How to Expand a Health Care Practice Using the Internet

One of the most prominent features of the Internet Age in which we live is the tendency of users to go directly to a search engine to find whatever they need; information, products, services and, yes, health care. One of the ways a website for health care practice differs from an e-commerce site is that rather than having a nation-wide or world-wide target as an e-commerce site does, a practice’s website must target only potential patients in a limited geographic area. For most health care practices, it’s rare that a patient will travel a huge distance to get there when there are comparable practices closer by. The secret to expanding your practice using the Internet is to optimize your website and online marketing to focus only on your specific region, and on the specific services you provide.What Action Should Your Website Prompt?
Your practice probably doesn’t sell things on its website. Rather, the website exists to give people information, get them to call you, or get them to come to your practice. Sometimes websites have multiple goals. Let’s say that you use your website to disseminate answers to commonly asked questions but you also need to use it to expand your practice. You would need to have separate pages in your site dedicated to each purpose. That way, when you do paid search and link-building, you’ll always have a page to send prospective patients to that speaks directly to them and has the specific goal of getting them to contact you.Vertical and Regional Portals
Portals are basically online listings. Some are free, others cost money. A vertical portal is one that lists only practices within your general profession. A word of warning here: lately, there has been a rash of vertical portals that are nothing but black-hat catch-alls that spammers use to gather your contact information so they can hit you with all kinds of advertising. A better bet is to use regional portals. These focus on services within a metropolitan region. Again, some listings are free and others cost. But if you know a fair number of people in your region use a certain portal, it might be a good bet to list there.Link Trading
Link trading for your practice needs to be different than normal link-trading. In order to help convince Google that your site is the most relevant for people searching in your area, you need to trade links not with practices like yours but with other local websites. In order to do that, you’ll likely need to spend some time on the phone with some other local businesses that use websites. Carpet cleaners, restaurants, CPAs, law practices are just a few examples of businesses that may use websites to attract local clients. If you look around, you’ll find many more.Pay-Per-Click (PPC)
Be careful how you go about running a pay-per-click campaign. Done properly they can yield a terrific ROI but they are notorious for breaking marketing budgets when done improperly. If you’re not confident with your knowledge of the finer points of pay-per-click, do yourself a favor and pay a professional to do it for you. Be sure that any pay-per-click campaign you undertake uses specific names of the regions your potential patients might look under. And that leads us to our final point.Most Important
Before you undertake any of the above Web marketing tactics, you must first optimize your website to make it local. That means you need to do some keyword research to find out what terms people in your area use to find the services you offer. Once you know that, you need to pack the copy on your website with those terms everywhere you can without making it read badly. Undoubtedly, the keywords you’ll want to use will include repeated uses of the names of your city, county, and region, because those are the terms local people will use in a search engine to find a care giver in their area. Do all you can on your website to make sure the care giver Google finds first is you.