Dermatology SEO: 15 Tips to Improve the SEO of Your Practice

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Dermatology SEO

Dermatology SEO

Dermatology is one of many health-adjacent industries looking to use the internet for marketing purposes. Since it’s a health field, it falls under Google’s rules for YMYL sites and, consequently, the E-A-T requirements they put forth as higher standards for such sites.

Don’t know what all that means? Check out this guide to YMYL for healthcare businesses.

To summarize, though, it’s pretty simple.

As a health-related site, dermatologists need to build greater authority, expertise, and trust to attain a higher ranking in Google’s search. You can do that in many ways, so it’s not relatively as high a bar as it may seem, but it’s still more than your average retailer needs to do.

We’re not going to say that SEO for a dermatologist is easy, but it’s not an impossible challenge. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 15 tips you can use to boost your site’s SEO and search ranking.

1: Cover the On-Site Basics

Many online SEO guides skip the basics or focus entirely on them. The basics are essentially your fee to enter the competition. If you don’t have these down, your site won’t stand a chance. Optimizing them gets you to the starting line.

Onsite Basics

What are they? There’s a lot.

  • Use a human-readable URL structure.
  • Use well-formed meta titles and descriptions.
  • Make use of internal linking.
  • Use plenty of formatting in your content.
  • Use SSL for enhanced security throughout your site.
  • Make use of trust signals.

The standards for some of these change over time, so even if you put serious effort into SEO 10 years ago, it’s worth performing an audit to ensure you’re still meeting modern standards.

Annual audits are suitable for any SEO and content marketing campaign to ensure you’re still in line with current expectations and strategies.

2: Ensure Fast Site Load Times

While many marketers will consider page loading times to be another essential element of SEO, it’s nuanced enough that we like to make a point of it on its own. Site speed and the Core Web Vitals are interconnected metrics that measure how quickly your site loads and how soon it becomes responsive.

Fast Load Times

You can test your site using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. Remember to make sure you check both the desktop and the mobile versions of your site!

Google uses mobile-first indexing and will preferentially use your mobile site for ranking if you have one, so it’s a good idea to optimize with mobile in mind first and foremost.

3: Do Your Keyword Research

Keyword research is integral to modern SEO. However, it’s not as simple as picking relevant words and using them X number of times in your content. Google uses a lot of advanced language processing and semantic analysis to determine what a page is about and what keywords are relevant. To an extent, you can write focused content and trust Google to pick up on it.

Keyword Research

However, some attention to keywords can go a long way. You have a few options here. You can do the legwork for general keyword research, go all-in to qualify your keywords, or simply use an automated tool to analyze and recommend optimizations to your content. All of these are viable options, and when you hire someone to do your content marketing for you, they’ll be using some or all of them as well.

4: Write Authoritative and Fact-Checked Content

Part of E-A-T is ensuring that your content has the backing of truth and fact. To an extent, you get that by staking your reputation; as a dermatologist, if you’re providing incorrect information or encouraging unnecessary treatment, you can lose your ability to practice. That’s not enough on its own, however.

Fact Checking Content

One option is to use Schema markup for your content, specifically the fact-checking markup. This extra bit of code allows a third party to verify your claims and gives you some additional benefit in the search results. You can read more about how it works here.

If you’re publishing medical content as an authority on the subject, implementing fact-checking can improve your users’ trust in your content and ultimately benefit your SEO.

5: Create Useful Content Patients Want to Read

Above, we said that the basics of SEO are what you need to do to reach the starting line. The race itself revolves almost entirely around content marketing. Creating valuable and authoritative content is where the bulk of your marketing efforts will go. You want to become a trusted resource in dermatology in your area, creating content that your actual patients and potential patients will find helpful.

Useful Content

Consider the people you want to visit your practice. What are their primary concerns? Do you usually handle things like acne and eczema, focus on cosmetic procedures, or are you more about diagnosing and treating skin cancer? Different focuses mean different kinds of content, written in different ways.

After your content is created and published, you can work to promote it in ways that your target audience can find it. When you know what kind of audience you want, you can then determine what that audience wants to read about. Then, you can produce the content your users want to read. Content marketing is a massive topic, so you may want to read a dedicated guide on the subject.

6: Use Useful Images in Content

Dermatologists are fortunate in healthcare because the conditions they treat are generally evident. Everything from rosacea to acne is something you can see on your skin, making it a bit easier to find and use photos that help users compare their situation and determine what they need to do next.

Use Useful Images

You can also, as well, use images of beautiful people and clear skin to promote more cosmetic services. Images are essential for creating engaging content, especially when convincing someone with a particular issue to contact you for an appointment. Plus, web pages with photos tend to perform better – after all, who wants to read an article that is a large block of text? Images break up the piece and provide context, making it a more pleasant experience.

At the same time, you need to follow SEO best practices for your images. It’s a good idea to ensure they’re reasonably sized, that the file sizes aren’t huge, and have appropriate alt text, descriptions, and captions written. It can slow down your site and trigger errors on Google PageSpeed Insights if they aren’t optimized.

