Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of methods and practices used to improve a website’s ranking for relevant search terms on search engines like Google. Search engines use algorithms to determine what websites best match a user’s intent – in other words, what sites best provide the information that user is searching for. By improving your healthcare practice’s website through SEO, you can gain the many benefits of high ranking results for search terms relevant to your field.
Why is SEO relevant to the healthcare field?
Every year, more and more people are using the internet as a source of health information, from asking questions about their symptoms to finding healthcare providers in their local area.
A recent study found that in most fields of healthcare, a minimum of 60% to as high as 85% of consumers search for information online before scheduling an appointment (Invoca, 2022).
And more often than not, people are turning to search engines to find healthcare information online. Google is the most visited site on the internet, with 99,000 searches per second, or 8.5 billion searches a day (SimilarWeb, 2022). As of 2019, around 7% of all google searches were for healthcare-related queries, according to the then-Vice President of Google Health, David Feinberg (The Telegraph, 2019).
That means there are over a half-billion health-related searches on Google every day.
As a healthcare expert, whether a doctor, dentist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or any other healthcare services professional, your mission is to help people with some of their most important needs, whether by providing them with accurate information or top-notch care, in-person or remotely.
SEO can help you accomplish both of these goals by harnessing the power of online search.
It’s not enough to just be online. Up to 90% or more of pages clicked on Google come from the first page of results (Moz, 2017), meaning that if your healthcare service isn’t reaching the front page, there’s little chance that your online content is being seen. Implementing SEO best practices on your online content is a must in order to reach the front page of the search engines and catch the attention of prospective patients and clients who are actively searching for information in your field.
Why is implementing an SEO strategy a must for every healthcare service?
No matter what field of healthcare you’re in, patients and clients are online searching for services like yours right now. Whether your practice is local or looking for a wider reach, SEO will help you reach the people you’re trained to help. Here are a few of the key ways healthcare providers can use SEO to benefit current and prospective patients and clients:
1. Become a trusted authority in your field
One of the key SEO strategies especially relevant to healthcare providers is publishing consistent, high-quality content online that is relevant to your practice and optimized for online performance. Use your expertise and unique insights to benefit people searching for information you’re an expert on, and attract prospective patients and clients to engage with you online and seek your services for their health needs. By utilizing SEO best practices, you can use your website and social media content to grow your voice and authority within your field.
2. Help patients and clients find your healthcare practice both online and at your physical location
Not only can SEO help patients and clients find your healthcare services online, it can help them find your practice’s physical location as well. As of 2018, Google Maps held a 67% share of the navigation map market, and it remains the most popular navigation app today (WebTribunal, 2022).
SEO can help your healthcare practice show up first in your area for local search results on Google Maps and the Map Pack on Google itself – helping you reach more people who need your services in your local area.
3. Adapt to the growing importance of mobile devices in patients’ healthcare journeys
Optimizing your healthcare practice’s online presence for mobile devices is a key part of SEO. Over 58% of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices (Oberlo, 2022), and Google and other search engines place a high priority on mobile optimization. But especially for healthcare providers, implementing SEO strategies to optimize the mobile experience on your site is about more than just ranking on search engines.
It’s about optimizing your patients’ and clients’ experiences with your service and becoming a trusted partner on every step in their healthcare journey.
More and more, mobile devices are becoming the go-to tool for seekers of health information and services, from asking questions about health concerns through online search, to searching for practices in their local area, to calling to book appointments, to looking up directions to get to your location. By optimizing your online content for mobile, you’ll be able to guide your prospective patients and clients seamlessly from the information-gathering phase of their health journey right to your door.
4. Understand search terms to help address healthcare searchers’ needs
Search terms, or keywords, are the actual words that a searcher uses when searching online. Everyone expresses themselves in their own way, and the wide variance in expression of search terms presents additional challenges–and opportunities–for healthcare providers, as few industries must account for as many potential permutations of search terms.
Even with billions of people making trillions of searches a year on Google, around 15% of all Google searches are for search terms that have never been used before – a figure that has held from 2013-2022 (Google, 2022).
When people search for information related to healthcare, they may do so at different points in their healthcare journeys and express their needs in many different ways. For example, the searches “symptoms of strep throat,” “ear nose and throat doctor Fairfield county,” and “ENT specialists near me,” may all be searches ultimately looking for the exact same thing, just expressed in very different ways.
It is important to understand how to use SEO to improve your healthcare service’s search rank for a variety of related search terms, while also focusing on the ones that are most relevant to searches in your local area and field of expertise.
Proper SEO strategy includes keyword research and management, which are methods to discover and organize the keywords that your potential patients and clients are searching for.
Using this knowledge of keywords and SEO principles on your pages, your healthcare service’s site and socials can be optimized to help search engines recognize your online content as good matches for a variety of related queries – greatly increasing your chances of being discovered by the millions of people searching online for healthcare services like yours.
For more information, or help managing your SEO services, contact our award-winning digital marketing and SEO team today!