Features of promotion of the clinic website in search engines
August 09, 2023
Table of Contents:
The websites of medical organizations receive close attention both from legislation and search engines. Medical companies provide services to the public, which is connected with the life and health of their visitors. Hence the large list of requirements for the quality and expertise of website content.
At the same time, it is important to take into account the large number of aggregators, which in recent years have been taking over from the official websites of medical organizations. It is difficult to fight against these resources, but at least one should look at the format in which they implement their sites, and try to improve the usability of resources, design of lists of doctors, placement of detailed information about doctors and services provided.
Thus, the promotion of the site of medical companies differs from the promotion of other topics due to the specificity of the activity and a large number of requirements.
Search engine requirements
In addition to legal requirements, search engines have also begun to apply requirements to the websites of medical organizations. This primarily concerns the Google search engine, which in 2014 used the term E-A-T for the first time in its documentation on assessing the quality of Internet resources, and in 2018 conducted an update of websites, as a result of which resources with a low E-A-T score lost their positions in the search engine. Medical websites were most affected by the update.
According to Google's assessment, certain sites or pages can be classified as YMYL resources (an abbreviation for "your money or your life"). These are sites or pages that have the potential to affect a person's health, happiness, and safety. Medical sites are justifiably included in this group, but in addition to them, this group includes sites of financial organizations, sites with legal information, news resources, etc.
In general, without compliance with legal requirements, it is difficult to count on a positive evaluation of the site by Google, since federal laws contain quite a large number of requirements that a medical organization must take into account on its site, which in turn confirms its competence in the topics and texts that the company places on its resource.
Medical website promotion
Promotion of the site of a medical clinic is pointless to start without ensuring that the site is filled with all the necessary information listed above. This is fraught with low positions from search engines.
As with any topic, you should start by gathering semantics and building a structure.
Semantics in medical topics is huge and diverse. When collecting and clustering it, it is quite easy to make a lot of mistakes. To prevent this from happening, you need to be able to define query intents correctly.
In fact, medical organizations are engaged in the treatment of various diseases, but all queries related to treatment are non-commercial for a medical site. For example, for the query "gastritis treatment", you will not find a single commercial page in the issue. The site of a clinic within the framework of gastritis treatment can count on potential clients only on queries related to the services provided in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
At the same time, there are differences in the search engines' output. Google (probably after the introduction of the algorithm for evaluating YMYL-pages) shows to a greater extent the sites of medical organizations that have an information section and an article on the subject of the query.
In building the structure of the site, you should take into account that the following groups of pages can be presented in a medical clinic:
- departments (general areas of activity - e.g. surgery, dermatology);
- specializations (related to departments, may overlap between departments - e.g., mammology surgeons are related to both the Department of Surgery and the Department of Mammology);
- services (what procedures are performed in the department and by specific specialists, also diagnostic services such as tests and examinations);
- diseases (information materials on diseases treated in the departments).
As a rule, private medical organizations do not separate departments in the structure, as it is more common in municipal polyclinics. But for general clinics such a division is justified:
It is worth paying attention to services for children and allocating specialists and procedures separately to the children's area.
The issue of writing quality content is a continuation of the issue of competent collection of semantics and its distribution among landing pages. For queries related to diseases and treatment methods, the preparation of informational content is required. Most often these are articles with a complete analysis of the topic: description of the disease, its symptoms, methods of diagnosis and treatment, prevention, etc. The volumes of such materials are quite large.
For queries related to commercial services, texts are written to describe the process of performing these services: who performs them, what preparation is required on the part of the patient, how the service is to be performed, etc.
To fill the site with competent materials, it is necessary to have on staff or look for a copywriter who has at least a general understanding of medical topics. It will be difficult to achieve good quality materials by rewriting texts from the issue. It is mandatory to check the text by the staff of the organization - this will avoid inaccurate or irrelevant information. Plus it is possible to establish in the article the authorship of the verifying physician, which will improve the credibility of the article on the part of search engines (especially to comply with the requirements of Google within the E-A-T).
The design of the content is also an important element. It should be structured, highlighting the main thoughts, as users will not read material written in solid text, on which there is nowhere to stop the eye. It will be useful to place convenient navigation on the article, visual materials, convenient tables, etc.
The site of a medical organization must provide the user with the opportunity to perform the following actions on the site:
- fill out an appointment form;
- order a call for an appointment over the phone through the operator;
- Leave a review of your visit to the clinic or a particular doctor;
- to ask the doctor a question.
