 ranking factors used by Google (the proverbial “King” of search engines). Plus, gaining popularity and getting higher rankings in the search engines takes TIME. I’ll repeat that again because it’s important: SEO results do not happen overnight. We’ll talk more about that in the future, but generally, it can take anywhere from 4 to 8 months to see results. And once you start seeing those results, they compound and continue to grow over time (assuming you are consistent in your SEO efforts). Therefore, it only makes sense that the ideal time to plan, build, and implement your SEO strategy is from the start of your medical website design project.
Whether you have a brand spanking new healthcare website or have a site that needs an update, here are a few important SEO considerations to think about: