Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.
If you have a website, you’ve undoubtedly heard those 3 magic letters a million times: SEO. Search Engine Optimization.
Understanding (and utilizing) the power of SEO is like the modern-day Holy Grail of the web. But so many people don’t understand it, and if you’ve spent any time on the Internet, you’ve likely heard a thousand different opinions and even more “best practices” on how to use it, many of which likely conflict with one another.
In this post, we’re going to unearth some of the mysteries surrounding SEO by helping you discover what it is, what it’s not, what works best today, and how it relates to ophthalmic websites.
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What SEO Is
First, a definition. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. Most SEO strategies use a combination of keywords, images, links, and social media activity to drive traffic to a certain website, all of which are designed to get the specified web page higher in search engine results.
In short, good SEO is a way of systematically presenting content so that search engines find the content that is on your website and present your content to users higher up in search results. Even more importantly than the search engine finding what content is on your website, good SEO practices place the needs of the user above the desires of the search engine.
That sounds complicated, but it’s really not. We’ll explain more soon…but first, we want to tell you what SEO is not.
What SEO is Not
There are many myths and urban legends surrounding the practice of good SEO, but very few people understand what SEO is. SEO is not:
A magic bullet or a catch-all solution
A sure-fire way to get #1 in search rankings
An overnight tactic that will instantly drive more traffic to your website
A way to “beat the system” and achieve higher success
Google and other search engines have literally spent hundreds of thousands of man hours and millions of dollars developing advanced algorithms that discern which content is most relevant to the user’s search, and then display the best results to the user. We don’t mean to offend, but you’re not going to get around it and see overnight success with some new SEO “trick” or a sure-fire “best practice” that someone sold you on the Internet for 5 easy payments of $19.95.
How SEO Works
Let’s think about search engines for a second. A search engine is not a real person, but it still has to decide what content exists on a website (this is called “crawling” a website), categorize the content and file it away, and then display that content when a user searches for something that may be related to it (for example, a phrase, the name of a business, an image search, etc).
A good SEO strategy focuses on the content. Good SEO will implement a variety of practices to ensure two things:
That search engines have the most opportunities possible to categorize their content; and,
That the website has the highest possible chance of appearing at the very top of results when a user searches for a similar topic.
Good SEO strategies will focus on content – they will place keyword-rich content on web pages, place links to other websites and other pages within their own website, utilize description tags for images and graphical elements so that search engines can understand what images are of, and so on and so forth.
Seems simple, right? Well, not so fast…SEO strategy changes a lot.
What Used to Work
In the past, the Internet saw dozens of “best SEO practices,” ranging from the slightly underhanded to the downright spammy. When the term SEo was first coined, pretty much anything went – if you could link to 1000 different websites from your own, you would be guaranteed to be #1 on Google.
This took on a variety of different forms, all of which can be categorized as “Black Hat SEO”:
Keyword stuffing was a SEO technique used by web designers to overload keywords onto a Web page so that search engines will read the page as being relevant in a Web search.
Another Black Hat SEO practice was to make text “invisible” by adding white text on top of a white page in order to fit more keywords in and get a greater chance of being discovered by search engines. Users couldn’t see it because it blended in with the background of the page, but search engines could read the code, pick up the text, and file it away to be displayed in search results.
A Doorway Page is a web page designed specifically for the purpose of gaining high placement in a search engine rankings. The doorway was meant to capture the attention of a search engine by containing keywords and phrases that it would pick up on. Often the doorway page would contain hidden text in order to load the page with occurrences of a specific keyword or phrase.
Adding Unrelated Keywords
Another practice was to add unrelated keywords to increase the likelihood that users would stumble upon a given website even when they searched for something completely unrelated.
This involved changing the webpage entirely after it has been ranked by search engines, thus trying to “trick” the search engine into displaying a website with unrelated results.
These may seem like quick or easy tricks to “game the system” and achieve page one (or even spot #1) rankings, but they don’t work anymore. In response to the growing number of websites that were using such methods, Google (in the interest of the best user experience) changed their algorithms drastically, not just to cease rewarding those sites with page one status, but to penalize the websites that utilized these spammy practices.
Best Practices Today
Don’t get us wrong: SEO isn’t dead. There are still many best practices that can be used to form a complete and comprehensive SEO strategy and see wonderful results. These include having a responsive website that works well on mobile devices, adding keyword-rich body copy to your website, linking your social media profiles to your website (and posting regularly), using descriptor tags for images and other graphical elements, and having a link-rich content, both linking to external websites and other pages within your website.
