SEO For Doctors: 14 Effective Strategies To Boost Traffic

Mia Jensen | January 10, 2024 | 30 min read
SEO For Doctors - 14 Strategies To Grow Your Local Practice On Google

Everyone clicks on the first, second, and maybe even third Google result. It’s rare for anyone to go past the first page of results because everyone wants to find exactly what they’re looking for as fast as possible.

With that in mind, you’ll want to grow your practices online reputation, and show Google that you’re website is worth ranking #1. Being at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) ensures more and more patients are choosing you on a daily basis.

Honestly, SEO should be your top priority.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for doctors to grow their business locally and attract new patients.

However, like many small businesses, local medical practices often find it difficult to budget for expert SEO services.

Fortunately, there are many ways that a medical practice can optimize its website, content and local listings to attract new patients and grow its business.

Doctor SEO will help you rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs), driving traffic to your website and leading to more patients.

We’ve put together this doctor SEO guide to help you grow your practice. Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about medical search engine optimization, from how to do keyword research to on-page and off-page optimization to link building.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the info and tools you need to start implementing doctor SEO strategies and growing your practice.

How Can the Doctors Benefit From Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

There are many benefits of doctor SEO, including:

  • improved visibility for your healthcare website
  • increased patients and traffic to your site
  • higher conversion rates (patients making appointments or taking other desired actions on your site)
  • staying top of mind with patients and in the healthcare industry
  • improved ROI for your marketing efforts.
  • Lower patient acquisition cost

Doctor SEO can be complex and time-consuming, but it is worth the effort for its many benefits to your practice.

How To Grow Your Medical Practice Organically?

What is organic growth? Organic website traffic is simply the internet users that find your website based on Googles recommendation. This includes anyone finding your website from ads.

Doctor SEO is essential for optimizing your healthcare website and growing your practice. By targeting more long-tail keywords and developing location-based content, it’s possible to perform well on SERPs and attract new patients.

What is location-based content?

Location-based content includes location-specific keywords and phrases like “dentist in Los Angeles” or “dental offices in NYC.”

By adding simple terms like that on your website, you’ll be able to get more traffic.

Think of it like this: You’re telling Google, and other search engines, what type of user traffic you want coming to your site. You want patients that are looking up terms spesific to you, such as your location.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are words or phrases that are more specific but often longer than other commonly used keywords.

For example, the keyword “oncologist” is the main keyword because it gets 74k searches per month. The keyword “surgical oncologist NJ” is a long-tail keyword because it only gets 170 searches per month.

By implementing the right SEO strategies, you can put your practice’s website in front of the right users and outrank your competitors.

Now let’s talk about the 14 Doctor SEO strategies to Grow Your Local Practice On Google.

14 Doctor SEO Strategies

14 Doctor SEO strategies to Grow Your Local Practice On Google

  1. get more online reviews
  2. optimize your website for speed, security, and mobile
  3. claim and complete your google my business page
  4. create useful content based on appropriate medical keywords
  5. start a medical health blog related to your practice
  6. optimize your site’s html tags
  7. optimize your visual content: images and videos
  8. build backlinks
  9. use logical and short urls
  10. list your practice on popular dental review sites
  11. create your practice facebook page
  12. improve your local seo
  13. track your results and maintain growth
  14. manage your online reputation

1. Get More Online Reviews for SEO for Doctors

Over 60% of patients research doctors online before making an appointment.

There are many ways that doctors can improve their online presence, but one great way is to get positive reviews on popular search engines and review sites.

Check out these exciting facts to see how online reviews impact your practice growth:

By using DemandHub, doctors and physicians can not only use review sites as marketing channels, but they can also grow their patient base.

DemandHub for Doctors DemandHub’s interactive dashboard allows you to monitor success rates and evaluate different online and offline marketing strategies. DemandHub is essential for any doctor looking to improve overall patient satisfaction.

2. Optimize Your Website For Speed, Security, And Mobile

Google ranks websites based on 200 factors, including website speed, security, and mobile friendliness.

For the best user experience, your website should ideally load in under half a second.

