Second only to the quality of care you provide, availability may be the most important aspect of running an urgent care center. Folks need to be able to find you easily. Online, that translates to a website that’s:
- Easy to navigate
- Designed to highlight critical information (like your location and phone number)
- Built to facilitate strong performance in organic searches
The first two are easy enough. The third is more challenging. That’s where SEO enters the picture.
In this article, we’ll break down the basics of SEO for you, focusing on how critical care centers can use SEO to help more patients. We’ll provide you with a quick definition of SEO, explain why SEO matters, and even provide several basic SEO tips you can put into practice right away.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s all about improving your website to rank higher on Google’s search results pages. Or, as Moz defines it, SEO is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
That’s a solid definition. In fact, it’s worth exploring. Both quantity and quality matter for organic ranking. Here’s why.
How Quantity Drives SEO
While Google popularized minimalistic web design, you’ll need a certain amount of content on your site to help drive traffic.
Potential patients will need to know basic information about your business. Without an understanding of the services you provide (as well as key info like your location and phone number), folks simply won’t know enough about your urgent care center to trust you in times of emergency.
On top of that, Google’s also paying attention to what you do and don’t say about yourself on your site. In order to gain an understanding of your business, Google needs content to analyze.
At a minimum, you’ll want a strong homepage, as well as a couple of supporting pages to describe your facility, the kinds of care you provide, and anything else potential patients frequently need to know.
How Quality Drives SEO
There was a time (not that long ago) when a lot of content was enough to achieve decent ranking. That time is past. Now, if you want to rank, you’ll need more than a lot of content. You’ll need content that matters.
To be clear, we mean content that matters to your potential patients. The more high-quality content you have, the better.
That includes basic information about your clinic, but it extends beyond that, too. If you can layer a blog on top of those core pages, for example, that can also help SEO. But the content needs to be genuinely helpful.
In other words, you need quantity and quality.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO is important because it’s the foundation for a high Google ranking. Solid SEO helps you rank higher in search results. The higher your ranking, the more likely potential patients are to find you when they need you.
How do search engines determine ranking?
They look at several factors. These include keywords, content quality, ease of navigation, and user behavior. Search providers, like Google, use complex algorithms to collect and analyze this data.
Your ranking depends on how helpful and relevant your site appears to be related to specific search terms. SEO is the process of crafting a site that’s designed, from the ground up, to rank for specific terms.
It’s important because it will make or break your online marketing efforts.
How Can SEO Help Urgent Care Centers?
SEO is essential for urgent care clinics for one reason. It helps patients find you.
People in need of urgent care services aren’t likely to scroll through page after page of search engine results. Instead, they’re probably going to go with one of the facilities toward the top of search engine results.
If you operate an urgent care center, your clinic needs to be as high in organic ranking as possible. Good SEO strategies are the best way to rank higher on the list than your competitors.
4 SEO Tips for Urgent Care Clinics
The right SEO strategy for urgent care centers includes several aspects. The challenge lies in balancing these different factors to get the best results.
Here are 4 tips to help your urgent care clinic rank highly on search results pages:
Use Local Keywords
You want to ensure the folks who are close to your facility are able to find your information online. It’s not enough to rank for general search results. You need to rank for local search results.
You’ll want to use local keywords throughout your website. These will include your city, town, neighborhood, district, and street name. But placement and frequency is a balancing act. If you mention your location too often, you risk hurting your SEO.
Google and other search engines see that as “keyword stuffing.” It’s an outdated practice that will make it harder to rank.
Instead of making local references in every possible place, focus on natural language. When it makes sense to mention the area you serve, mention it. Take care to make your service area clear without overdoing it.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
Google’s ranking system rewards mobile-friendly sites, and for good reason. More than half of all internet activity happens on a mobile phone.
If your site isn’t already mobile responsive, you need to address that. A site that’s mobile responsive will adjust its design automatically in response to a user’s screen size. It’s what makes a website easy to read on a smartphone.
You should also consider including vital information right at the top of the mobile version of your site.
- Telephone number
- Maps or directions
- Insurance or healthcare plans you accept
- Any other patient requirements, such as age restrictions or specialties
Finally, make sure users can tap your phone number on your mobile site to make a call directly.
Add Unique Pages for Each of Your Services
People look for urgent services for problems including sprains, burns, flu symptoms, testing and broken bones. Sometimes, they’ll search for these injuries directly.
If you rank terms related to your core services, potential patients will be more likely to connect with your clinic. The key is to use these terms without crowding your website.
Instead of stuffing as many medical keywords as possible onto your main pages, you can add pages for each of the injuries you treat and the services you provide. To make each page as helpful and valuable as possible, also include genuinely useful information.
For example, on your “broken bones” page, you might include both your contact information as well as immediate steps injured folks can take on their way to the urgent care facility.
This will make your site even more likely to rank.
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Finally, you can enhance your website’s visibility by optimizing your Google My Business profile. Google My Business (GMB) is a tool that helps you manage your online presence.
GMB is helpful for location SEO. It’s linked directly to Google Maps search results, as well as Google reviews. It allows you to highlight contact information, your address, hours of operation, and other key information.
Getting Started Now
The best SEO strategy is a comprehensive one. You need to get each aspect of your SEO strategy right to earn the highest possible organic ranking. It’s a complex, technical process.
While you can attempt to tackle it on your own—plenty of urgent care centers do—we recommend working directly with an SEO specialist. A pro can ensure you employ the right strategies and avoid the wrong ones. Plus, they’ll be able to help you rank faster.
Ultimately, it’s all about ensuring you’re able to help as many folks in your local area as possible. To ensure potential patients are able to find you when it really matters, you need to invest in your clinic’s SEO strategy.
If you’re ready to partner with an SEO pro right now, the Socius team is ready to help. Reach out to us today to get the process started.