At the end of the day, it’s all about helping search engines understand and correctly categorize what’s on your website…and helping users find it by providing an exceptional user experience. While search engines are not dumb, they aren’t humans either, and so they need a bit of help.
What this Means for the Ophthalmologist
Content is king.
Perhaps the best advice we can give to ophthalmologists is to be regularly posting content and tweaking content on the website, most likely through a blog or “newsroom” of sorts. When it comes to modern SEO, content is king, and there’s no better SEO strategy than regularly posting informational, keyword-rich content on a variety of topics to increase the chances that a search engine – or a real person – will stumble upon what you have to say.
Within the last year Google has updated their search engine algorithm again to reward those websites that are “responsive,” or that work well on mobile devices. Again, this is all done in the interest of user experience, and websites that don’t display legible fonts and content tailored and optimized for mobile devices will be penalized.
Sounds too good to be true? It probably is.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to SEO, there aren’t any magic bullets – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Internet is a wonderful place, but it’s full of people and companies promising that they can make you #1 on Google or increase your traffic 200% overnight…and it just isn’t true. There’s no way to game the system.
In the long run, good SEO strategy is an investment.
It takes time to see a real return on investment on an SEO strategy…but it’s all worth it. Once you have implemented a good SEO strategy, it will focus on content and both users and search engines will be rewarded by finding what they are looking for.
SEO can seem overly complicated, and if you don’t live and breathe the Internet 24/7, it’s easy to get lost. But good SEO isn’t really that hard to understand – it just takes a methodical, well thought-out approach, hard work, and lots of patience to see a result worth the investment.
Not on Page 1 of Google? You could be missing out on patients.
Get a free, individualized report with detailed insights, recommendations, and actionable steps to improve your practice’s SEO today.
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Crawford Ifland is the CEO of Messenger Healthcare Marketing. Messenger is a digital marketing agency specializing in custom healthcare website design, healthcare SEO, promotional videos, and more. Messenger gives the nation’s leading physicians and healthcare organizations the tools they need to grow their organizations.
In the late 1990s and early 200s, Google wasn’t nearly as smart or sophisticated as it is today. Back then, having good SEO meant stuffing as many keywords into your website as possible, and getting as many inbound links as you could. The game was easy.
However, for those early “SEO gurus” who gamed the system, the fun wouldn’t last. Every time Google found a weakness in their ability to deliver relevant, high-quality search results, they addressed it.
To make sure your practice website is optimized for Google’s algorithm updates, request a Free SEO Audit!
Wondering how to rank your ophthalmic website higher in Google? Our friends at Moz have created the handy infographic below to visually show how Google has changed over the years.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an ophthalmologist in 2018 who doesn’t have a website. However, upon further inspection, you might suspect that many in the medical community don’t care about their website or online reputation: their website isn’t responsive, pages are out of date, it’s hard to navigate…the problems can go on and on.
Everybody claims to know that a good website is an essential element in a marketing plan that attracts new patients and fosters growth, but if you want to realize that growth for your practice, you first need to know the elements that make a website good.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 key ways in which your website is important than you think.
1. A good website increases exposure.
When you promote your practice online, the goal is exposure. The more patients that can see your practice, the more patients you will attract. A well-built practice website will give your practice exposure and help potential patients discover your practice and what you have to offer.
2. A good website promotes a coherent brand.
If you want to stand out in a crowded market, you need to have a brand that is clear, coherent, and cohesive across all platforms. Ideally, your website will bring all elements of your brand – your physical presence, your social media, your paid advertising, and your content marketing – under one roof to tell a coherent story. Patients resonate with clear and authentic stories, so utilizing your website as a platform to tell your story will elevate your brand in the minds of your patients.
RELATED: MillennialEye LIVE Talk – Building Your Practice Brand
3. A good website will be a valuable marketing tool.
A good website should serve as your main marketing tool when seeking to reach potential patients. Your website should contain many opportunities for patients to connect with you online, request more information, and take action on marketing messages they see.
