How to Use SEO to Build Your Medical or Wellness Practice

SEO for Healthcare Businesses

Before a patient ever decides to make an appointment, they must be able to find your practice to do their due diligence and research. Sure, plenty of people still rely on personal recommendations…but they still vet you and your practice.

Even with referrals and recommendations, a practice needs to attract patients to the clinic to keep revenue flowing in. The quickest and most effective way to build up your patient numbers is to work on search engine optimization (SEO) – specifically local SEO.

Potential patients want convenient options, and they want to have access to quality healthcare in their own community. You want to be the provider who shows up on Google.

If you aren’t sure how to appear in search engine results pages (SERP) when locals are looking for healthcare services, you need a clear search engine optimization (SEO) strategy or you will miss out on capturing the attention of the right patients for your clinic.

Improve Your Search Results to Attract New Patients

If your clinic isn’t visible near the top of the search engine results page, you’re missing out on the chance to convert searchers into potential patients. The ideal patients you want to serve are looking for your services, but without a powerful SEO strategy they may never discover you, your clinic, or your treatment options.

Your goal is to increase the visibility of your medical practice on SERP’s and to develop healthy SEO habits to increase your opportunities to add patients to your roster.

Get Healthy SEO Results for Your Clinic

Basically, SEO is a series of strategic practices that optimize your site to match the search intent of people who need your health or wellness services. The foundation of SEO is putting a focus on keywords and phrases your ideal customers type into Google when they’re considering treatment options for a medical condition or to reach a specific health or cosmetic goal.

While improved SEO results don’t often happen overnight, with consistency, you will see increased traffic and eventually, more consultation requests or booked appointments.

Since SEO is a metric that can be measured, it’s one of the most effective places to focus your marketing efforts.

Other opportunities for SEO for medical practices is making sure your website is appealing to potential patients and easy for Google bots to figure out too. Keeping your website’s content clear and its navigation simple is a good way to boost SEO.

When that ideal client searches for a specific condition or health issue in Google, those words or phrases they enter in the search bar are called keywords.

For businesses, like healthcare clinics, that typically serve their local community, it’s essential to optimize your site for geographical terms like the name of your city or a well-known neighborhood or region.

There are over 200 hundred ranking factors that go into SEO, but let’s focus on the easiest ways to quickly boost the local SEO ranking for your medical practice.

Two Steps That Boost Local SEO

Even with hundreds of signals driving your potential search engine results, you can get great results by simply focusing on these three tips:

  • Claiming your Google My Business page
  • Optimizing your website for keywords
  • Being active on social media

Using a step-by-step approach you’ll soon see an increase in your ranking on Google.

But before we begin, verify that your clinic or practice name and pertinent contact information is consistently displayed across the web.

Check for missing suite numbers, multiple phone numbers, or anything that might cause confusion. Any inconsistencies need to be cleared up and, moving forward, you need to make a rule that everyone uses the exact clinic name, address, and phone number.

Now that you’ve got your business name cleaned up and clarified, you’ll want to build a high-quality Google My Business profile for your practice or clinic.

Google My Business is a Powerful Partner for Medical Practices

Google created its Google My Business (GMB) tool so local health practitioners can claim their clinic or practice and design a profile that attracts and informs patients of vital information. In addition to your clinic name, address, and phone number, you can provide other types of important information like your hours of operation, your website URL, and the types of services you offer patients.

Healthcare providers can choose the information patients can access from a GMB page. You can even add options to schedule appointments or offer telemedicine access or other virtual services. Let current and potential patients know what diagnostic services or treatments you have available.

Unless you just opened your office, you probably already have a GMB listing. But if you haven’t claimed it, you aren’t getting all the SEO benefits of a fully optimized GMB profile.

The first step to improving your local SEO is claiming your Google My Business listing if you haven’t already done so. You’ve officially given Google notice that you’re open for business.

Google consistently surveys its users and the search engine giant claims that potential customers are 70% more likely to visit a business with a complete, robust, and updated Google My Business listing

Your GMB listing builds patient trust and enhances your professional reputation.

