Medical SEO

Medical SEO – Must-Have Elements to Propel Your Site Ranking

By: Frank DePino | November 25, 2022

Medical SEO is how hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other medical facilities get found online. Your healthcare practice wants to improve its search engine rankings but might not be sure where to start. What exactly is medical SEO and what are its benefits?

Medical SEO is how you raise your website’s rank so you show up more prominently in search results. Having better SEO can result in more bookings, an increase in leads, and more website traffic. 

This guide to SEO for doctors will tell you everything you need to know. First, we’ll expound further on the definition of medical SEO, then explain its benefits. Next, we’ll delve into SEO healthcare practices so you can begin incorporating a workable SEO plan for your healthcare practice! 

What Is Medical SEO?

As mentioned, we’ll start with a definition of medical search engine optimization or SEO.

Medical SEO includes the tactics your healthcare practice utilizes to rank higher in search engine rankings. 

These tactics and strategies are related to your website loading speed, how mobile-friendly it is, its layout and navigation, and more. 

The goal for any medical firm is to win the top slot when an Internet user types in a relevant query. If yours is a hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a lead searched “Philly hospitals,” medical SEO could help you win that top spot.

At the very least, if not occupying the top spot, then you want to be somewhere on the first page. 

The results are worth it. According to healthcare resource PatientPop, more than 75 percent of local searches done by an Internet user will result in them calling a healthcare facility. 

Why Healthcare Providers Should Invest in SEO for doctors

Why Healthcare Providers Should Invest in Medical SEO

If you’re still not totally convinced that SEO for doctors is within your best interest, the following benefits of medical SEO should hopefully change your mind!

Better Brand Awareness

Even if your healthcare company is located in a smaller city compared to a major one like Philadelphia, you’re still not the only medical facility in the neighborhood. 

By implementing an SEO strategy, you can differentiate your healthcare practice from your competitors. You’re also building brand awareness as your practice ranks highly in search engine results. 

More Website Traffic

Calling and marketing resource Invoca found that, in 2021, five percent of all searches done on Google were related to one’s health. That includes worldwide Google users.

Naturally, as your medical website begins rising in the ranks, you’ll notice much higher traffic rates than what your site received before. 

Rather than generating a few thousand visitors per month, you could get thousands more, maybe even tens of thousands depending on how well your site ranks.

Now is a great time to prioritize your medical practice’s site design, as it should be appealing, responsive, easy to use, and ready for the influx of website visitors. 

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Increased Leads

As organic leads, the new leads that enter your medical sales funnel also qualify as sales leads. 

They’re readier to make a purchasing decision, which in your case, would be scheduling an appointment with your healthcare practice.

Greater Patient Volume

According to Ruler Analytics, the average conversion rate for organic search leads in the healthcare industry is up to 5.6 percent. 

If your healthcare practice has struggled to keep a consistent rate of high patient volume, medical SEO can change that. Your practice will enjoy a greater rate of appointments and a reliably patient volume you can count on. 

Search Engine Optimization for Healthcare Providers can increase leads and patients

How to Do SEO for a Medical Practice

Next, let’s go over the elements of an effective medical SEO strategy so your healthcare practice can begin driving results! 

On-Page SEO

The first element of your medical SEO plan is on-page SEO, which is sometimes also referred to as on-site SEO.

As the latter name alludes, on-site SEO is all about the elements on your website and how optimized they are. 

How do you improve your healthcare practice’s on-site SEO? Here are some areas to focus on:

  • Make your website more than mobile-optimized but mobile-responsive as well, delivering the same, high-quality website experience on mobile that a user would enjoy on desktop devices.
  • Link internally, sharing handy links across your website so a user doesn’t have to navigate from page to page. For example, in a blog post about patient scheduling, you might link to your own scheduling service.
  • Keep page URLs short, concise, and digestible. This will also benefit your site as you begin to create a website hierarchy since everything will be organized. 
  • Use structured markup to mark your source code so the Google algorithm can make sense of your content elements.
  • Add image alt-text to all images on your site. Google uses image alt-text to determine what the crux of your images is.
  • Use proper body tags or header tags such as <h1></h1> for Header One, <h2></h2> for Header Two, and <h3></h3> for Header Three.
  • Produce high-quality website content, which we’ll talk about later. 

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Boost Site Loading Speed

Technically, your website loading speed is an on-site SEO strategy, but we’ll talk about it separately as its own means of increasing your medical SEO standings. 

If your healthcare practice’s site doesn’t load in two seconds, then it’s too slow. 

You shouldn’t want to prioritize a faster-loading site only for the purposes of medical SEO but for customer service as well. 

Website management resource WebsiteSetup.org says that if a website takes three seconds to load, the average bounce rate is 32 percent.

That increases to 90 percent if your site doesn’t load in five seconds, 106 percent if the site doesn’t load in six seconds, and 123 percent if the site visitor is waiting 10 seconds for your website to load.

Focus on Local SEO

Unless your healthcare practice serves patients nationwide and has branches located throughout the country, then yours is a local service.