4. A good website is flexible.
Technology is constantly changing, and your website is no exception. A good ophthalmic practice website will remain relevant and up-to-date with the latest technological advances, giving you an advantage over practices whose websites aren’t well- maintained. Having a website that works on a variety of devices, is easy-to-navigate, and is flexible to the needs of the patient will go a long way in helping to win the trust of your patients.
5. A good website is should provide a competitive advantage.
Chances are your market is crowded. Having a good website will give you a competitive advantage over those competitors who haven’t paid close attention to their online reputation. This means not only having a well-designed website but making sure you’re showing up at the top of search engine results so that when patients search for ophthalmologists in their area, they find you.
6. A good website will be locally targeted.
As a physician with a physical practice, it’s important to be attracting local patients. A good ophthalmic website will help bring local patients to your door through valuable content, SEO best practices, and a focus on your local market. Making sure your practice website is hyper-local is one of the most important things you can do to grow your practice and attract new patients.
7. A good website will contain valuable content – and lots of it.
You’ve heard it said, ”Content is King”…and there’s a reason that statement rings true. Especially in ophthalmology, where patients are confronted with medical jargon, the unknown, and the prospect of surgery, the more information, the better. Having a website that’s chock-full of content and information to set patients’ minds at ease is a must.
8. A good website facilitates conversation.
What good is a website if patients can’t contact you for more information? Lack of easy-to-find contact information is one of the biggest reasons patients abandon websites without ever scheduling an appointment or requesting more information. A good ophthalmic practice website will provide patients multiple opportunities to contact the practice for more information or to schedule an appointment. Having clear, easy-to-find contact information is key.
9. A good website is educational.
As we’ve mentioned, the field of ophthalmology can be scary for outsiders who are wary of going to the doctor. Hence, having educational content throughout your website will go a long way in easing patients’ fears and helping them understand what their condition or procedure entails. Chances are a more-educated patient will make your life easier…and if you want to see more educated patients, you’ll need to take a look at your website.
10. A good website reinforces a good brand image.
It’s easy to measure the effects of conventional marketing with statistics, return on investment, and myriad analytical tools. Your practice image is a bit more nebulous, but it’s still important. Your website is a crucial element in helping you build a good image for your business. Your brand doesn’t exist outside of the minds of your patients, so it’s important to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward everywhere. A good website will help with this by presenting your practice in a positive light, making your message easy to understand, and facilitating conversation with patients.
It’s not always easy to create a good, useful website that serves your business needs and goals while reaching more patients, but as you can see from these 10 aspects of a good ophthalmic practice website, it’s incredibly important.
Getting your practice website right is by far one of the most valuable things you can do as an ophthalmologist to attract more patients and grow your practice.
Want to improve your practice website? Contact us for a free website report today.
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The age of your website might seem like nothing more than a random number. However, it has quite a bit of relevance when it comes to your success in areas such as SEO.
If you‘re running a website for your ophthalmic practice, you will want to make sure that it’s informative and appealing to potential patients and search engines alike. Whether you built your website 10 years ago or just finished a brand new site last month, what really counts is how old it looks.
Whatever the age of your site, there are certain actions you can take to make it more valuable over time. Let’s look at why it’s so crucial to have a website that looks young and up-to-date.
The Benefits of an Updated Website
In the old days of SEO, domain age was highly valued: the older your domain, the greater chance you’d have at ranking higher. More recently, however, Google has shifted its focus to other areas, such as the quality and relevance of content. Domain age still plays a part, but it’s not as important as it used to be.
Google uses many factors when it ranks websites. “Domain authority” depends on various elements, including backlinks and page loading speed. When older websites rank better than newer ones, however, it isn’t only because they’ve existed longer. It’s because they tend to have more content, backlinks, and traffic.
What really counts today is to have a website that is “young” in appearance, features, and relevance. By this, we mean that the website is constantly updated and new content is continually added on a regular basis. This is especially crucial in a ﬁeld such as ophthalmology, where your visitors want to know that you’re up-to-date with the latest medical advancements in the field. Here are some features of an updated website:
More and more people are accessing the internet via smaller devices like smartphones and tablets. Most website design today is responsive, meaning it automatically adjusts pages to ﬁt all devices. But many older websites are non-responsive, which causes them to lose lots of potential visitors. Google is also actively penalizing those websites that are not responsive, as they deliver inferior experiences to visitors. If you want to rank higher, make sure your ophthalmic practice website is responsive.
