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SEO for Medical Websites – Do’s and Don’ts

SEO for Medical Websites – Do’s and Don’ts

Medical SEO

As a full service digital marketing agency, we work with companies across many industries including car dealerships, law firms, and medical services. Each of these verticals presents a set of unique needs and opportunities in digital marketing. We strive to approach each new client with a fresh set of eyes. We don’t just follow a template and hope the same strategies work for ever client.

At Forthea, our blog provides us a platform to speak clearly about our experiences and best practices. Today, I want to take that platform to speak directly to the needs of Medical SEO. Put in more basic terms, I’ll discuss how to make a medical website more visible to prospective new patients by optimizing it to be read by Google and other search engines.

For many hospitals, clinics, and others in the medical field, their website is often an afterthought, but it is important for those in the medical field to ensure that they aren’t losing prospective patients simply because they’ve neglected their website. If you’re ready to take the next step by making your website a priority, we’re ready to help.

We know you can’t do everything at once, so here’s a quick list of Medical SEO do’s and don’ts to get your digital presence on the right track.

Medical Content

Do – Have lots of rich content that describes, in detail, procedures and relevant medical information that informs your patients. Increasingly, the SEO community is seeing more natural language questions being posed to search engines (this is coincides with the growth of personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Google Now). With this in mind, content should be structured to answer questions posed by your patients like “what is a root canal?” or “do I need a root canal?”

Don’t – Lease content from a medical content mill! If you’ve ever compared a handful of medical sites, you’ll quickly see repeating page titles, content, and pages. This is because many medical sites across the Web lease content from agencies that specialize in medical writing. While this may seem like an enticing offer, that content is duplicated across the internet and is doing more harm than good to your website. Google and other major search engines put a premium on original content and penalizes websites for what’s known as “duplicate content.” Even if implemented correctly (using canonical tags), having this shared content can only act as a net-neutral addition to your site. At worst, it can cause your site to be penalized, which will make it disappear from nearly all search queries. If you want content, be sure to make sure it is unique and useful to your patients.

Dealing with Multiple Locations

Do – Create a different page for each location. Be sure to use descriptive URLs so that you make it clear to Google (and users) that the page is a location. For example have medicalsite.com/office/houston. Having a landing page for each office, helps search engine to know where to send prospective users who search specifically for offices in their location. Additionally, you can direct traffic from PPC ad campaigns, social media profiles, or other communications to this page.

Don’t – Have duplicate content for each location page. It isn’t enough to simply have pages for each location, if you don’t take the time to describe what differentiates each office. This means writing page titles, meta descriptions, and on-page copy for each office. Do what you can to ensure that each page has unique content that describes its locations/physicians/landmarks.

Off-Page Local SEO

Do – Any time you are setting up local profiles on sites across the web (Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp!, etc.), it’s vital that you standardize your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP for short). It may not seem like a big deal, but your digital properties could get dinged by search engines if phone numbers differ from site to site. The same can be true for address abbreviations. If you’ve got your street listed as Westheimer Road on your website, do your best to ensure that it’s not listed as Rd. or Rd on listings.

Don’t – Decentralize account control. While physicians (or other office personnel) should definitely have access to any social media or local directory accounts dealing with their office, you should always have one account to manage them all. This master account can come in handy if you need to make simple, but blanket, changes across multiple properties. Tracking down log-in accounts can be among the biggest headaches you’ll face when working with Medical SEO, so take the proactive step and get all your accounts under one umbrella. You’ll thank me later.

If you’re looking for help getting your medical SEO in order, contact Forthea today. We understand that your focus is on helping patients, so let our focus be on helping your patients find you.

Nick Lindauer
Nick is the vice president, client services and operations at Forthea. He’s been working in internet marketing since 2002, when – ironically – he answered an ad in the newspaper. When he’s not at work, he’s off spending time with his family, working on his house, building furniture, cooking on his two Big Green Eggs & brewing hot sauce.


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