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COVID-19 Healthcare SEO: Best Practices for Healthcare websites

Apr 29, 2020   |   Covid19, SEO
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COVID-19 Healthcare SEO: Best Practices for Healthcare websites

In the previous blog, we discussed how Google is aiding Healthcare entities with the virtual healthcare services to ensure there is no gap between them and patients during this critical phase. In fact, following the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Google gave healthcare services priority and limited GMB (Google My Business) functionality to them.

In such testing times, for healthcare organizations and individuals, ensuring that you’re in touching distance of your patients and there is no delay or hurdles in them reaching you is paramount. Take a look at these numbers that emphasize the need for your website and reputation online to be up to the mark, especially during this pandemic:

Think with Google’s The Digital Journey

* According to Think with Google’s The Digital Journey to Wellness: Hospital Selection

In addition, from the numbers in the image below, digital content and presence proved to be vital when it came to patients booking an appointment online.

Digital content and presence proved

To help your healthcare business in these troubling times, we’ll take you through a healthcare marketers’ roadmap to optimize for SEO now and in the days ahead, and how this goes hand-in-hand with the 7 pillars of digital marketing that we constructed for thousands of clients over the years.

7 pillars of Digital Marketing for powerful Healthcare SEO

Using years of experience, market research, and standard guidelines, listed below are the best practices for Healthcare SEO that are comprehensively covered by the 7 pillars:

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Website Authority

88% of healthcare appointments are scheduled on the phone, which means that having a strong website authority to be visible on SERPs and having accurate local citations is critical for your business. Hence:

  • Your website needs to be optimized for Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places, and other important local directories as the Knowledge Panel and Local Listings drive high visibility and by not having them, Google will crowdsource information from users which could be inaccurate

    Website Authority

  • Your product, services, and business status are updated on your website

    Your product services and business status

  • No duplicate listings are found on your website and on other channels and directories
  • Your website landing page has to convey the right information to build trust

    Website landing page

  • Certification and licenses of your institution and professionals are mentioned on your website
  • Your website has high engagement on social channels and has built trust with users online

    Website has high engagement

  • You have thought-leadership speakers carry out webinars on your website
  • Your website is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant – for US-based Healthcare websites

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Content Relevance

Following the BERT algorithm, Google is quite clear that content that is relevant, conversational, and answers questions of users online directly, will rank better on SERPs. To ensure this, make sure your website has:

  • Local-flavored content with FAQs wrapped with schema answering the possible questions, concerns, and objections of your customers. We’re currently seeing a huge spike in impressions for website FAQs + Schema during the COVID-19 Pandemic addressing the status of the business

    Content Relevance

  • Include Maps in your content for ‘near me’ keyword-based queries
  • Ensure that your policies and services are updated to answer any-related query online
  • Content has to be of high-quality, legitimate and trustworthy
  • URLs should be keyword-based and the content should have Title Tags, Header Tags, Meta Tags, Descriptions, and relevant keywords.
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Crawlability

For your content to be indexed and ranked on SERPs, it first needs to be crawled by search engine bots. To ensure that your website is crawlable, ensure that:

  • It does not have broken links, HTML errors, server errors, unsupported scripts, or the access to crawlers has been blocked
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Website speed and user interface

Having a website that doesn’t take more than 3 seconds to load and is mobile responsive is critical considering most searches are carried out on-the-go and on mobile devices. In fact, take a look at these stats that we compiled:

Website speed and user interface

Having slow-page load will not only affect engagement, but it will also severely hamper your business, and having Accelerated Mobile Pages and a mobile-friendly website will give your business an edge over your competitors and ensure customers can reach you without any lag.

With regard to your website user interface, follow these guidelines:

  • Have a website navigation that is smooth and make sure that your end page is not more than 3 clicks away
  • Use proper breadcrumb navigation throughout the website
  • The main page should have an elegant design with no Ads placed in the first fold of the website
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Performance Marketing (Pay-Per-Click)

To get ahead of the competitive market in the growth phase following the recovery phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic, using Performance Marketing is key. For this, you should use key Business Intelligence Analytics to set up Pay-per-click campaigns based on the current situation and what people are searching for. Having Ad campaigns should be a calculated move and you should have the right tools to track your website performance during the campaign, engagement, and return on advertising spend (ROAS).

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Business Intelligence Analytics

Whether it is to create fresh content on your website or to track the performance of your website against your competition, having key insights in the form of business intelligence analytics is absolutely necessary to help the management make data-driven decisions to improve your services on the whole. To start with, you can:

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See how you are ranking for top queries

  • Refer to Google Search Console data for 7 days
  • Filter COVID-19 page shown for searched queries
  • Sort Impression table by COVID-19 queries with high impression and low CTR
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See top user queries in your language

  • Visit Google Trends to see what healthcare-related terms people are searching for in your country
  • Select the desired date range to understand recent queries
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Keep track of your website’s Google Analytics

  • Top-performing pages, Top queries
  • Take steps to improve your bounce rate, page views, and time spent on site

You should then use the data that you have collated to create fresh and relatable content for users online to address all possible questions, concerns, and even objections.

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Clickability

When talking about clickability, schema plays an influential role in increasing your website’s impressions, clicks, and CTR as they function in entity recognition that suits Google’s algorithms. In fact, look at the study we compiled from a list of registered websites.

Clickability

Having an advanced schema system for your website and not just adding schema tags to your website content is imperative if you wish for your content to be displayed a rich result on SERPs. In fact, during this pandemic, we used the SpecialAnnouncement schema to help our clients reach out to their customers in a timely manner and the content was displayed as a rich result.

Advanced Schema System

In addition, having photos or videos (also wrapped with the appropriate schema) addressing the status of your business in the current scenario will help in clickability.

During this crisis phase, Email Marketing is an important tool to communicate with customers as the personal touch will help your business build a relationship for a lifetime. However, being sensitive during this phase is necessary. Follow these tips to engage with your customers through Email marketing:

  • Keep messages short and crisp
  • Show compassion and understand your patients
  • Less about buying and more about caring
  • Show positive messaging in your emails 
  • If your business is operating, communicate the message

As industry experts, Milestone follows the best practices expected by search engine giants and ensures that our clients and managed websites are on par with what’s required to boost visibility on search and improve your reputation online, especially in delicate moments like these, when your efficiency can prove to be a world of good for millions. We hope you’re safe and indoors. Our thoughts are with you and don’t forget, we’ll get through this together.

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