Understanding How Patients Find You Online

Approximately 68% of patients begin searching for a physician on the internet. As a physician or medical practice administrator, it’s important you understand how patients find you online. Consider the following five ways patients can find you and how you can improve your visibility during their internet searches.   

Paid Search Ads 

With the increasing number of consumers searching online for a new doctor or trying to find the right medical practice for health needs, they can be directed to your website by viewing paid search ads. 

You’ll benefit from paid search ads like Google ads for healthcare since they’re customizable and highly targeted to increase conversion rates to gain more patients and improve practice profitability. 

Local SEO 

In a Think with Google article, Lisa Gevelber shared that when consumers use the search phrase “near me”, that signals a strong intent to convert and visit a website showing on the search engine results page (SERP).

Patients can find your medical practice by completing a “near me” search. However, if you haven’t optimized your website or blog for local search, your site will likely not display on the SERP. 

Verify your medical practice information with Google by completing the following:

  • Create a free business profile on your Google My Business listing so patients can find your practice when completing “near me” searches that utilize the searcher’s geolocation to display local results.
  •  Verify your website with Google Search Console to use their traffic and performance tools, and improve ranking in Google search results.
  • Update the Google knowledge panel for your website to expand the reach in search results. This can supersede information that the Google algorithm identifies automatically.
  •  Add structured data for the content on your website to provide a roadmap for the algorithm to display your page for relevant searches. Your location must be prominently displayed on your homepage. Optimize page content to ensure that this information is included in the meta description, page title tag, and header tag.

Reading Reviews

According to research completed by Software Advice 72% of patients check reviews online for physicians and medical practices. Continually deliver superior patient care and this can improve the quality of reviews patients post on the internet. 

You cannot control reviews from patients and should never dictate what they say. However, make a point to continually monitor popular review sites like Health Grades, Rate MDs, Patients Like Me, Vimo, Rate a Clinic, and Yelp. 

Mobile Searching 

Approximately 77% of today’s consumers use their mobile devices to search the internet rather than using laptops or PC’s. Consider the number of patients that can find your medical practice while using their cell phones. 

However, if your website is not mobile-friendly, visitors will have a negative user-experience (UX) and this can increase the bounce rate—and decrease ranking.   

Use a mobile responsive design and optimize content for faster loading speeds on mobile devices. Use larger, more reader-friendly text. 

Reading Blog Content 

Readers can find your practice on the internet by reading a blog post from your website. However, they may not convert to become a patient unless your content is beneficial to them. 

Consider the following:

  • Use a conversational tone that shares relevant information in an easy-to-read format.
  •  Improve page quality (PQ) rating by delivering educational content that resonates well.
  •  Follow Google’s E-A-T guidelines for expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. 

Transform Your Digital Marketing Strategy Today 

Improve how you’re connecting with future patients by making sure your practice is visible on paid search ads, in localized searches, consumer reviews, on mobile searches, and your blog

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Devin McHatten, MBA

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