Healthcare SEO: How to Grow Your Healthcare Practice?

Mia Jensen | Jan 31, 2023 | 27 min read
Healthcare SEO - How to Grow Your Healthcare Practice?

Do you want to increase your website ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs)?

If yes, then SEO should be your top priority.

Especially if you’re in a competitive market like healthcare, where you compete against other doctors and healthcare facilities for the same patients, you need to increase the visibility of your practice’s website.

Your healthcare success depends on your SEO.

With healthcare SEO, your practice will rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs), driving traffic to your website and leading to more patients.

We’ve put together this Healthcare 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 Healthcare SEO tactics and growing your practice.

What is Healthcare SEO?

Healthcare SEO is optimizing your practice website for search engines. By implementing SEO, you can rank on top in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords, generating more free traffic and patients to your website.

Medical SEO includes both on-page and off-page SEO strategies.

On-page Healthcare SEO means optimizing web pages titles, meta descriptions, header tags, and images on your website. Off-page SEO strategies means link-building, online mentions or social media and generating reviews.

Why SEO Matters for Healthcare Providers?

Healthcare SEO is essential if you want people to find your practice. Search engine optimization or SEO will help increase your website’s visibility, making it more likely that people will find and click through your website.

Medical SEO companies will help you to rank higher for relevant keywords, generating more traffic to your website. The more traffic your practice website receives, the more leads and patients you’re likely to attract.

You can build trust and credibility with potential patients with the right SEO strategies. If your website appears in the top results for relevant keywords, people will see your practice as an authority in your field.

Over 60% of patients research healthcare providers online before making an appointment. There are many ways that healthcare facilities can improve their online presence, but one great way is getting 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, healthcare providers can not only use review sites as marketing channels, but they can also grow their patient base.

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

DemandHub Dashboard

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

There are many benefits of Healthcare 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

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

How To Grow Your Healthcare Practice Organically?

Healthcare 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.”

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.

Here are 14 Healthcare SEO tactics you can apply today to optimize your website:

1. Set Yourself To Get More Reviews

Start by claiming and verifying your business listings on popular review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Healthgrades.

Other than review sites, you can also leverage the reviews you get on your social media pages. Make sure you have a strong social media presence on all platforms where your patients are most active.

Search engines use online reviews on social media and your Google Business profile as a ranking factor, so it’s important to manage your online reputation actively.

Maintaining reviews and a positive online presence demonstrates to search engines and patients that they can trust you.

Google Results Example

Take note that all of the listings above have significant positive ratings.

2. Encourage Patients to Leave Reviews

Reviews are one of the best ways to showcase your skills and abilities as a healthcare practitioner. Reviews help build trust with potential patients who may be on the fence about choosing you as their care provider.

Moreover, reviews are critical in determining your Google ranking. So, it’s important to motivate patients to leave reviews after their appointments.

Healthcare Reviews

70% of consumers will write a review for a business when asked. So, it’s worth reaching out and asking patients to leave a review. You can send them a text message with a link to where they can leave a review.

You can generate a Google Review link to share with your patients via text, website, email or social media.

You can also connect this review link with a QR code that patients can scan through their smartphones, leading them to the specific review page. Use this QR code on your business cards, websites, text messages, email signatures, social media or even on your receipts.

QR code example

Display signs in your office with a QR code that patients can easily scan from their phones. The QR code will take them to review sites, where they can leave feedback within minutes.

The key is to make it as convenient as possible for patients to leave a review. If it’s hassle-free, they’re more likely to do it.

With DemandHub, you can use text messaging to immediately get your patients’ attention so they can leave you a review in just 30 seconds.

Following is a sample of a review request email template from our blog, How to Get Dental Reviews:

Email Template Example

You can capitalize on this opportunity by targeting patients you know have had a positive experience or those who have been to your office more than once.

3. 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 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 convert.

To improve your website speed, you can:

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

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.

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.

Most importantly, your medical website should be mobile-friendly.

There are 6.64 B smartphone users in the world today. So, if you want your patients to easily access your site on their smartphones, 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 developer team can help you with this.

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

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.

Keyword Search Volume Example

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, “emergency dental treatment” is a long-tail keyword. It’s more specific than just “dental treatment” 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 very 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.

5. Start a Healthcare Blog

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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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
  • FAQs
  • spotlights on staff members or doctors
  • guest posts from other healthcare professionals

A healthcare 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.

