Partner, Chief Strategy Officer at RUNNER Agency.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a primary long-term marketing strategy for many medical practices. Yet a successful SEO approach for medical practices is different than other industries. But just like any SEO, not all traffic will turn into patients. In this post, I’ll uncover five medical SEO myths and how you can get your practice on the right track.
Why Is Medical SEO Important?
SEO is important for medical practices because Google has become the primary resource that patients use to research symptoms they’re suffering from, conditions they’ve been diagnosed with, and the treatments and physicians they’re looking for. According to Google, 7% of the billion searches performed daily are healthcare-related.
How Can Medical Practices Implement SEO?
A good medical SEO strategy starts with an understanding of the components of your medical practice. There are three foundational channels for all medical practice SEO:
• Website pages: Often, the most important SEO pages are individual pages you create for conditions and treatments, as well as pages you create on your website for individual practice locations.
• Blog content: To attract more traffic, create blog posts around focused SEO keywords. Tailor blog post topics (and keywords) to questions that potential patients might be asking.
• Local listings: The local listings you create for practice locations and physicians. These listings are important to rank for local searches and often result in calls to your practice without a click to your site. They have outsized importance for medical practices.
5 Medical SEO Myths
There are some myths about SEO that we commonly hear from medical practices. Five common myths we often encounter are:
Myth 1: The need to rank No. 1.
This is the biggest myth in all of SEO. While you will drive more traffic if you rank on the first page of results (rank 1-10), you don’t have to rank No. 1. In fact, you can rank No. 1 for a keyword, but if it has no traffic or isn’t a high-intent keyword, it won’t impact your practice. Conversely, you can still rank No. 15 for a high-intent, high-volume keyword and drive good traffic and leads to your practice. Don’t get stuck on rankings.
Myth 2: An increase in SEO traffic = practice success.
Not all SEO traffic is created equal. Why? Because if you’re a medical practice and you need patients to come into the office, searches from outside your geographic area aren’t qualified. We’ve seen practices drive thousands of monthly visits for search terms that are relevant, but only a small percentage are within a distance where they could actually become a patient.
This is why it’s important to have both a targeted keyword list and a strategy to localize your SEO efforts to drive a real impact on practice revenue.
Myth 3: Blog posting is the primary SEO strategy you need.
Most practices go straight to blog posting as their primary SEO strategy. However, for medical SEO, your website and local listings should be the foundation. That’s because these elements are much better at driving SEO traffic and leads that are specific to the geographic footprint of your practice.
Once you’ve created an SEO-optimized website and built out your local listings, then you can move into creating blog content.
Myth 4: You should be able to see SEO results in a few months.
SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Unlike Google Ads, which can go live in a number of minutes and immediately start driving traffic, rankings take time. According to an Ahrefs study of 2 million randomly selected web pages, only 5.7% of those pages ranked in the Top 10 search results within a year.
This means that while you can start to drive some traffic within the first six months, you typically need more than a year to drive any kind of significant results.
Myth 5: SEO is ‘free’ traffic.
Lastly, there’s a common myth that SEO is “free” traffic for your medical practice. While you don’t have to pay for clicks like Google Ads, there is still a substantial investment in time needed to both optimize your site, content and listings for SEO, as well as to create the content needed to rank for relevant terms.
That cost is still worth it for many medical practices. When your SEO strategy is done right, you can drive a substantial amount of qualified traffic for years to come.
Doing Medical SEO Right
Don’t fall for these common SEO myths when building a strategy for your practice. The core of every great SEO strategy is focusing on the right keywords and having the content and digital marketing infrastructure to rank well. And as many of these medical SEO myths point out, it’s important to adjust your expectations about how to approach SEO and what it can do for your practice. Because with the right strategy and the right perspective, SEO can be one of the most impactful marketing strategies to attract new patients.