Google favors websites that are frequently updated. Visitors also like to see relevant news, tips, and stories. If people see that your most recent post is from 3 years ago, they’ll look elsewhere for the latest news.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be continually changing the content found on your pages or blogging on a daily basis, but having new content to share at least a few times a month can do wonders for your SEO and online reputation.
People today like to absorb content in a variety of formats, including images and videos. It helps to mix things up and give visitors great written content along with visual stimulation. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this, including educational videos, varied imagery, and immersive visual experiences.
Nobody likes to visit websites with pages upon pages of text with nothing visually interesting to break it up. After all, our brains process images up to 400x faster than we process words, so keeping your website updated with visually-interesting content can work wonders with user retention and engagement.
Your Website’s Age in Online Years
To find out your website’s literal age, you only need to consult your records. If you don’t remember when your domain was first registered, check with your domain registrar, website hosting provider, or Whois.
When Google ranks websites, it uses a proprietary formula that includes hundreds of factors. When you improve in any of these areas, you increase your website’s value and rank better. Two websites that are in the same niche and have the same content, but were built at different times will rank differently.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter as much how old your website is in actual days, months, or years. It’s never too soon or too late to remake it in a way that’s more visitor- and search engine-friendly.
The key is to provide a valuable user experience that promotes frequent and continual engagement over time. The most successful websites are responsive, updated, adaptable, and in touch with the needs of both customers and search engines.
If you’re serious about obtaining more traffic to your practice website, it’s important to show your visitors (and search engines) that you are investing in their experience and wants to provide value through new content, research, and a pleasant experience.
Need some help in updating your ophthalmic practice website? Contact on our of website specialists today for a Free Website Report.
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If you want your practice to stand apart from every other practice in your market, chances are you should be using video.
The stats surrounding video are powerful: marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users, and 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
What’s more, video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from Search Engine Results Pages – it’s clear that video is a powerful tool when it comes to marketing your ophthalmic practice. But how can you make your videos as effective as possible? In this article, we’ll explore 5 tips to help you optimize your video production efforts.
Keep it short
Video provider Wistia found that videos up to seconds in length had a much higher drop off rate than videos from 30 to 60 seconds in length. The longer the video, the shorter the engagement rate. While average patients watch approximately 81% of a 30 second video, there’s a huge drop-off after that point, as viewers will only watch approximately 62% of a 90 second video. To combat this, strive to keep the length of your videos to 45 seconds or less.
Limit copy around your video
The more choices people have, the longer they take to make a decision – this is a phenomenon called analysis paralysis. If watching your video is the main action you’d like for prospective patients to take on your landing page, then avoid distracting them with other options.
Put your video front and center
Research has shown that videos placed on the top and center of landing pages outperform videos on the bottom of the page: a video across the top of a page received a 32% higher conversion rate than the variation with the video on the bottom right.
There’s a reason that popular video sites like YouTube and Vimeo place videos front and center to not allow users to get distracted by other elements of the page. Your ophthalmic practice may want to take a page from their book and do the same on your website.
Add post-video action buttons
Another powerful way to get users to take action after watching a video is to add post-video action buttons with subtle animations to induce action from your patients.
If you’re using a video hosting service like Vimeo, you can choose for your video to display a button, additional videos, or even a link to another webpage after the video has finished playing. This animated cue can be a powerful tool in getting your patients to take action after watching a video, and can increase your marketing ROI.
Optimize your video for SEO
Research has shown that it’s more than fifty times easier to reach page one of Google search results with a video than with a web page. This could be because many businesses are neglecting to optimize their videos properly…and if competition for video is lower, there are simple ways to increase your ROI.
Creating clear keywords, titles, and descriptions for your landing page video can give you a better chance of hitting that top spot on Google. Additionally, creating a video sitemap – a text document embedded with links to your specific videos – will help Google find and index your videos.
We hope these tips help you optimize the videos your ophthalmic practice uses on its landing pages – by making some subtle changes, you can drastically increase your conversion rates and your marketing ROI.
Curious about creating a promotional video for your practice? Learn more about Messenger’s video production services today.
Last week, Google announced a major change to their search engine ranking algorithm that will penalize those website that load most slowly by moving them down in search results.
While it has long been suspected that Google favors websites that load quickly, this is the first public announcement that the search engine giant has made about speed and how it factors into its rankings.
