SEO ranking factors

Medical website marketing power: Top 4 SEO ranking factors

Whenever you put your business hat on, you will look at how visible your medical website is for the surgery type or treatment you offer. Keeping an eye on these key Google-ranking factors is critical if you want to remain successful and grow your medical practice.
SEO ranking factors

Medical website marketing power: Top 4 SEO ranking factors

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

October 29, 2021

Let’s dive into it and learn the 4 most important Google ranking factors

Most important SEO ranking factors

The 4 Top SEO ranking factors are quality content, a healthy back-end, responsiveness and excellent links. We will go over them one by one to give you all the clarity you need to change your digital reality into a lead-generation machine!

1. Content

Content is easily misunderstood. It doesn’t mean you give the most peer-reviewed, in-depth description of the latest research. It doesn’t necessarily involve detailed lists of body parts, surgery techniques or treatment details.

Good content – pardon – great and awesome content that attracts patients and helps you grow your medical practice is something else. Start with a decent volume per page, dedicated to one clear topic that is proven to be popular in Google Search, 800 to 1,000 words minimum.

More is always better, provided the information is well presented. Make sure your information is nicely displayed and organised with headers, palatable paragraphs and relevant, quality images that have the perfect size. So it’s not just the medical accuracy. Google sees all of the above as your ‘content’.

2. How well your medical website is built

Medical websites will rank higher when they are well built. This is not about who chose the colours and whether we still like them or not. This is about making sure the Core Web Vitals (as developers and Google specialists like to call them) are healthy.

Of all people, as a doctor, you will appreciate the difference between poor and excellent health. Loading speed is a big one. If it’s slow (hosted far far away or on mediocre servers), it costs you time, patients and money.

Interactivity is the second vital. When patients click, does it react fast or does it require patience? Again, Google checks this and would rather send patients to faster loading websites with content similar to yours.

Visual stability is another health-check Google does. It’s about the way items appear on a page when it loads. If buttons, images and copy don’t come in a logical way, patients might be confused and click where they don’t want to click. Don’t just celebrate the nice design. Be critical, because Google is when it looks under the hood of your shiny new medical website!

Another key element is website security. If it has HTTPS in front of it, then patients can rest assured that your website is secure and won’t cause computer damage or share data with someone who has unfriendly intentions.

3. Is your medical website mobile-friendly?

Why does it have to be mobile-friendly? Because Google will prioritise medical websites that are made for mobile. The majority of patients do their research on their phones and that is why mobile comes first.

Mobile-friendly does not mean that your website is available on mobile. It means all the elements resize to fit the screen in a way that doesn’t hurt, requires you to pinch in and out all the time and that allows you to have a great user experience.

Mobile-friendly development means literally building a second version of your website with different font sizes, menu structures and page layouts. Because Google first looks at the content on mobile screens, you could be under ranking even if you had amazing web pages on your medical website. So make it mobile-friendly and you will do more business!

4. Links

  • Inbound links are links from other websites to your website. The hospital you work for, the Society you adhere to, the GP clinic that refers patients to your practice. Or the local newspaper that covered a heroic story on your work or research.

  • Outbound links have value too. Google loves links and if you are generously linking to other relevant articles, blogs, pages or profiles, it shows that you are helping the patient navigate this giant ocean of information, which Google sees as a great practice and the reward is an extra dose of Google-ranking-power.

  • Internal links are useful for multiple reasons. As a patient, I get to see more relevant pages, read up on topics that are related. It enhances my experience and I am now better informed. For you as a specialist and the owner of the practice, it means more time spent on your website. Google detects this and rewards it with…better ranking.

Links are not a quick IT task. They require a deeper insight into what helps the patient navigate the information. They require knowledge of patient behaviour on medical websites and our SEO team here at Digital Practice only links to relevant content, not for the sake of it. That is why a website with a good balance between inbound, outbound and internal links, will use those links with a focus on relevant content.

What else is important to rank well on Google?

More SEO ranking factors

There are dozens of ranking factors. Here are a few more to be aware of.

If you have cut back on those hosting invoices because nobody at your practice was able to explain what they were for…You may end up with a server marked as a spam server.

A server is basically a computer that holds the physical files of your website. The custom software that makes it work. If that sits on suspicious computers in low-cost data centres, Google will punish you for it and rank you lower. If your website happens to sit on a server that serves porn or spam, the whole cluster of websites with that shared hosting location will be flagged and rank lower in Google search. For the record, we will never install your medical website on dubious servers or anywhere near them.

Server location matters too. Cheap overseas data centres might give you the satisfaction of a very low-cost hosting solution but each image and paragraph have to travel a long distance. And who keeps track of the loading speed with a reward-or-punish system? Right. Google. In other words, keep it close to home in a quality data centre.

The reputation of your website is critical too. Positive reviews linked to your website give you credibility.

Meta descriptions are the summary lines for a web page that you see in Google search as ‘search results’ before you decide to click on the link. Google crawls the actual page and also looks at the meta descriptions. Quite often, when a doctor comes on board as a new Digital Practice customer, we find an existing website with no meta descriptions at all. That is the equivalent of permanently blocking the entrance to your consultation room! Meta descriptions are to be taken seriously. Spammy, duplicated or misleading descriptions are picked up and very unproductive if you want your content pages to rank well.

And a final one is the frequency of your updates. A new blog every month, new pages every 3 or 6 months, is an extremely powerful publishing rhythm for a medical website. Our premium customers who do this with a framework of detailed traffic data, manage to apply the top SEO ranking factors continuously, creating spectacular and sustainable business growth.


Quality content for medical practices

If you are serious about your practice, focus on those top SEO ranking factors from today onwards.

Quality content that is not just about medical accuracy, presenting information in a palatable and professional format.

A healthy website back-end, so it simply works and loads fast.

Responsiveness so your website displays correctly on all screen sizes.

And excellent links to other websites, from other websites, and between the pages on your website.

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