Does SEO Really Matter for Healthcare?

photo of medical search engineIt’s a buzzword you hear any time you talk to someone about visibility for your business’s website. Have you thought about your SEO? 

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s a practice that’s changed drastically over the years. But the purpose remains the same: the term describes the art and science of getting your website to rank towards the top of Google’s search results (or any search engine). 

Still, healthcare practices have many ways of advertising their services. That’s why you may be wondering: is SEO truly vital for a healthcare organization?

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Healthcare SEO: 3 Techniques Your Website Needs

SEO for Healthcare: Why It Matters

The one statistic you need to know about why you should care about SEO for healthcare:

75% of people won’t click past the first page of the search results. (Hubspot)

And when it comes to searches on just a mobile device, that number jumps up even higher. People on mobile devices often don’t scroll past the first few results. 

Your chances of being seen online drop dramatically when you fall even below the top 3 results for the terms you hope to rank for. And if you’re on page 2, 3, or 4—forget about patients finding your website organically online.

What Types of Healthcare Organizations Should Worry about SEO?

Any healthcare organization can benefit from optimizing their website for the search engines. Patients will research your business online. In fact, the internet is the primary way patients find their doctors today—about 68% of your patients start by checking the search engines.

Visibility at the top of the search engines is of vital importance to primary care doctors and urgent care. When patients are in need, they’re likely to search something like “urgent care in Los Angeles” and choose a close, well-reviewed location. 

Think specialty practices are exempt? Patients will research a referral online before scheduling an appointment. Depending on their insurance, some may choose their own specialty practice they’ve researched online in lieu of a physician’s referral.

Healthcare SEO May Be More Complicated Than You Think

Healthcare SEO means more than simply including every keyword you may want to rank for on your website. You have to make keywords read naturally, as Google counts readability as an SEO factor. You also have to take steps like optimizing the code on your site and generating quality backlinks pointing to your website to build your credibility in search.

Besides, you have to spend time thinking about which keywords are more likely to draw visitors to your website. Think about the user intent of someone landing on your website. If they’re looking for a doctor who might treat a problem they’ve been having, would they search something like “knee replacement surgery,” or would they look for info about “knee injuries?” It’s tough to say until you do the research.

Optimizing your website for the search engines is not something you can do in a day. It takes quite a bit of time. In fact…

SEO May Not Be the Fastest Way to Rank

Search engine optimization is a slow process. Google won’t simply see the changes you’ve made to your website and move you up to the top of the search engines. It can take months before the needle starts moving significantly in terms of visibility. 

It’s also not a one-and-done process. Optimizing your website for the search engines takes work. You’ll have to continue to post content or update the content you already have as well as optimize local directories.

As an FYI, there are faster ways to get your website seen on the search engines. Paid search results are one way to get people to click on your brand, and these show up instantly (as long as you have digital marketing specialists on your side).

Only Work with Search Engine Optimization Experts

Improving your healthcare website’s SEO value requires a lot of work and time. We don’t recommend doing this yourself, or using an amateur to improve your SEO. SEO is changing every day, as Google shifts its algorithms. Experts keep up on the news and know how to optimize to Google’s ever-changing standards.

We also don’t recommend doing this with a company that only offers SEO services. The right strategy combines search engine optimization with whatever other services you need. These may include social media advertising, website design, and traditional media including TV and radio.

Call Healthcare Success at (800) 656-0907 to speak with our team about a complete online (and offline) healthcare marketing strategy.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.

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