Healthcare Search Engine Optimization – Making Friends With Spiders, Crawlers and Bots

Five quick search engine optimization techniques to recognize if your healthcare website needs help with search ranking—to attract more visitors and win new patients.Image

Here’s a quick assessment tool for your healthcare website. Internet Search Engines, like Google, decide how high your site will be listed on a mountain of search results. Sophisticated computer programs-spiders, crawlers, bots-do the work, and we know how to make friends with these critters to improve your page rank and bring more traffic to your website.

As a test, we just did a Google search for dentist in Cincinnati.

Results: about 676,000 results for dentist in Cincinnati. (0.21 seconds.)

Google sports some incredibly impressive technology…but 1. We’re pretty confident there aren’t 676,000 dentists in Cincinnati, and 2. Wouldn’t you hate to be listing number 432,123? The rude reality is that a prospective patient will not get past the first page or two—less than 30 listings.

Google is constantly indexing millions of websites using SPIDERS–complicated computer programs that methodically “crawl” the web to evaluate every page they can find.

Before human eyes ever find your website, it’s best to make friends with these spiders, crawlers, or bots, and give them what they like. There’s an art and science to pushing your website toward the top—and winning a higher page rank than the next guy.

Google will not tell anyone exactly how they determine page rank; it’s an intricate and secret algorithm, and they change it all the time. But there are some quick checks you can do to know when to call for professional help.

It doesn’t matter if your website is for a hospital, solo practice, healthcare organization, or physician group, you can use the following checklist. But keep in mind that this is not a substitute for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). But look for these five areas to quickly spot an underperformer.

  • KEYWORDS ARE KING: These are the significant words or phrases that are noticed and indexed by Search Engines. CHECK: ARE keywords (that patients search for) used – but not overused – in your code, navigation and text?
  • WHAT’S IN A DOMAIN NAME: What you do is more important to Search Engines than who you are. For example: The URL www.doctorjones.com is general, but www.DentistForKids.com is specific. CHECK: What does your domain name have to say?
  • SPIDERS NOTICE CHANGE: Search Engines are constantly searching, but they don’t waste time looking at what they’ve already seen (and indexed). Regular changes in a website have value for both visitors and spiders. CHECK:When was the last time you updated your website?
  • TEXT WITH IMAGES: Spiders are blind to images, artwork, or videos. So you’ve got to use text to reveal content to spiders. CHECK: Are you using tags and captions with pictures and visuals?
  • USE VIDEOS ON YOUR SITE: We are in the beginning of an entire series of special video reports about how to harness the benefits of video in healthcare marketing for hospitals, group practices and medical advertising. Suffice to say that videos on your website help boost page rank. CHECK: Look for our video series about online videos. We’ll tell you some of the best ways to harness this tool.

This is just a quick assessment. If your website is deficient in any of these areas, please give us a call pronto. The business of keywords and Search Engine Optimization are vital to page rank, but they are definitely challenging.

image: SEO/shutterstock