The following is a guest blog post by Yasmin Khan from Bonafide.
It’s a sad truth that many websites are simply not effective at being a resource for visitors, including most medical practice and healthcare service websites. The key element to a service-oriented business website is accessibility or ease of use.
Unfortunately, accessibility is the element most lacking in websites for healthcare organizations.
- The content is written at the graduate school level.
- There is too much jargon, unfamiliar acronyms, and unfamiliar words.
- Too much in-depth medical knowledge is required to understand what is presented on the website.
An example of writing above the audience is using the term nosocomial infection instead of the self-explanatory hospital-acquired infection.
Optimizing your website requires you to look at it from the intended user’s point of view and using proven techniques to increase the probability your website will be found. The entire goal of your website is to attract and convert leads into patients.
Below are three areas of optimization you can use to improve your medical practice’s website to be more patient-friendly.
Provide Relevant, Well-Written Content, and Attractively Presented Content
Does your present website look just like the brochure at your front desk? If so, you are not leveraging the power of your website. You have at your fingers a tool that can be designed to appeal to a wide variety of information needs that is easily navigated.
Every piece of content on your website should be targeted to your ideal patient profile. You must also have content that speaks to each segment of the patient journey, written in the patient’s language and at their level of education.
Your content should be written to no more than the 11th-grade level to be accessible to most of your visitors. Communicate urgency without scaring or pressuring the reader. Above all, do not patronize.
Create clear calls to action to guide people where you want them to go and provide something of value that encourages them to share their contact information to obtain it.
Practice Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You need to address two areas of SEO:
- On-page: refers to everything within the website
- Off-page: refers to SEO opportunities, not on your website
On-page SEO refers to the building and optimization of your website.
- Indexable content, including images, videos, and plug-ins
- Crawl-able link structures
- Search engine friendly URL structures
- Optimized pages, title tags, and meta-descriptions
Avoid duplicate content to avoid being penalized by Google and other search engines. Each page of your website should have unique content that adds value to the user while achieving a clear marketing goal for your practice.
Off-page SEO includes ways to attract attention to your website through link-building, sharing and promoting content, and optimizing for local and mobile search.
Building quality links is the first principle of successful SEO. The key is to build quality links, relevant links from authoritative websites, blogs, and other areas of the web back to your site. High-quality links are what Google uses to judge trust and confer higher search engine rankings.
Optimize for Localization
As a geographically based service, you need to optimize for local search. When patients search for a medical practice, they typically add the city name to the search:
Primary Care Physicians in Kansas City
Each of your location pages should be optimized with your city and other identifying information such as the name of the medical center your office is in.
If your website is not responsive, meaning it will display appropriately regardless of the device, you need to convert it. Mobile devices have blanketed the globe, and most are used to search for local businesses as well as serving as a primary device for online activity.
The mobile version of your site should have:
- Large, legible fonts
- A fast load speed
- Bullet lists and less text
- Simple navigation with few internal links
- Fewer images
Don’t lose opportunities because you cannot be found via smartphone or tablet.
A Quick Summary
Your website is your marketing engine. Take full advantage of online technology to develop a patient-friendly website that:
- Contains relevant, well-written content
- Is optimized for search engines
- Has high-quality sites linking to it
- Is optimized for local search and mobile devices.
Building a medical practice is a business, just like any other. Today’s patients expect to be able to find you online and engage with you when they are ready. Make sure you give them the information they need to put you at the top of their list.
About Yasmin Khan
Yasmin Khan is the marketing manager for Bonafide, a digital marketing agency in Houston, Texas. She loves writing, tweeting, and positive change. She’s all about the big picture and the greater good.