Is Your Home Health Agency’s Website Working for You?

Posted on 9 Nov, 2017 |comments_icon 5|By Elizabeth
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The first encounter your patients may have with your agency is via an Internet search for you. Your website, then, is your first opportunity to attract and convert patients and boost patient satisfaction. The user experience you provide should load quickly, state information clearly, and navigate effortlessly.

Many sites deliver for viewers using a desktop computer, but fall short for those attempting to learn about your agency on a mobile device.

According to a Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KCPB) Internet Trends 2015 report, people spent more of their Internet time on their phones versus their computers. If your website isn’t responsive, you’re already missing the mark to attract patients!

Mobile-Friendly—a.k.a., Responsive

With the staggering growth of mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, and mobile device usage, via apps, social media, and websites, it’s essential that your agency’s website is mobile friendly, so that your prospects patients can easily browse and find information, regardless of what type of device (phone, tablet, desktop, etc.) they’re using.

A responsive website means no more pinching, zooming, and scrolling to see a webpage that doesn’t fit on a mobile screen. It involves a single designed that it adapts to fit various viewing devices (screen sizes, orientations, etc.).

To make your website responsive and optimized for user experience:

  1. Avoid flash. Keep videos and large images to a minimum, as they increase the loading time for your pages.
  2. Make sure your viewport accommodates various sizes. A viewport is a meta tag at the header of a page that tells browsers how to display the site’s content. If you do not have a viewport meta tag, mobile browsers will default to desktop dimensions, which is cumbersome on mobile devices. You also shouldn’t specify dimensions in the viewport information, but leave it as width=device-width to accommodate for different screen sizes. Google® has a step-by-step viewport tutorial at: https://developers. google.com/web/fundamentals/design-and-ui/responsive/#set-the-viewport.
  1. Create “tap-able” links and buttons. Fingers on touch screens need a larger target than someone working with a mouse at a desktop would. Make sure the buttons and links are spaced far enough apart that mobile users don’t accidentally hit something else.
  2. Enlarge fonts and image resolution. For fonts, 16 pixels is the recommended minimum. For images, use high-resolution photos that can withstand the scrutiny of high definition screens and the ability to zoom in.
  3. Include a working telephone button on your website so that users can tap it and call your agency right away.
  4. Keep the most important information at the top of the page. Remember that mobile users have to scroll. Don’t force users to scroll through a lot of content to find out how to contact you or make an appointment. Put that information – how to schedule a visit, or speak with a nurse – toward the top of the page.
  5. Listen to Google®. Google® has a list of factors it considers part of mobile-friendliness. Get familiar with them so you understand how your site’s usability stacks up and what the problem areas may be. You can peruse the “Mobile Usability” section of Search Engine Watch’s guide to Google® Search Console at: https:// searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/09/google-search-console-a-complete-overview/#MobileUsability. Google® also provides a free Mobile-Friendly Test tool at https://search.google.com/ search-console/mobile-friendly.
  6. Use YouTube for videos. To make sure your videos display properly on devices of all sizes, upload your healthcare site’s videos using YouTube. YouTube’s code is responsive already, meaning it will show up in the right proportions based on a device’s screen size.
  7. Test your site on multiple mobile devices to spot any trouble spots. Try each button, video and link, and fill out any forms on your site on each device.

Making SEO Work for Your Agency

Your agency has to attract new patients in order to succeed. But in the crowded online marketplace, getting their attention can be a challenge. In order to stand out, your best bet is to employ SEO, or search engine optimization.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is an Internet marketing technique that tries to raise your website’s ranking on search engines like Google® and Bing by considering what keyword terms and phrases your target audience might use. The higher you rank on a search results page, the more website visitors you get, which increases your chances of converting those visitors into patients.

SEO has evolved in recent years beyond keywords and phrases. While those are still important, it’s just as important to ensure that your website is easy to use and up to date with the current online trends. To ensure that your SEO marketing strategy is in line with SEO trends:

  1. Keep It Local. To attract potential patients, your SEO efforts should also be focused on your local area. Using keywords throughout your site that include your specialty and your location will help patients in your area find you on Google®. It’s also important to ensure that you have correct and updated listings in local online directories.
  2. Optimize Everything. It’s important to ensure that you have as much of your website optimized as possible. Start by ensuring that all the services you offer are listed on your agency’s website; that way, you can make sure you reach potential patients looking for specific services. Each page of your website should include a description that you can pepper with keywords and phrases. You should also make sure that your page headings, titles and permalinks contain target keywords. The more you optimize, the more opportunities you have to include all the keywords and phrases you need to attract the patients you want.
  3. Consider Patient Needs. If you’re still having a hard time thinking about what SEO keywords to use, think about what your patients want and need. Put yourself in your patient’s shoes – what terms would you use if you were looking for an agency in your area? It may be helpful to ask yourself: What do most of your patients come to you for? What types of questions do your patients frequently ask you? You can also use Google’s free Keyword Planner to help you find common search terms.
  4. Develop content. When patients search online, they are looking for helpful information. One way you can give them that information is in the form of a blog on your site (packed with keywords!). For instance, if you are a dermatologist, your page should provide information on topics your patients will find useful, like acne or eczema treatments. Blogs increase your opportunities to provide information, use your keywords and, in turn, increase your site’s chance of popping up in your patients’ searches.
  5. Keep Your Website Fast. SEO isn’t just about keywords – it’s also important that your site functions properly to ensure you have a good SEO ranking. Google® uses site speed as an algorithm signal to rank pages. Make sure your website and mobile site have fast loading times to keep your SEO ranking high.
  6. Add Links. Another way to increase your SEO ranking is to add links to your website. You can do this by linking to other pages within your website or by linking to outside websites and articles throughout your site.
  7. Update as Needed. Adding fresh content to your website helps to increase the number of times a search engine indexes your website. The more you update, the more frequently search engines reassess your site’s position on their indexes, giving you the opportunity for a higher ranking.

Search engines and search engine result rankings are ever-changing. This means you can’t go on autopilot with your SEO efforts, and you shouldn’t get too hung-up on where you rank at all times. Stay up-to-date on the topics patients are searching, but don’t obsess about making sure your agency comes up first with every single search engine.

Learn More

In the Home Health Marketing Planner, TCI experts walk you through a step-by-step marketing plan that’s easy to understand and follow. We’ve pulled together our best resources and tailor-designed them for practical, effective home health marketing tactics proven to attract and retain patients and ensure that your home health agency continues to thrive.

Author

Elizabeth


Elizabeth works on an array of projects at TCI, researching and writing about modern reimbursement challenges. Since joining TCI in 2017, she has also covered the nuts and bolts of cybersecurity, compliance with federal laws, and how to tap into the advantages of telehealth services.

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