Link-building strategies have been around as long as search engines have been making and breaking the success of sites online. But the massive link-building of yesteryear, which counted on black-hat SEO strategies akin to what we consider spam, isn’t the way to go. This is especially true for healthcare providers, who want to appear honest and authoritative online to build patient trust and encourage individuals to make appointments.

So how can you build links to help boost your site’s rankings in major search engines? Below, we take a look at seven link-building trends expected to last into 2019.

1. Internal Links Are Important for SEO and Navigation

First, don’t count on external help for all the links to your pages. You can actually build some links yourself. Link to your own pages in your social posts as well as your on-site content.

While you don’t want to pepper the content on every page of your site with a dozen or more links to other pages on the same domain, it’s perfectly acceptable to include a few high-quality internal links in each blog post or landing page.

In fact, it’s preferred, by Google and by users. Internal links:

  • Help users find more relevant information about the topic they were looking for
  • Improve the overall architecture of your site
  • Boost the performance of your pages, because they have more links coming to them

As with all SEO and content marketing trends in 2018 and 2019, quality definitely matters with regard to internal links. Here are some good rules to follow.

  • Only include relevant links. If you have a blog post about cancer, for example, you might link to your cancer treatment landing page or bios of your oncologists.
  • Ensure your anchor text is appropriate. Avoid uninformative anchor text such as “read more here.” In a landing page about pediatric services, you might link to the pediatrician’s bio; appropriate anchor text could include “our experienced pediatrician” or “Dr. Smith’s experience,” for example.
  • Try to include internal links in the body and conclusion of the copy rather than the first paragraph.

2. Quality Is More Important Than Quantity

It’s true that the more authority links to your page, the better it might perform in the search engines. But simply going after more links isn’t the answer — Google doesn’t like links that come from poor-quality or spammy pages. When you’re working with partners to develop links, concentrate your efforts on quality, which can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Links from authoritative medical and healthcare sites
  • Links from news organizations
  • Links from local organizations, such as a chamber of commerce
  • Links from bloggers with high-quality websites (even if they don’t have huge followings)

3. Maximize Citation Potential

Citations and listings are a great way to generate quality backlinks for yourself. First, make a list of listings where your business could appear appropriately. These might include local listings like Yelp and Yahoo! listings as well as association listings relevant to your healthcare niche.

Next, check to see that your office or clinicians appear in those listings. If it’s a listing you can claim, such as Google My Business or Yelp, do so and edit it to include accurate information, including a link to your site when possible. If you can’t claim ownership of the listing, reach out to ask to be included or to have your website added to the listing.

4. Whitepapers and Case Studies Drive Links

Another trend that can garner you more links in 2019 is the fact that so many other content providers are looking to source high-quality information about topics. Publishing whitepapers or case studies from your experienced professionals helps boost the chance that a variety of other publishers will include links to your site as they repeat facts gleaned from those pages.

These don’t have to be extremely long and complex, either. A pediatric dentist might publish a whitepaper with tips on caring for children’s teeth, for example, and a doctor’s office specializing in diabetic treatment may publish a case study about how a new medication is working for patients. Remember when creating content for healthcare websites to follow all HIPAA and other privacy laws, though.

5. Thought-Leadership on Blog Posts Encourages Links

If whitepapers and case studies don’t fit your brand, consider creating highly valuable content for your blog. This can be as simple as interviewing one of your on-staff healthcare providers about a specific topic and posting it as a blog post.

One thing to remember when creating healthcare thought-leadership is that you can never appear to be giving treatment advice or diagnostic opinions in such a general environment — that should be left to individual patient interactions. Instead, you can approach topics such as symptoms, what treatments are available, the types of triggers that might warrant calling a doctor, what different illnesses are and what causes them, and new medical innovations. When you provide information that is concise, easy to understand and performs well in the search engines, you’re likely to start garnering links.

6. Everyone Else’s Need for Quality Content Is Good For Your Links

Quality just isn’t important for your pages; everyone is looking to impress Google and get a bump in the rankings. And that means through 2018 and 2019, content marketers and publishers across all types of channels and industries are working on higher quality content. Original quotes from experts in certain topics are becoming a bigger deal, so being available to provide those quotes to others can help you build links.

Consider using sites such as Help a Reporter Out to find reporters and sites looking for quotes on topics relevant to your practice. Let them know you can offer a quote, and ask them to link back to your site when they use it; most will be happy to do so.

7. Local Efforts Can Be Powerful

Local marketing overall is essential for many healthcare providers because they tend to provide service mainly to local populations. You can boost your local marketing and your link building at the same time by partnering with other organizations in your area. Consider sponsoring local events to be listed on their website along with a link, for example. You might also contact news organizations in your area about covering events you’re involved with or free services your clinicians provide; online news outlets often link to the entities they cover.

Overall, link building is an important part of any SEO effort, and healthcare organizations can’t afford to ignore it completely. If you need help with healthcare marketing, contact the experts at Lead to Conversion for help.