Written by TeleVox partner, Wpromote
As a digital marketing company specializing in websites for healthcare providers, Wpromote has helped a lot of businesses and healthcare professionals create compelling, effective online presences. We’ve designed websites, developed marketing strategies and helped providers drive conversions and acquire new patients using online marketing and advertising tools. All this experience has helped us discover which tools work and which don’t. But what’s one thing that few local healthcare practices do that can make a huge impact on website traffic, brand recognition and your bottom line?
In a word: blogging.
Here are the five biggest reasons you should be blogging regularly:
At this point, you’ve probably heard of the term “SEO,” or “Search Engine Optimization.” SEO is the practice of optimizing your site to appear higher in search engine results, and it generates big returns on your practice’s digital marketing investment. Blogging is a core element of SEO, and it improves your website’s standing in search engine results pages (SERPs) in several ways.
For one, blogging adds new pages to your site that patients can search for and land on. Adding content to your site creates more real estate for search engines like Google to index, providing a wider platform for searchers to land on. By focusing on blog topics within your medical or dental niche and about the treatments you provide, you can include more keywords in your site and improve your standing in relevant search results.
Additionally, blogging regularly communicates to Google that your site is active and constantly being updated. Search engines prioritize “fresh” content – sites with recent, up-to-date changes that are actively being maintained by their owners. Blogging is an effective way to keep your site fresh while also adding relevant, high-value content that users can engage with. Keeping your blog updated improves the standing of your overall site within Google’s algorithm.
More and more, people expect excellence from the companies they do business with, particularly when it comes to healthcare – they only want to be treated by an expert. The beautiful thing about blogging is that, in the patient’s mind, it makes you look like the expert you are. Seeing the depth and breadth of your knowledge laid out in an engaging, well-maintained blog helps patients feel comfortable with you and your practice, driving conversions and growing your practice.
Blogging also allows you to demonstrate that you’re an informed healthcare practitioner who stays up to date on current events and healthcare trends. Covering news and recent happenings in your field not only improves the freshness of your website, but it also communicates to patients that you continue to stay abreast of new trends and developments in your industry. This improves patient confidence and assures them that they’re getting effective, modern care.
Blogs also offer an opportunity for you to demonstrate your authority not only in your overall medical or dental profession but also in the specific treatments you offer at your practice. Outside of general blog posts about your healthcare specialty, you can write in-depth blog posts that focus on explaining one specific treatment or medical condition in detail.
These posts become evergreen content: content on your website that continues to provide value to visitors year after year. Using blog posts as evergreen content to expand upon and explain specific procedures and treatments gives interested readers a way to know more about a procedure while allowing you to keep the actual treatment page on your website short and succinct.
Sure, it’s well and good to attract traffic to your website, but the question every practice owner should be asking is how to convert that traffic into new patients. Blogs are a powerful way to do that. The secret? Just add a compelling call to action in each post, such as contacting your practice or scheduling an appointment online. This leverages the traffic you’re getting on your blog into real-world, revenue-generating patients.
You can use blogs to attract patients in several ways. On one level, a patient might land on a blog post after clicking on it in search engine results to get an answer to a question they have. However, if your blog post contains internal links – links to other pages to your website – this can encourage visitors to click through to new pages and continue reading your site. By ensuring each page has a call to action asking patients to contact your practice or schedule an appointment online, you can use blog posts as a way to bring new visitors further into your website and convert them into new patients.
On another level, a visitor may be browsing your website and want to know more about a procedure, so they read one of your blog posts for a more in-depth explanation. If there’s a strong call to action at the end of the post, they may be sufficiently convinced of the value of the procedure and schedule an appointment directly from that blog post. The important thing is to ensure your blog posts have internal links and calls to action so they either keep visitors on your website or generate conversions directly from the post.
The truth is, patients want to be “wooed” by your practice in the same way they’re wooed by a business. To do that, you need to provide engaging, high-quality content that explains the procedures and benefits of treatments you offer.
