Roger Safont

Roger Safont

Roger Safont - Technology Evangelist, Internet & Digital Marketer, Healthcare Technology Leader

77% of Patients Search Online for a Health Care Provider–Will They Find You?

With 77% of patients looking for their next medical provider on the internet, you need to be sure you’re where they can find you. Here’s how optimize your site.

In the last five years, more and more consumers have turned to the internet when seeking healthcare information. Potential patients use search engines to help identify conditions, evaluate treatment options, and choose their health care provider.

From identifying conditions to selecting their doctor, over three-quarters of all consumers now turn to search first.

Search engine visibility plays a key role in gaining new customers.

When your potential patients go online to find the health care they need, will they be able to find you?

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engines employ powerful algorithms to choose which information consumers find when they search online. The purpose of these algorithms isn’t to pick winners and losers in the digital advertising race, but to select quality information that enhances the search user’s journey.

Industry giants such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing analyze their customers’ needs and design these algorithms to meet those needs. To keep their online users satisfied, search engines seek out information that answers users’ questions.

Investing in advertising for your medical practice helps you reach potential patients. But if your website doesn’t grab search engine attention, your investment will be in vain.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the language your website uses to tell search engines such as Google and Bing that you have the answers consumers want and need.

Why is Medical SEO Essential to Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

  • Consumers are finding their next doctor using online search. Following an initial search about symptoms and conditions, a Pew Research Institute survey indicates that the next step for many consumers is to seek medical attention. Those individuals who decide to seek medical treatment will search online to find a doctor. Mobile search users, in particular, may book their appointment via the internet after finding an acceptable provider. Potential patients use the internet to search for a doctor who is nearby, accepted by their health care plan, and recommended by others.
  • Health care providers are increasing online advertising. Healthcare marketers have responded to this uptick in the use of search engines by increasing their digital spending. Statista reports that the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry spent $1.43 billion in digital advertising in 2014. Digital spending for the combined industries is expected to top $1.8 billion in 2016 and $2.32 billion by 2018. As healthcare marketing becomes increasingly competitive, quality medical SEO practices are a necessity for every doctor.
  • Potential patients pay attention to providers’ online reputations. Not only will your potential patients look for you online, but they will also look for reviews about you online. Your presence and rating on services such as Yelp and Healthgrades now play a major role in your ability to gain new patients. Great reviews can help boost your search engine visibility and conversion rate. On the other hand, the openness of the internet means that a negative review can have far-reaching impact. Strategically managing your online reputation requires strategic use of SEO principals.

For all of these reasons, SEO must be a core element of your digital marketing strategy.

The Dangers of SEO Done Wrong

When done correctly, SEO demonstrates to Google and other search engines that your site is worthy of presentation to consumers. When done wrong, SEO attempts can do the opposite—telling the search engines that you have nothing to offer their users and are trying to cheat the system.

Ideally, top-ranked webpages earn their position organically through genuine, proven performance. However, some companies invest their time and effort in attempting to find shortcuts to success in search engine optimization.

These “black hat” methods include activities such as link buying and keyword stuffing. For instance, rather than provide useful information on a topic, a website may just repeat a key term related to that topic multiple times. Or, in an attempt to look more authoritative than it actually is, a website may pay to have other sites linked to it. John Rampton details these and many other improper SEO tricks in his article, 25 Back Hat Techniques That are Killing Your SEO.

Using these techniques may make it look like a website is useful temporarily, but the effect won’t last.

Google and the other search engines regularly adjust and update their algorithms to detect these and similar activities. Once caught, websites trying to use improper shortcuts or tricks to raise their site’s rank are penalized. And a website that has been penalized by Google or another search engine for bad SEO practices will face a long and arduous recovery.

That’s why it is important for doctors and other medical services providers to ensure that they only work with real SEO experts who understand the industry and its rules.

How Doctor Identity Services Can Help

The process of optimizing your medical website for search engines requires skill and attention to detail. At Doctor Identity Services, we don’t use shortcuts; we deliver results.  Our experts are well-versed in both search engine and social media optimization practices for doctors. We cover every detail of your web presence from online reputation management to converting potential patients into new patients.

Because our team is regularly reviewing and updating your content and performance, you can rest assured that you’ll get the right kind of attention from the search engines. When your search engine ranking rise, it will be because we’ve employed best practices to demonstrate your website’s worth to search engines and provide your potential customers the information they need to choose you as their medical service provider.

SEO is critical to your medical practice’s online marketing success. Don’t risk your reputation or your online presence working with someone who isn’t committed to doing your healthcare marketing right. Trust the experts at Doctor Identify Services.

Roger Safont77% of Patients Search Online for a Health Care Provider–Will They Find You?
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Patient Market Research

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Exploring the patient market is an organized effort to collect information about target markets or patients. This can be a very important component of business strategy.

