There are thousands of new websites created every single day. New studies have even shown that 571 new websites are created every minute! Keeping this in mind, competition for search engine visibility above your competitors is even tougher than ever before. Social Media can help your medical practice keep that competitive edge alive and even help you surpass other practices out on the internet.
Truthfully, social media links do not directly affect the way that search engines rank your website. Social media links are too easy to spread and disseminate, which is the reason for the lowered importance in figuring out your ranking. However, it still does affect your rank in different ways than traditional back-link algorithms.
Here’s how it works:
- Websites that are shared or liked frequently on social media are indexed faster in search engines because they are constantly scanning social media sites. They will locate the link to your website and follow it through faster than finding the page on its own. The only thing controlling this effect is that the posts/tweets/etc. need to be active and shared/liked to show up on the results.
- Other websites are more likely to link to your content if they come across it on social media.
- A strong presence on social media can boost your brand awareness and positive reputation. Social Media allows people to talk about your business/practice and even to give you reviews. Social Media is the new word of mouth, which is one of the best ways for medical practices to grow.
Because of this, you can say that social media interaction definitely changes how your website is viewed by search engines. However, to succeed in marketing your medical practice correctly on social media, it takes much more than just creating a social media page. You need to be involved. Here are some tips to help your practice best utilize this tool to market itself effectively online.
1. Complete your profile with relevant information
Include as much relevant information as possible about your practice while filling out your social media profile. The most important aspects of this will be your practice’s location, your practice’s name and the URL for your website. When you are filling out the ‘About’ section, make sure you include the keywords you want to rank for in the description and also in any social media posts you create.
When people like, share or interact with your social media updates, they are helping you to spread awareness of your practice. For example,
A good rule of thumb, whether it’s on your website, or in social media is to keep the keywords you’re looking for in the title of your page as well as the description and in the content. This Facebook post’s title is mentioned in the description. This will also be passed around whenever anyone shares this update and tags their friends in the comment section.
In this post’s case, it can appear in search results for searches such as “Tips for Rosacea” and “Rosacea in the Winter”, which will appear in results and as the post links to the website, this will present more traffic for the practice’s website.
2. Engaging in conversation with your patients is an extremely important part of Social Media SEO
Social media provides an extremely easy way to engage your patients. You can offer valuable information or address any concerns and/or complaints that patients may have directly. You can also use social media to ask questions of your patients, poll them for interests in new procedures/better care practices or just have a general discussion with your patients and reply to their comments on your posts to better interact with them.
Ensure that you engage your patients directly. Such interactions are integral to creating and retaining an interactive relationship with them. Social Media SEO encourages your patients to return while helping you display your commitment to their care for all potential patients to see. Another great side effect is that satisfied patients are more willing to spread the word about your practice and their friends are able to see the interaction. Now this goes without saying, no discussing HIPAA-protected information or subjects, but tips and general Q&A is just fine.
Another great benefit of interacting with your patients in this manner is that it shows your level of commitment and care to your patients. Responding to their comments on your posts shows that someone actually is paying attention to them, which 72% of customers list as a critical element of doing business with anyone. It also indirectly results in traffic gain when someone mentions your practice on their website, social media page or blog as a helpful resource. (see above reference to Anderson & Rahman Dermatology of Knoxville, TN).
3. Partner with someone who has a large following
For the most part, people or companies with a large social media following can exponentially increase the visibility of your social media content. Though just because more people see your content, this doesn’t mean it will directly increase your search engine rank, it will create a funnel for more links in the future through this tactic.
For example, if this person or company that has a much larger following than you do shares your content, it would be a major benefit for your practice as their audience start to search for your practice in Google, Yahoo, or Bing. As a direct result of this, your social media posts will have a better value after syndication. Because of this, you should start connecting with relevant influencers to build a cycle in which they promote your content and talk about your practice.
4. Build and Promote Interesting Content
Basically, social media seo breaks down to creating interesting content and experiences that your patients will love to discuss and share. Make sure that your videos, graphics, text, etc are unique and are indicative of what it is your practice is about.
Once your posts start seeing interaction (likes, shares) you may consider social media advertising to further and more quickly spread the word about your practice. Facebook and Twitter both offer advertisement options for your posts where you can “boost” their appearance and even control which demographic sees the ad (based on location, age, interests, etc). This can result in increased engagement with your target audience and thus higher traffic to your medical practice website. We also suggest utilizing hashtags for even better reach.
While Standard SEO continues to be the priority when it comes to building your website’s search engine visibility, social media seo is fundamental for building authority. Definitely put forth the effort to optimize your social media profiles, connect with the right marketing partners and post quality content on each social media network. The return on your investment of time and energy will be worth it in the end.