You can check your website speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. If your website is not fast enough, patients will likely leave before they have a chance to get more information and reach out to you.

To improve your website speed, you can:

If you want to learn how to optimize your website speed, go there.

Improve Your Website Security

To improve your website security, implement an SSL certificate.

What is an SSL certification? An SSL certificate encrypts information sent between your website and visitors’ browsers. You can tell if your website has an SSL certificate. If your URL starts with “https://”, it does. If it starts with “http://.”, it doesn’t.

SSL Certification

If your healthcare website doesn’t have SSL security, Google will penalize your rankings. There’s no excuse for not implementing this certificate if you are accepting sensitive patient information.

Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

A mobile-friendly website is essential to attracting and retaining patients.

If you want your patients to access your site on their smartphones easily, make your website mobile-friendly. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your website is mobile-responsive.

If not, consider investing in a responsive design or a separate mobile website. With a mobile-responsive design, your website will automatically adjust to fit any screen size.

A separate mobile website is a different version of your main website specifically designed for mobile users. You can redirect mobile visitors to your mobile website using a “mobile detect” script. Your web development team can help you with this.

Responsive design and separate mobile websites have pros and cons, so deciding which is right for you is important.

3. Claim and Complete Your Google My Business Page

Doctor GMB

Your Google My Business (GMB) page is one of the first places potential patients go to learn more about your practice. Make sure you take the time to fill out your GMB page with as much information as possible, including:

  • Your practice’s name, address, and phone (NAP)
  • Your website URL and any relevant social media links
  • Business hours
  • A description of your healthcare practice
  • Services you offer
  • Locations Served
  • Images and videos of staff and practice

If you need help in creating your Google My Business Profile, read our comprehensive blog for the full step-by-step guide!

4. Create Useful Content Based on Appropriate Medical Keywords

You can’t get website traffic without useful content. To optimize your healthcare website, you must create informative content based on the appropriate medical keywords.

For your website to rank higher in search results, Google needs to understand what your website is about. And the great way to do that is by using relevant keywords throughout your website content.

It can be intimidating to brainstorm content ideas and where to put keywords if you have an entire website. However, here’s a quick tip: start with the main pages of your website’s navigation, such as:

  • Homepage
  • Services Areas
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Services
  • Billing page

These are your most important website pages. So, they need to rank for the relevant keywords. At the same time, they should provide answers to questions your website’s visitors might have.

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words or phrases people enter on search engines to look for information. In the case of healthcare SEO, “Physiotherapist near me” is an example of a medical keyword.

To measure the success of your SEO, look at how many keywords your site ranks for. And how much quality leads or traffic you get from those keywords.

How to find relevant medical keywords?

To find the right medical keywords, use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs or SEMrush.

Just enter a seed (main) keyword related to your healthcare practice, such as “dentist” or “chiropractor.” The keyword research tool will give you a list of related keywords with monthly search volume. Click on View all to find the full list of keywords.

Following are some tips to remember while researching relevant keywords:

Use long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are simply longer and more specific phrases related to your main keyword. They usually have low search volume, but they’re easier to rank for.

For example, “physiotherapy for back pain” is a long-tail keyword. It’s more specific than just “physiotherapy” and has fewer monthly searches.

Use location-based keywords

Location-based keywords are keywords that contain a city or region name. They help you target local patients. For example, “chiropractor in Brooklyn” is a location-based keyword.

Use questions as keywords

People use Google to find answers to their questions. So, it’s important to use questions as keywords. For example, “how to get rid of acne” or “what is the best treatment for back pain.”

A good question-based keyword example is “can a chiropractor help a pinched nerve”. It is easy to rank for and has 1600 monthly searches.

Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions

Include relevant keywords when creating titles and descriptions for your website’s pages and blog posts. This is one of the most important on-page SEO factors.

Including keywords in your meta titles and descriptions helps Google understand what your pages are about. It also helps improve your click-through rate (CTR) from the search results.

Now that you have added relevant keywords to your main website pages, it’s time to generate more traffic to your site with a healthcare blog.

A medical blog can boost traffic to your site and provide informative content to the patients.

