This post contains a summary of best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) for urgent care websites. I’ll start by addressing on-page SEO tactics – things you can do to your own website to help increase traffic. Then, I’ll move on to discuss off-page SEO factors – things you can do to improve search traffic that go beyond your own site.
On-page SEO is the process of incorporating keywords into your website. For an urgent care practice, there are certain words and phrases that are obviously important – “urgent care”, “walk-in clinic”, and your contact information will always be some of the most important things to include, and should be incorporated into the template of your website so they appear on every page. In general, this core information should be incorporated into the header, footer, and/or sidebar of your website.
In addition to including these words in the text on your website, there are some specific places in the code of your site where it is important to include keywords. In the HTML code, the Title is the most important location for SEO ranking. Other tags to focus SEO effort on are headings (h1, h2, etc.) alt tags for images, and the text used for hyperlinks. The Meta Keyword tag is no longer used by major search engines, and the Meta description will not help your rank, but it is often used in the actual site description seen in search results.
Many websites do a good job with these core words, but this is only the beginning of the SEO process. After covering your core words, you should also look into the “long tail” keywords that people may use to find your website. There will be hundreds of words and phrases that people might be searching for when they have a need for your services. Specifically, diseases and conditions, symptoms they are experiencing, and information about specific medical treatments and services are the most commonly searched health topics online. Every web page you create that discusses one of these items will increase the chance that a prospective patient will find their way to your office.
To further increase the chances that your prospect becomes a patient, you should expand your SEO strategy to include off-page tactics. The premise behind these tactics is that links to your website and citations of your business (a listing with your business name plus your phone number and/or address) improve your rank in search results. For urgent care practices, off-page tactics include:
- Creating and optimizing directory listings in local business directories, online yellow pages, and medical/doctor directories
- Participating in community oriented discussions in social networking sites and blogs
- Trading links with complimentary local businesses
- Becoming a guest author for a local blog or news site
- Submitting press releases to local media and through online press release distribution services
Finally, SEO is a long-term process. As with most types of online marketing, a steady approach will bring you great benefits. Even a few minutes a day, or a few hours a month, can pay huge dividends.