In this day and age, SEO is crucial to make your healthcare practice’s website achieve the visibility it deserves. The more visible your site is, the more traffic you receive and, therefore, the more opportunities you have to connect with potential patients.
Can you just hire any old SEO company to take care of your digital marketing and SEO needs? Should you just take on the task yourself with a DIY approach? What about hiring an in-house team?
Ultimately, hiring a healthcare SEO company with expertise is the most effective choice and cost-effective option on the table. Let’s look at ten reasons why expertise is so important in the world of medical and healthcare-related websites.
One of the reasons that expertise is essential when hiring a healthcare SEO company is the E-A-T principle used by Google’s search quality raters. Standing for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, this principle helps raters determine whether the search results meet the needs of users based on the Search Quality Rater Guidelines.
In order to rank well on search engines, the way that Google views your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are important for any site. However, it’s even more crucial in a regulated niche like healthcare.
In order to show Google that you are an expert in your field and a trustworthy source, there are a number of relatively minor trust signals that you’ll need to accumulate and manage. When you hire an SEO company that is highly experienced in providing services for healthcare websites, you’ll find that the necessary tasks and trust signals will be taken care of for you.
Several years ago, Google released the Google Medic update, which targeted medical websites and started holding them to a higher standard than other online niches. One of the two initiatives that were primarily involved in this update was E-A-T, while the other was YMYL (which we’ll talk about in the next section.)
In short, there is a greater burden of truth and accuracy on health and medical websites than on niches that Google doesn’t perceive as having the potential to harm or negatively impact a person’s life. For this reason, hiring an experienced SEO company is essential to ensuring that your site climbs in the rankings rather than getting punished for falling off the top search results.
The second part of the Google Medic update is YMYL, which stands for Your Money or Your Life. Google considers any website that primarily deals with your life (i.e., your health) or your money to fall under this banner.
Recognizing that there are potentially harmful consequences to websites ranking online that are filled with misinformation, fraudulent, scammy, or otherwise problematic, this aspect of Google’s algorithm holds medical websites to a higher standard than other sites.
If you work with an SEO company that has never had a healthcare client before, you are essentially gambling that they know how to navigate the complicated YMYL guidelines. It’s worth finding an SEO agency that is well-versed in YMYL as well as E-A-T to help you climb up the ranks past your competition.
Beyond the YMYL guidelines, there are a number of other language limitations that are specific to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. These limitations aren’t just things that can make your pages fall in the rankings and lose traffic– they can come with hefty fines.
For example, the Stark Law (also known as the Physician Self-Referral Law) is a law that states, among other things, that physicians can’t make referrals to entities that they have a financial relationship with for the furnishing of designated health services (aka services that are payable by Medicare or Medicaid.) There’s also the Anti-Kickback Statute to be aware of, among others.
Whether you want to increase brand recognition for your practice or you’re looking to take on new patients, local SEO is going to be a key part of your efforts. Competing with some of the major healthcare websites regarding evergreen topics is going to be difficult, if not impossible– sites like Healthline, WebMD, and the Mayo Clinic are incredibly high-authority sites that get tons of traffic every month.
That being said, there’s a lot of room when you zoom in on the map a bit. Instead of trying to rank highly on a national scale, you can focus on your rankings in your practice’s geographic region.
You can use several tactics to improve your local rankings, but an experienced SEO company will be able to pull out all of the stops to ensure that you show up in the Google Map Pack for relevant local search terms. Using everything from citations and backlinks to locally relevant content and reviews, an SEO agency can help you receive traffic from the right people and meet your business goals.
An experienced SEO agency will help you establish a solid foundation for a professional and visually appealing website that offers a flawless user experience and is easy to find through search engines.
Over time, authority in the eyes of search engines is built up through a number of different factors, such as positive user behavior, natural links, machine-learning signals, and optimized content and on-page elements.
All of this helps search engines know that you’re a legitimate and trustworthy business that provides authoritative information online. But SEO efforts aren’t just for the robots out there– it’s primarily to help the people that you want to reach.
When you engage in well-thought-out SEO efforts with the help of an experienced company, you’re making it possible for the people that are most likely to be interested in your services to learn about your practice. When they search for local healthcare information that’s relevant to your business, they’ll see your name come up over and over again.
This helps to build brand awareness and trust among the people in your local community. Even if they aren’t looking for the services that you offer right now, you can be certain that they will remember your name the next time they do.