When writing blog posts, include relevant keywords throughout the content to help improve your SEO. In addition, add internal links to your relevant web pages or blogs whenever possible to encourage your visitors to explore your site further.

Try to post new blog content regularly, at least once or twice a week, to keep the blog fresh and engaging. The goal of medical content is to improve the visitor’s life, not just rank highly on search engines.

A word of caution!

Healthcare websites must take extra precautions regarding content and ensure patient information is kept safe and secure. A good start for doctor SEO is to learn about HIPAA, as violating it can lead to fines for doctors, depending on the severity of the offense.

Besides law, Google also penalizes websites with content that can hurt someone’s well-being. These websites are called “Your Money Your Life” (YMYL). Your healthcare blog must illustrate EAT:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

With that said, if you need help coming up with content ideas for blog posts, consider these topics:

  • healthcare industry news
  • healthcare tips for patients
  • General Health-related FAQs
  • spotlights on staff members or doctors
  • guest posts from other doctors and industry professionals

A medical blog can also build relationships with patients and the community. Use your blog to share your expert knowledge and connect with patients.

6. Optimize Your Site’s HTML Tags

HTML tags are used to tell search engines what your website is about. They give your website a technical and visual structure, helping search engines and people understand your website’s content.

HTML tags are one of the most important on-page SEO factors. The three most important HTML tags are:

Title tags - The title tag is the visitors’ first impression when they land on your website. In fact, it also appears in the search results even before the user clicks on your link in SERPs. So, ensure your title tags are appropriate, contain relevant keywords, and are no longer than 60 characters.

Title & Alt Tags

Meta descriptions - Meta descriptions are short descriptions of your pages that appear in the search results. They should also be appropriate, include relevant keywords, and be no more than 155-160 characters.

Headings - Headings help Google understand your content’s structure and make it easier for people to read. There are six heading tags from <h1> to <h6>, but h1 and h2 are the most important. Include relevant keywords in your headings, but don’t stuff them with keywords.

The following image shows how your website text will look with h2 and h3 headings:

H1 & H2 Titles

You should add your main keywords in the titles and h1 tags for the best SEO practice. The secondary related keywords should go in the descending headings according to their search volume.

You can easily add these tags depending on the type of content management system (CMS) you use, such as WordPress, Wix, or Drupal. If you are still unsure, a simple search on Google with “how to add content on (your CMS name)” would show how to do it.

7. Optimize Your Visual Content

Images and videos are an excellent way to break up the text, make your content more visually appealing, and improve your healthcare SEO.

Videos are one of the most popular ways people consume content. Adding a video to your landing page can increase your conversion by over 130%.

Videos on web pages help keep visitors engaged because they are visually stimulating, thus increasing the user’s time on your webpage. This indicates to search engines that this webpage contains valuable content for users so rank it higher.

So, add videos that are both relevant and high-quality. Some video ideas for healthcare websites are:

  • a virtual tour of your facility
  • an informative video on a medical condition
  • general health tips
  • faculty and doctors interviews
  • Patients’ testimonials to increase trust for potential patients

Include various images and infographics to make your website more engaging and interactive. This will help you attract more visitors to your site.

Be sure to include alt text with all images.

What is Alt text? Alt text is a brief description of images that appears when someone hovers over the image.

It helps people with visual impairments and Google crawlers to understand what is displayed in the image. ALT text can be a perfect opportunity to include some of your keywords, but don’t overdo it.

Here are some tips for adding images and videos to your practice website:

  1. Make sure your images are high quality and have a small file size. Large images take longer to load, negatively impacting your site’s SEO.
  2. Use an online image compression tool like TinyPNG to reduce the size of image files without compromising quality.
  3. Choose images that are relevant to your content and add value for patients.
  4. Add descriptive titles and captions to your images. This will help search engines know what the image is about and index it properly.
  5. Include a video sitemap on your website so that Google can easily find and index your videos. You can use a tool like Yoast SEO to generate your video sitemap.
  6. Use keyword-rich file names for your images and videos. For example, if you have a video about “10 tips for choosing the right primary care physician,” the file name could be “10-tips-choosing-right-primary-care-physician.mp4.”

