Healthcare SEO Explained: How to Attract Patients Online

healthcare seo guide

Healthcare SEO

As an owner, operator, or marketing team at a medical practice, your goal is to provide the best healthcare for as many people in the community as possible. The population that you work with is dependent upon your services.

Attracting new patients to your medical practice is an ongoing challenge for many businesses in the healthcare industry. Nowadays, many consumers find all of their product and service needs online.

For businesses in every industry, this has resulted in a need to adapt to the digital age by investing in their online presence. By focusing on digital marketing efforts, these businesses are finding new ways to connect with potential customers. For the healthcare space, this means engaging with potential patients online.

Building a functional and attractive healthcare website is one of the most effective digital marketing methods.

However, simply having a website for your practice does not mean that people will instantly start interacting with your various pages. This is where search engine optimization, (SEO), enters the picture.

Search engines like Google have complete control over the websites that people can find via organic searches. They use complex algorithms and bots to analyze every page on the internet to decide how relevant they are and where they will rank in the search results that users see.

Without SEO the likelihood that their medical practice will see any organic traffic is extremely low.

What is Healthcare SEO?

This term refers to the process of optimizing a medical practice’s website so that it can be more easily found in organic search results. As stated before, the mere existence of web pages for a business does not mean that it can be found by average users.

Whenever a search query is performed on Google, for example, results will show up based on how they have been ranked by search engines based on specific criteria. The three main standards of determining rankings are a webpage’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

When major search engines use bots to “crawl” and “index” every page on the internet, they will look for certain indicators that demonstrate strength or weakness in these three areas. The stronger they are within these categories, the higher they will be ranked in the search engine results pages.

This matters because most internet users will not navigate past the first page. Even the bottom result on the first page gets significantly fewer clicks than the top three positions.

Healthcare SEO is all about improving the level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of a medical business’ website so that it ranks higher in organic search results.

An effective SEO campaign has many benefits for the healthcare company that chooses to invest in this digital marketing strategy. Doctors, dentists, medical spas, hospitals, and cosmetic surgery centers are just a few of the medical fields which benefit from strong SEO.

How Does Healthcare SEO Benefit Your Practice?

Organic ranking factors determine a website’s position in search results, and since the top results get the vast majority of the traffic, focusing on credibility becomes crucial for improving SEO.

A website that the search engine has determined has a high level of expertise will have a better chance of a higher ranking. Similarly, a brand with more authority will obtain a favorable position as well. Finally, a trustworthy website shows the search engines that users will have a positive experience there, and a higher ranking is achieved. An effective healthcare SEO strategy can accomplish this goal.

As your practice’s website moves up the search rankings as a result of healthcare SEO efforts, you will see several benefits.

Increases Brand Awareness and Trust

Especially in the healthcare space, awareness and trust are extremely important. For people to become new patients, they must first know about the existence of your business. Additionally, since healthcare is all about their well-being, they must know that they can trust you. Improving your SEO rankings in searches related to healthcare keywords will increase brand awareness and help to prove that your business is trustworthy.

Attracts Highly Targeted Traffic

While well-being is important for everyone, there are specific audiences that can be targeted with SEO. Elderly individuals are typically at a higher risk of medical conditions and have a more immediate need to be connected to healthcare providers. Those with chronic diseases also need more medical attention and may be on the lookout for new practices to join. When people from some of these target audiences perform search queries about finding healthcare services or advice, effective SEO will ensure you are one of the first businesses that they find.

Enables Healthcare Providers to Gain Patients

Potential patients are the exact audience that SEO can help you target. Providers are often looking for ways to gain new patients when the practice is growing or other patients have moved on for one reason or another. A high ranking due to strong SEO efforts can generate more leads when these individuals use search engines to find healthcare providers, or even look up medical questions.

Allows You to Target Specific Service Offerings

The best way to convince someone to become a new patient at your practice is to speak to their needs. The services you offer can provide solutions that patients search for to maintain their health.

A healthcare SEO strategy will boost the likelihood that people will see your service offerings and know that you can satisfy their medical needs. Effective digital marketing is all about connecting an audience with the solutions that you offer.

What Should a Healthcare Search Engine Optimization Campaign Include?

Not all SEO campaigns are executed correctly. Some companies have specialized and bill themselves as a healthcare SEO agency, but the problem is that they could be working directly with your competitors which may hurt your chances of success when working with them.

