How your website can help you increase your new patient reach
Websites have always played an important role for small businesses, but in 2022 the need for a professionally designed, user friendly, informative website has never been more crucial.
As a result of the pandemic, screen time has increased exponentially and consumers are researching online prior to engaging in shopping behaviors more than ever before. Not only does a website allow for 24/7 visibility, it also empowers you as a practice owner or practice manager to visually explain what makes your practice stand out from the competition and what makes you the local expert. Your website is your best resource to express your mission statement, introduce your team, showcase your experience, and capture the attention of new patients. But, how do you even get these new patients to your website?
With 5.6 billion Google searches a day, increasing website visibility through organic search rankings is one of the most valuable ways to improve new patient reach. Consumers are generally more trusting of organic search results compared to paid ads as they believe organic results to be more relevant in the content to their search and that they are more trustworthy since they have somehow earned that position rather than paid for the position. So, how does your practice capture more of the impression share and control the share of voice for organic search terms in your market?
Map out your website structure with high quality content
When evaluating your website and identifying areas for improvement you should review your website structure both in terms of overall architecture and navigation structure.
Mobile responsive and AMP
In recent years, Google has given more weight to a mobile-first strategy, advocating for mobile-responsive websites that offer an optimal user experience for all users, regardless of device size. In the last couple of years, in addition to mobile responsive, AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is another web-design buzzword that Google has been putting more importance on. AMP offers a near instant page load time and with that type of speed these webpages are appealing to end users that are looking for instant gratification with their searches. Google has added AMP enhancements to Google Search Console to provide additional reporting for these webpages.
In total there has been an increased emphasis on usability and user experience. Given this, it is important to review your website menu structure, quick links, and breadcrumbs to ensure the content users are most interested in, your top viewed pages, are easy to get to and easy to navigate. Websites that don’t have usability issues with viewports, tap targets, font legibility, etc., offer a better user experience and often score higher for mobile experience ranking factors. If users cannot find what they’re looking for or the content loads too slowly, then they are more likely to bounce. A high bounce rate or low levels of user engagement can negatively impact SEO rankings.
High-quality custom content
End to end, Google aims to provide the best user experience from search to results to website match. Their goal is to match consumers' searches to websites that feature relevant content, load reliably (no 404 errors), offer a fast page speed, and are easy to navigate. High-quality, custom content is vital to a competitive SEO strategy. If your goal is to increase visibility through organic search, then content is key.
As Google's algorithms continue to evolve, when mapping out your content calendar and search engine strategy it is ideal to plan for regular content additions. This ensures your website isn’t stagnant but rather continuously evolving with fresh content. It is also beneficial to not only publish informative content outlining your services, but also contribute content that answers frequently asked questions or trending search topics—as long as it relates to your practice.
Take advantage of all search engine optimization opportunities
Utilizing all of Google’s SEO tools at your disposal is one of the best ways to set your website up for success on search engines. Although Google’s algorithm is ever-changing, there are many features that are consistently valued by crawlers to contribute to higher keyword rankings. Work with your website team to ensure that all title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, image alt tags, schema mark-ups, internal links, and sitemaps are optimized on your website.
Working with your website provider or marketing consultant that specializes in medical marketing can help you further identify opportunities for keywords to target that increase your new patient reach based on your specific goals, specialty services, and current placement or competition in your local market. It can be overwhelming to perform an SEO audit and detail out action items to fix any immediate issues and elaborate on an ongoing content strategy with onsite optimizations in place. Leverage the help of an experienced marketing partner to guide you through best practices and effective strategies with proven results.
Track everything, metrics matter to you and Google
Tracking user activity on your website offers invaluable insights into how consumers engage with your content. Analyzing data can help strengthen your website performance. Certain tools will identify time on site, conversion rates, bounce rates, pages per session, and more. Evaluating user activity by source can help identify if you’re spending your digital budget effectively based not just on the number of users on your website but if a given segment of users is scheduling appointments and generating ROI.
Website analytics should be valuable to you from a website management perspective, but there is additional importance because these same metrics could impact your SEO visibility and new patient reach. If users are not engaging with your website on search results pages and you have a low click through rate, you may not maintain top placement for a keyword you worked so hard to gain visibility for, or if your website is not user friendly and users exit the site quickly, that high bounce rate could negatively impact your SEO visibility. Take advantage of Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Ad Planner to forecast competition in your area, monitor your organic presence, and track how users are engaging with your content to reinforce your SEO and content strategies.
Put your marketing plan into action
You’ve established your goals, you’ve done the research, you’ve identified website design changes, and you’ve outlined content you want to expand on: what’s next? Put your marketing plan into action. Work with your internal team or with an experienced medical marketing partner like Roya.com to ensure you’re a leading competitor in your market and maximize every opportunity for new patient visibility.