5 Reasons Why Your Website Should Be a Blog

Medical Websites Use Blogs to Optimize Web Performance

Your medical practice should have a medical blog, not a website, but a blog.  The modern “blog” has maintained all the features of the former, yet obsolete, webpage, but has unique advantages that best suits it for optimizing your website’s SEO and ranking your pages.

Here are 5 reasons why a Blog should be your choice for a medical Website

1.  Blogs are Cost Effective

Chances are that if you have a website, it hasn’t been updated in a few years.  Every update costs the practice money and noone really understands the ROI (return on investment).

Blogs are about $10/month including hosting!

Blogs are much cheaper than hiring a website developer to make updates.  Plus, re-designing the site isn’t going to improve rankings at all.  It’ll be a waste of more money.

Even if you are a do-it-yourselfer, purchasing HTML generators such as “FrontPage” or Dreamweaver can be much more expensive than blog software.

Blogging software is free.

While we recommend WordPress.org, most larger content management systems are free.

Most hosting companys, including GoDaddy.com and BlueHost.com, will install WordPress on your hosting plan…with the click of a button.

2.  Blogs are Server Based

Server based programs, such as blogs, can be accessed from any Internet connection in the world.  This means they are convenient and easily accessible.  It’s convenient to make changes and post new content, or articles, to your medical blog.  You can do it from your home, office, local cafe, etc.

Ease of use, convenience and accessibility ensure you can follow my 3 R’s of good SEO;

The 3 R’s of good medical SEO are;

  • Relevant Content
  • Refreshed Webpage
  • Regularly Updated

 

3.  Blog Software Designed for SEO and Search Engine Bots

Blogging software, especially WordPress, is designed to be search engine friendly.  The websites created with WordPress are indexed efficiently by the search engine robots.

Well written content (the human part) is just half of good SEO.  You want to publish your material on a site designed to be SEO friendly.  Wordpress is terrific.

On top of WordPress, I recommend taking one step further.  Use “Genesis” or “Thesis” frameworks (these are specific WordPress software packages) to really make SEO a snap for the user.

SEO friendly for the robots and ease of use for you!

4.  Customizable and Professional Turnkey Themes

With the popularity of blogs, web design has become turnkey (you do it yourself with a click).  No more hiring web-designers as hundreds of dollars per hour!  Downloading a theme and installing is so easy…a doctor could do it (look at me!).

Most themes available for WordPress are free of charge.  They are completely customizable so that your “blog” can look and act like your “website.”

Two popular frameworks, best suited for SEO, are Genesis and Thesis.  I switched to the Genesis theme structure because of the 40 or so child themes that provide the design for the site.

Turnkey web design allows you to also change your theme, or look, as easily and as often as you want…and usually it’s free.

Remember, the design of your site has no value to achieving high search engine rankings.  Only your SEO maximized content can get your website in the “top ten.”

5.  Blogs are the Purest form of Social Media

Because of the ability to leave a comment, and hence, start a conversation, blogs are the purest form of social media.  Having a blog makes a clear statement that your practice is willing to engage and attract your patients.

The ability to engage into a conversation will set your practice, and your doctors, apart from your conversation.  Remember, it’s not what you are, but it’s who you are!

To your success!

 

Creating Value on Your Medical Website

 

 

Successful websites create value for the visitor.  Does your medical website create value for your potential patients?

By creating value, you’ll attract more visitors to your site and more patients walking through your door.

For you to have a successful website with high rankings, a medical practice must give something valuable away for ‘free.’  Free develops trust and credibility.  ”Free” starts the social media conversation.

Create Value

The first step to attracting patients to your site is to create value.  Creating value comes in different forms for a medical practice.

The simplest way to create value for your website (and therefore your practice) is to provide health information.  Why?  Because it’s what patients are searching for…answers.

80% of Americans are on the Internet Looking for Answers

By providing answers to their questions, you have created value.

Giving Value Away for Free

This is a tough concept for most physicians, but yet we do it everyday.  It’s not services you’ll give away, it’s not your advice either, it’s just information about health, aka it’s patient education.

The best value we can create is to educate …and for free.

Why Give Away Health Information?

As health care providers, we are the authorities in our fields.  Who better to educate than the experts?

Those medical practices that choose to recognize this need will be rewarded with;

  • high ranking web pages
  • increasing patient base
  • stronger relationships with existing patients
  • recognition as a trusted health expert

 

Improving Your Web Rankings

Providing fresh relevant content is the key to successful website optimization and performance.  A website that provides relevant, refreshed and regular content will be rewarded with high rankings.  (A simple fancy web design, or redesign, does nothing for your rankings.)

What is content?  The content will be your articles and posts containing the answers to their questions.  It’s simple and straight forward.  Publishing articles on your website that provides answers….will move you higher and higher in the rankings.