At Stellar SEO, we serve many businesses in various industries, helping their websites earn better reputations with search engines and generate more traffic.

The reason we have been so successful is that we believe in going to battle for our clients and following a proven process for implementing healthcare SEO services. Any search engine optimization campaign should include steps that ensure a level of accountability and success.

Intake Meeting and Onboarding

No one understands your healthcare brand better than you, and we understand that. We do not try to dictate to you how to improve your marketing plan before we understand your business. An intake meeting and thorough onboarding process allow us to get to know your practice, your growth goals, and anything else that will inform the creation of a strategy.

Technical SEO Audit

Healthcare businesses that already have websites could have technical issues that are hurting their online presence and current optimization efforts.

We will audit your web pages to check for potential issues, including broken links, a lack of meta descriptions, poor heading structure, slow site speed, the site’s mobile responsiveness, and other factors that can be a red flag to search engines. It is important to answer questions about the user experience early on in the process.

Content Audit

Content is a great strategy for connecting with potential patients and demonstrating expertise in your field. Auditing your current content strategy for weaknesses or potential areas of development will help guide the campaign going forward. Keyword research is a big aspect of content creation, so we will discuss important keywords for your practice’s healthcare SEO services to focus on.

GMB Audit

Google My Business is an incredibly important tool for any brand. It can show your business’ location on Google Maps and is a key factor in local search results. As a healthcare provider, being found by those in your nearby community is key, so auditing your GMB listing to ensure it is optimized is an important step.

SEO Competitor Analysis

Your healthcare business likely has competitors with an online presence as well. Analyzing their healthcare SEO and how it is affecting your growth can help guide our strategy for moving up the page rankings and attracting more patients. S

EO strategies are useless in a vacuum, so researching your competitors will significantly impact the digital marketing plan that we craft with you. This is especially true in the healthcare industry.

SEO Backlink Analysis

Backlinks play a huge role in the level of authority that your website will have. Having several high-quality backlinks that lead visitors from other websites to yours will help determine the position of your pages in search results, so we will take a peek at your backlink profile to analyze its strengths and weaknesses. This will help us fill in the gaps and build a proactive plan for improving the number of quality backlinks.

Healthcare SEO Strategy Creation

After all of the audits and analyses have given us a better picture of your current healthcare SEO, we will put together a strategy with your input designed to improve your website’s relevance and increase search traffic.

The Stellar SEO team understands the search engine algorithms and how to use them to your business’s advantage. The strategy will entail many steps that depend on the best way for your online presence to grow.

On-Page Optimization

The SEO process begins with on-page optimization. This ensures that your pages are on par with the competition and are not reducing the effectiveness of the technical SEO changes or the link building campaign.

User experience is very important, so a fast-loading page with optimized images and scannable content will make for more positive interaction and a better impression left on site visitors.

Taking care of how potential patients will experience the online presence of your healthcare organization is a crucial step in the process.

gmb optimization leads to map pack rankings

GMB Optimization

Now that we have analyzed your GMB listing, it is time to optimize it for the best possible results. As an SEO tool, this profile helps your business be seen more by local community residents, and will also display your location on Google Maps.

It can display reviews to show users what rating past patients have given your brand. Showing up with a GMB listing also facilitates patient communication by providing a phone number near the top of the page results. To improve your local SEO strategy, a refined GMB profile can make a huge difference.

Content Strategy and Creation

High-quality content can go a long way toward convincing potential patients that you are an expert in your field and you understand their needs.

When they are searching for healthcare expertise, a library of content that addresses various medical questions can make your business show up in relevant search results. We will craft a strategy for effective content creation that will improve your ranking for specific health-related keywords and terms.

Link and Citation Building

References to your business and direct backlinks to your site will improve SEO and build more trust in your brand. A strong backlink profile raises your website’s ranking when search engines crawl various pages and find links from other quality sites.

It will also increase your exposure with your target audience if the links or citations come from local businesses or related brands.

A citation refers to a name drop of your business, often with a phone number and address as well, that informs people on other sites about your brand, increasing trustworthiness.

Tracking and Reporting

Healthcare SEO performance is a key part of our partnership with your practice. We do not just implement a strategy and hope for the best.