You can use local SEO as part of your medical SEO strategy to reach your neighborhood online more effectively. 

In the link above as well as this one on our blog, we have an assortment of local SEO strategies to utilize. Here’s an overview.

  • Make a Google My Business profile: Completing your Google My Business profile is free to do and can increase your visibility on Google in a major way, so there’s no reason to eschew this important task. You can even use your Google My Business profile as a means of social proof once users begin leaving reviews.
  • Build a Google Voice Search-friendly website: To help leads find you through voice assistants, you can optimize your medical website. We’d suggest the following tactics:
    • Add XML sitemaps if your site doesn’t already have them
    • Create an FAQs page
    • Use JSON-LD code schema markups
    • Add conversational phrases and keywords to the content on your website, as these phrases match what people are searching for when they use voice assistants.
  • Target local keywords: Whether it’s blog content, homepage or about content, or landing pages, be sure to incorporate local keywords. The same keyword best practices apply as always, which means no keyword stuffing or unnatural uses of keywords. Both will hurt your medical SEO, not help it. 
  • Get on medical business listings: Join medical business listings for your city, town, or state. When someone searches for healthcare practices in your area, the listing could help them find you.
Link building and off-page SEO for healthcare providers

Use Off-Page SEO

Earlier, we discussed on-page or on-site SEO. Your next medical SEO strategy is the opposite of that, which is off-page SEO. 

If on-page SEO is all about the improvements you make to your website to rise in the ranks, then on-page SEO doesn’t involve updating your website. 

Instead, you’re inviting reviews, syndicating content, welcoming guest posts, working with influencers, and yes, building links. 

Off-page SEO, especially in conjunction with on-page SEO, both tremendously influence your medical SEO.

Through off-page SEO, you’re telling Google and other search engines that your healthcare practice’s website has domain authority. 

In other words, you’re proving that your site is trustworthy, relevant, and credible and thus should be ranked higher. 

Build Links

Just as we discussed site loading speed as a separate element of on-page SEO, we want to take this section and dedicate it to an off-page SEO tactic, link building. 

Link building can help your healthcare practice generate more organic traffic, which is why it’s such a critical part of your medical SEO strategy. 

The links in a link-building plan don’t come from your own website, but rather, from other websites on the Internet. When a search engine sees this, it crawls the website links to derive information.

Based on what the search engine finds, link building can tell a search engine to re-rank a page or place new pages from a website in its results. 

Link building also has the additional benefits of strengthening your brand, increasing referral traffic, and helping your healthcare company develop professional bonds with partners. 

The types of links include:

  • Guest blogging links
  • Website directory links
  • Forum and blog comment links
  • Editorial links
mobile friendly website

Produce Long-Form Content

A can’t-miss part of your medical SEO plan is long-form content. 

As we wrote about here, long-form content–which is over 1,000 words but no more than 7,500 words–can be highly beneficial to your healthcare practice’s SEO goals.

When you write high-quality long-form content, you’ll find that others want to link to your blog or website that’s hosting the content. This is a great way to generate backlinks. 

You also have more keyword opportunities when writing long-form content. Once again, no keyword stuffing here, but longer content has a higher word count, and that higher word count means more chances to insert your keyword and space it out. 

Long-form keyword is generally agreed upon to have a higher lifespan than short-form content.

All the time, hard work, and research you put into writing long-form content pays off. Your website could be perceived as the authority on a topic, and, if a reader commits to reading the entire article, they’ll spend longer on your site than if they’re reading shorter content. 

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Content Marketing

Once you begin producing long-form content, the last element of medical SEO is creating a content marketing strategy to spread your content. 

Here are some best practices to utilize:

  • When writing content, keep search intent as the top priority. Why is someone searching for the query they did? What relevant subheads can you include in your content that the reader would also be interested in?
  • Create an editorial calendar so you can plan which topics you’ll write about and when the content will go live.
  • Post at least two to four pieces of content per week.
  • Upgrade old content to keep it relevant by updating the information or adding new sections.
  • Enrich content with visuals such as graphics, charts, or videos. 

Why Should You Hire a Healthcare SEO Agency?

SEO can admittedly be confusing. Even if you can see what the value of medical SEO can be for your healthcare practice, you still may struggle to implement some of the strategies we laid out in the last section.

For that reason, it can be helpful to hire a healthcare SEO agency. The agency will be staffed with experts who understand the ins and outs of SEO, even the areas you might not quite grasp yourself. 

They’ll listen to your SEO goals and then create with you a roadmap for achieving those goals. All along, you’ll be updated on the agency’s progress so you can understand what’s being done and what it means for your website’s ranking. 

With the expertise of a healthcare SEO agency on your side, your healthcare practice can focus on what you do best–providing medical care and excellent customer service–and let the agency take care of the rest.  

Boost your medical SEO by hiring an agency specialized in Search Engine Optimization

Conclusion 

Medical SEO dictates where your healthcare practice appears in search engine results. By striving to improve your SEO standing, you can generate more organic traffic, higher-quality leads, and appointments at your healthcare practice.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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