Healthcare SEO has taken on new urgency thanks to fallout from the coronavirus crisis. That urgency is observed in the sudden emergence of telehealth as a viable healthcare delivery option. Simply put, telehealth is here to stay. Now that physicians and patients alike have had a taste of it, there is no going back.
As SEO experts, part of our job is to pay attention to the trends in the industries we serve. Our own research indicates that telehealth is now a hot trend in healthcare delivery. It will be for the foreseeable future. So where does your organization stand in terms of digital marketing? As a healthcare delivery provider, are you covering telehealth with your marketing strategies moving forward?
Telehealth: A Brief History
What is now considered modern telehealth technology finds its roots in the post-war era. One of the earliest examples of telehealth involved physicians using telephone lines to send radiology images to specialists. Patient care was improved by not having to wait so long to see critical images.
By the 1960s, that same telephone technology was being harnessed to transfer medical documents across large distances. Meanwhile, the psychiatric community began tapping into television as a way for psychiatrists to interact with their patients remotely.
Things went into hyper-drive with the introduction of the internet in the 1990s. The internet brought us a plethora of new ways to interact with healthcare facilities, transfer records, and even communicate with our physicians. It has all led us to where we are today: a point in history in which telehealth has the potential to completely transform health service delivery.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
What’s most important to us from a marketing perspective is how people – everyday users of healthcare delivery services – feel about telehealth. Small-scale surveys and studies suggest that patients are more comfortable with telehealth for things like primary care. Our own research shows just how often people now search for telehealth services online.
Google trends bears out our belief that digital marketing in the healthcare sector should now cover telehealth services. Looking back over the last year, Google data clearly shows a flat line from September 2019 through February 2020. Beginning in March 2020, online searches for telehealth started growing.
There was an exceptionally drastic spike in searches during the first two weeks of March. Things have gradually leveled off since then, but telehealth searches are still eight times more common today than they were at the start of the year.
The numbers do not lie. It is clear that consumers are interested in telehealth services. It is also clear that they are using the internet to find such services. If Google trends proves sustainable over the long term, the interest in telehealth isn’t going to ever return to pre-coronavirus levels. It is here to stay.
Our Tips for Better Telehealth Rankings
Making the most of increased search engine activity surrounding telehealth is a matter of coming up with a solid strategy and implementing it. Your organization stands very little chance of capitalizing on this new internet trend if things are left to chance. We can help. As SEO specialists in Salt Lake City and beyond, we can harness the best tools and strategies to help your website achieve better page ranking.
Here are just some of the things we recommend:
1. A Permanent Landing Page
Blog posts are great. In fact, we consider them vital to any SEO strategy. The same goes for informational articles and videos. But in the healthcare sector, those types of content only go so far. That is because a certain segment of the population you want to find your website will be looking for it for the first time. Moreover, they will not be looking because they want to read a blog post. They need services.
We recommend developing a permanent telehealth landing page designed specifically to welcome first-time visitors. This landing page should be easy to find. From a search engine perspective, this means populating it with important but succinct information that Google finds friendly. For example:
Your organization’s name, address, and contact information
A list of services your organization provides
A brief description of what your organization specializes in
Telehealth hours and access information.
This sort of information works very well in convincing Google algorithms to use your site for knowledge graphs and featured snippets. The same information is helpful for establishing rich snippets and achieving high rankings on page 1 of SERPs. And of course, a well-conceived landing page does wonders for local search.
The landing page should also be engaging. It should provide links to your organization’s services, particularly telehealth services. Using the landing page as a portal to access telehealth services is even better. The idea is to create a separate page that acts as the customer’s doorway to your organization’s offerings.
2. Paid Advertising Campaigns
Paid advertising is not something we recommend to every client. It makes sense for some, but not for others. Rest assured that it is appropriate for healthcare SEO. Paid advertising can prove a highly effective tool in pointing customers to your organization’s telehealth landing page.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a good place to start. By partnering with you to establish a workable budget, we can devise a cost-effective PPC campaign that takes advantage of the most likely keywords patients use when searching for telehealth services. Every time a potential customer clicks on your ad, he or she is directed to your landing page. That means you are generating traffic with every penny spent.
3. Regular Press Releases
In the short term, we feel press releases are particularly important to promoting telehealth. With everything from hospitals to primary care offices now getting on the telehealth train, the next several months should be rife with opportunities to use press releases as a means of announcing new offerings.
The press release is the perfect medium for telling people in the local area that you are doing something new. A press release can announce the start of a new telehealth service. It can inform the community that your organization is adding new clinicians and support staff to address increased telehealth demand. Essentially, any news about telehealth you want to broadcast could be well served by press releases.
Press releases are especially helpful to SEO when they are distributed through the proper channels. As such, we research the most effective distribution channels for each client. We will do no less for your organization.
4. Telehealth Guest Posting
Our final tip is to put more effort into guest posting. If you are not familiar with the concept, guest posting is the practice of publishing informational posts on sites other than your own. Telehealth notwithstanding, guest posts are a vital SEO tool for improving link building, increasing brand awareness, and establishing relevance and authority.
Right now, guest posts are especially helpful in getting the word out about telehealth. Well written posts published on carefully chosen websites can grab the attention of those readers you most want to target with your telehealth services. Embedded backlinks to your landing page generate the kind of traffic you need to improve both page ranking and conversion optimization.
Guest posts do not have to focus squarely on telehealth, either. They can cover a variety of healthcare-related topics with mentions of telehealth thrown in. The point is to simply raise the subject and then direct readers to your landing page.
You Can’t Afford to Wait
Google trends clearly shows a new interest in telehealth services among internet users. They are searching for telehealth services whether your marketing efforts are covering it or not. Thus, the lesson is clear: you cannot afford to wait. Your organization must start marketing for telehealth now if you hope to compete in this emerging marketplace.
WebTek specializes in all things SEO. As a Salt Lake City firm, we can help your healthcare enterprise compete in the local market. If you are outside of Salt Lake City, we can help you compete in whatever market your organization is in. The important thing is that you start marketing telehealth services as aggressively as you market anything else.
We are standing by to put our knowledge and expertise to work for you. If you would like to know more about how telehealth marketing can benefit your organization, feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.