As reviews tell other people about your practice’s expertise, backlinks tell search engines about your website’s authority. Authority refers to how credible and trustworthy your website is.

Backlinks are the links from other websites to your website. Building backlinks is one of the most significant components of any doctor SEO strategy.

Quality links from other high-authority websites show that your practice is trustworthy. And they also help boost your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

The higher your ranking, the more likely potential patients will find your website when searching for medical information.

backlinking

Authentic healthcare providers and doctors are often the source of new research or observations in their field. Their content pieces are more likely to attract backlinks, as shown in the example above.

There are many ways to build backlinks:

  • submit articles to article directories
  • guest post on other healthcare blogs
  • participate in forums like quora and answer questions
  • leave comments on other related websites

Another great way to get some backlinks is by using Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

Help a Reporter Out

Image Source: helpareporter.com

Journalists often need to use reliable quotes in their stories. Therefore, popular news sources such as Reuters or Wall Street Journal will go to HARO to look for these quotes.

HARO sends emails to those who want to become resources, containing a list of categorized publications that require quotes.

HARO

By signing up as a source, you can get email request updates in your chosen category. You can select your category preference by clicking “update and add to your account details” in the first email you get after signing up as a source.

HARO

It takes you to your account details, allowing you to pick your preferences. Select the exact lists relevant to your expertise in the healthcare industry.

By updating your preferences, you will start receiving queries from reporters seeking experts like you for quotes. Even though there’s no set guarantee, if your answer is featured on their site, they will often give a backlink to your website.

9. Use Logical and Short URLs

The URL of your healthcare website is an important factor in doctor SEO. Your URLs should be short, relevant, and easy to understand.

Logical and short URLs are easier for patients and search engines to understand and can help improve the ranking of your website.

In addition, they can help improve the click-through rate (CTR) from SERPs, as they are more likely to be relevant to the user’s query.

Your website’s URLs directly reflect how much you value your patients’ time. When you take the time to generate a URL that is easy for your visitors to understand, it shows that you care about their experience on your site.

There are many popular healthcare review sites that potential patients use to find doctors, such as Yelp, Healthgrades, or Doctor.com

Ensure you’re listed on these doctor review sites and ensure your information is accurate and up-to-date. Add high-quality images of your staff, clinic, and equipment to help your listing stand out.

Doctor Review

A comprehensive study by Harvard Business School found that a 1-star increase in Yelp rating can lead to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue. That’s the power of listing your practice on doctor review sites.

Therefore, claim your listings on these medical review sites and encourage patients to leave reviews there. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely you attract new patients.

11. Create Your Practice Facebook page

If you haven’t already set up an official fan page for your practice on Facebook, do it now. I know—you don’t want to spend the time on it.

But trust me: It’s worth it!

Why should you care about Facebook anyway? It’s just a popularity contest, right? Wrong!

There are several reasons why doctors must create a Facebook business page for their practice:

Visibility: A Facebook business page can help increase the visibility of your practice and make it easier for patients to find and contact your clinic.

Communication: It encourages two-way communication between doctors and patients. For example, doctors can use their page to share updates about their practice, such as changes to office hours or the availability of new services.

Reputation management: Facebook page is a useful tool for managing your practice’s online reputation. For example, you can use your page to respond to patient reviews and address any concerns that they may have.

Networking: Having a Facebook business page can help you to network with other healthcare professionals and organizations. This can help doctors stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their field and find opportunities to collaborate with others.

12. Improve Your Local SEO

Local SEO is one of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses.

If you optimize your practice website for local searches, you’re more likely to be found by patients ready to book an appointment.

To do that, you need to ensure your site ranks higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for locally-targeted keywords.

As discussed above, to improve your local SEO, identify which keywords you want to rank for.

For example, if you are a doctor practicing in New Jersey, you will want to rank for keywords like “doctor NJ” “Gynecologist near me,” or “emergency medical services in New Jersey.”

Create Content Enriched With Location-Based Keywords

After compiling a list of your main location-specific keywords, it is time to integrate them into your website copy.

