Making sure a medical practice consistently shows up when people conduct internet searches is sometimes a challenge. This is especially true for small and medium-sized healthcare providers. Here are some general tips for clinicians so that prospective patients can find their medical practices online.
Unlike larger hospitals and health systems, smaller physician groups and medical centers do not have the resources to devote to the task of internet focused marketing. Yet, there are strategies they can utilize that will greatly increase their online presence. One of the first things to do is learn some of the general terminology of online marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).
There are numerous abbreviations and phrases that are used in the field of internet marketing. In fact, the proliferation of lingo and concepts can become overwhelming. In addition, there is a little bit of a scammer element to SEO and online marketing. Part of this is because nearly everyone uses the internet, but far fewer people know how the technology works.
For example, terms like crawl budget are sometimes throw around by advertising and SEO agencies as something to worry about for new websites. Basically, crawl budget refers to how much of a website’s content can be indexed by Google’s automated search bots (Google bot).
However, unless a website has thousands of webpages; the average healthcare center’s website will not fall into this category. Instead, healthcare providers should learn terms that will most impact their practice’s ability to show up online and be found by patients.
General Internet Marketing Terms:
Here are some basic internet terms that every health professional should know:
- Pay Per Click (PPC) — This term is used to describe the various ads that are now common on many websites ranging from social media to news sites. When a viewer clicks on the PPC ad, the ad creator pays the internet company that controls the ad service. The dominate PPC ad services include Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Nearly every website’s owner wants their site to be easily found. This is the purpose of SEO which is a catch-all-term that includes many different elements. These methods change over time as the internet evolves and search engines like Google and Bing update how they rank websites. Which means what worked 15, 10 or 5 years ago, may not work as well now.
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – When internet users perform a search in a search engine, the results are displayed as a list of possible answers for the searcher. These results include paid ads (PPC) that are always displayed in prominent positions on the page. Advertisers nearly always want to have their website show up on the first SERP when someone performs a search.
The list of items and expressions grow every year, but the above terminologies provide a good introduction. Speaking of SEO, the next topic is particularly important for healthcare centers and medical clinics. This is the concept of local SEO and NAP.
Local SEO & NAP:
Unlike organizations that provide products or services at the national or international level, healthcare providers are localized. The growth of telehealth (telemedicine) has changed this dynamic a little. But, due to current laws and regulations surrounding medical licenses, facility certifications and credentialing guidelines; healthcare is still fairly localized in how services are delivered.
Due to this localized nature, the local information about a medical facility is important. Making sure that online directories, search engines and map listings all that the same information is crucial. People are confused if a practice’s listings on Google, Yelp and Healthgrades all show different information. This may even bias prospective patients and make them feel like the medical practice is careless or unorganized.
Having matching information is crucial and often starts at the NAP, which stands for name, address and phone number. When all of the information is uniform, healthcare centers are well on their way to building good local SEO. They should make sure that their practices are correctly listed on Google and Bing maps. Beyond the NAP, their business (medical practice) listings should include descriptions, URLs, images, etc. Nearly all of this information will show up in SERPs for their medical or healthcare practice.
Differences Between Google & Facebook PPC ads:
If a healthcare provider wants to quickly expand the reach of their practice, Google and Facebook’s PPC ads are excellent ways to accomplish this goal. After all, the primary source of revenue for these companies are selling ads. This is their core mission and they do it very well. However, there is a difference in how these ad systems operate.
Google has been perfecting their online ad platform since October 2000. Their PPC ads are displayed across most of the internet. Facebook’s PPC ads are a close second to Google’s ads. Roughly 1.6 billion people worldwide are connected to the Facebook ecosystem which gives their ads a lot of eyeballs.
Google ads are based on the action of search intent or a query. The goal of Google’s search engine is to answer a person’s search query and help them find answers online. Their PPC ads integrate nicely into this model. If someone searches for new treatments for depression, Google will often also display local psychiatrist and other mental health professionals in the SERP.
However, Facebook ads operate a little differently. Their platform is not built on answering a query or user intent. Facebook was originally designed to connect data points and grow as a network. These ads are better at reaching a wider and larger audience. If individuals are looking at a Facebook page on behavioral health topics, they will likely see ads for local behavioral health professionals.
Other online platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter also offer PPC ads, but Google and Facebook’s expansive ecosystems are still a great place to start for medical centers and healthcare agencies.
The Need to Outsource This Task:
The staff at many small and medium sized clinics already must wear many different hats. Understanding new EMRs and PM systems while maintaining the integrity of their office’s computer network is taxing enough. Now having to learn about SEO, PPC and web design is just one more thing on the to-do-list. Feeling over-worked and pulled in too many directions is a common complaint for many health professionals. When there is limited money and time, practices should focus on their strengths and outsource their weaknesses.
Why choose Us?
Often, there is a one-size-fits-all attitude in digital marketing and web design services. At ABCS RCM separate the hype from the reality and provide honest information that can help practices grow. As a company that provides medical billing and credentialing, we understand the needs of modern healthcare practitioners. This is reflected in our web design and PPC ad management services. We understand that websites and ads need to display what a medical practice or health clinic can offer to their patients. Not flash and clickbait, but skilled professionals who are compassionate and experienced.
Advanced Billing & Consulting Services (ABCS RCM) provides experienced medical billing, credentialing and web design/PPC services for medical centers. They understand the complexities of healthcare revenue cycle management. For additional questions about our services or other related topics, please contact ABCS RCM.
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