If your blog content is engaging and contains internal links to other pages on the site or on your blog, it’ll encourage visitors to spend more time on the site reading your content. This builds trust and rapport with potential new patients. The more time they spend on your site, the closer they’ll feel to your practice and the more comfortable they’ll feel with you as a doctor – after all, if a doctor is going to perform a procedure on you, wouldn’t you want to get to know them and their practice first?
Blog posts are a great way to automate that step. By providing blog content about your procedures, your practice and you personally, you can provide readers a way to get to know you and your business without needing to spend the time explaining everything yourself. In this way, blogs are like automated relationship builders: they provide an automated repository of content that readers can engage with, building the relationship with patients and driving conversions all the while.
It’s likely that you’ve heard the term “long tail” in marketing, but what exactly does this mean? When it comes to blogs, it means that the work you do now will continue to pay off for a long time. A well-written blog post is a valuable asset because it can compound: it can continue to generate traffic, leads, and conversions long after it’s posted. This makes continued blogging a great investment for future growth.
But long tail has another meaning, as well. In SEO, long tail refers to longer keywords with a low search volume – that is, keywords that few people search for – but that still matter to your practice.
For example, if you run a dental practice, some of the highest-volume keywords you could go after would be things like “dentist” or “teeth cleaning.” These are keywords that many people search for, which means they have the potential to generate lots of leads and conversions – but unfortunately, they also have the most competition. Meaning, your competitors are buying the same keywords.
Long tail keywords for a dental practice would include terms like “CEREC same-day crowns in Topeka.” Few people on the web will search for this term – but some will, and if you have a dental practice in Topeka that offers this service, anyone searching for this term is your prime demographic.
Long tail keywords are particularly powerful because, while they may not generate a high volume of traffic, the traffic they do generate is more relevant. People searching for these keywords want a specific service in a specific location, and if you can provide that, they’re much more likely to convert than someone simply searching the word “dentist.”
Blogs let you target long tail keywords effectively because you can essentially create a blog post for each long tail keyword you want to target. In the previous example, it’d be simple to create a blog post about the treatment process for CEREC same-day crowns, and by including the location “Topeka, KS” in the content, you can target that exact long tail keyword.
Answer Patient Questions
Another powerful aspect of blogging is its ability to automatically answer common questions from your patients. This provides an education channel that’s helpful to patients, builds rapport and brings them closer to choosing your practice – all without continuous effort on your part.
Chances are, you already have a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website. Blogging is an easy way to supercharge this page. Take each question from your FAQ, then write a blog post that explains that question in more detail, going in-depth on relevant concepts and providing the reasoning behind the answer. This allows patients to learn more about your practice and get more comprehensive answers to their questions – and the beauty of it is that once the blog post goes live, it will always be a resource to new patients with the same question. You only have to write the post once, but it will continue to serve as a resource as long as it lives on your site.
Another great way to use blogs to answer questions is to flag every email you get from patients, tag them based on their subject and store them in a special folder. Any time a patient sends you an email with a question not answered on your site, you can add that question and a brief answer on the FAQ page, then write a blog post answering the question in detail. This approach is especially effective because you know the content is valuable to your patients – you’re answering questions directly from your patients, so it’s virtually guaranteed to be useful content for them.
Sharing your blog on social media is key to not only driving traffic but also potentially generating new links pointing back to your site. If you write a unique, informative and compelling blog post, you are creating an opportunity for others to share your blog on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ or even on their own website. Quality backlinks are a powerful tool in SEO, which is one reason why blogging is so important to your online presence. When it comes to blogging, don’t forget to share the love through the power of social media.
Beyond social media, there are a number of ways you can use blogs to generate backlinks to your site. One option is to offer guest blog posts to other popular blogs in your niche. You can offer to write an entire blog post for their website or simply provide an expert quote – and if they cite you with a link to your site, that generates a backlink to your website that improves the SEO of your site.
Convinced? Blogging is one of the easiest and highest-yield forms of digital marketing. Companies with blogs receive 97% more inbound links to their website, generate 67% more leads and enhance their position as a trusted source in the minds of customers as compared to those without.1 Really, the question isn’t whether or not you need a blog – it’s why don’t you have one yet.