If you’re a doctor and you want more patients, then you need to rank better in Google search engine result pages. To do so, you’ll need to compete against your peers for keyword terms related to your specialty and your city (e.g., psychiatrist, Atlanta). But you’re also going to need to compete against doctor ratings websites like Healthgrades, Yelp, Vitals and UCompareHealth to rank better for your own name.
That’s right, most doctors nowadays rank lower for their own name than do websites like healthgrades.com, vitals.com, yelp.com and ucomparehealth.com.
Dear physician, if you doubt me, take a moment to search your own name and degree in Google. Heck, search my brother’s name (Rohit Khanna, MD). He doesn’t rank for his own name in Google until result 3 (Rohit, you really need to let me fix that problem for you).
So what do you do? How do you get your name to rank higher in Google than doctor ratings websites? Follow these tips and you’ll see your website move up one or even two results in less than two weeks.
How Doctors Can Win the Search Engine War against Doctor Ratings Websites
1. Stop pointing fingers.
Online doctor ratings websites are run by good people who are just trying to make a living in a competitive marketplace. I know this because I led all digital marketing for DrScore.com, the first online doctor ratings website. The higher a doctor ratings website can rank for your name (and the name of the 900,000 other doctors in the United States) the more advertising revenue it can generate. These people mean you no personal harm and are not in a campaign to personally own your name rank in Google; they are only interested in generally ranking for all doctors in the United States.
2. Build your anchor.
On your website’s home page, ensure your name and degree are displayed in the page title, first paragraph of content, at least two headings and one link. Your home page should be your strongest ranking page and if your name is prominently and repeatedly included in the content and code for this page, you’ll push your way up a notch or two in the search engine results.
3. Praise yourself.
Build a doctor profile page on your website that is entirely devoted to you. Make sure that the URL of that page is as follows: http://www.yoursitename/yourfirstname-yourlastname-yourdegree/. The page title should be your full name and degree and, if there’s room, your city and specialty as well. Add a photo of you as well.
4. Publish or perish.
Create fresh content on your website. Write original blog posts or simply comment on links to online stories related to your medical specialty and publish those comments on your blog. This helps build your authority and, in turn, your overall website ranking. But make sure your content isn’t simply fluff. Make it meaningful so that the people who do click those links read your writing and don’t click away and to a doctor ratings website.
5. Take back your website.
Google wants to recognize you as the greatest authority for all topics related to your name. You just need to tell it to do so. Do this by taking ownership of your website. Follow these simple directions to create and submit your website’s XML sitemap to Google Webmasters tools.
Need help doing any of these five steps? Produce Creative, my digital strategy firm, helps small medical practices increase website traffic and convert that traffic to leads for new patients. Email me at [email protected] to get started. I’d love to hear from you.
Vishal Khanna, MPH, MFA, is a digital marketing strategist based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He works with brands of all sizes to generate new business through strategic online initiatives. Awarded the Content Marketer of the Year award at the 2015 Content Marketing World, he partners with brands worldwide to develop online initiatives that deliver results.