People turn to the web at the drop of a hat these days. If it’s a medical emergency, the first thing they do is search for nearby hospitals and clinics where their hailed or injured relatives can get proper and prompt treatment. Many worried relatives stop searching beyond the first two or three search results as all they want is to transfer someone near and dear to them to the responsible hands of the physicians. If you want to become visible and accessible to more than a few of these ailing individuals desperately seeking medical attention, you got to work on-page Healthcare SEO into your digital marketing strategy. Here are 10 actionable SEO hacks for you.
- Keywords in URLs and content
- Meta Titles and Descriptions
- H1 Tag Optimization
- Internal Linking to other pages
- External Linking to Quality Sites
- Image Optimization and alt tags
- Anchor texts
- SEO friendly URLs
- Sitemap (XML, HTML)
- Blog Creation
Let us discuss all the above 10 On-page Healthcare SEO Hacks
- Keywords in URLs and Content
Keywords play a vital role in the URLs. It is very important to have keyword-rich SEO-friendly URLs.
Having keywords in the URLs creates a greater chance to be visible in search engines and these keywords can be highlighted if the user search query matches your keyword in URL. For Example, if the user types in “dentist SEO marketing” in Google, and if you have the same keyword in your URL it might look something like this:
If you have the keyword in URL, the user will find the link more useful and relevant and will tend to click on it. As a result, you would be having a higher CTR (Click through Rate) on this page.
So now let’s find out which keyword will be best suited for your page. In order to find the right keywords for your page, let’s head over to Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool.
Log on to adwords.google.com using your Google Account, then navigate to Keyword Planner, Select your Location and then type in any keyword you want to search. For Example, here we are going to search for “dental hospital in Bangalore” and click on ‘Get Ideas’.
Here you can see two tabs with Ad Group Ideas and Keyword Ideas. Simply click on ‘Keyword Ideas’ and now you’d be able to see the keyword with average monthly search volume. After looking at, it you have a clear idea that how many actual people are searching for this keyword.
Now head over to Google.com and see if any of the dental hospitals is using the same exact keyword in URL. In order to find which of your competitor is using this keyword in the URL, use a search string as “allinurl:dental hospital in Bangalore”.
Surprisingly, none of them are using the exact keyword in their URLs, except Quora which is a question-and-answer website. So now it is a greater chance for you to target this keyword in URL and have more chances to rank higher with fewer backlinks to your page.
2. Meta Titles and Descriptions
Meta title is the title of your page and is also called as Page title. A Page Title is one of the most important on-page ranking factors and should be given much more importance. Your page title tag shows up in the Search engine results pages (SERPs). Search Engines like Google will use this page title to show up in the SERPs.
Use this Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool to see how your title and description looks in SERPs.
As we discussed above in the first point that to we should have a keyword in the URL, we are going to use the same concept here as adding the same keyword in your page title. This gives more credibility and has higher chances of better CTR. Make sure that you start your page title with the same Keyword only; since it has more impact than you if you keyword is at the last of your page title.
The ideal length of your page title is about 50-60 characters. If you keep your titles under 55 characters then you have a greater chance to display your title completely. Keep in mind that sometimes your title may not be displayed as what you have given. Search engines might take the content from that page to match exactly your brand, user search query, and other considerations.
What is Meta Description?
Meta descriptions are used to explain the concise explanations of the contents of web pages. These Meta descriptions are picked up the search engines to display as a preview snippets for a given page in the SERPs.
Again same concept here, start your descriptions with the same keyword which you has used in URL and the page title and frame your description intelligently. Though you add a keyword in URL, Title, and Description, it may not increase your search engine rankings but have higher chances to attain a better CTR with more relevance.
The ideal length to keep your descriptions is around 155-160 characters. But it is recommended having fewer than 155 characters to display your complete description for the given page.
Avoid Duplicate Meta Title and Description Tags across your website
Please note that every page on your website should have unique Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions.
3. H1 Tag Optimization
What is H1 Tag?
The H1 tag is the Header tag. It usually is the title of the page or a post. Generally, it is written in the HTML code as
<h1>YOUR HEADING GOES HERE</h1>. There are other header tags in HTML too, like an h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6.
Every page on your site has to be optimized using H1 tag. Focus on your main keyword for a given page and use it as an H1 tag. Put your header tag <h1> </h1> at the top of the page, preferably after the <body> tag. If you are willing to put your h1 tag to an image then you the alt image tag as h1.
Also, it is recommended you to put H1 tag only one time across your page as your main heading. If you have it multiple times then it looks something creepy on your page.
4. Internal Linking to other pages
What is internal linking?
Internal linking are hyperlinks that point within your site. Mainly we use internal linking on the top navigation or on the main menu of the site. It is a good idea to have internal linking on your site as you can make your visitors engage with your web pages.
In general, we create hyperlinks to text; those are called as Anchor Text and this is how it looks in your HTML Code.
<a href="http://www.same-domain.com/" title="Keyword Text">Keyword Text</a>
The main purpose of the internal linking is that we are making to flow the link equity across your website using these anchor texts. Have a look at the below and see how the link equity is flowing across the website from the Homepage. This image has taken from MOZ.com
5. External Linking to Quality Sites
External links are the links that you’re getting completely outside your domain. In order to increase your domain authority, you need to increase these external links from the quality sites. To attain the high quality blacklining, either you need to have high quality on your site so that they can link back to your site or you might have to outreach that website webmaster to do Guest blogging and get a link from their site.