7: Build Links from Local Publications and Resources

Links make the world go ’round, at least as far as SEO is concerned. The more links you have pointing to your site from other sites, the better off you’ll be. Of course, nothing in SEO is easy, with a few exceptions.

As a dermatologist, most of your services will be in person, which means local marketing. So, you want to build links from local publications and resources. Consider city-wide or state-wide directories, resource pages, newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Social media pages can also be beneficial, though the links they give you don’t bring you SEO benefits.

Link Building

You can also work to build links from general authority sites. They’re harder to get, but more valuable when you get them.

Links are better if they have certain qualities. You want links from sites that are bigger than yours, relevant to yours, and in context. Links in sidebars, links in ads, links in comments, and links from unrelated sites are all generally worth near-nothing in terms of SEO, though they can always refer users.

8: Optimize for Mobile Visitors

Above, we mentioned that mobile is hugely important because Google pays attention to your mobile site experience as much as or more than your desktop experience. So, you’ll want to ensure your site loads quickly and effectively on mobile devices.

Mobile Visitors

There are a lot of different tools and tests you can run, as well as strategies for mobile optimization you can use, so it can be valuable to do a full site audit from scratch and see what you need to address. Here’s a great guide on mobile optimization you can use to get an idea of what you’ll need to do.

9: Focus on Local SEO

As mentioned, unless you’re big into telemedicine, chances are your dermatology practice is going to be focused on a single region, be it a neighborhood, city, county, or state.

Focus on Local SEO

That means you should focus much of your marketing specifically on those regions.

The most significant way to optimize for a local area is to use local keywords. For example, if you do skin cancer screenings, instead of just writing content about skin cancer screenings, you would write about “skin cancer screenings in Birmingham.”

You can also use awareness of locality to make your content more relatable. If you’re in an area that doesn’t get much sun and doesn’t have many sun-focused summer attractions, you might not want to talk about the risks of sunbathing on the beach. Or, you might mention how sun exposure on bright winter days, reflecting off of snow, can be dangerous. Those little customizations make your site and content more relatable to local readers.

10: Update and Use Off-Site Profiles

A large part of bringing in new patients today requires that you have a positive reputation. That means you need to pay attention to your reviews.

Update and Use Off Site Reviews

Many people will look at the reviews and comments left about your practice before they decide whether or not to visit you.

  • Start by claiming profiles on common review sites. These include websites like the Google Business Profile, businesses like Yelp that aggregate general businesses, or med-specific sites like HealthGrades.
  • Audit and respond to reviews. You can report negative reviews if they’re fake. You can also respond to them and clarify that, say, a problematic desk clerk no longer works for you.
  • Ensure your information is accurate across all sites, including Name, Address, Phone Number, Website URL, and photos. Your NAP, short for Name/Address/Phone, is very important for SEO.

You’ll want to keep these profiles active, monitor incoming reviews, and handle them appropriately.

11: Solicit Positive Reviews

The other side of the coin is positive reviews. You want to get more positive reviews, to outweigh the negative reviews and make your practice look better. There are many different ways to do this, but they generally all revolve around providing exemplary service and asking your satisfied patients to leave a review.

Solicit Positive Reviews

Make sure you aren’t trying to fake positive reviews since they will generally be removed and can reflect poorly on your business if discovered.

12: Check for Search Penalties

Google has a lot of rules. If you violate them, most of them will result in nothing more than a worse search presence, which you can claw back by addressing the cause of the problem. Others are bad enough that Google places a “manual action” on your site. These are artificial penalties, resulting in demotion or even complete removal from the search results.

Search Penalties

It’s relatively rare, but if your site is old enough, if you used shady marketing services in the past, or if you tried to use a “quick fix” or shortcut to a high search ranking, you may have one of these penalties. Thankfully, it’s easy to check them in the Google Search Console, and Google will tell you how to fix them. It’s something worth studying.

13: Consider Video Marketing

Between TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, video is one of the most popular forms of media today. You can boost your SEO in incredible ways if you can leverage video.

Video Marketing

The trick is that video is difficult to produce, takes a lot of time, and is easy to do wrong. So, if you think you might be able to pull it off and become the next big TikTok dermatology superstar, by all means, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to ignore it.

14: Consider Paid Advertising

Paid advertising won’t directly benefit your SEO. However, it can serve as fuel. When you pay for ads, you get people to visit your site, and you can analyze their behavior, learn their wants and needs, and use that information to optimize your organic marketing further.

Paid Advertising

And, of course, paid advertising allows you to convert money into new patients, which can be highly beneficial if you do it right.

15: Hire an Experienced Marketing Agency

Does all of this sound super complicated and time-consuming? That’s because it is. It’s no wonder many dermatologists – including your competitors – are turning to agencies to handle it for them. If you want to do the same, why not reach out to us today?

Hire an Agency

We’re experts, and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your needs and tell you what we can do for you.

David Curtis
David Curtis
David Curtis is the founder and CEO of Blue Pig Media. With twenty years of successful execution in sales, marketing and operations, for both clients and vendors, he has a bottom line ROI driven mentality rooted in metrics driven performance across highly competitive global corporate initiatives.

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