Medical Practice Marketing on the Internet

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Medical Practice Marketing on the Internet

Websites for marketing Plastic Surgeons, Cosmetic Surgeons, Dermatologists, OBGYN, Medical Spas and Dental Practices on the Internet attract new patients to your practice and help you build a dominant presence for you in the community.

80% of patients searching the Internet don’t look beyond the first three pages of their search results.

Will your website be there?
The following information will help you understand how your website and the search engines on the Internet work together. It can assist you in implementing cost-effective steps that can improve your website’s search engine ranking and guide you in writing search engine and Patient-Friendly copy.

In this article, we focus on Search Engine Management (SEM) and provide essential tips to help you make your website content more visible to Google™, Yahoo®, MSN®, Bing™ and other search engines. These results won’t happen overnight, but as you begin to effectively manage and optimize your website, you will begin to notice higher and higher rankings on the search results pages. Effective SEM is a slow, tedious process and can take from three to six months before you notice the improvement.

How do search engines search?

Search engine programs called “spiders”, sometimes referred to as “robots”, “bots”, or “web crawlers”, are busy crawling across the Web 24/7. These spiders read through all of the text of every page looking for keywords and phrases, located in specific areas of your website, and entered by users into a search box when they want to find information or products and services online.

Search engines give every word a weight or numerical value based on the engine’s proprietary algorithm. The information is “indexed” and the crawler follows your page’s links to other pages and related websites. Unfortunately, these algorithms change constantly. Which makes SEO an ongoing process.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?

SEM encompasses all marketing efforts geared to achieving leads and sales from the search engines. SEM is generally associated with those targeted advertisements that appear above and in the right hand column of most search engine organic listings. SEM is the researching, designing and creating of highly effective “Pay-Per-Click Ads” or “Sponsored Links.”

A dynamic, sophisticated SEM campaign enables you to selectively place your message every time a person searches on a term that is related to your practice. For example, if your practice offers “Cosmetic Surgery” but does not offer “Reconstructive Surgery”, your SEM campaign will appear every time a prospective patient in your area searches for a phrase like “Facelift” or “Liposuction”, but will not show up for a search phrase such as “Breast Reconstruction.”

SEM products through Google are highly effective in achieving placement and website traffic goals. To gain maximum results from your SEM campaign, establish a realistic budget and carefully select your keywords and phrases. Follow through by evaluating the impressions, clicks and the Click Through Ratio (CTR) for each of your Sponsored Link Ads.

We can get your website ranked #1!

No one can make that claim. Companies that specialize in SEO do not control the rankings. Nor do they have insider information about algorithms. However, SEO performed properly can certainly improve your search engine rankings and position.

How are rankings displayed in search results?

There are two primary methods used when displaying listings on the results page. One method is free and is called an “Organic” or “Natural” listing. The other is called a “Sponsored” listing because you pay; usually on a “Pay Per Click” basis.

When you enter a term in a search engine, you usually see a list of 10 results per page. These sites are called “Organic” search results and are developed after search engines search and index the websites according to their relativity to the keyword or phrase that was entered in the search. Their ranking is determined based on hundreds of criteria in the search engine’s “algorithm”, or search formula. The website listed first was considered to be the most relevant when compared to the search term entered.

The results that you see at the very top of the page and on the right side of the page are the “Sponsored” links. To be listed in these sections you arrange to have your site appear in this section of the results. Typically, you will pay a predetermined price for each click that you get from your sponsored link. That’s why it’s often called “Pay Per Click” advertising.

Why is it so hard to improve my site’s ranking?

Thousands of patients search the same keywords every day. Search engines are always looking for websites where those keywords are the most relevant and help the user achieve their objective as quickly as possible. In addition, search engines change their algorithms frequently to prevent sites from gaining a position the site really doesn’t deserve.

Is content the key to being found by the search engines?

Yes, content is the main reason visitors are looking for your site. According to a 2009 Yahoo Healthcare Study, “Healthcare shoppers who researched physicians online and ended up not choosing their services cites lack of online information as the main reason.”
Your content must be written to fulfill a need for the visitor; whether this need is for information about a procedure or about you. Proper SEO copywriting is crucial because Google and the other engines have become very good at browsing the way humans do. So the more your writing pleases your readers, the better it will be indexed by the search engines.

Write content with keywords

Keywords are specific words that relate to your practice and that patients are likely to type into a search engine to find you. Most Internet users today know that using a single word search like “liposuction” or “breast augmentation” will yield millions of irrelevant results. To keep their search results more relevant to their needs, they are likely to type in a phrase more than a single word: i.e., “breast augmentation in Maryland” or “silicone breast implants, Baltimore.”

The first step in effective SEO is determining the phrases that are most likely to deliver the patients you desire. Your SEO plan needs to determine what differentiates your practice from your competitors. You may want to consider specializing in a few procedures within an area from which you draw the most patients.

The next step is to adjust your content so that your specific keywords and key phrases appear strategically throughout the text. This needs to appear natural to both humans and web crawlers to help the search engines accurately define your niche. Try adding phrases like: “liposuction in New York is…” or “Dr. Harris is renowned in New York for his outstanding liposuction results.”

How do I use keywords effectively?

Now that you have your keywords, use them in your website where the search engines will look for them: the Meta tags and HTML coding of your website.

Meta Title Tag
A Title tag is part of your webpage’s HTML code. It appears on the top of your browser window. It’s like the heading for a book chapter. You should customize the Title tag on every page to describe the contents of each page. It should be the first tag in your HTML code and be about 40 to 75 characters and contain keywords.

Meta Description Tag
While the ‘description’ Meta tag has only a minor role in SEO algorithms, Google often uses this tag for the content of the description displayed in search results. It is then seen together with your page ‘title’ tag which is very important and should be individually scripted for each page of your website. Description tags should be between 50 and 256 characters. Do not repeat any single word more than four times, and do not repeat any keyword phrases more than once. The first letter of each word should be capitalized. Keyword phrases should be separated by commas.

Meta Keywords Tag
A Keyword tag is part of your webpage’s code inserted on top of each page of your site. The keywords used in this tag are not viewable in a web browser, but can be viewed as part of the source code. This is where you will insert any keywords that are relevant to each page’s content. Try to avoid repetition and the use of stop words (a, the, and, or).

Does Google penalize for excessive characters in Meta tags?

No. Google states clearly that they do not penalize sites with excessive characters in their Meta tags.

However,some SEO Experts suggest keeping keywords less than 256 characters in total because many databases have that as a default maximum size for certain fields. As a result those engines that do look at the keyword tag only look at the first 256 characters. In which case listing your most important keywords first may make sense.

Once your practice has achieved a certain internet presence, you will notice a steady stream of patients calling your practice and requesting your services. You can then begin focusing on your Link Building and Pay Per Click campaings.

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