This is the core of content marketing strategies.  This is the core of medical SEO or website optimization for a medical practice.

Medical website optimization is the only way to achieve and maintain high rankings on search engine results pages (SERP).

Building Trust in Your Community

Regardless of how you define your community, whether it is within your local zip code or your virtual neighborhood, “free” opens the door to credibility and trust.  A site that is credible and trustworthy says alot about its doctors and staff.  Certainly much more than those practices that don’t even have a web site.

This is the modern way of distinguishing yourself from your competitors.  Those practices that are able to establish trust and credibility will gain a healthy advantage over those practices choosing to remain isolated.

 

 

 

 

 

Google “Down” on the Farms

Content Farms, Google searchGoogle recently announced that web sites using manufactured content from so-called “content farms” will receive lower rankings based upon the fact that such content is usually of poor quality and low relevance. This is a further move to limit and penalize sites that use duplicate content.

Poor Quality = Low Relevance

As the importance of content marketing, aka SEO marketing, continues to increase, the use of duplicate content has sky-rocketed over the past couple of years. The new algorithms were announced last week by Google and may immediately impact as much as 12% percent of web pages.

At issue is the quality of articles.  Google bases its algorithms on the quality of content relative to the user’s search query.  That is, Google rewards web pages with great content.

Articles, or content, generated by content farms are written to meet the requirements of the automated search engines.  Authors are instructed to generate articles using specific words and phrases.

As a result, articles often lack any nuance, may be off target and use portions of text found in other articles.  The rather poor quality lacks in relevance, is poorly written and is copied.

Google now depresses such sites in the rankings.

What Does This Mean?

This is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your need to follow through with improving your web page rankings using medical SEO.

Google has long been intolerant of “duplicate content” (aka plagiarism), but this new stance takes their commitment to relevance to a higher level.

Google also makes it more difficult for “games” or “gimmicks” to be used to achieve high rankings for web pages.  In fact, this new algorithm paves the way for unique, fresh high quality content to rise to the top.

In other words, only the articles written and directed for a particular audience will survive the new bot regimens.  Your articles, written for your patients, will continue to escalate your web sites’ rankings

 

Knocking Down The Ivory Tower

Creating and Image and Brand, Medical SEO, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Last week I posted an article challenging physicians to take down their diplomas and meritorious plaques and replace them with pictures of themselves, friends, kids, favorite activities, etc.

The goal is to give your patients some flavor of who you are instead of reminding them what you are.  This concept is crucial to understanding social media.

Go ahead, “redecorate.”

Placing your favorite artwork on a wall, a picture of the kids’ soccer team, a picture of  you sailing on a boat or fishing gives patients an idea that your doc is…um, human.  They, too, are a person!  It gives patients information and chance to bond with their physician.

It is a version of Social Media.

By giving a person a glimpse of who you are, gives the opportunnity for that person to engage you in a conversation.  A true dialogue vs. the traditional monologue too often seen in doctors’ offices.

Creating an Image, Medical Marketing Enterprises

Here, Try This:

Imagine a medical school diploma on a wall.  What does it say?

A.  It says that this person went to medical school.  No kidding, really?

Now, replace with the cycling picture above:  Now what does it say?

A1.  Likes cycling
A2.  Likes exercise
A3.  Likes to be healthy
A4.  Prefers a certain type of cycle.
A5.  Likes solitude
A6.  Uses a particular brand of helmet.

Etc.  Get it?

Just as a pictures says a thousand words.  A diploma doesn’t say much more than anything you don’t already know.  A diploma reinforces the “ivory tower,” whereas, mementos start to reveal a person tucked beneath the white coat.

Patients of today are looking for anything human to relate with their chosen doctor.  They are not looking for just another doc.  There are tons of those.

So, too, on the Internet.  Doctors willing to share just a bit about their office, their staff or themselves are more likely to develop a following than those that don’t bother.

3 Secrets to Writing Great Copy

3 Secrets to Great CopyWriting,
Great SEO copywriting for the web means writing articles that appeal to both your readers and the search engines. Your goal is to write content that interests your readers and is search engine optimized! Good SEO practices will allow your pages to rank higher.

Copywriting, or posting for your blog, is different than writing an English essay or a research paper. These 3 “rules” should help you achieve your goals of attracting both readers and high rankings.

Choose One Topic Per Post

One of the difficulties I had when getting started was trying to whittle down my message. I tried to stuff way too much information into the same article. In short, I was trying to say so much that it either diluted my real message or completely lost my reader.

Two reasons to limit yourself to one topic. First, it focuses your task of copywriting. By staying with one message, it is easier to construct meaningful titles, headlines and sub-titles that are necessary to grab your readers attention and, just as importantly, achieve great SEO.

Second, most people searching the Internet have a very specific question. Thus, they are searching for a specific answer. By limiting yourself to one topic, you are more likely to grab the attention of your readers as you’ll be providing a more direct answer.