To get the most out of your investment, we track and report on the KPIs that indicate what aspects of the strategy are effective and what methods are underperforming. Though we have a proven track record of success, we will make sure our SEO services speak for themselves.

What SEO Mistakes Healthcare Services Must Avoid

Medical sites may choose to enact an SEO strategy on their own, which can become complicated and overwhelming for those who are not healthcare SEO experts.

Whether you choose to partner with an agency or turn things over to an internal marketing team, there are a lot of potential pitfalls. Watch out for these mistakes to avoid wasting time and money.

Focusing on the Wrong Nearby Locations

Location, location, location. That’s what the real estate industry says is the biggest factor in a home’s value. But it is also true for healthcare SEO. Where you show up as a top result matters. If you are a healthcare provider serving a suburban community in Florida, achieving a high ranking for internet users in Oregon is irrelevant. Focus on locations within a several-mile radius for your SEO to get the highest potential traffic to your website.

Not Creating Enough Unique Landing Pages

Healthcare professionals offer a wide range of medical services for their patients. Having dedicated landing pages for your various services is a surefire way to better communicate with potential customers and address their needs and questions.

Avoid summarizing with a bulleted list of services on your homepage, and instead, go into detail with multiple landing pages that will be beneficial for keyword research purposes. Healthcare websites will benefit from numerous unique landing pages.

Failing to Produce Local SEO Content

Healthcare practices have a lot of knowledge to share, and producing healthcare content with strong SEO principles is crucial to a successful campaign.

If your team has done the necessary keyword research and has created a lot of helpful content, you will start to rank for hundreds or thousands of related search terms. This is often referred to as creating topical relevancy, content clusters, or a hub and spoke content strategy.

If your healthcare marketing efforts are ignoring content, then other healthcare organizations will have an advantage.

Not Refining Your GMB Listing

It is as simple as this; you will miss out on loads of potential traffic if you have a weak GMB listing. Any healthcare SEO company worth its salt would make this step a priority of their strategy for your practice.

While other search engines exist, Google maintains the biggest share of internet traffic for organic searches. This means that you should take advantage of every opportunity to show up on Google, and as a location-based business, your GMB profile is one of the best places to start.

Skipping Geography-Based Landing Pages

Any healthcare organization that provides direct services to patients should dedicate a few landing pages to each community or location that they serve. This strategy will help improve SEO for local exposure, while also increasing the customization of the user experience.

People want to see that a brand specifically understands them, and having unique landing pages that are focused on various geographies within the service radius will do just that. It should be a key focus of your SEO strategy.

Avoiding Link Building to Rank Higher in Search Engines

Organic rankings are the lifeblood of many businesses trying to attract more customers online. If you ignore the need to build quality links from other websites to your own, then your potential gains will be limited.

Link building is a crucial step in a digital marketing plan that is focused on improving medical SEO. The pages you build backlinks from should be relevant to your target audiences and they need to be trustworthy.

Many companies struggle with link building, so they avoid it. Thankfully, link building services like the ones we offer allow you to get the links you need, without trying to do it yourself. This will help you overtake your competitors while keeping your internal resources focused on other areas, like content creation.

Focusing Only on the Appearance of Your Website

Medical practices that focus only on the aesthetics of their website will see little growth in their online presence. A beautiful view is a wonderful thing, but if there are no paths or roadways to get there, no one can enjoy it.

The same is true of a well-designed website. If the SEO campaign does nothing to help users find it, then there will be no growth for that practice from organic traffic.

Also, remember to focus on mobile SEO as well, since many people will browse the internet from their phones and your website will look disjointed without optimization on both desktop and mobile devices.

Looking for Help with Your Healthcare SEO Project?

When you are considering your medical practice’s digital marketing strategy, there are many different channels that you can choose to focus on. An SEO campaign is one method that should be a priority for your business, as the world continues to move deeper into the digital age. Knowing where your SEO stands in the first place can inform you on how much potential for growth the brand has.

If you are unsure where to begin to improve your online presence, an SEO company like Stellar SEO could be the solution. We know the burden that is on healthcare marketers in an incredibly competitive industry.

Though we are not a specialized healthcare SEO agency, we see that as an advantage. It shows that we have experience raising the search engine rankings of many industries with different levels of competition. Our SEO expertise allows us to adapt to any niche and craft a winning strategy for our clients.

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