We’re living in a world of change. More so every day. Industry consolidation, legislative mandates, and new competition in your market means that a physician promotion strategy starting and ending with “just being there” is increasingly irrelevant. Let’s face it, yesterday’s local competition has grown increasingly savvy, and tomorrow’s competition for patients may very well come from the very pharmacies your patients used to get their prescriptions filled at. At the end of the day, the primary goal of your organization’s physician promotion strategy is as simple as it is clear: patient acquisition. In service of this goal, there are some fundamental content and SEO considerations that will help ensure your physician profiles work to bring new patients in to your organization.
Rich, Engaging Provider Profiles
There is no single, step-by-step recipe for creating the right provider profile. Much depends on your organization, your competition, your individual physicians, and the potential patient market. Even acknowledging this, there are still a few important recommendations you’d be wise to consider.
First off, don’t skimp on content. We all know that original, helpful and high quality content pays dividends, so avoid creating physician profiles that offer the same level of engagement as your local phone book. Remember, the choice of a physician may be deeply personal, and the profile is your opportunity to acknowledge this, promote the physician’s expertise and walk the visitor down the path to scheduling an appointment. For that reason, profiles should be intentionally written, placed front and center, and should humanize the physician while conveying his or her expertise.
Look also for opportunities to offer content beyond a profile. Can you incorporate video? How about eBooks, expert medical information authored by the physician and related to the conditions he or she treats? If the physician keeps a blog, call it out or dynamically link to the most recent posts.
And lastly, anticipate and answer the obvious questions visitors will need to take into consideration when evaluating a physician:
- Are they taking new patients?
- Do they treat my conditions?
- Where do they practice?
- Will they accept my insurance?
Because the goal of physician promotion is patient acquisition, make sure there’s a prominent path to schedule an appointment. There’s no point in having a great physician profile if a visitor has no obvious way to schedule an appointment. If you’re looking for ideas, or would like to see some of these recommendations in action, check out the Physician Profile portfolio for healthcare marketers.
A well written, helpful and engaging physician profile likely carries significant SEO potential on its own, but you need to make sure you’re also addressing on-page and technical SEO correctly. Remember, an investment in organic search is an investment that will continually bring likely patients to your physician profiles. Conversely, an SEO misstep can mean that all your efforts are for naught. Use this helpful Physician SEO checklist to guide your SEO efforts when creating new physician profiles, or use it to spot check some of the existing profiles in your directory.
SEO Checklist for Physician Profiles
- Profile HTML Title, meta description, heading tags and image alt tags are used appropriately.
- Embedded image, video and file names are human readable, descriptive and related to the content on the page.
- Profile contains schema.org semantic markup. (Physician Profiles in VitalSite have schema.org/Person markup added automatically.)
- Profile URLs are human and SEO friendly.
- Profile uses appropriate canonical meta tags. This is critically important if a given physician profile can appear at more than one URL.
- Profile is not blocked by robots.txt, nor does it contain the noindex meta tag.
- Profile loads quickly and is accessible to desktop and mobile visitors.
- Profile does not contain broken links.
- The backlink profile for the physician is composed of high quality links.
- There are no unresolved manual actions levied against your site by Google.
Many of these are easy to check, but some require a bit of specialized knowledge. If any of it seems like more than you can or want to take on by yourself, consider engaging an SEO professional for an audit and expert recommendations. This is often the quickest way to understand if there are any problems or missed opportunities that need to be addressed.
Continuing Ed for Physician Promotion
The content and SEO guidelines described above just scratch the surface of effective physician promotion. For more insights, recommendations and advanced tactics you can use to ensure your organization’s physician promotion efforts are driving patient acquisition, watch our webinar, Online Physician Promotion: Increasing Conversions to Fill Schedules.