“SEO for Medical Practices: Costs $499 Per Month”
We see this kind of advertising plastered all over everywhere in Google organic and in PPC ads selling “medical SEO services“. And then unknowing surgeons, doctors and medical practices of all niches get seduced into falling for the lure of cheap online marketing gold only to eventually complain “I wasted years. My medical SEO company did not deliver me any business results.“.
No kidding. Well, I never…! You don’t say. Who would have thought? “Now I’ve seen it all!!!”.
If done properly and at a bare minimum, it could cost over $300 just to write a single well-researched, well-optimized, authoritative, high-converting blog post that will command attention, earn trust and actually convert qualified new patients who can afford your niche, high-value medical services.
And then you also have digital strategy, branding, keyword and competitor research, web design, web development, technical SEO, even more content creation, organic backlink outreach, data analytics, conversion rate optimization and call / lead-tracking to round out your monthly list of medical SEO services with the potential of converting you at minimum 10+ new patients a month.
Even if your medical SEO company was based out of some developing nation, they will still be hard-pressed to deliver the range of the above-mentioned individual high-skilled services that are required to all come together in perfect harmony to actually deliver a high-quality inbound SEO service that actually generates substantial sales to move the needle for you.
So if you are looking for cheap, low-quality, cookie-cutter medical SEO services (by all sorts of “medical SEO experts”) that will NEVER help you generate an extra $30,000 – $100,000+ in monthly sales, don’t bother. Please go away. This is not for you.
We are writing this post for a very specific audience. You are:
- A niche-specific medical expert and leader at an elite medical practice.
- You have deep, high-level expertise and knowledge pertaining to your niche medical craft.
- You are NOT at a startup stage.
- Your medical practice grosses at minimum $100,000+ per month in sales
- Your average revenue per patient is minimum $3,000.
- You have a stellar reputation. Your patients use words like “kind”, “friendly”, “excellent”, “amazing” and ” compassionate” in your reviews.
- You are open to possibilities, have a sense of humour and an eye for beauty.
What is medical SEO?
The web is inundated with all kinds of “gurus” sharing their knowledge and in-depth jargon as pertaining to “What is SEO?“. And yet, so many doctors and leaders at elite medical practices (like you) have a difficult time understanding medical SEO in concrete business terms of how it will actually help you get more high-paying patients consistently month-over-month to grow sales.
We don’t blame you. SEO is a densely technical, complex, laborious and time-consuming process. And each step needs to be executed with a high attention to detail without cutting corners, sacrificing quality or trying quick and cheap shortcuts. One could spend a lifetime discussing all the technicalities and analyzing the latest Google algorithm updates.
However, amidst all the technical jargon, changing tactics, paranoia over algo updates and industry guru-speak, the core of SEO has always essentially remained the same. Most business owners fail to grasp the elegance and sophistication of SEO as a business-accelerating superpower and why good SEO is worth suffering for (in both time and money).
Inbound marketing through SEO for medical practices is the Artist’s way of conducting marketing and sales for your healthcare practice. But SEO will not work for everyone (especially if you are just starting out and with limited understanding of your own audience). It’s about knowing your target audience, focusing on and remaining true to the soul of your business (your content), freely sharing your knowledge, answering questions and attracting your ideal patients to you who are actively searching for you while repelling those that are simply not a good fit.
We like to see SEO as the process of a business owning its prime digital real estate in Google (Yahoo, Bing, etc as well, but let’s face it — 99% of your business through SEO is coming from Google) as opposed to renting your digital real estate through all other forms of advertising. SEO stands for search engine optimization. But you might as well just think of it as putting up high-end digital storefronts through ownership of prime digital real estate in the search engines (mainly, Google). As opposed to paid optimization (through paid channels — like PPC, Facebook ads, print, billboards, radio, TV and all other traditional advertising channels).
With paid traffic, you are renting your digital real estate. The moment you stop paying rent, your traffic and leads dry up as your landlord (say, Google) kicks you out of its prime digital real estate. So you effectively failed at designing and owning an evergreen lead-generating asset for your business, which leads to predictability in new patient acquisition.
For example, by searching in Google for “cosmetic dentistry nyc”, we found these Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ad listings at the top.
You can see that there are 880 potential prospects searching for this keyword every single month with the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) value to be $11.39. All these ad listings above are of NYC dental practices who are actively paying monthly rent to their landlord Google to rent their digital real estate, which is driving them traffic to their digital assets (website, landing pages and blog posts). You could easily spend over $3,000+ a month bidding on just this one keyword. As such, PPC can get expensive (especially if you are unclear on your conversion metrics in terms of what is converting naturally).