The update is coming in July, so Google is giving webmasters plenty of time to optimize their sites accordingly. But it begs the question: what can be done to mitigate the risk? And is your ophthalmic practice website ready? Are you prepared? How could your organic traffic suffer if you don’t optimize your website appropriately?
In this article, we’ll look at some practical steps you can take to make sure your practice website is well-optimized for SEO.
The Mobile Trend
It’s no secret that Google favors mobile. Over half of all Internet traffic these days comes from a mobile device, and Google announced a few years ago that it will promote those sites that offer a good mobile experience with responsive design.
Their most recent speed announcement follows a growing trend: people want information in a fast and convenient manner.
At the heart of Google’s announcement isn’t a focus on its algorithm, textual adjustments, or code optimizations per se – it’s about user experience. Those websites that are easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, and laid quickly will see the best results.
Google says this update “is about the page performance in general, with the goal of offering mobile users a better overall experience when searching via mobile.”
Google mentioned in its announcement that the update will only affect pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users,” which will only affect a small percentage of queries. The company also notes that “the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.”
While this may seem reassuring, it’s still important to make sure your website is up to snuff. For starters, here are a few practical changes you can make:
Run a Google PageSpeed Insights Test
Google’s PageSpeed Insights Test is designed to show webmasters optimizations that can be made to decrease load time and minimize the amount of resources necessary to render a site. For example, compressing images into smaller file sizes can help a page load more quickly, as can making some subtle tweaks to the code of a website, how much space it takes up, etc.
Have a blog? Consider using Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages a few years back in an attempt to make blog posts, articles from popular news sources, and other forms of easily digestible content faster to load and easier to browse. It’s fairly easy to convert existing blog content to AMP pages when someone is on a mobile device, especially if your practice website is using a popular Content Management System like WordPress (there are tons of plugins that can convert posts to AMP for you). What’s more, those pages with AMP built-in are more likely to be featured in Google’s Rich Snippets and see higher placement in search engine results.
SSL is a method of securing and encrypting website traffic that is an absolute must if you want do do well in Google rankings. Google actively demotes non-secure websites in its rankings, and not having an SSL could cost you big time if sensitive patient information is exposed – it’s a major HIPAA violation. A good SSL certificate costs about $100/year and plays a crucial part in ensuring that all information sent or received via your website is secure. Pardon us for sounding rude, but in 2018, not having a secure practice website is just plain stupid.
So, how does your website stack up?
With Google’s announcement, now is a good time to do a brief assessment of your practice website: is it mobile friendly? Do you have an SSL installed? If you have a blog, are all key technologies (like AMP) being utilized?
If not, your practice may see a significant drop in organic traffic when Google’s update kicks in…or you may have already been suffering from reduced traffic without even knowing it.
Organic traffic is an important part in any practice’s marketing strategy, and if your practice website doesn’t measure up, it may be time for a helping hand.
Contact us today to receive a free audit of your practice website – we’ll show you key areas for improvement and provide tangible steps to take so you can ensure your practice website will be attracting new patients for years to come.
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You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but it it’s not converting visitors into patients, it’s a complete waste. If you want to increase the number of LASIK patients that are coming to your practice, you need the right tools to help those leads convert.
When a prospective patient is “top-of-funnel” (that is, when they are Googling different practices to learn about their procedure and amass more research before they make a decision), you need to take tangible steps to convert them into real patients.
This is especially true for those practices that focus primarily on elective procedures such as LASIK and PRK. In this article, we’ll explore the different tools your website needs to have in order to attract more LASIK patients to your ophthalmic practice.
Responsive design ensures your LASIK practice website looks great on both desktop computers and mobile devices alike. With over 50% of LASIK patients beginning their search on a mobile device, having a responsive website that looks great across all devices (no matter their size) is essential.
RELATED: How to Build a Website for Practice Growth
Lead capture and email marketing
If you’re seeking to attract more LASIK patients, you’ll need ways to re-engage them after they’ve expressed interest. Whether it’s a newsletter subscription, a gated download, or simply a request for more information or a free consultation, capturing the email and contact information of prospective LASIK patients will give you the resources you need to re-engage and re-connect with patients who are interested in having a LASIK surgery at your practice.
Clear contact information
The number one reason prospective LASIK patients will leave a website is the lack of clear contact information. If people can’t find ways to get in touch with you, they’ll leave and go to a competitor who is easier to contact. Having clear contact information present on each and every page of your LASIK website is a crucial element to attracting more LASIK patients to your practice.