Researching the right patient market is a key factor in maintaining competitiveness over competitors. Market research provides information and facts to identify and analyze your target patient market need, market size and competition. Market-research techniques encompass both qualitative techniques such as target groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnography, as well as quantitative techniques such as customer surveys, and evaluation of secondary data.

Market research, which include social media, is the systematic gathering and interpretation of information about individuals or organizations using statistical and analytical methods and techniques of the applied social sciences to achieve insight or support making decisions.

With effective market research, you can determine the need for your service, a product’s likelihood to sell, target-market demographics, and desirable store locations. There are numerous ways to uncover this information from online research to focus groups to counting customers. To help you meet your target market’s needs, we’ve put together a collection of our best market-research articles and resources.

What’s market research? And why must you do it?

How do we perform the market and competitive studies that are necessary to equip the team with the information it takes to make good decisions?

Few of us in management have ever had the task (not to mention the job description) of a market research specialist. In spite of the ever-increasing access we have to information today, it is still a daunting challenge for the uninitiated to find the sources and quickly distill the information required for good planning. In this article, we will identify the easiest and most direct ways to get your research off the ground.

You Have to Pay to Play (Well, Probably)

When considering market and competitive research, the amount of available information is really incredible but there is some great information and some bad information.

The good news is that many useful sources of information are available on the Internet. This is good news if you enjoy the prospect of conducting this effort from the comfort of your office chair. For many of us, just the thought of “doing research” is enough to ruin several workdays merely anticipating the sub-optimally productive time we might spend in the unfamiliar aisles of our nearest local business library.

The bad news is that many of the best sources, like the best things in life, are not free. For the most part, the most complete sources of information on the web are available through subscription services. Almost all of the sites will provide basic information teasers for free, but to get the good stuff, one has to either sign up for a year’ s worth of usage or pay on a per use basis.

Competitor Analysis

For competitor analysis, the first logical step is to go right to the source: the company’s home page. If your competitor is ranking, it is because they have established their own Internet presence. Dont stop at Search Engines Searches to find them, try the online Yellow Pages or use any number of Web Directories.

Find out what they are doing and how they got there. Replicate it and do it better.

Determine Your Market

Three key questions to answer when starting starting your SEO strategy are:

  • Who, if anyone, has a real need for the thing I propose to sell, and how many of those potential patients are there?
  • How much, if anything, are they spending to address that need today?
  • Does my product meet that need in a manner that either saves or makes them substantial amounts of money?

Good Research Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Before embarking on the right marketing strategy, exploring the market is often lacking in entrepreneurial interests because it can seem to be difficult and expensive. The key is to try to set yourself apart the right way. You do X better than Y. Make that very apparent to the patients that are searching for your services.

I’ve found over the years that even practices without much of a budget can successfully perform quality research if they are creative, resourceful, and brave. Practices on a budget may feel unable to apply formal market research techniques, but a simple four-step process can be effective:

  1. Determine how to perform the research (one-on-one interviews, focus groups, surveys).
  2. Develop the research instrument (interview questions, survey questionnaire, hands-on tasks).
  3. Identify and recruit participants.
  4. Understand what will be done with the results of the research.

If your service / product is aimed at a mass market, it may be more beneficial to recruit small numbers of people who have a feel for the market, and then validate it further using a survey.

Powerful Approach

Put yourself in the role of the potential patient. How would they find you? Go on the internet and search. If you find that the search comes up utilizing a third party entity like Healthgrades, Vitals or Yelp… Sign up for those services right away.

Roger SafontPatient Market Research
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Introduction to Medical SEO

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The medical industry is competitive. Whether you are a medical industry business that is looking for new patients or selling product, it’s important to have a strong search engine presence. Before receiving any kind of medical care, a potential patient will look for information online in order to find the right healthcare service provider that meets their needs.

In the medical industry, it’s important to generate quality leads over time. Doctor Identity Services offers medical SEO services that will improve website traffic and conversions. In order to maximize SEO efforts, we will integrate your healthcare SEO campaign with all of your other marketing efforts.

Why SEO Matters To Healthcare Providers

Whenever consumers want health information, they turn is to search engines like Google, Yahoo or MSN/Bing. In fact, seeking healthcare professionals is one of the most frequent online activities among Internet users of all ages. Healthcare SEO is key to reaching these users.

Because a lot of people seek healthcare information on the web, there is a significant opportunity for organizations that employ search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to reach their target viewers. It also means that organizations who cannot be seen in search engines are missing out on a big possibility to reach the very people who need them most.

Whether you’re a specialty doctor, a medical center, local clinic, urgent care or an organization serving the medical or pharmaceutical companies, if you’re in the industry of healthcare it is very important that your target viewers can find you online.

Why Doctor Identity Services?

It is important that you select the right medical website design and physician SEO firm.

Skilled medical professionals and physicians who work with our services enjoy several advantages, including:

Greater online exposure

Custom web site design for doctors always gives you a huge benefits in the major search engines since the number one place your prospective clients are searching for you online.