For example, you could write a blog post about dentists titled “Best doctors in New Jersey” or “health care plans in Toronto”.

You can get an idea from Google Related Searches at the end of the page. They are also the keywords people are looking for.

Location Based Keywords

Including these keywords in your titles and web copy will help you rank higher in SERPs for those terms.

Create Local Landing Pages On Your Site

Local landing pages are just like other website pages. However, they are designed and optimized to attract visitors from a certain geographic area.

For example, if you want to attract patients from NYC, you could create a web page on your site titled “Acupuncturist in Accord, NY.”

On this page, you would include relevant information about your acupuncture practice, such as your location, hours of operation, and contact information.

You would also want to include locally-targeted keywords throughout the landing page copy.

Creating local landing pages is an effective way to improve your local SEO and attract patients from specific geographic areas.

Include Location-Services-Specific Keywords

While optimizing your website for local SEO, be sure to include a variety of keywords and phrases that accurately depict all the services you provide.

That means using just doctor or medical services in your website’s content and URLs is not enough.

Use keywords like fertility acupuncture, physiotherapy for back pain, acupuncture for arthritis, and the names of any treatments or procedures you perform or products you offer.

If we see this from a local SEO perspective, you could target a long-tail keyword, such as: “acupuncturist in NYC” or “Best physiotherapists for back pain in Toronto.”

Although they might have low search volumes, these will give you more relevant and quality leads, resulting in more patients coming through your door.

13. Track Your Results and Maintain Growth

As a doctor, tracking your SEO results and maintaining a growth mindset is essential. By tracking your results, you can identify areas of opportunity and adjust your strategy accordingly.

The SEO game is always changing, so monitoring your progress is the only way to ensure your efforts are paying off. Google Analytics and Call Tracking Metric (CTM) tools can help you achieve this goal.

Set Up Call Tracking Tool With Your Google Analytics

The Call Tracking Metrics (CTM) tool can track customer texts and calls using a dynamic phone number. Integrating CTM with Google Analytics allows you to keep track of your campaigns.

You can find Google’s guide on how to set up CTM with your Google Analytics account here.

Use Social Media To Grow Brand Awareness And Authority

Even though social media isn’t directly linked to your ranking, it should still be a priority for your doctor SEO.

The content on a social media page can profoundly impact which care clinic or treatment center a patient chooses. Most patients often consider social media reviews before making an appointment.

Use social media to connect with potential and current patients. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer great opportunities to share information about your practice, such as:

  • Announcing new treatments,
  • Offering discounts and special offers,
  • Share helpful medical content,
  • Sharing health-related tips,
  • Answering questions patients might have.

Make sure your social profiles are up-to-date and relevant to your practice so patients can find and interact with you in various ways. Just make sure that you’re maintaining a professional tone at all times.

14. Manage Your Online Reputation

As a doctor, it’s important to be aware of your online reputation. The internet is full of doctor review sites and social media platforms where patients can share their experiences.

So how can you manage your online reputation?

If you have claimed you profiles on popular review sites in strategy # 10, then encourage patients to leave reviews. You can do this by sending patients follow-up emails or text messages with links to review sites after their appointments.

Then, monitor your online presence regularly to address any negative feedback quickly.

If the idea of managing your online reputation sounds daunting, worry not!

DemandHub is a reputation management software that can do the heavy lifting. It improves your online presence by earning more positive reviews for your practice.

Get more control over your digital footprint in an all-in-one convenient platform. Monitor your online reviews, respond to feedback and take proactive steps to grow your practice 10X.

With its benchmarking feature, you can get how you stack up against other medical practices in your area. It also offers tools and resources to help you improve your ratings and get more positive reviews.

With DemandHub’s modern messaging capabilities, you can start two-way conversations with your patients. Send messages with review links directly to patients and enable them to post a review in 30 seconds or less — all with just a few clicks.

Book a free demo today if you’re looking for an easy and effective way to manage your online reputation and grow your practice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Doctor SEO

What is doctor SEO?