Optimized your HTML 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:

Headings Example

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

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:

  • 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.
  • Use an online image compression tool like TinyPNG to reduce the size of image files without compromising quality.
  • Choose images that are relevant to your content and add value for patients.
  • Add descriptive titles and captions to your images. This will help search engines know what the image is about and index it properly.
  • 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.
  • 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.”

8. Use Logical and Short URLs

The URL of a medical website is an important factor in healthcare 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.

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 healthcare 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 healthcare information.

Build Backlinks

Authentic medical care providers 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).

HARO Homepage

Image Source:

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 Application

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 Account Details

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.

10. Complete Your Google My Business Page

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

11. Respond to Reviews

Both positive and negative reviews play a key role in healthcare SEO and reputation management. A timely and personal response shows that you care about your patients and value their feedback.

If you see a negative review, express your regret that the patient had a negative experience.

Invite them to reach out to you directly so that you can address their issues. Listen to their concerns and see if there is something you can do to improve their experience.

Negative Review Example Image Credit:

45% of consumers say they’re likelier to visit a business that responds to their negative reviews. Even if you can’t change the situation that led to the negative review, you may be able to build a rapport with the patients and turn them into satisfied customers.

For a positive review, thank the patient for their kind words and let them know you appreciate their input. 7 out of 10 customers changed their opinion about a business after the business responded to the review.

While crafting a response, it is always important to be professional, courteous and respectful. These qualities will go a long way in maintaining a positive reputation for your dental practice.

Here are some examples of review response templates:

Negative Review Response Template

“Hi [First Name], I’m sorry that you had a negative experience at our office. We would love the opportunity to make it right. Please get in touch with me directly so we can resolve the issues you experienced.”

Positive Review Response Template

“Hi [First Name], Thank you very much for the kind words! We’re happy that you had a great experience at our clinic. Looking forward to serving you again.”

responding to negative revviews do's and don'ts

12. Include Images of The Office, Staff, and Equipment

Studies show that humans are visual learners. Website visitors spend more time on a page with images and videos.

What type of images should you be putting on your healthcare website?

Images of your staff, office and equipment create a more personal connection with potential clients than run-of-the-mill stock images.

By looking at pictures of the staff and offices, patients can get a feel of your practice, like who they will be working with and the facility’s environment. Images provide potential patients with a sense of comfort and can help them feel more confident about choosing your practice.

When potential patients search for healthcare providers, they are more likely to choose a practice with images of their staff and facilities. See how Brush Dentists use their About Us page to display the images of their team.

So if you want to attract more patients and improve your ranking in SERPs, include images of your staff, office, and equipment on your website or GMB profile.

13. Track Your Results and Maintain Growth

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

What patients say about you can have a significant impact on your business. Research shows that 72% of potential patients use online reviews to choose a healthcare provider.

So how can you manage your online reputation?

The first step is to claim your profiles on well-known review sites like Google, Yelp, and Healthgrades. This will allow you to respond to reviews and control the narrative around your brand.

Also, encourage patients to leave reviews by sending them follow-up emails or text messages with links to review sites after their appointments.

Finally, 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 healthcare 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 dental reputation and grow your practice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Healthcare SEO

How can SEO benefit healthcare providers?

SEO can benefit healthcare providers by improving their online visibility, attracting more organic traffic to their websites, and potentially leading to an increase in patients. It’s a cost-effective way to reach out to people who are actively looking for healthcare services online.

What are some effective SEO techniques for healthcare websites?

Effective SEO techniques for healthcare websites include keyword research and optimization, creating high-quality and relevant content, optimizing your website or listing for local search, improving website speed and mobile-friendliness, and building high-quality backlinks.

How important is local SEO for healthcare providers?

Local SEO is important as most people search for healthcare services near them. Optimizing for local search helps providers appear in these local searches, increasing their chances of attracting more local patients and foot traffic to their clinic.

What role does content play in healthcare SEO?

Content plays a significant role in healthcare SEO. By creating informative, relevant, and high-quality content, healthcare providers can answer patient queries, improve their search rankings, and establish themselves as authorities in their field.

What is SEO in healthcare?

SEO in healthcare refers to the practice of optimizing a healthcare provider’s online presence, especially their website, so that it appears higher in search engine results. SEO makes it easier for prospective patients to find them online when looking for specific healthcare services.

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