“O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?”

You will not be reviewed by your colleagues. You are writing to your potential patients. Close your eyes and imagine one single person, patient or client to whom you are writing. Write in a style and use words that will appeal to that imaginary person, not your colleagues.

In a way, this is like writing a love letter, you want to reach out and appeal to your reader. Your writing has to strike home and make a connection with your audience. Don’t write to “show off.” Your readers will “bounce” away.

Effective writing requires that you communicate at the same level as your reader. Unlike most of your technical writing, you must write “down” to your reader. Writing “above” the reader will bore them.

One simple tactic I’ve used is to write down the hundreds of well rehearsed answers (lectures) I have given to patient questions. Over time, we all have our “pat” answers to commonly asked questions. As you know,these answers are well rehearsed because we have given them thousands of times. This is a great source of content…and you’ve already created it! Just write it down.

Size Matters

This is easy. You want your article to be about 300 – 600 words in length. Too short and you won’t index well. Too long and you’ll bore your readers and your “bounce” rate increases. Remember that your posts must grab the attention of the search engines and your potential clients!

In the next article, we’ll cover proper formatting to capture the attention of your readers!

Does Your Web Page Market Your Practice?

Top 10 rankings for your web page should be your marketing goal.

Does your web site market your medical practice effectively? Chances are your web page is “pretty good” and serves more as a reference site, but not as a highly effective marketing tool.

Your Patients Already Know You…

A typical medical practice has constructed a web page that serves only as a resource, or reference, for new and existing patients. It may contain hours of operation, participating insurance carriers, pictures of the office staff and a bio of the doctors.

This is a great resource for existing patients, but does not have any ability to attract new patients surfing the Internet looking for a new doctor.

How to Attract New Patients

The key to attracting new patients with your web site is to achieve high “top ten” rankings on search engine results pages. These are the results that are listed after you search, or “Google,” a particular subject.

Imagine your rankings souring to the “top ten” and the visibility you’ll receive!

SEO to Achieve “Top Ten” Rankings

The key to getting great search engine rankings is by adding fresh, relevant content to your web site on a regular basis. There is no substitute. This is technique is referred to as search engine optimization (SEO).

By simply adding new content (articles) to your web site, your site will become more noticeable. Get in the habit of routinely adding an article to your web site every month or every week…just make it a routine.

As a reward for your efforts, Google (Bing and Yahoo, too) will start list your web site higher and higher. It will recognize that your web site contains relevant and refreshed content…on a regular basis. Your site will start to rank higher than your competitors on search results pages.

Patients looking for a new doctor will start to see your web site as it rises through the rankings.

Maximize the power of your web site by providing content on a regular basis. Your web site has the potential to be the most powerful marketing tool you own to promote and grow your practice.

Social Media is the New Yellow Pages

Social Media is the New Yellow Pages

Social Media Turns a Physician Listing into a Needle in the Yellow Pages Haystack

Finding a new doctor, despite the Internet, is still too difficult. I am surprised to find most doctors don’t use the Internet to grow their practice. I moved a little over a year ago and have been looking for a primary care physician ever since. I started where everyone does and asked my friends who they recommended. Four of them saw the same person and raved about her, so it was a “no-brainer.”

As I tend to do, I took my time in making an appointment, and while I dallied she left her practice and has not joined another. Now we’re all looking for a new doctor, and we’re having a difficult time.

Missing Out on Your Target Market

Last month, I turned 38, and I keep hearing about how my physical condition is pretty much a slippery slope from this point forward. I’m an upwardly mobile professional with a flexible schedule and great health insurance. I was raised to believe that preventative care and regular visits with a doctor are important. I am probably your target market… but I can’t find you because you don’t have a Web presence!

Finding a New Doctor

Let me explain what I mean by “find.” I’m not talking about the Yellow Pages. And yes, I did receive a few cards in the mail from one practice or another welcoming me to the neighborhood, but I found they smacked of desperation more than anything. The listing of physicians that have a partnership with my health insurance company is obviously important to my search. But when I say “find,” I am specifically looking for more than your name, phone number and location. I am looking for information that indicates you have a strong reputation and you’re open to sharing information, learning from others, and interested in having a dialog with your community.

I am interested in learning something about you, and I want to learn it on the Web.

Social Media for a Medical Practice

The use of Social Media can allow potential patients to find you by increasing your internet search rankings. It can also build your practice’s reputation, help both you and your patients stay up to date on credible industry news and information. Engagement and dialogue are becoming paramount in the way that people are making decisions. If you are not participating in the discussion, you will increasingly be overlooked.

So, while I continue my quest for a physician that I can get to know a little before making an appointment, I challenge you to consider what you can do to put yourself out there and invite a conversation with your community. And if you are part of the small percentage of physicians who have already headed down this path, I’m just sorry we don’t live in the same town.