The success of your pediatric practice depends on having patients. However, you’ve got some steep competition on that front. There are currently more than 10,000 practicing pediatricians in the United States, with more entering the profession every day. The takeaway? Attracting new patients is a critical imperative for bottom line-minded pediatric practices.
While doctors have always needed marketing to connect with patients, marketing today is very different than it was 50, 25, or even 10 years ago. While traditional marketing strategies still have benefits, they’re not enough on their own. You also need a comprehensive digital marketing plan to reach your potential patients where they live: on the internet.
One of the best ways to do this is with a high Google ranking. Which begs the question: What are some things you can do to boost your pediatric website’s positioning in Google rankings, and why does it matter so much?
Understanding how search engines work and the strategies to implement medical SEO are vital to boosting your rank in search results and bringing more patients to your pediatric practice. Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know about Google ranking and your pediatric website — from medical SEO to responsive webpage design.
What Is Google Ranking?
More than 70,000 Google searches are conducted every second of every day. That amounts to approximately 227 million Google searches every hour and 5.4 billion Google searches per day.
People use this massive search engine to find information about any topic under the sun, including healthcare information. In fact, one survey determined that 80 percent of adults in the United States used the internet to make healthcare-related searches within the previous year.
More specifically, they probably used Google to conduct that search, considering this top search engine lays claim to 90 percent of total global searches.
Furthermore, 63 percent of people say they’ll choose the doctor with the strongest online presence when deciding between practitioners.
Why Ranking in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) Matters for Your Pediatric Practice
We’ve established that patients are searching for healthcare providers online, and that Google is the primary place they’re searching. However, it’s not enough to merely have a presence on Google; you must also have a high Google ranking.
Ranking in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) refers to the order search engines display search results to internet users. This order is anything but arbitrary. Rather, it is part of Google’s and other search engines’ rigorous commitment to delivering value to its users. After collecting extensive amounts of information from the internet’s bounty of pages, Google sorts this data into a database and then uses a complex algorithm to determine which pages are most likely to most accurately fulfill a particular query.
For example, if an internet user is searching for “pediatricians near me,” they will get no value from the webpages of a pediatrician practice that is hundreds of miles away. However, they will get tremendous value from a highly regarded pediatric practice that is in their area. If you can design your pediatric website in a way that pleases search engines’ algorithms, you can land a top SERP spot.
And this matters. A lot. More than a quarter of people click the top Google search result, and click-through rates drop dramatically after that. If you want to drive the most traffic to your website and increase your conversions, a high Google rank can be a game-changer.
9 Tips to Boost your Pediatric Website’s Google Ranking
The good news? While the Google algorithm is obtuse to a degree, we do know a lot about how to appeal to it. Read on for a roundup of some things the best pediatric websites are doing to improve their rankings, from using medical SEO to outsourcing digital marketing to an agency specializing in healthcare marketing.
Focus on the user experience
While Google may not disclose its exact algorithm, data increasingly points to the user experience as the search engine’s top priority. It determines this using several factors, including visits to your site, time on your site, pages visited per session, and bounce rates. All of these directly reflect the user experience. The long and short of it? If your website is user-friendly and relevant, you’ll get visitors who stay longer and visit more pages. Google rewards these behaviors with a higher search rank.
Optimize your content for medical SEO
Search engines rely on SEO to determine which websites are most likely to provide the most relevant response to user queries. As such, the Google algorithm favors keyword-rich, mobile-optimized, and high-quality content designed to address the specific needs of your target audience.
Build high-quality backlinks
Internet users trust Google above all other search engines, and the company is eager to maintain this trust. One of the ways it does this is by using incoming links to your website content as an indicator of your pediatric website’s authority and credibility. Backlinks are like popularity votes: the more backlinks you have from high-authority websites, the better you’ll perform in the search rankings and the more users you’ll drive to your site.
Avoid broken links
On the flip side, links can do more harm than good if they hurt your user experience and compromise your brand trust. A broken link is a hyperlink to a web page that cannot be found or no longer exists. These include 404 Page Not Found, 400 Bad Request and Timeout, among other error responses. No one likes getting a 404 error — including the Google bots crawling your website.
Trim page load times
Today’s consumers are all about instant gratification. They do not have the time or patience to wait for a slow page to load. A fast-loading site is a win-win. Not only does page speed translate to a better user experience, but it will also boost your search rank.
Use header tags
By now you’ve likely noticed a common theme here: It’s all about the user. Use header tags to provide a structure and context and to break up text, making it easier for readers to scan or read it quickly. It is important because a scannable article is a readable article, and those readable articles are the ones most likely to rank well in search results.
Include images and videos
As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Video is worth even more. Including images and videos on your web pages has the potential to boost your Google rank. However, all images and videos aren’t created equal. Make it easy for Google to identify the value in your images and videos by optimizing them across everything from compression to alt text.
Embrace local search
As addressed earlier, local search terms are critical for local businesses, including pediatric practices. People often use the search term “near me” when entering a query. To aid in getting your practice centrally displayed on relevant searches, claim your Google My Business listing. Make sure your practice is included in local directories, and prioritize online reviews — both on third-party sites like Yelp and on your website.
Know when to ask for help
The primary focus of any pediatric practice is to provide quality care to your patients. What often falls down the list of priorities? Understanding the ins and outs of digital marketing. While the benefits of digital marketing are profound, you’ve got to know how to leverage its full power in order to reap the biggest benefits.
That’s where digital marketing firms come in. Specializing exclusively in SEO, local search, the user experience, and other SEO strategies for pediatricians, a digital marketing agency will implement and manage all of your digital marketing so you and your team are free to put your energy where it matters most: serving your patients.
In today’s increasingly digital world when consumers have more power than ever before, meeting potential patients where they are can be instrumental to garnering their business. By focusing on medical SEO and other strategies, you will improve the user experience for your patients while simultaneously positioning your pediatric website for a coveted top spot in Google rankings.