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SEO4 min read Why healthcare websites need SEO

Search engine optimization will help you bring the healthcare consumers to your website. But it offers other benefits as well.

February 17, 2021Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor

There are all sorts of elements that go into the development of a successful healthcare website. Design, hosting, branding, writing, coding, testing and ongoing maintenance all play a part. Another absolutely vital element is search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO helps ensure that search engines can find your site. It also helps you create an online experience your customers enjoy. Put those two factors together, and you have a website that's built to please both search engines and people. That's a recipe for long-lasting success.

5 reasons healthcare SEO is important

There are many reasons to include SEO in your healthcare marketing budget. Here are five of them:

1. SEO brings healthcare consumers to your website at the right moment. Organic search is the top source of traffic for most of the hospitals, health systems and health plans Coffey works with. In fact, nearly 50% of the traffic to our client websites comes from organic search.

What we find with clients who haven't done SEO is that nearly all of their organic search traffic is from branded terms. That means people specifically typed in the organization's name. It's great to be found for those types of searches. But, as long as your organization's name is unique, you'll likely perform well for branded searches without SEO.

What SEO can do is help you move beyond branded traffic and bring in people who are looking for the medical services and providers you offer, but who aren't looking for you specifically. Ranking for these types of searches can raise overall brand awareness. It also puts your content in front of people in the moment that they are looking to make a healthcare decision.

2. SEO helps you compete in voice search. A growing number of people use voice search either through their phones or devices like smart speakers. To perform well for these searches, your site needs to be built with SEO best practices in mind from the ground up. That means creating content that is optimized for voice search, as well as including the right technical elements like Schema markup.

3. SEO helps you stand out in an increasingly competitive landscape. Search is constantly changing. Today, less than half of organic searches result in a click. SEO will not only help you outperform your competitors, it will also help you position your site properly in rich search results like answer boxes, knowledge panels and local packs, so that even people who don't click can still connect with your organization.

4. SEO helps you show ROI. You don't have to do SEO to track ROI for your website, but the tracking that's done as part of the SEO process can shed light on the site as a whole and help inspire tracking in other areas.

Some things you might do to track ROI as part of your SEO efforts include:

  • Adding UTM tracking to your Google My Business listing so that people who get to your website from here aren't mistakenly flagged as "direct" traffic.
  • Including trackable phone numbers so that you know how many phone calls are coming directly through search results features like the listings in the local pack.
  • Creating regular reports that help you identify problem areas and take action early on before your traffic drops too much.

5. SEO makes all of your healthcare marketing better. Doing SEO right requires really understanding your audience and the types of problems they're trying to solve. For example, the keyword research you do will help you know what kinds of words people in your community use when looking for healthcare services, as well as the types of questions they're asking.

You can use this information to create great website content. But it can also inform your other marketing efforts as well. For example, if you know that people in your community overwhelmingly search for "heart doctor" instead of "cardiologist" you can use this terminology in offline marketing materials like brochures to help better connect with people by using their own language.

SEO also involves making sure your website offers a great experience as a whole by loading quickly, working well on mobile and being easy to navigate. These things will help you rank better, but they'll also benefit everyone who visits your site, regardless of how they found you.

Healthcare SEO services that will improve your website

SEO can be complex. Algorithms and best practices are constantly changing and even the most adept healthcare marketing teams can struggle to keep up.

Coffey can help. Our SEO team takes a holistic approach to ensuring that your site performs well. Our SEO services include detailed audits, technical SEO, keyword research and content creation, and ongoing reporting. If you're interested in having a conversation about how we can help your website, schedule a meeting with one of our business development consultants.