The patient journey, otherwise known as the user journey in SEO, is the path that a patient takes in order to accomplish a goal. A goal can be an objective of the practice, like a call, a form submission or an appointment booking. To accomplish one of these tasks, a patient must go through a series of steps.
By mapping out and taking a closer look at these steps, business owners can recognize potential pitfalls and enhance user-friendliness and engagement, creating an optimal scenario for patients to complete that goal.
4 Steps in the Patient Journey
When a patient is in need of a service or a new practice to call home, their first step is often research. Search engines like Google provide results and reviews, and they play a big part in a patient’s overall decision of which practice or doctor to seek care with. Here are examples of questions to consider during this phase of the patient journey:
- Can a patient find my website if they type in my business name, my name or phrases that are important to my business like “dentist near me” or “dental implants”?
- Does my practice have a Google Business Profile, and is it optimized to offer clear information and give a good interpretation of my business?
- Do I have enough Google reviews to entice new patients, and if not, what are the best practices for obtaining more reviews?
Your website can be a patient’s first impression of you and your practice. Maintaining a well-optimized website is vital for winning over potential patients and showcasing what makes your practice unique. Questions you may want to ask yourself at this stage of the patient journey include:
- Is my website fast and accessible?
- Is my website visually appealing and user-friendly (user-friendly features may include clearly visible contact information, an option to request an appointment via a form or an online billing setup)?
- Is there information on my website that patients could read to educate themselves on the services and procedures we provide?
Social media is a powerful tool for bolstering and engaging a patient base. Users frequently use social media to get an impression of a business. During this portion of the patient journey, these are factors you want to consider:
- Do I have the right social media platforms set up for my region and target audience?
- Is my content relevant and engaging, and how often should I be posting?
The last step of a patient or user journey is the conversion — a.k.a., the goal completion. Whether the goal is to receive a phone call or book an appointment, it’s important to understand what a patient wants out of an experience. Here are topics to think about during the final stages of your patients’ journeys:
- Do my patients have an easily accessible way of contacting my business?
- Am I giving my patients ways to get in touch with my office after booking an appointment or receiving treatment?
- Do my patients have clear instructions on how to review my business after treatment?
By tracking the patient journey, including the organic search, website, social media and conversion, businesses can ensure they are making every step of the process easy for their patients. This is not only valuable from a marketing standpoint, but also for building positive relationships with your patients.
—Team Member, SEO Specialist, Sesame Communications