Though it can be tempting to take on SEO on your own, a number of aspects of the field are fairly technical and complex. When you hire an SEO agency to help boost the rankings and traffic of your healthcare website, they’re going to come up with a comprehensive plan for your entire site that goes way beyond basic SEO tricks.
For example, an SEO agency will be able to help you improve your business by auditing your entire site for SEO purposes, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, focusing on URL structure optimization, engaging in thorough keyword research and optimization, content creation, page speed optimization, backlinking, and much more.
Some aspects of SEO are fairly straightforward, but the entire network of pieces that make up search engine optimization is ultimately a complex machine. You’ll want an expert to take a look at your site and make the necessary changes to help you get more organic traffic and increase your leads.
Any SEO agency worth its salt will be able to provide you with examples and case studies of how their SEO tactics helped to increase traffic and provide other positive benefits for their clients in the same industry. You can, therefore, rest assured that you are investing your money toward a worthwhile marketing effort, as you’ll know that you’ll gain an impressively positive ROI from the endeavor.
SEO isn’t a static game– not in the least. The search world is always evolving, largely at the whim of Google and other major search engines. This means that SEO agencies must constantly stay on top of any changes that might be occurring in the SEO world to stay ahead of the competition.
For an experienced SEO agency, this is a part of the job. For individuals that are running a healthcare practice and trying to manage their own SEO, staying on top of the shifting landscape can be incredibly overwhelming.
Every year, Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithms. It’s completely unreasonable for the regular business owner or medical professional to keep up with that rate of change, not to mention that they are known for their secretive nature concerning their algorithm.
If you’re interested in increasing traffic, engagement, and leads for the long haul, an SEO expert will be able to help you stay afloat on the top of the rankings amidst the ever-evolving world of SEO.
It’s understandable to be nervous about investing in professional SEO services. On the one hand, you might be unsure whether the company you hire will be able to actually help you increase your search rankings– the whole thing can seem pretty esoteric when you first start learning about it.
On the other hand, SEO isn’t something that starts working overnight. It can take a while for SEO efforts to start to boost your rankings, increase your traffic, and ultimately have the effect you’re looking for. This can make it feel like an even bigger decision because you have to trust that it will work out in the long run without seeing results immediately.
This is enough to hire an SEO agency specializing in healthcare and medical sites. Companies that have experience will be able to give you case studies to help ease your worried mind and answer any questions you might have.
Additionally, they’ll be able to explain to you how their services will likely save you money in the long run. A lot of people tout SEO as a “free” way to receive more traffic, but those people are lying to you (and perhaps even to themselves.) SEO isn’t ever free– at the very least, it takes your most precious resource: your time.
Not only is DIY SEO often not as effective as the efforts of experienced professionals, but it takes a lot of time. It’s something that has to be managed in an ongoing way as well, meaning it will be a drain on your attention for the foreseeable future to boost your rankings and keep them high.
Ultimately, you can save money in the long run by hiring a company that has the necessary expertise to help your healthcare business grow and thrive through SEO practice.
Local search is a fundamental part of the success of small and medium-sized businesses. This is in part because of the rise and the increasing domination of mobile web traffic.
As we talked about earlier, SEO pros will be able to optimize your site and content and build up citations on other sites to increase engagement, traffic, and conversions for your business.
They’ll also optimize your healthcare company’s Knowledge Graph panel, your social media profiles, your Google Business Profile, and more.
Beyond this, an SEO expert will be able to look at your unique medical business and its market to see where there is space and opportunity for your company to outrank your competitors and target customers you haven’t yet reached. Over time, you’ll find that the phone is ringing more often, your inbox is overflowing with new inquiries, and the traffic on your site is increasing over time.
Finally, one of the most compelling reasons you might choose to hire an experienced healthcare SEO agency to take care of your SEO needs is that it lets you focus on running your medical practice. When you take care of your own search engine optimization, it isn’t free. It costs you your time, which you know is worth a lot.
Running a healthcare business is no small feat, and you want to put your energy toward what you do best while maintaining balance in your life. Engaging in all of the necessary digital marketing efforts to keep your practice competitive in an increasingly internet-based world is simply too much of a time cost for many healthcare companies. An alternative is to build an in-house SEO team, but this is a much more costly way of receiving comparable results.
Are you ready to grow your healthcare practice? If so, contact us today to get started.