Your practice may not be able to dominate search results for all of the terms surrounding the conditions you treat and the procedures you perform. You may be able to rank well for a few terms in your area, but your practice probably won’t dominate search results unless you have little or no competition.
On the other hand, you do have a very good chance of dominating the first page of search results for your practice’s name. This is called a branded search. Dominating search results for a branded search will be helpful for patients searching directly for your practice name. These patients may have already heard of your practice through a recommendation from a friend or family member, or may be a current patient looking for directions, contact information, or your website. By dominating the first page of search results, you can ensure that those patients find everything they need to know about your practice.
Google is constantly changing, so there is no guarantee that your practice will own all of the results on the first page for branded searches all of the time. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chance of dominating search results for your practice’s name.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
First, you will need to do some SEO work to get your website to stand out in search results. That starts with submitting a sitemap to Google Webmasters. Google crawls the web on its own to index websites and new webpages, but submitting a sitemap helps to speed up that process. This way, Google will have a better understanding of your website content and how it relates to your practice’s name.
Next, you’ll want to claim and set up local listings for your practice. Start with Google, and then work your way out to other listing services like Yellow Pages, Superpages, Bing, Citysearch, and Insider Pages. Once you’ve claimed all of your listings, be sure to include a link back to your website. By adding links on all of these listings, you are creating signals that help search engines associate your practice’s name with your website.
Finally, adding well-written, relevant content to your website can help you to dominate search results for your practice. Your content should cover all of the information that patients need to know about your practice. Most practice websites have patient education that covers the basics about the procedures and conditions handled by the practice, but that content will do nothing for your site in terms of SEO because it isn’t unique to your practice. Instead, you’ll need to create content that explains how your practice handles specific conditions and procedures. Search engines look for relevant, useful content to display to users, so the more you can provide, the more likely you’ll be to dominate search results for branded searches. This may help you rank for some non-branded terms, as well. If you’ve submitted your sitemap to Google Webmasters before adding the content, be sure to create and submit a new one to get your unique content indexed more quickly.
Once you’ve got all of the right pieces in place for SEO, it’s time to focus on reputation management. You’ve probably noticed that when you search for your practice, you see results from several review sites, including Healthgrades, Yelp, Vitals, and Wellness.com. You may also have some reviews associated with your Google listing. Some sites, like Healthgrades, Yelp, and Google, often have the practice’s star rating display prominently in search results. If patients Google your practice’s name, there’s a good chance they will see at least one or two of those websites on the first page of search results.
Just as you’ve done with your local listings, you’ll need to claim your profiles on these sites, as well. Once you’ve claimed your profiles and filled them out, you’ll need to build up more reviews on all of these sites. You can do this in one of two ways: you can share the links with your patients and ask them to leave reviews, or you can use a service like our Reputation Management offering, which allows you to collect and post patient reviews during office visits. The more reviews you build up for your practice, the more those listings will begin to show up in search results when users search for your practice. Most practices find that the majority of reviews are positive, so when patients search for your practice, they’ll start to see all of your positive reviews.
Organic search results are only part of the equation. If you want to completely dominate search results when people search for your practice or one of your doctors, you’ll also need to pay attention to online ads. For most Google searches, you’ll usually see ads at the top and to the side of search results. This is another opportunity for you to draw attention to your practice. By bidding on your practice’s name, as well as your doctors’ names, you can place your ads there and have another opportunity to direct patients to your site. When you are bidding for your practice’s name and doctors’ names, your website is the most relevant destination for users. For that reason, paid search ads should be relatively inexpensive for these terms.
Once you get all of those pieces in place, you should start to see that your practice dominates search results for branded searches. Your practice may not always be able to dominate search results for specific pathologies and procedures, but you can certainly own your brand name in search results if you put in a little work.