How to Keep Your Current SEO Rankings While Redesigning Your Practice Website
You have a medical practice site that you have had up since 2004 and you think it’s time for a “fresh design”. How do you go about updating the look of your site while still maintaining your organic traffic and page index? By following these tips you can save yourself from a big Google punishment and keep your medical practice from losing rankings on the keywords you care most about.
If you are considering a website redesign then I strongly recommend you get advice from someone who understands SEO and website design. Here are some questions to ask:
- What pages are we deleting and why are we deleting them? Can the content be reworked into existing pages? If a page needs to be deleted, make sure you point to the new page and get some of the same content in place so Google understands what to rank the page for.
- Where are the pages being redirected to? All pages that are deleted should be 301 redirected to a new page you want to rank in place of the old page.
- What keywords do the deleted pages rank for and how much traffic are they driving? If you have a page driving considerable traffic for a valuable keyword I would think twice before deleting it entirely.
- How many internal links are we losing and to what pages were they linking? Deleting internal links can be a major factor in lost rankings.
- What URLs are we redirecting the deleted page URLs to?
- Are the redirected pages doing a good job of covering the same content and optimized for the same keywords? If you are 301 redirecting to a new page, make sure it is relevant and optimized for those keywords.
- Are we keeping the same URL structure or changing it. Google indexes pages based on the URL. It’s like a social security number for your pages. If you change the URL structure, it looks like a whole new page to Google.
- Is the main navigation or sub navigation changing significantly? Changes in the hierarchical structure of your site can significantly change how Google passes link juice through your site and rankings can be affected.
- How are the title tags and meta descriptions changing for each page? Changing these to new keywords can essentially reset your rankings for a page.
- Are the image alt tags changing? You may be surprised how much traffic you drive from images on Google images, or how much your image tags affect your page ranking for a certain keyword. Change these with care.
While this seems like a daunting list of questions to tackle before a site redesign, failure to look at these questions and have a plan for them can severely affect your website. By addressing these questions, you can change your website redesign and still keep your legacy SEO benefits.
Why Search Engine Marketing is Necessary for your Medical Practice
The healthcare industry tends to use a lot of acronyms within their processes, but only the people working there will understand it. The old adage of “staying inside the ivory tower” does ring true when medical procedures on your website are too technical to understand like “meniscus tear” and your end-user/patient typed in “knee surgery”; in other words, if the content on your site is not understood, then what makes you think it will be found in a search engine.
An important aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is making your practice website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Although search engines have become increasingly sophisticated, in many ways they still can’t see and understand a web page the same way a human does. SEO helps the engines figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful for users.
SEO isn’t just about getting the technical details of search-engine friendly web development correct. It’s also about marketing. This is perhaps the most important concept to grasp about the functionality of search engines. You can build a perfect website, but its content can remain invisible to search engines unless you promote it. This is due to the nature of search technology, which relies on the metrics of relevance and importance to display results.
LaunchMD works with medical practices to refresh existing websites or build them according to client specifications with the goal of creating an SEO strategy that allows maximum search results. Key items that LaunchMD performs in a client’s SEO strategy include:
- Correcting spidering and indexing problems:
- Search engines aren’t good at completing online forms (such as a login), and thus any content contained behind them may remain hidden.
- Websites using a CMS (Content Management System) often create duplicate versions of the same page – a major problem for search engines looking for completely original content.
- Errors in a website’s crawling directives (robots.txt) may lead to blocking search engines entirely.
- Poor link structures lead to search engines failing to reach all of a website’s content. In other cases, poor link structures allow search engines to spider content, but leave it so minimally exposed that it’s deemed “unimportant” by the engine’s index.
- Correcting content to query matching – Staying in the ivory tower and speaking a language that no one beyond your medical practice walls does not help your practice in searches:
- Keyword Research – Our experts will do the research and use the latest keyword tools to find the best keywords to target for your medical practice based on search volume, geo-location and search intent.
- Website Optimization – We will optimize your medical website for the targeted keywords we have selected. Website optimization is a key component of getting better search engine rankings. We can continue optimization as more content is added.
- Content Creation – Creating content for the healthcare industry isn’t easy. We hire medical and healthcare professionals from all specialties to write original and relevant content for your practice. This content will help you become a great resource for patient education as well as help you rank for more keywords.
- Link Building – A major component of improving your rankings in the search engines is link building. We use the latest industry strategies and techniques to build the best possible links back to your site. Our procedures improve search engine rankings and increase your site traffic.
- Analytics – One of the keys to a successful SEO strategy is to understand your site analytics. By diving deep into analytics, we can find insights into where we can have even better results and where we can find opportunities for new traffic streams.
- Text that is not written in common terms that people use to search. For example, writing about “impingement” when people actually search for “shoulder injuries”.
- Language and internationalization subtleties. For example, orthopedic vs orthopaedic. When in doubt, check what people are searching for and use exact matches in your content.
Our comprehensive SEO solutions for medical practices will help you get higher rankings for your targeted keywords and more traffic and leads for your practice. Call 503-438-6026 and find how LaunchMD leverages your online presence.