Fast turnaround

Your medical website can up and fully efficient in a few days.

Exceptional customer service

Our responsiveness is one reason why so many medical practices refer our Doctor SEO services to their colleagues

Easy site maintenance

We setup your site so you can easily add new content or make changes… or we will go through effectively for you.

More options

We offer you even more medical marketing services and technologies including blogs, newsletters, RSS and PPC to name a few.

Copywriting and editing

Our seasoned copywriters can help you generate content for your website that will employ your readers and create rankings at the same time.

We invite you to contact us and find out by yourself why Doctor Identity Services is the custom medical SEO website design and search engine marketing company of choice.

How We Help?

Doctor Identity Services concentrates primarily on working with medical professionals and health care organizations of all types offering the most effective solutions that focus on Healthcare SEO. We guide you through a structured Search Engine Optimization process designed to maximize results and ROI, including:

  • Discovery & Research – defining your campaign goals and examining level of competition, site structure, strategic key terms and baseline performance.
  • Implementation – optimization of site webpages and application of professional best practices for SEO.
  • Analysis – Monitoring and reporting of site performance, along with informed advice and ROI assessment.

We also understand that the end goal of any SEO campaign is not merely to get patients to your website, but to convert those visits into actionable goals for your organization. Whether your goals are to increase your roster of patients, amount of procedures, or improve sales or donations, we strive to keep your SEO campaign producing big results that facilitate your business goals.

Please feel free to call (813.453.2225) or request a Free Medical SEO Analysis.  We would love to find out about your business and see whatever we can do for you.

Roger SafontIntroduction to Medical SEO
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Google now discounts all reciprocal links

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For a long time, reciprocal links have remained at the forefront of most inbound linking strategies. This is going to have to change. Google now discounts all reciprocal links. The algorithm has been altered to identify the exchange of links by two parties for the purpose of increasing their number of inbound links.

The concept of reciprocal linking defies Google’s original intention with the algorithm. Quality content should attract links. The exchange of links is nothing more than a mutual agreement to unjustifiably promote others’ content with the end goal of promoting your own. Google doesn’t particularly like this (see Link Schemes).

Some even claim that Google is now able to identify three-way linking schemes (i.e. website A links to website B, who links to website C, who links back to A). Whether this is true or not is hard to say. One thing is for certain though: inbound linking strategies should NOT be centered around reciprocal linking. This manufactured form of link creation is not well-received and is ultimately a waste of time. Instead, focus on creating unique, high-quality content in a given niche. The links will ensue.

Roger SafontGoogle now discounts all reciprocal links
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Strategic Use of Images in Search Engine Optimization

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When assessing page structure and layout, there is a subtle, yet strategic way to use images in an SEO-friendly manner (beyond ALT tags) that improves your search rank while allowing you to integrate the necessary marketing message(s). Confused? Let’s look at an example:

Suppose you operate a travel site and you want to optimize a given page for the term “Las Vegas hotel”. Suppose that you also want to include an enticing marketing message such as “Book now and save 20%!”. The aforementioned tagline lacks descriptive text, but possesses persuasive characteristics. That being said, you may want to place the tagline in an image and the key phrase (i.e. Las Vegas hotel) in a header tag. This places emphasis on the desired term, yet still provides a marketing opportunity without compromising keyword consistency.

In other words, images are a great place to insert marketing messages that lack the necessary keywords and phrases. Leveraging this technique will ensure that descriptive text is indexed, while less marketing jargon is overlooked. The combination of keyword-rich content and enticing messaging will satisfy both sides of the strategic equation.

Roger SafontStrategic Use of Images in Search Engine Optimization
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Incorporation of Company Branding and SEO

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SEO is not an exact science. This becomes apparent when trying to incorporate both SEO and branding into a strategy. This process is finicky to say the least. On the one side, SEO deals with the placement of keywords and phrases. On the other side, branding deals with company loyalty and culture. Incorporating both sides dilutes the prominence of both. But eliminating one or the other may not meet all strategic and marketing goals.

Once again, it should be emphasized that SEO is a series of guidelines rather than an exact science. Having said that, the following recommendation can be used to satisfy both sides of the equation. In general, keywords and phrases (i.e. SEO) should remain the focus of any early-stage company, while the incorporation of company branding should appear later in the evolution. This is simply a general statement and should not be taken word for word.

The reasoning is pretty straightforward. At first, no-one knows the name of your company, but perhaps they are searching for your products or services. In other words, you want to target keywords and phrases that focus around your offering rather than your company. As you build loyalty and credibility, branding becomes more important. It’s at this point that you may want to incorporate corporate messaging to strengthen the relationship with customers and instill trust in your brand.

One final thought about branding: if a searcher types in the name of your company, they are likely to find your website anyways. This is due mostly to anchor text and back-links. Therefore, optimizing for the company name is rather insignificant in most cases.

Roger SafontIncorporation of Company Branding and SEO
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