Having prominent patient testimonials on your website is one of the most powerful strategies you have to convert leads into new patients. Social proof is a powerful force that can’t be ignored – and if you have glowing reviews from former patients, new leads are more likely to convert and use your practice for their procedure. Consider asking former patients to write reviews of their experience on Google MyBusiness, Yelp, Facebook, and other review platforms online – not only is it a great way to use social proof to convert new patients, but it’s also a powerful search engine optimization tool, as Google rewards those businesses with reviews with higher search rankings.
Built-in search engine optimization
Speaking of search engine optimization for ophthalmic practices, you’ll need to make sure your LASIK website is Google-optimized out-of-the-box. Search engine optimization strategies for ophthalmologists are often misunderstood, but they’re quite simple: it’s all about optimizing your website for Google, and getting other website to link to your ophthalmic practice website. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, consider hiring an agency to help you use SEO to make your practice website more visible to LASIK patients.
RELATED: How to Use SEO to Attract More Patients to Your Ophthalmic Practice
Online booking capabilities
When you think about the demographic that is most likely to book a LASIK procedure, they’re most likely in the Millennial generation. Millennials aren’t so keen on picking up the phone to request more information or schedule an appointment: they’d rather do it online. Make sure your LASIK website features prominent online booking capabilities – the easier it is, the more patients you’ll attract.
Many people – not just Millennials – are impatient when browsing websites, especially on their mobile devices. Because of this, you should strongly consider adding video content to your website rather than huge blocks of text. Whether it’s a practice promotional video or educational content designed to educate and inform people who are doing research about LASIK, it’s a great way to attract attention and help “warm leads up” to your practice and what you offer. What’s more, video has been proven to increase conversion rates and increase purchase intent…so it’s a no-brainer to have good video content on your website.
Social Media Integration
Having a strong social media strategy for your ophthalmic practice is vital in this day and age. Having robust social profiles that are active on various platforms (and linked to on your website) is a great channel for attracting new LASIK patients. Millennials and others who are interested in elective procedures are almost always on social media platforms, so increasing the number of potential “touchpoints” your business has with your potential patients is a winning strategy.
Need help with your practice website?
Contact us today for a FREE Website Report and see how your practice can begin to attract more patients today.
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We’ve all heard it said that an image is worth a thousand words. It’s an old phrase, but it’s never been more relevant than with today’s websites and search engine optimization techniques. As an ophthalmology practice, you need to make sure that prospective patients visiting your website have a pleasant experience browsing your site and viewing your content.
The average patient will only stay on a webpage for a few seconds before deciding to move on to the next page of your website (or deciding to exit your site completely). This is why website optimization – and optimization of images, in particular – matters a great deal. Are your website’s images getting the job done?
Imagery Should be Authentic
Prospective patients respond to authenticity, which means the images you choose to use on your website should reflect you and your practice.
If you use stock images, website visitors will notice. If they see the same image on another website and then come to your site, the message you are trying to convey becomes inauthentic and diluted: all the patient can think of is how they saw the same image on the previous site that they visited. This may give an impression that the practice wasn’t thoughtful about the creation of the website, and that quality and thoughtfulness isn’t important to the practice.
Trust is a huge factor for patients, and inauthentic websites can hurt business. 63% of consumers say they have engaged with disappointing brand content and 23% said they wouldn’t interact that brand’s content again after that.
Imagery Should Load Quickly
If your images are taking a while to load into a browser, it’s likely because your images are not optimized for the web. Images have to be formatted before going online. Magazines and print use high-quality images with corresponding large file sizes, but for the web, images can be scaled down a bit. The quality still matters, but the size of the image file itself is critical.
A standard high-resolution image may be 4-5MB, which will take forever to load on a web browser (even with a fast Internet connection). If you’re on a mobile device, this loading time could be even longer, which will cause the majority of website visitors to abandon your site altogether. It’s relatively easy to scale a 5MB image down to 200KB and still retain sharpness and reduce pixelation. These images will load nearly instantly, which is a boon for patient experience and search engine optimization alike.
Imagery Needs to be Tagged
Once you correctly scale optimize and upload the images, they need to be tagged appropriately as well. Image tagging needs to be done not only for the benefit of old browsers and accessibility best practices, to but also for search engine optimization purposes.