It is very advisable to have External Linking which is the most important source of the ranking power.
6. Image Optimization and alt tags
Basically, we throw many images onto the website without optimizing them for search engines. It is a best practice to optimize the images for search engines and name the images with the right keyword.
Let me give me an example and see how we can optimize images for search engines:
Let’s say if we are optimizing the below image:
Now, what would be the image name? In general, we give the file name as photo.jpg or DSC_01245.jpg or medical.jpg. But it is very advisable that if you use the right keyword for this image. For suppose if you are using this image on your local hospital page. You can name this image file as “local-medical-services” and also use the ALT tag as Local Medical Services.
So, on the sample code it looks something like this:
<img src=”local-medical-services.jpg” alt=”Local Medical Services”>
Use alternative text for your images, as Search Engines don’t read the images and it is a good chance the search engines will use the alternative text instead of the images.
7. Anchor texts
Anchor text is the text with the hyperlink which is clickable. Normally, we use these anchor texts on the main navigation and in the content of the pages. These anchor texts help search engines to move from one page to another page and crawl the entire website easily.
The anchor is also sometimes called ‘link title’ or ‘link label’. The words in an anchor text are a big determinant for the SERP ranking of a particular page or pages. Links that you see without anchor text are called naked URLs in SEO terminology. Proper use of anchor text is highly necessary for ranking for target keywords on major search engines.
The code sample look like this in your HTML code:
<a href="http://www.example.com">Your Anchor text goes here</a>
Here is the example how it looks like on the web page. The Below image is from MOZ.comExact Match Anchor Text is nothing but the targeted keyword of a particular web page hyperlinked to the relevant page.
You can also bring variation into anchor texts to avoid Google’s penalties. Google Spam Filter becomes active whenever exact match anchor texts are used too many times. For avoiding this, you can tweak the targeted keyword and use it in your content. This method is called as LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing).
Anchor text manipulation is another great way to optimize your targeted keywords.
You can use targeted anchor texts that exactly match the targeted keywords or backlink anchor texts that are used by other websites for linking back to your website.
You should always use natural anchor texts as bad anchor texts may backfire.
8. SEO friendly URLs
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a readable text that first came into use for the early web developers and computer engineers very much wanted to replace the IP addresses (numbers) that computers used to use for communicating with servers.
An ideal URL should be less than 2048 characters, should contain hyphens if there is any need to separate words, and should comprise as fewer parameters as possible.
Keeping URLs compelling, relevant and accurate is the secret sauce to rank well on the search engines. Remember that the key rule for having a URL for a web-based document or a web page is to keep it brief yet descriptive enough. URL should not be overly lengthy. See for example a Healthyrankings web page URL that pretty much ‘tells the story’.
If you take a closer look at the URL you see above, you will see that it can be semantically analyzed (i.e. you can get the meaning easily by looking at the URL). It is relevant to the page as the page talks about local healthcare SEO practices and solutions. Thirdly, we can also use this URL in places for backlinking purposes (remember naked URL as anchor text?).
So, what’s your takeaway here? Here you go.
A good URL makes sense semantically. These URLs are relevant and can be used as anchor texts as well in blogs and elsewhere.
The process of organic discovery of web pages that search crawlers usually follow is quite slow. If you have a healthcare website that comes up with a couple of new content pages every day or you publish hospital bulletins through your website, not having a sitemap on your website is synonymous to committing a fatal error when it comes to promoting your site on the web.
However, you can play a little techie trick to supercharge the organic search process for the search crawlers. You can use a sitemap to make your content more easily navigable for the search crawlers. Automating the sitemap creation process is indeed a very good idea, especially if you are not so apt at hand-coding. Major content management systems come coupled with built-in sitemap creation tools that are good for less savvy healthcare entrepreneurs who do not want to get their hands dirty with coding and all that stuff.
You can also hire professionals like us for creating XML sitemaps, HTML sitemaps, mobile sitemaps, video sitemaps and other sorts of sitemaps for your healthcare website (s).
That being said, what kind of sitemap should you submit for hospital or clinic website? As Matt Cutts, the former Google spokesperson, said in a recent interview, HTML sitemaps are ideal for both bigger (read hospital) websites and XML sitemaps are great for smaller (read localized private clinic) websites. However, he clearly mentioned that having both HTML and XML sitemaps on a site could be as good as nothing else.
Here is the video from Matt Cutts.
10. Blog Creation
This is perhaps the most ignored part of the ten-step formula for easy healthcare SEO Success. There are many healthcare website administrators who believe publishing blogs at regular intervals would make no positive difference, which is a wrong notion. Here’s why you should start blogging on behalf of the healthcare institution you own or represent right away.
First things first, creating a blog is a no-brainer for even the most non-techie people around. There are content management systems that nearly guide the users through the entire process of setting up blogs and you can just hop on to WordPress or Blogger to get started straight off.
Secondly, publishing and updating blogs is also super-easy and you can do it all by yourself.
Thirdly, updating blogs means sending search engines clear signals that your site has been updated. You can prompt your readers to subscribe to you and become a familiar name on social media in no time.
Before I go, blogs are great means to promote healthcare service, for free.