Medical Practice SEO – Where Most Fall Short
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) presents a huge opportunity for medical practices. Unfortunately, many medical practices have difficulty effectively using their websites and SEO to obtain new patients. Most often the problems are issues such as:
- Not knowing where to start
- Having the wrong agency partner
- Not fully understanding SEO
It is critical for medical practices to understand the value of SEO and how to get started in order to maximize growth.
Why SEO is Important for Medical Practices
- Patients are spending their time and doing their homework online. Whether they’ve received a diagnosis of an existing condition or are experiencing symptoms and need to know what they could mean, patients are no longer calling the doctor first. Instead, they’re doing their research online. Having a website that answers their question makes you the expert, increases their familiarity with you (or even gives them brand new exposure to you!), and puts them one step away from making an appointment.
- Many targets have low competition. While it can be very difficult to rank for a term like “surgeon”, there are a lot of keywords that have less traffic but are much easier to obtain (we call these “long tail keywords”). Targeting some of these long tail keywords can bring quick wins and bring in new patients. For medical practice, there are many opportunities for these “long tail” opportunities and many under-represented areas online that can bring you some quick wins and easy revenue. Good keyword research can help you quickly identify some of these targets.
- Find patients while they’re in “buy” mode. When you buy a billboard, you are showing an ad to a large number of people. The hope is that someone remembers you when they need your services or that you just happen to catch someone at the right time. When you invest in SEO, you’re hitting a potential patient when they have the services you provide on their mind and they are actively looking for them. You’re capturing a prospective patient when they are most likely to contact you!
- Medical Practice SEO has high, measurable ROI. At Points Group, we have obtained ROI for our clients as high as 120 times their investment. While this is not a guarantee, we do routinely see very high, measurable ROI for our clients and look at SEO as a “no-brainer.” We track all leads that come through organic and paid search (both contact forms and phone calls), assign agreed upon value for leads, and estimate reasonable close rates to show you exactly what your campaign is bringing you…and it’s usually a lot.
Common Medical SEO Mistakes
As you start to explore partnering with an agency for SEO, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your campaign doesn’t fall flat. Here are three common mistakes that we see from practices when they come to us from other agencies:
- Find an agency that knows healthcare! Many marketing companies will tell you that SEO is the same no matter the industry. This just isn’t true. There are many nuances that make medical unique. You need a company that lives and breathes medical, or you have a much higher chance of seeing a low ROI. We’ve specialized in medical practices at Points Group long enough to know that there are some key differences:
- Healthcare search behavior is different. We know the types of keywords to look for. For example, many agencies target specific procedures, while we have data that shows users don’t necessarily search for procedures.
- Accurate content is important. Content is a critical component of SEO. You need to make sure that your content is accurate and can be written in a timely (read: cost effective) manner. Agencies that don’t specialize in medical just aren’t able to produce the same level of content at the same cost.
- Know your audience. While SEO is technical and a science, it is also psychological and an art. Knowing your target audience is going to help you reach them much more effectively. That’s what an agency specializing in medical can provide.
- Ensure the agency is transparent. You need to know the results of your campaign as they happen so that it’s not a build up and shock later. There are ups and downs in SEO. Search engine algorithms make minor adjustments, there are seasonal ups and downs, and sometimes risks are taken that don’t pan out (for example, spending time on news stories or whitepapers that don’t work out as anticipated). However, the general trend should be up. You should see this in traffic and rankings, but most importantly in new, measurable leads. Ask the agency how they report and make sure you get answers to your questions.
- Develop trust over time. When choosing an agency, make sure you feel like you can develop trust with them. If you don’t have a good impression right away, it may be time to look at a second agency. Remember that cooperative partnerships work MUCH better. Work on building a good, trusting relationship with an agency over time.
How to Get Started
Ready to get started with SEO? Here are three things you need to do to prep for your campaign:
Know Your Budget
Know exactly how much you have to spend. Being up front about this budget will help an agency tell you right away whether or not you are a good fit for each other, and will help an agency plan an appropriate budget the first time. When developing a budget, also keep in mind the return you anticipate getting. For example, if a surgical procedure brings a profit of $4,000, you know you only have to bring in two leads to surpass a spend of $6,000 (and will probably be getting more than that!). Don’t be afraid to spend, knowing that you are investing, not adding an expense.
Know Your Needs
What exactly is it you are looking for? Is it SEO only? Do you have other needs? Are there certain areas that you want to expand more than others? Knowing exactly what it is you’re looking for, and where your current shortfalls are helps you to plan well and create a more effective program.
Develop a Strategy
This is something that some practices can start on their own, but most will need an agency to help. Agencies like Points Group will often provide a website analysis for you to show you where your current needs are from a digital marketing perspective and a general plan to move forward. Contact us if you would like a free website analysis and want to discuss how to begin developing a strategy for your online marketing.
SEO for medical practices is a high value service when done right. Most practices we work with see significant ROI, and we have long lasting relationships with our clients. Have any questions? Let us know, and we can talk about how to develop a strategic partnership to help your practice grow.