Images need to have “alt tags” added to them. Alt tags are a key component of accessibility, as they simply describe the image for users with accessibility functions turned on (for instance, users who are blind).
Alt tags are also important because search engines will use them to index content on a web page. Search engines like Google can’t actually “see” what’s in an image, so they rely on alt tags to describe the image and index it appropriately. Having the correct alt tags on the images throughout your ophthalmic practice website can be a huge benefit to your practice by helping search engines help you attract more patients.
These website optimization tips mentioned should help you make your website quick to load, easy to browse, and accessible for search engines. The goal in optimizing your website’s images is to provide a better user experience for existing patients, all the while attracting new patients to your practice.
To learn more ways that Messenger can help you optimize your ophthalmology practice website, contact us today.
Optimize my practice website
Like it or not, your website is the first interaction that many of your patients will have with your ophthalmic practice. There’s no denying it – research suggests that 61% of patients go online to do their research before coming in for a visit.
However, it’s unlikely that you studied website design in medical school, and if you’re trying to do it yourself, chances are you’re struggling to keep your head above water. Even if you have someone on your team managing your ophthalmic practice website, they most likely have other projects on their plate as well, and so your website may fall to the back burner.
If you’re worried that your ophthalmic practice website might not be measuring up, check out these 8 signs your ophthalmic practice needs help with web design.
Your website isn’t mobile-responsive.
With an ever-increasing number of prospective patients turning to mobile devices to conduct quick searches, it’s critical that your website is mobile responsive. If it’s not responsive, not only will patients have a hard time finding the information they’re looking for, but Google and other search engines are more likely to penalize your site with lower search rankings.
So get responsive!
You’re not clear on the basics of SEO.
The purpose of your website is to attract prospective patients to your practice…but if they can’t find you in the first place, it won’t do you any good. That’s where Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) comes in. SEO best practices ensure that Google (and patients) will have the best chance possible of locating your practice when they’re searching for the products and services that you offer.
If your website isn’t up to date with current SEO best practices, you could potentially be missing out on tons of patients.
Can’t tell if your website is measuring up or not?
Get a Free SEO Audit for Your Practice
You don’t have lead generation forms to help you gather information from prospective patients.
Collecting data is crucial for allowing you to stay in touch with potential patients. It will also allow you to grow that potential client base over time by offering valuable resources and materials that are more likely to turn them into paying patients.
Your website is the perfect tool for this – consider implementing lead generation forms that collect basic patient information (like a name and an email address) to grow your subscriber base.
Your website isn’t increasing your conversion rates…
Your website should be bringing patients into your practice. If you don’t have a tool in place for tracking conversion rates, you’ll have no idea whether or not you are effectively reaching your target audience. Consider working with someone who can create, maintain, and improve upon lead generation funnels to increase conversion rates.
…or, you don’t know how to interpret your analytics at all.
Chances are you have basic reporting and analytics tools available on your website, but if you don’t know how to interpret the data, it won’t be very useful to you. What’s a bounce rate, you ask? Is a 2% CTR good, bad, or horrible? Having someone on your team who can help you interpret what your website visitors are doing is essential.
Your website isn’t adequately serving your current patients.
Your website isn’t just a tool for attracting new patients – it’s also an excellent tool for nurturing existing patient relationships. Tools like patient portals, information about surgical complications, and additional resources should be available to help take your existing patient relationships to the next level.
You aren’t showing off everything your practice has to offer.
Does your practice provide elective procedures like LASIK or Botox? Showing the breadth and depth of your services is a great way to attract new patients. Maybe a patient who was considering LASIK is also considering aesthetic treatments. The more information you offer, the easier it is for patients to make decisions that could lead to more revenue for your practice.
Your competitors’ websites all look better than yours.
In this case, it really is a competition! Without coming into your office, patients can only rely only on two things: word-of- mouth recommendations and information they find online. If your website is lagging behind those of your competitors, your practice will suffer as a result. By re-designing your practice website so it stands out from your competition, the likelihood of attracting previously-unknown patients greatly increases.
As we’ve seen, your ophthalmic practice website is one of the most important marketing tools in your arsenal, so you don’t want to leave its success up to chance! If any of these warning signs apply to your ophthalmic practice, contact Messenger today to see how we can improve upon your website and help you grow your practice.
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