The appointment form is one of the key conversion forms of a website. If a clinic has a general appointment system that records busy appointment hours and is integrated with the website, then it is possible to implement the full functionality of making an appointment during the hours available at the doctor's office and convenient for the visitor. But such a system is not always available, so there may be no possibility to implement such a system on the site. In such a case, it is recommended to at least provide an opportunity for the visitor to specify a convenient time and date of visit, but make this field optional (so as not to discourage visitors who have not yet decided on the time).
For the rest of the forms (Order a Call, Leave a Review, Ask a Question), it is recommended to use a minimum number of fields to make it easy for users to fill out the forms and not spend a lot of time. Depending on the form, a field with a phone number (if we are talking about ordering a callback) or an email address (if we are talking about reviews or questions to the doctor) is sufficient.
Key page elements
It is necessary to distinguish several types of pages on the sites of medical organizations, the filling of which has its own peculiarities:
Clinic departments - on these pages it is important to have blocks:
- a list of physician specialties;
- A list of specific physicians working in the department;
- a list of department services;
- price list (full or brief);
- branch addresses;
- appointment forms and callback request forms.
Specialist pages (e.g., dermatologists):
- List of physicians with a brief description of each (at a minimum - having information on specialties, degree/title, years of experience);
- services provided;
- price lists (preferably complete);
- addresses of clinics where specialists in this area are available.
specific physicians - it is required to post detailed information about the specialist:
- doctor's length of service;
- education (basic and additional education, advanced training courses, seminars taken, etc.);
- work experience (where, in what years the doctor worked);
- doctor's certificates and diplomas;
- services rendered;
- addresses of clinics where the doctor has appointments;
- appointment forms and an opportunity to ask a question;
- reviews about the doctor.
- the cost of the service;
- addresses where the service is provided;
- doctors providing the service;
- description - what the service is, how it is performed, to whom it is indicated and contraindicated, by whom and in what cases it is prescribed;
- recording forms;
- visual materials - photos, videos, etc.
- detailed text on the stated topic (full disclosure of the issue, the presence of schemes, lists, tables for easy perception of information);
- structure of the article;
- visual materials (photos, videos, etc.);
- sources of materials (qualified websites, accredited medical journals);
- authors of the articles;
- a disclaimer with information warning that the text is not a description of treatment regimens and any treatment can only be prescribed by a doctor.
All the requirements and conditions of website promotion listed in the article have been implemented on real projects of medical clinics. The data on the results of promotion confirm the importance of taking into account all aspects of working with the site: compliance with legal requirements, understanding the structure of a medical organization and correct evaluation of semantics in the subject of medicine.
Here is an example of a site on which full-fledged optimization work was carried out, taking into account all the requirements described in the article:
- A full-fledged section with comprehensive information about the organization has been created, meeting all legal requirements. All these requirements coincide with what Google wants to see on similar sites within YMYL.
- All information materials have been revised: a competent copywriter with practical experience in medicine worked with the materials; all articles have been checked by qualified doctors.
- A big advantage was the placement of the authors of the articles as well as the reference list - quality qualified sources with weight in the medical field.
This site smoothly, but very slowly grew in traffic during the entire period of optimization work. But in 2018, when Google conducted an update of medical topics, measures were taken to refine the site in order to increase trust in the resource.
For Google, this was an important signal to increase the position of the site in search, as a large share of traffic comes from Google. But here it is important to take into account the fact that traffic from Google is mainly informational (and geo-dependent), and for Yahoo Google's requirements have no weight, and it continues to show information resources of dubious content with unknown authors. After its update, Google, on the other hand, prefers information about diseases that are posted on medical sites, since in this case there is a better chance that these materials have been checked by doctors and contain really useful and reliable information.
- Legal requirements are important points, compliance with which will help to avoid problems with inspection organizations and will improve the ranking of the site.
- In order to meet Google's requirements, you need to be attentive to the content of the site, to conduct a qualified assessment of the content by specialized experts.
- When collecting semantics, competent clustering of queries is required. This will allow you to collect maximum traffic in both commercial and informational areas.
- Do not forget about the properly built structure of the site - in medical topics a huge number of different areas, specialties, types of treatment and diagnosis. If all this is competently built into a single site, you can cover a huge amount of semantics.
- Copywriting is something that almost everything depends on. There is no need to save money on content, on the specialists who will be engaged in it. The texts must be professional, literate, relevant and reliable.
- To form landing pages, it is important to put yourself in the patient's shoes - what does he or she want to know about the clinic by going to the page of its website? Everything that has to do with a certain department, doctor, service or specialization should be placed. And of course, the ease and convenience of contacting the clinic is a very important factor.
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