Improving the performance of your physician pages means applying both paid media and organic tactics that will increase traffic and conversions. Recently my colleague J.D. Blue blogged about ways to maximize paid media for physician pages. Now let’s talk about the organic tactics, such as optimizing content on your physician pages and putting your physician directory to work for you. Here is the advice I give to our healthcare clients who want to compliment paid media with effective organic tactics:
1. Know what you want to measure
Create a benchmark for success by defining metrics that matter the most to you, such as increases in traffic to your physician page or an uptick in appointments made. According to my colleague Phil Rapisardo, the two most important ways to measure physician-page performance are traffic and conversions. I won’t belabor the points he made so well already. I recommend you check out his post to help you define the right metrics.
2. Get your house in order
Set yourself up for success by making sure you provide a great user experience on your physician pages. The last thing you want to do is drive more traffic to your physician page only to have your visitors encounter slow-loading content and hard-to-find click-to-call buttons. Make sure you prepare yourself for the planned traffic increase by reviewing the user experience of your physician page and correcting any flaws you find (and you will find some).
3. Mind your data
Location and physician data, such as your name, address, phone number, and GPS coordinates, are essential to your physician pages being found. The key is to ensure that your data possesses accuracy and reach. You might be surprised at how inaccurate basic data is on many physician pages. Too often, office hours and addresses are listed either incorrectly or inconsistently. Why? Because physicians typically keep multiple locations and hours, and their provider network fails to list them.
Making data accurate also means including correct forms of structured data that search engines are looking for when people look for care. Publishing accurate metadata means collaborating with site developers to get the tagging and mark-up language correct.
To make your physician pages findable, you also need to share that data with the publishers and aggregators such as Apple, Bing, and Google that make your physician information findable via searches. Web crawlers won’t index your physician pages in their databases unless you make it easy for them to do so. You’ll need to format your data for each publisher and aggregator to be found.
We have written extensively about publishing accurate physician data, including the white paper, The Healthcare Marketer’s Guide to Location Data Management. For more insights, check out our white paper.
4. Optimize keywords and on-page content
Optimizing keywords and content is the step most marketers associate with search engine optimization, but as you can see, this is not the only step. Optimizing keywords means, among other things, researching the terms your patients are using and the terms your competitors use to be found. A tool such as Google AdWords can be useful here. If you use AdWords for paid search, you can use the tool for organic keyword research, too.
Optimizing deep content, though, is a more extensive process than optimizing keywords. Ensure that deep-level content aligns with the information that patients typically seek to learn more about your practice, such as your history, mission statement, and how-to information that explains your area of specialty and thus creates more credibility for your practice.
Moreover, I cannot stress enough how important it is to rely on visual content such as video and images to tell your story. At a time when people upload 1.8 billion images a day, businesses need to be visual to be relevant to searches. This truism applies especially to physicians. Progressive caregivers are relying on video and images to share their personal stories and to provide high-level healthcare tips. Doing so aligns deep content with the way people are increasingly looking for information – and also humanizes your brand. This post from my colleague Brian Westrick provides more detail. Although Brian writes to orthopedic providers, his points apply to all physicians.
5. Put your physician directory to work
As important as it is to improve the findability for your physician page, it’s equally important to give your pages a boost in traffic through your physician directory. As we have discussed in our thought leadership, one of the main reasons patients visit provider websites is to use their find-a-doctor directories. Your directory can be a powerful tool to make your physicians more discoverable via organic search. Make sure that your physician directory links to your physician pages. Test the search functionality of your directory. Ensure that you can filter searches with important variables such as insurance accepted by your physicians. We have more to say about the value of physician pages in our white paper, The Healthcare Marketer’s Guide to Building a Physician Directory.
6. Optimize for voice
The rise of voice search is one of the most compelling trends affecting how people find what they need. People use their voices to do more complex, lengthy queries. For example, with voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, people can go beyond a simple “Find an orthopedic specialist near me” and more easily do a rich query such as “Find orthopedic providers on the north side of Chicago who specialize in wrist treatment.” One of the ways you can optimize your content for voice queries is to describe your physician services as an answer to a question, for instance by posting FAQs that literally respond to the queries your patients are asking.
Voice search is a rapidly evolving phenomenon. According to Google, 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches. As consumers become more comfortable with voice, and as voice assistants get more intelligent, voice is going to define the future of your physician page experience.
7. Optimize for mobile
It’s critical that you design for a mobile-first experience. Why? Because Google continues to reward sites that are created with mobile-first searches in mind. Optimizing content for mobile means a number of things, such as making the most important actions like patient scheduling easy-to-find on mobile devices, and ensuring that your content loads quickly on mobile devices. Slow-loading content on phones is a big reason why mobile searches fail. I suggest you test the speed of your load times in areas where connectivity is weakest – the worst-case scenario, if you will. Doing so will ensure that you are testing load speeds in real-life conditions.
These are just some of the organic tactics for improving the performance of your physician pages, but if you master these tactics, you’ll be well on your way to improving traffic and conversions. Finally, to succeed, you’ll need to apply these suggestions on an ongoing basis. For instance, you’ll need to review your page data at least once a month to ensure it is accurate and up to date as your business changes to reflect the coming and going of physicians.
What I’ve suggested is just a start. Implementation is an ongoing process. Contact us to learn more about how to make your physician pages a magnet for attracting high-value patients.