The Importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Dental and Medical Websites

To help explain this important topic, we have guest blogger and Solution21, Inc.‘s resident search marketing expert, Andrew Esphahani.

Introduction to SEO

Search engine optimization – or SEO – is a method of grooming online content to make it more compatible for high-ranking search engine placement. SEO is one of the most advantageous tools available for promoting websites – especially those of local medical practices competing for visibility in a crowded market. SEO makes it possible to reach top search results without the use of paid ads. There are two basic types of SEO:  onsite and offsite. Highly successful websites are often those that develop a strategy to make use of both.

Onsite SEO  These are the processes to make websites more search engine friendly by checking the codes, tags, and descriptions of each web page. This includes careful keyword plotting, strategic design elements, title tags, content creation, and more.

Offsite SEO  These are optimization practices that require offsite marketing. Examples include back-linking, social network marketing, etc.

Content and Blogging           

Content and blogging are the fundamental elements of search engine optimization. People browsing the web are generally looking for helpful information or answers to questions. Search engines are getting ‘smarter’ and more advanced by the day and quality content has never been more important for page ranking than it is now. To stand out amongst local competitors, the web pages of medical professionals must have detailed information that is unique and unlike that of similar websites. Content should offer value to the reader – whether it is on the main page of a website or offered more casually in a blog.

Keyword research plays an important role in content creation. It isn’t enough to produce compelling content and hope that it attracts the eye of search engines and the interest of potential patients. Keyword placement is what makes it possible for medical blogs and websites to rise to the top of search engine results. Keyword research requires a special skill set not common among the general population. Most medical professionals and other business owners look to expert web developers and online marketers to help with keyword placement.

HTML Code, Site Architecture and Search Engine Success Factors

To the average person, HTML may seem like a complex language used only for web development. But in reality, HTML is an essential part of search engine optimization. Website components like header tags, meta description tags and H1 title tags are used to help search engines decipher page topics and the type of information held within a specific area of a blog or website. HTML code is a premier opportunity for optimizing a page, boosting its success in search engine result rankings. Similarly, site architecture plays an equally important role in achieving high visibility among search engines. For example, Google and Bing will ‘crawl’ a website periodically to index changes, updates and new content. Site architecture helps determine which pages a search engine is allowed to crawl, as well as what type of content is displayed in results. In the hands of a professional, this can make it possible to encourage the use of specific pages in search engines. On the other hand, someone with little experience in updating websites may leave pertinent errors unaddressed, which could prevent certain pages, content or even whole websites from being crawled by search engines.

Link Building and Ranking in Search Engines

It’s no secret – even among amateur web developers – that link building is the gold standard of offsite SEO. A back-link to a medical website is the same as a personal reference in the world of SEO. Google and other major search engines notice links to a website and may assign it greater authority. But as with many of the components of SEO, the right kind of links can help a site gain influence, whereas the wrong kind of links can hurt – not help – a site’s SEO ranking. Several factors go into determining the quality of links, including the types of sites they come from, the number of links from a single site, the type of anchor text used to form the link, and whether the links were assigned in a natural way.

Social Media and Ranking in Search Results

SEO is a puzzle that webmasters have been attempting to unravel for many years. But the rise of social media has added a new element of importance to the equation. Social media has changed the way search engines identify the type of information that is most important to browsers. Search engines like Google and Bing want nothing more than to provide their users with the exact information they are looking for as quickly as possible. Their search result algorithms place weight on whether a particular site is being ‘shared or ‘liked’ on popular social media platforms.

Drive Traffic to Your Medical or Dental Website with Professional SEO Management

You could spend hours or even days pouring over information about search engine optimization. But, the truth is that SEO is constantly changing and evolving. What was once highly relevant no longer is and, unless you have the persistence to continue devoting to your website, your time is likely better served by calling on the professionals at Solution21, Inc. Medical and Dental SEO management is what we do…every day. Nothing is more important to us than making our clients successful and happy. To find out more about the services available from Solution21, contact us today. We look forward to helping your website break out of its shell and soar to the top of your local market.

About the author. Andrew Esphahani is a Search Marketing Specialist at Solution21, Inc.  He is an anthropologist and loves traveling to remote parts of the world.

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