September 8, 2023 | Net Health

7 min read

Is Healthcare SEO Really Worth the Investment?

Years ago, planning a marketing campaign was a simple process. With fewer mediums available to reach potential clients, it was more about how much to spend and less about things like artificial intelligence, search engines and healthcare SEO.

Today, the healthcare industry digital marketing landscape has changed dramatically. Instead of just print options, medical professionals also benefit from the standard marketing tactics other verticals leverage, such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO, as well as local SEO), email marketing, social media, influencer marketing, etc.

One of the most cost-effective and rewarding long term beneficial strategies for healthcare businesses is search engine optimization (SEO). So the question for those healthcare organizations providing healthcare services through a website is, is healthcare SEO worth the investment? Can it really move the needle when it comes to new business?

First—What is SEO?

Before we discuss the validity of this marketing investment, we need to define what SEO actually is. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the implementation of strategies to increase your companies visibility on popular search engines like Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and more. Healthcare websites leverage SEO, whether nationally or in local search, to ensure their healthcare business displays high on search engine results pages, also known as SERPs.

When people search for things like “best rehab therapist in Orlando” or “top nursing facility in Cleveland,” (both examples of local SEO) SEO determines which businesses continually show up at the top of the search engine results page.

Now that we’re on the same page with what healthcare SEO is, let’s look at a few of the characteristics those in the medical industry should consider before seeking healthcare SEO services. Ultimately we want to help you determine, whether you are a large healthcare organization, medical practice or an e-commerce healthcare – is an SEO strategy necessary? Furthermore, do you need to hire a healthcare SEO agency to turn your medical SEO strategy into favorable search results?

SEO Strategy Factor One: Long Term vs. Short Term Expectations

If you’re in the medical industry and have a dedicated healthcare website, you must first get clear on your expectations. How fast do you need results? You should also consider the current search results of your healthcare business or medical practice.

If in the competitive healthcare industry and only looking for immediate and instant results, healthcare SEO is not the right solution for you. Even the most expertly executed healthcare SEO strategy can take months, and sometimes years to secure meaningful results, regardless of SEO strategy.

While that might sound daunting, there’s one thing you need to account for—sustainability. Medical SEO is not for the short-term. It is meant to honestly display the expertise authoritativeness and trustworthiness of your business. Search engines are unfortunately crucial for those in the healthcare industry, and the difference between being in the top 3 of search engine results as opposed to page two is massive. Healthcare websites must take part in healthcare SEO, the question really is around do you need to hire a medical SEO team to implement your healthcare SEO strategy.

When you use a short-term healthcare marketing technique like PPC or paid social media, you likely will get instant results. However, this can be costly and the second you stop paying for those results, the traffic stops.

With healthcare SEO, once you secure a top ranking in search engines it only takes maintenance strategies to keep that there for the long run. While an external team providing healthcare SEO services can help you do that, so could knowledgeable internal employees.

Medical SEO Builds on Past Successes

As you may already see, we’re comparing an investment in healthcare SEO versus some of the short-term marketing medium. With the short-term options for those in the healthcare industry, it’s all about how much money you spend.

If you spend $100 on ads, you get $100 of ads. There still needs to be a skilled marketer handling those ads and managing those platforms, but the return on investment is able to come quicker.

When it comes to SEO in healthcare digital marketing, though, future endeavors can greatly build on past successes. Once you produce high-quality content that search engines start to view as credible, that credibility carries over to future campaigns.

Most companies providing healthcare SEO services or maintaining healthcare websites are very familiar with the importance of this, as it is crucial in medical SEO to create content that is made for humans and easily understood by search engines.

For example, a healthcare organization just starting out in medical SEO may see that it takes months to years to get an article on their healthcare site to rank in an impactful position, bringing in little to no search traffic. Even if they’ve considered the various ranking factors needed to bring in search engine traffic, done the necessary keyword research and added relevant keywords to their website, the website traffic isn’t coming. This could be due to a low domain authority, which for search engine algorithms is a form of digital trust that comes with time and backlinks (external links pointing back to your website). However, a medical practice website with an established track record of SEO success and higher domain authority may be able to rank new articles and campaigns within weeks or days, allowing potential patients and search engine users to find them with ease.

Don’t get discouraged. While adding relevant keywords around your health services is important for healthcare providers as part of a larger healthcare SEO strategy, we cannot stress enough, this isn’t a short game.

The compounding benefits of healthcare SEO come with the long game, but they stick around for years to come. This form of credibility with search engines leads to long-term online visibility and positive organic search results and will keep potential patients able to easily locate your medical services.

Multiple Streams of Traffic

It’s important to point out that we’re by no means saying that you should only do SEO to drive traffic to your business. The best healthcare digital marketing strategy plans have a healthy mix of long-term solutions, as well as short and medium-term solutions to drive traffic. Healthcare professionals benefit from SEO efforts with time and consistency. Website traffic will come, but SEO efforts can you get there faster.

The temptation, though, is to abandon the longer-term strategies when you start to see traffic rolling in from day one through the quick-fix options. However, if you’re willing to commit to the long game on top of the short game, you have the potential to see exponential gains that can limit or even replace the need for the continual costs of short-term mediums.

Tying Healthcare SEO Together

Staying on top of all the marketing mediums and opportunities for healthcare companies regardless of size is challenging. And making the decision on where and how to invest can be even more challenging, especially if you have limited resources.

Search engine optimization does require a lot of work, at least in order for medical practitioners that want to have high online visibility with major search engines. Keyword research, gaining external and internal links, optimizing your website for local searches (known as local SEO), logging into Google Search Console and Analytics, optimizing your google business profile – these are just some of the necessary tasks that come along with medical sites wanting an increase in organic traffic to their web pages. Search rankings don’t come easily in a congested market.

Healthcare practitioners can get a lot out of an online presence, just as they can from social media pages. The key with ranking high in search results on search engines is that you can capture intent. Search results seeking a particular business or answer will display results around just this. If they’re looking for specific medical content, SEO rankings will be determined by what the individual is searching online.

Hospital SEO is common place, but for the smaller medical practices, serving relevant content that patients search for, whether on mobile devices or from a desktop, whether national or local searches, is what will ultimately lead to new patients. It takes many touches with a prospect, as well as positive online reviews and keywords on the web page that those in online search and looking for. But even as a smaller medical practice, considering search intent, taking part in website optimization, addressing technical SEO, and creating medical content that patients search for is ultimately what will determine the success of your site’s SEO.

Share this post

Subscribe and See More