Doctor SEO refers to the process of optimizing a doctor’s online presence to improve their visibility on search engines like Google. This involves using various strategies such as:

  • Keyword optimization,
  • Creating high-quality content,
  • Improving website speed,
  • Making it mobile-optimized,
  • Building credible backlinks. The goal is to attract more patients by appearing higher in search results when seeking medical services or health information related to the doctor’s specialty.

Why is SEO important for doctors?

SEO is important for doctors because many patients use search engines like Google to find healthcare providers. The higher a doctor’s website or online listing ranks in search results, the more potential patients will choose their services over others.

What are some effective SEO strategies for doctors?

Effective SEO strategies for doctors include:

  • Keyword optimization,
  • Creating high-quality content,
  • Optimizing website performance and navigation,
  • Ensuring the website is mobile-friendly,
  • Focusing on local SEO,
  • Building high-quality backlinks,
  • Encouraging positive online reviews,
  • Maintaining an active social media presence. These strategies aim to enhance online visibility, attract more patients, and improve search engine ranking.

What is SEO in medical terms?

In medical terms, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) refers to optimizing a medical professional’s or healthcare organization’s online presence to rank higher in search engine results. It helps to attract more online traffic, potentially leading to more patients.

Why do doctors need SEO?

Doctors need SEO to increase their visibility online. By optimizing their web presence, they can attract more traffic to their websites, convert more visitors into patients, and ultimately grow their practice. SEO can also help doctors establish their reputation and authority in their field.

How to do SEO for hospitals?

SEO for hospitals means optimizing keywords, creating quality content, improving website speed, and mobile optimization. It involves acquiring high-quality backlinks. It’s also vital to optimize local SEO by claiming and updating the hospital’s Google Business profile. It will help you manage online reviews and ensure consistent contact details across all platforms.

What is local SEO for doctors?

Local SEO for doctors is a strategy to optimize a doctor’s online presence to appear more prominently in local search results. This involves claiming and optimizing their Google Business listing, using location-specific keywords, and adding their practice to local directories. The goal is to attract patients from their geographical area by appearing in local searches, such as “doctors near me” or “pediatricians in [city name].”

Key Takeaways

Priority on SEO: SEO is crucial for doctors to grow their practices locally and attract new patients by ensuring their websites rank highly on SERPs.

Benefits of Doctor SEO: Improved website visibility, increased patient traffic, higher conversion rates, enhanced marketing ROI, and reduced patient acquisition costs.

Organic Growth Through SEO: Focusing on organic search traffic by targeting long-tail and location-based keywords can significantly improve a medical practice’s visibility and patient acquisition.

Location-Based Content: Incorporating location-specific keywords into website content helps attract local patients searching for medical services in their area.

Comprehensive Doctor SEO Strategies: Strategies include obtaining online reviews, optimizing website speed, security, and mobile-friendliness, claiming Google My Business pages, creating valuable content, and managing online reputation.

Online Reviews Impact: Positive online reviews are critical in patient decision-making, with a significant percentage of patients considering reviews when choosing a new doctor.

Website Optimization: Ensuring fast loading times, secure browsing (via SSL certificates), and mobile-friendly design are essential for higher search engine rankings and better patient experience.

Content Creation: Developing informative content using relevant medical keywords and starting a health blog can drive more traffic and establish the practice’s authority.

HTML Tag Optimization: Proper use of HTML tags (title tags, meta descriptions, and headings) is essential for improving search engine visibility.

Visual Content Optimization: High-quality, relevant images and videos enhance user engagement and SEO, with alt text providing additional keyword optimization opportunities.

Backlink Building: Acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable sites boosts a website’s authority and search rankings.

URL Structure: Logical and short URLs improve user experience and SEO performance.

Listing on Healthcare Review Sites: Claiming and optimizing listings on popular healthcare review sites can attract more patients.

Social Media and Local SEO: Active social media presence and focused local SEO efforts, such as creating local landing pages, are crucial for attracting nearby patients.

Ongoing SEO Monitoring: Tracking SEO performance and continuously optimizing strategies are key to maintaining and growing online visibility.

Online Reputation Management: Proactively managing the practice’s online reputation, including responding to reviews and engaging with patients online, supports patient acquisition and retention.

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