"Hey Alex, I Don’t Feel Well. Find A Physician Near Me." Hospital Marketer, Is Your Website Optimized for Voice Search?

How does this grab you? Thirty-eight percent of all internet
searches are now by voice using a digital assistant like Siri, Alexa, Echo, and others on a smartphone or home voice internet
connected device. Additionally, most voices activated
searches are using the term “near me” sometimes combined with the term “near me
today.” 

Putting it another way, will the healthcare consumer and
potential patient voice searching for a physician, find the hospital via your “Find-A-Physician”
portal on your website?

I ask the question about finding a physician because I don’t think people are going
to voice-search the hospital, except
maybe to get directions. And the other reason is that no matter the payment system,
the hospital still needs a physician’s order for any diagnostic testing or
treatment.

What to do?

Now that I have your attention and it very well could be an
OMG moment, with now I have something else to worry about, optimizing the hospital
or health system website is possible in short order. The following seven steps should
enable you to start optimizing for voice searches. 

1.      
Ditch the old fashion search keywords like hospital
Plainfield or Cardiovascular Service Line. Nobody talks like that conversationally.
Searches are in the natural language of
the person. 

2.      
Move to long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords
generally run from three to five words. Long-tail keywords are important due to
the preference of digital assistants to use natural language for processing
requests. If you use a digital assistant for shopping, think about how you speak to Siri or Alex for example, you speak conversationally
and naturally to the devices whether you realize it or not. 

3.      
Exploit the power of near me searches. Voice searches
are local. All healthcare is local. That’s the connection for you. The
healthcare consumer isn’t looking for an exotic specialty; they are searching “near me” for the solution to
their problem. 

4.      
Make sure it’s
easy for bots and spiders to crawl your site and know what the hospital business
is.
Make sure you submit your sitemap to
Google and Bing. Start incorporating microdata, schema, rich snippets and so
on. These little pieces of code give the search engines even more information
about what your business is all about. 

5.      
You also want to
make sure that your online business directories (aka citation sites) are
accurate as well. For example, if one address is
on Yelp, and another is on Citysearch, the search engines won’t know
which address is the correct one and will be less likely to pull your hospital
up in voice search results. 

6.      
Take a look at
your analytics. Google’s Search Console reports show you what queries are
bringing people to your site. Now that being said, you can’t tell if the search
query came from voice search or the good old-fashioned way. You can get some
good ideas based on how people are finding you right now. 

7.      
Since most voice
searches take place on mobile devices,
you must have a mobile-friendly site. If a person does a voice search, goes to
your site and has a bad experience, it’s over. This
not only impacts that individual searcher
but a high bounce rate because your site is difficult to use on a smartphone
can also negatively affect your rankings on Google.

“Hey Siri, find a hospital near me that has the best satisfaction
and experience ratings.”  
Michael is a
healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist and
thought-leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare strategy
blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in  52 countries
and listed on the 
100 Top Healthcare
Marketing Blogs, and Websites
 ranked
at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American
College of Healthcare Executives, and a Professional Certified Marketer,
American Marketing Association. An expert
in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing & social media, Michael
is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered
an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting
engagements, call Michael at 815-351-0671. Opinions expressed are my
own.

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