Your practice may not be able to dominate search results for all of the terms surrounding your specialties. You may be able to rank well for a few terms in your area, but your practice probably won’t dominate search results in these cases unless you have little or no competition.
On the other hand, you do have a very good chance of dominating the first page of search results for your practice’s name or your physicians’ names. This is called a branded search.
Dominating search results for a branded search will be helpful for patients searching directly for your practice name. These patients may have already heard of your practice through a recommendation from a friend or family member, or may be a current patient looking for directions, contact information, or your website. By dominating the first page of search results, you can ensure that those patients find everything they need to know about your practice.
Google is constantly changing, so there is no guarantee that your practice will own all of the results on the first page for branded searches all of the time. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chance of dominating search results for your practice’s name.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
First, you will need to do some SEO work to get your website to stand out in search results. That starts with submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console. Google crawls the web on its own to index websites and new webpages, but submitting a sitemap helps to speed up that process. This way, Google will have a better understanding of your website content and how it relates to your practice’s name.
Next, you’ll want to claim and set up local listings for your practice. Start with Google, and then work your way out to other listing services like Yellow Pages, Superpages, Bing, Citysearch, Insider Pages, and even local directories. Once you’ve claimed all of your listings, be sure to include a link back to your website and fill out all of the information you can on those profiles. By adding links on all of these listings, you are creating signals that help search engines associate your practice’s name with your website.
Finally, adding well-written, relevant content to your website can help you to dominate search results for your practice. Your content should cover all of the information that patients need to know about your practice. Most practices’ websites have patient education that covers the basics about the procedures and conditions handled by the practice, but that content will do nothing for your site in terms of SEO because it isn’t unique to your practice. Instead, you’ll need to create content that explains your expertise and how your practice handles specific conditions and procedures. Search engines look for relevant, useful content to display to users, so the more you can provide, the more likely you’ll be to dominate search results for branded searches. This may help you rank for some non-branded terms, as well. If you’ve submitted your sitemap to Google before adding the content, be sure to create and submit a new one to get your unique content indexed more quickly.
Once you’ve got all of the right pieces in place for SEO, it’s time to focus on your online reputation. You’ve probably noticed that when you search for your practice, you see results from several review sites, including Healthgrades, Yelp, Vitals, and Wellness.com. You may also have some reviews associated with your Google listing. Some sites, like Healthgrades, Yelp, and Google, often have the practice’s star rating display prominently in search results. If patients Google your practice’s name, there’s a good chance they will see at least one or two of those websites on the first page of search results.
Just as you’ve done with your local listings, you’ll need to claim your profiles on these sites, as well. Once you’ve claimed your profiles and filled them out, you’ll need to build up more reviews on all of these sites. The more reviews you have, the more likely you are to have these review profiles rank in searches for your practice.
You can do this in one of two ways: you can share the links with your patients and ask them to leave reviews, or you can use a service like our Reputation Marketing offering, which allows you to collect and post patient reviews during office visits. The more reviews you build up for your practice, the more those listings will begin to show up in search results when users search for your practice. Most practices find that the majority of reviews are positive, so when patients search for your practice, they’ll start to see all of your positive reviews.
Social media profiles are another great way to build up search results that link back to your practice. Whether you are a group practice or an individual physician, you can create social media pages for your practice.
Facebook is a great place to start. Facebook makes it easy for you to engage with patients online, and it happens to be the most popular social network. If you post to your page regularly, and patients leave reviews on your page, it should start to rank in search results. Even if you’re an individual physician, make sure you set up a business page, so patients can like your page rather than friending you. Also be sure to keep up a professional appearance and only post things that are relevant to patients on this page–it should be separate from any personal profiles.
If you want to branch out beyond Facebook, Instagram and Twitter may also be relevant to your practice. Instagram may be helpful if you are able to share pictures often, whether that includes photos from around the office, before and after photos, or helpful infographics. Twitter tends to draw more of a professional following than patients, so it’s better for having discussions with colleagues and healthcare leaders.
Additionally, YouTube can be a great network for your practice. YouTube is owned by Google, so videos shared on this platform tend to rank well in search results. It can take a lot of effort (and money) to produce a professional-looking video, so it might be more of an undertaking than other social networks. However, if you have the time and budget to do it, YouTube videos can also give you content to share on your website and other social networks.
The more you branch out and share information on platforms other than your website, the greater chance you have to dominate the first page of search results when people search for your practice. Your practice may not always be able to dominate search results for specific pathologies and procedures, but you can certainly own your brand name in search results if you put in the work.