By this point in time, every medical professional should be aware of just how important it is to be found on the Internet. People don’t flip through the yellow pages to find a local doctor anymore; they pull up Google and search for what they need. If they can’t find you there, doc, they aren’t coming to your practice. That’s why you need search engine optimization, or SEO.

Most doctors have heard of this, but still aren’t sure what it actually means. Let’s start with a brief definition.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website so that search engines can easily find and understand it, while also offering useable, valuable information to actual people. SEO must have both of these aspects. You can’t have a website that’s easy for Google to find but real patients find uninteresting or hard to use. No one will visit your website, and eventually Google will consider it worthless. On the other hand, a beautiful website with lots of great information that’s impossible for a search engine to find or understand doesn’t help, either. It will never pop up in search results, so no one will find your practice.

Neither website—good for search engines but not people, or good for people but not search engines—is going to help potential patients find you or show them how you can fix their problems. This is where SEO comes into play. A crucial part of internet marketing is consistently and frequently improving your website so that it’s both patient and search engine-friendly. 

Here’s what that looks like:

Patient friendly: Your website design is easy to understand and beautiful to look at. People who visit your site can easily find the information they’re looking for. You have many webpages, blogs, frequently asked questions, videos, pictures, and other information that educates patients as well as explains what you can do for them without being spam.

Search engine friendly: Your website is easy to navigate. Your pages have accurate titles in the web code that tell the engine what they are about. Your pictures and videos have tags and captions that the engines can “read.” You don’t have duplicate pages or clickable links that don’t go anywhere. Your content includes keywords and phrase people interested in your services might search.

Optimizing your website can get complicated, but it’s vital for internet marketing success. Worse, SEO needs adjust and change regularly as Google tries to weed out spam so people only find the sites that will really help them. 

Rem Jackson
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Founder and CEO of Top Practices, LLC
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