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SEO2 min read Healthcare SEO: Is your website ready for voice search?

Find out the basics of voice search SEO and learn what you can do to make sure your website ranks.

March 12, 2018Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor

Voice search is a hot topic among healthcare marketers these days—and with good reason. Popular voice assistants by Amazon and Google make up a growing number of devices in the field of smartphones and smart speakers. And voice searches themselves are rising dramatically as a result.

Here's a slide from Mary Meeker's 2016 Internet Trends Report that shows the increase in voice searches since 2008.

This is a trend that isn't likely to fade away.

According to a 2017 report by ComScore, 1 in 3 smartphones use voice technology every day, and half of all users expect to use voice features more often in the coming month.

So how can you make sure your website ranks when someone in your community uses voice search?

Unfortunately, this isn't a one-time task. Any kind of search engine optimization (SEO) technique you'll use on your hospital or health plan's website requires ongoing effort. Voice search SEO is no exception.

In this blog post, we'll explore basic tactics that can put you on the road to voice search success—and that you can build on over time.

3 ways to get your healthcare website ready for voice search

1. Optimize for mobile.

We've talked about the importance of a mobile-first strategy before, but it's worth mentioning again. Even in 2018, it's not uncommon to see healthcare websites that aren't optimized for mobile. If your website is one of them, a mobile-first redesign should be a high priority.

2. Claim and update your directory listings.

Voice search results are often tied to a specific location. Your community members might be asking their phones or voice devices things like: "Where's the closest urgent care?" or "Are there any foot doctors near me?"

Show up in these searches by ensuring that your listings are correct and consistent. Google My Business is a great place to start. If you haven't claimed and updated your listing, do so right away. Also, review your listings in other directories, such as Yelp. Make sure your name, address and phone number are consistent—and that they match what you have listed on your website.

3. Create voice-friendly content.

Keywords are an important part of healthcare SEO—voice search doesn't change that. But it's important to understand that voice searches are fundamentally different from typed searches. For example:

Voice searches are conversational. Typed search queries tend to be brief. But when we talk, the word count tends to expand. While a typed search might be "urgent care near me," a spoken search is more likely to be "where's the closest urgent care center?"

What you can do: Write the way people talk using conversational language and avoiding jargon. (This is good advice for any content you create for healthcare consumers.)

Voice searches often involve someone asking a device a question. The device's job? Find the best answer.

What you can do: Many experts recommend creating Q&A pages. That can be a great idea. But it's not a one-size-fits-all solution—especially if you have a large and complex health system website with hundreds of service line and location pages. Even if you're not writing a Q&A page, you can write with a Q&A mindset. Think about the questions that might spark a voice search, and create content that provides the best possible answers.

Tip: Check out answerthepublic.com to get ideas for questions people ask about a given topic.

Let's optimize your healthcare website

Coffey's team can help you with all your website design and content needs. Our process starts with an audit that can help you understand what's working and where your areas of opportunity are. To learn more, contact us.

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