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Three Physician SEO Tactics to Boost Your Providers’ Rankings

Your organization’s goals are probably to promote physicians and gain new patients. And today that means being listed on search engine results pages.

Fortunately, following these content and SEO tips will help ensure your physician profiles work to bring new patients in to your health system.

Build Rich, Engaging Provider Profiles

There is no single, step-by-step recipe for creating the right provider profile. From the goals of your organization to your competition to your physicians themselves, many components influence how you market your care team.

Regardless of your unique situation, there are a few foundational pieces that will help connect those potential patients searching for new providers with your profiles.

1. Write User-first On-page Content

Seventy-seven percent of patients start their search for care online, and search engines rank content that best matches their queries. Original, user-focused, high-quality content is the foundation to successful search ranking for web pages, blogs, and more. The same goes for provider profiles.

Choosing a physician is an important experience in your patients’ journey, so a profile is a chance for patients to connect with someone who can meet their primary needs. Patients often choose doctors by asking:

  • Do they accept my insurance?
  • Do they treat my conditions?
  • Do they accept new patients?
  • Are they accessible? (Addresses help people know how close the office is for walking, public transportation, or driving. Hours let patients know if they can make appointments that fit their work/life schedule.)

But patients also take that search to another level, known as the “selection phase.” While fundamental information like insurance, accessibility, and new patients are important, patients are also looking for someone they can connect with. Likeability, referrals and ratings, and bedside manner are important factors.

Your provider profiles do more than just tell patients what insurances are welcome, or what hours the doctor is in his or her office. Your profiles are building a connection with someone on the other side of the screen.

When considering on-page profile content, consider helpful elements such as:

  • Provider ratings and reviews, or other patient recommendations
  • “Get to know me” videos from the provider
  • Philosophy of care
  • Hobbies and outside-the-office activities
  • Personal biography
  • Published works or blog posts

These are all important factors for patients seeking a new provider for themselves or a loved one and can greatly influence their decision to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. See how Bryan Health in Nebraska did exactly this, increasing traffic and engagement with their provider profiles.

2. Cement a Strong Technical SEO

Well-written, engaging profiles carry significant value to search engines, but you’ll also want to make sure your technical elements are in place.

At the end of the day, Google, Bing, and other search engines are still computing machines, relying on certain pieces to deliver a full experience to the human searcher. Alongside building great content, build a great organic SEO experience with:

  • Structuring simple, friendly URLs. Don’t let jargon and keywords throw you off. Users (and search engines) like simplicity in URL structure.
  • Writing unique, complete page titles and descriptions. Your page title and meta description drive a lot of traffic from the search engine results page (SERP), so invest in unique copy for each.
  • Implementing Schema.org semantic markup. Ideally, you’re either including your profile with “person” markup or your CMS includes this automatically, like VitalSite Provider Directory.
  • Canonical meta tags. This is critical if a given physician profile can appear at more than one URL.
  • Ensuring your profiles aren’t blocked by robots.txt. Make sure you’re not prohibiting your profiles from being crawled.
  • Optimizing images, CSS, and JavaScript (if applicable). Page speed matters in today’s search world, so make sure your profiles load quickly and are easy to reach on all devices.

Most of these elements are easy to check and correct, but others might need more specialized knowledge. If you’re having a hard time getting your provider profiles cleaned up for great SEO returns, consider engaging an SEO professional to keep your team focused on day-to-day priorities.

3. Strategize Off-page Tactics

Despite the evolution and algorithms by search engines over the years, high-quality backlinks to your provider profiles is still an important factor in ranking results. If your organization is blogging, consider linking to provider profiles where relevant. Better yet, interview your providers and include those interviews in the blog, to make the link and context even stronger.

And if your organization hasn’t already, be sure to optimize business listings for doctors and office locations. Claimed and accurate listings have a major influence on your patients, and voice search relies on accurate, claimed listings for local searches like directions and phone numbers.

Likewise, don’t ignore your Google Reviews or Yelp, where patients and visitors may leave comments to your hospital or office. Responding to these promptly and thoughtfully have a great influence on your brand awareness in the community.

Social media marketing, too, can be influential for your providers’ rankings. Some organizations encourage their doctors and providers to manage their own professional social media profiles, such as Facebook, to engage with patients off-site. Their Facebook backlinks to their provider profile, adding another referral traffic path.

Bonus tip: Measure it all

As you incorporate these elements to your provider profiles, measure how things are going. Keep an eye on organic traffic, mobile use, page load speeds, and session duration. More importantly, keep event tracking connected to each profile’s call-to-action to monitor your return on investment (ROI).

Help Their Patient Journey

Your provider profiles are a great place to not only showcase your incredible care team, but deliver content to patients that support and inspire their journey and improves their association with your brand and organization.

If you’re looking for more tips on promoting your physicians, check out our Physician Marketing eBook.

Erin Schroeder

Senior Content Strategist

Three Physician SEO Tactics to Boost Your Providers’ Rankings