If you don’t have a website, now is the perfect time to reach out to a professional web design and digital marketing firm. While the freebie Google website sounds attractive – after all, aren’t they the ones who run this whole SEO thing? – you need a website where you have control over the content and other features.

Your website should be designed to complement your GMB listing and to provide you a place to establish your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. You want optimized service pages that will attract the right searchers to your website.

Your website will have its own SEO strategy based on a keyword plan that reflects the search behavior of your ideal patients.

Tip: While you are claiming your GMB listing, make sure that you have filled out your profile details with accurate (and consistent) contact information on medical directory and review sites. Review sites and online directories are a great way to attract new patients and to increase your search engine rankings.

Determine Your Keywords and Use Them Wisely

The key to a successful SEO strategy is having a solid keyword plan. Keywords are those words and phrases potential patients type into Google when they need help with a medical condition or need some specialized care.

You want to optimize your website for “plain language” as well as proper medical terminology.  You’ll have a blend of potential patients and other medical professionals looking for a provider like you online.  Strike a balance in speaking to patients and colleagues.

Having the right keywords in place helps Google match your medical office with what searchers are looking for. You need the right words, used wisely.

Keywords need to be specific to the conditions, treatments, diagnostics, and services you offer in your clinic.

These keywords need to put your office in the right geographical area when people search “headache doctor near me.”  You need a mix of keywords, especially keywords that speak directly to your narrow or niche practice areas. In fact, those niche keywords – despite having lower search volume – will likely be your most valuable ones in the long run.

It can be tempting to use your keywords repeatedly on your web pages but don’t overdo it.

Natural usage is enough to get picked up by Google. In fact, if you overuse your keywords, you’ll get dinged. Search engines are smart and getting smarter all the time.

Keyword Use Tip #1

Use your keyword phrases as anchor text. While backlinks are great, a good internal linking structure is a positive SEO signal. Anchor text is hyperlinked – usually blue and often underlined – will take a website visitor from one place on your website to another where they can get more information about a specific topic.

Keyword Use Tip #2

You can use your keywords to create optimized page titles. You could have a page on your site titled “natural hormone options for women in [your town]”. URLs and meta descriptions are also great places to put a keyword to work for you.

When you use keywords appropriately on your website, you create an instant connection with new site visitors. They searched for “natural migraine treatments near me” and they end up on a page that says “natural migraine treatments”

It seems obvious, but details like this help you get the right prospective patients to your website and then keep them there to learn about your services.

Your website should focus on meeting your patients where they are and satisfying their needs. Make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for. Keywords are a big part of that strategy.

Social Media and SEO

Social media isn’t a direct ranking factor when it comes to search engines, but it’s hard to ignore the correlation between your activity on social media platforms and your search engine ranking.

Google is always looking to improve their user experience. They are increasing their use of dynamic content – like social feeds – on the search engine results page (SERP). Search Engine Journal reports that Google has changed its story “multiple times regarding whether website links shared on Facebook and Twitter are used as ranking signals”.

Currently, they say there’s a relationship between SEO and social media, so you want to position your practice to benefit from that connection.

But where social really helps is by giving you greater control over where and how your name and your practice’s name is being used in the online space. Social media allows you to monitor your reputation in real time.

Your strategic, professional social media usage tends to equal overall improvements in online traffic and online visibility. Patients also report that social media influences their decision about practitioners.

With search engine optimization (SEO) being the most important component of any effective digital marketing strategy, it makes sense to do anything that assists those efforts. With even only a modest potential benefit in higher ranking, further reach, and increased traffic to your website time on social media can be considered well-spent.

A Holistic Approach to SEO and Attracting New Patients

SEO is part of any medical clinic’s digital marketing strategy. By using free tools like Google My Business, along with a strategically optimized website, your clinic will receive the business boosting benefit of a measurable increase in qualified local leads for your healthcare services, counseling, or treatment options.

Ready to invest in a comprehensive digital marketing plan?  Apply now to speak with our team of marketing professionals who can put together a winning strategy for your practice.

Marc Apple

Marc Apple

Digital Strategist

I like inbound marketing strategy, creative design, website development, analytics, and organic and paid search. That's what I write about.