SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of improving various factors to increase the online visibility of a website in search engines.
SEO is increasingly becoming more important for effective marketing in the healthcare and medical space. When SEO is done right, it leads to more organic traffic, increased brand awareness, more leads, and revenue.
In this article, we’re going to go over some SEO tips that can help to increase organic traffic to your healthcare business.
Healthcare SEO is the application of SEO to websites in the healthcare industry. SEO involves working on “on-page SEO” (factors on a page that affect website rankings), “off-page SEO” (factors off a page that affect rankings), and technical SEO (ensuring a website meets technical requirements).
The approach one takes to healthcare SEO is similar to any industry. However, there are some crucial differences in the way you should approach things since healthcare topics affect people’s health, and that’s something Google takes into account when determining the credibility of the content.
The faster your website the better the user experience. The better the user experience, the more inclined Google’s algorithm will be to rank your website above other websites with an equal value and slower website speeds. SEO is fundamentally about providing users with the most accurate information in the most accessible way possible.
The faster your website loads, the more accessible your content is. Google has been increasingly placing more importance on website speed and so it’s a factor you should consider as part of your healthcare SEO strategy to improve your rankings. Speed up your site!
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to test your speed and find specific areas holding back your website’s performance.
Patients have a lot of questions about health. Every day there are millions of searches for health-related queries, such as “gum disease symptoms” or “how to decrease arthritis pain”. These queries are opportunities for you to create content that answers questions people are searching for and provide helpful information to them.
SEO copywriters can help you write blog content that ranks high for keywords your target audience are searching for. This is a great way to increase organic traffic to your website and build authority as a leader in your specific industry.
If people are frequently searching for “how to tell if bone is fractured”, then you can write an article explaining the signs of a broken bone and add a call to action at the bottom of your article so people can schedule an appointment with your medical practice.
Healthcare services are where the money is made. People are searching queries like “ear wax removal” or “vasectomy clinic” and at this point, are often ready to book an appointment. By creating landing pages that target these high-value keywords you can get patients to inquire about medical services you offer.
The issue is that it’s harder to get backlinks to service pages because nobody really links to these pages. Backlinks are important to get pages ranking well. Besides writing the best pages possible, you can increase the authority of these pages by linking to them from blog posts you create. These are basically backlinks, but from your own site.
For example, your landing page may target “earwax removal boston”. You can link to this page from a blog post where you’re providing educational material about ear health or earwax.
SEO isn’t all about keywords and content. The user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of your website, which includes your website architecture is very important for SEO. Having a beautiful and easy-to-navigate website provides a better user experience allowing people to access what they need with ease and keep them engaged.
Having simple and logical website architecture also makes it easier for Google to crawl and understand the structure of your website which provides you with a competitive advantage. As a rule of thumb, try to keep all pages on your website accessible within no more than 3 clicks from your homepage.
An SEO audit can either be done yourself with an SEO that has built-in SEO audit tools. You can also outsource SEO to have a professional provide you with a detailed audit. This will be more expensive but is a good idea if you’re not well-versed in SEO as they’ll provide you with clear actionable steps to fix issues (or do it for you).
SEO audits are a great way to better understand technical SEO issues with your website, such as links going to 404 pages or issues with redirects. By fixing these technical issues you’ll prevent Google from being confused about certain technical aspects of your website. A healthy website without technical errors shows Google you have a high-quality website and care about keeping it optimized.
Meta tags are elements used in HTML to help search engines and people understand the content of pages on your website. The two main meta tags are “meta titles”, and “meta descriptions”.
These are the titles and descriptions that you see for each individual page in Google results. It’s important to write these in a way that’s optimized for keywords and search intent, especially the meta title tag, which is a crucial signal to Google about what your page contains.
EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness and relates to how Google determines if a page is credible and authoritative. EAT is particularly important for healthcare SEO as healthcare topics fall under “YMYL” (your money or your life) topics.
YMYL topics affect peoples’ lives and wellbeing, therefore Google wants to ensure that the pages it ranks high about healthcare topics are providing users with safe, accurate, and responsible content written by experts.
For example, you should have your blog post written by a medical doctor rather than a ghostwriter. You should also cite primary sources from medical search engines, as opposed to other blog posts that are seen as secondary sources (unless of course, you’re quoting something).
Learn more about the best EAT SEO practices here.
Keyword research is the first step to creating SEO-optimized content. Performing keyword research using SEO tools such as Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or Google Keyword Planner allows you to see how often specific keywords are searched for each month in specific countries.
These keyword research tools also show you how competitive keywords are which helps you determine which keywords you have a better chance at ranking for.
To get the best results, focus on keywords that are:
Your competitors hold secrets to your success. Regardless of whether you’re a new healthcare website or an established one, it helps to know exactly who your closest competitors are and then analyze their SEO performance.
Using SEO tools such as Ahrefs Site Explorer you can see the top-ranking pages under the URL of competitors. This shows you which pages and posts are getting the most traffic and which keywords these pages are ranking for.
Knowing which pages are performing for your competition saves you a lot of time as you can reverse engineer what they’ve succeeded at and do a better job to outperform them.
Local SEO is an SEO strategy that helps your healthcare business rank for keywords localized to the area you’re operating in. For example, if your medical practice is in Manhattan, New York, you may be targeting a keyword like “manhattan doctor”, to get local searches and more in-person patients to your clinic.
There are a number of ways to improve your local SEO. First of all, getting listed on Google My Business is an important step and an excellent place to start.
You should also build citations and reviews, which are signals Google will all take into account to determine the relevance and quality of your business in a specific geographic area. The more reviews the better (just don’t buy fake ones!)
Here’s a local SEO checklist for more things to work on.
SEO is an important part of succeeding in online healthcare marketing. When done right, SEO will increase traffic to your website, help you get more patients through your doors and/or online sales.
For best results, be sure to set clear SEO KPIs and monitor your progress over time to see what’s working using tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
SEO should be one part of your overall digital marketing strategy and not something you solely rely on, but it’s definitely a marketing channel worth investing in for the longevity and growth of your healthcare business.