5 ways to boost your health practice website
Last week we looked at organic search results and completed a little activity for our own practice websites. Today, we look a little closer at the simple things you can work on, or discuss with your website administrator to boost the performance of your website.
1. Create a unique keyword list
What are your clients searching for? In the activity we did last week, it was suggested that people would be more likely to search in general terms rather than by clinical terminology. What are their needs? What problem do they want to solve? You can create a list of topics that are related to your business - for example, if you are a podiatrist, in the topic/theme of toes, some keywords might be "broken toe" or "ingrown toenails". There might be longer phrases too (long tail keywords) like "how to fix ingrown toenail". Something to think about when creating your list is your location - you can include region-specific terms to help prospective clients find you - for example, "ingrown toenail" might be "ingrown toenail Hornsby", or you might simply have "Podiatrist Hornsby". Once you have your list created, look at your website, or chat with your website administrator to ensure the keywords that are unique to you and are used in appropriate areas (both in the HTML and body text). This doesn't mean pepper your whole site with keywords - this can actually be detrimental! Judicious selection and placement is the key.
2. Review your website layout
The layout of your website needs to be clean and logical. Imagine walking into a shop where there were no distinct sections, where everything was just piled in different areas and on top of other items. This would not only slow you down in your search for an item, it would create a poor experience for you as a customer. The same can be said for your practice website. Think about how to logically structure your site to not only create an intuitive user experience, but also to help the little Google bots understand and crawl your site. In a nutshell, keep a tidy site!
3. Review your images
There are a couple of ways to improve the performance of your website with regard to images - the first is ensuring your images are appropriately sized for their location. If you upload a really large picture that will be displayed as a small thumbnail, this can slow your site. There are many online platforms that can help you resize images. You also want to ensure that each image used on your website has "alt text" or an "alt tag". This is so descriptive text is displayed to your site visitor if for some reason the image is not available to the reader - for example, perhaps because they have turned off images in their web browser or are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment, the alternative text ensures that no information or functionality is lost1. Make sure the alt text you choose includes the SEO keyword for that page and relates to/describes the image.
4. Create fresh content
The one area that is overlooked in many allied health websites is a strategy for update and refresh of content. Have a look at your practice website now - when did you last review it? Did you set it up 5 years ago and haven't really updated it since? Could you incorporate a blog or other feature into your website to offer greater value for your site visitors and also to keep content fresh?
5. Be a great host! Think about your website visitors...
Have your health service consumer in mind when setting up or reviewing your website. Offer a great user experience – with a website that offers visitors value (not just a list of your services), that helps solve their problems, provides them with the ability to share on social media and is accessible on all devices (i.e., looks good on desktop computer as well as mobile, tablet etc.). Have a look at your website now - does it help visitors to your site? Does it communicate in simple terms how you help them? Is it well structured and easy to navigate (refer point 2)?
Be patient – it takes a good few months for any changes you make today to come to fruition from a search ranking perspective. If you have only just launched your practice website, it might take up to 6 months to start appearing in organic search results.
Test the validity of your keyword choices. Tools like Google’s Adwords Keyword Planner will help you narrow down your list based on search volume for different terms.