Alternatively, you could just focus on owning your prime digital real estate in Google for this keyword by getting in the map pack or in Google Page 1 (obviously, the higher you rank on Page 1, the higher your Click-Through Rate (CTR). And by ranking for this keyword, you also automatically start showing up for all related cosmetic dentistry keywords within this tree of keywords. So the SEO benefits, while slow to kick in, are multiplicative and exponential over time.
With SEO, you are owning your prime digital real estate in Google by earning trust and building a strong, long-lasting relationship — both with Google and your ideal patients.
Now here’s the thing — this takes time. With PPC, you start seeing results immediately, but this ownership of prime digital real estate in Google does not happen overnight. There are over 10,000 dentists in Manhattan alone.
Google Page 1 accommodates only 10. And the map pack accommodates only 3. You can only imagine the competition. It takes time to develop a rapport with Google and prove your expertise, authority and trustworthiness [E-A-T] to Google.
It takes a high level of skill, nuance, insight, expertise, experience and patience to get to Google Page 1, get a #1 or top 5 ranking or even a map pack feature. And to accomplish this for 100 – 200+ high-value keywords so as to drive significant opportunity volume.
Most importantly, to maintain, hold and not lose these prime digital real estate ownerships once attained. This is why you are looking at minimum 6 – 12 months of work with a skilled SEO services for doctors before you start seeing tangible results in the form of a steady stream of new patients month-in-month-out. However, the work with SEO never stops. It’s always ongoing. Month-in-month-out.
It’s quite like going to the gym and staying in shape. The consistent factor across all forms of advertising (and life) is optimization. The main difference in SEO versus other paid channels of advertising (like PPC) is that SEO is 100% natural and client-centric advertising.
Your ideal patients who are actively searching for your niche-within-a-niche-within-a-niche medical services can find you through SEO as and when they need you. So instead of traditional advertising’s intrusive nature of disturbing random people who have no interest in what you have to offer but still force an interruptive ad down their throat, inbound marketing through SEO is about talking only to those qualified prospects who are actively searching for you and naturally converting them as paying new patients based on the principles of attraction and filtration.
Why do I need SEO for my medical practice?
Billions of searches are being conducted online. That means there is a staggering amount of laser-targeted, high-intent prospects actively searching specifically for your medical services online. Some are just researching information to educate on their medical treatment options, while others are clearly indicating their commercial intent and readiness to buy exactly what you are selling at your medical practice.
We are in the information age of tech platforms. And Google and Facebook are two of the biggest platforms in the world currently with an unlimited supply of all your ideal dream patients you could ever want. As a medical practice expert and healthcare leader, your goal really should be to master at least ONE of these two platforms (if not both). Easier said than done.
The biggest mistake we see when speaking with owners and founders of leading medical practices is that they are purely reliant on word-of-mouth referrals or trying to do it all at once without deep clarity on any singular strategy. They are trying SEO, PPC, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Zocdoc, Grant programs, email marketing, Youtube ads, you name it. If this is you (and you are still struggling), then your marketing focus is probably all over the place and highly diluted. You need just ONE laser-focused marketing strategy for your medical practice and then execute it well to scale before trying anything else.
Social media is an effective way to be found online, but prospects most actively use search engines to search for specific pain-points and questions pertaining to your medical services. And through your digital assets like your website, service pages and blog posts, you can truly command the attention of your ideal patients and strike an emotional connection with them. As such, the most high-converting prospects you will ever get who will be able to afford your high-end medical services is from Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc (mainly Google). This sums up the importance of SEO for medical practices and why SEO is probably the most critical component of your medical practice inbound marketing strategy.
Our approach is to help you purely focus on Google. And master Google organic through a highly sophisticated inbound marketing blueprint. And leave other platforms be. That, in itself, is enough to grow your medical practice sales by an extra $100,000+ a month (if done properly). Once you have this solid revenue base through a proven marketing strategy, you can then diversify from there towards further growth.
(Zocdoc can also be a complementary patient acquisition source along with Google. However, you are still renting your leads. And the lead quality may not be very high if you are offering high-value medical services (like plastic surgery). If you think about it, Zocdoc is nothing but a broker standing between you and Google. And you are renting your leads through Zocdoc who command the traffic through their own website’s SEO. You developing your own digital SEO footprint helps you bypass middlemen like Zocdoc to create patient acquisition channels directly with Google).
How does medical practice SEO work?
As a medical practice owner and healthcare leader, chances are you and your team are just answering patients’ questions and concerns all day at your practice, outside of actually administering your medical services. At all scheduled appointments, your prospective patients come to you with a vast range of questions in the form of their fears, concerns, worries, problems, doubts and issues.
You convert your prospects as paying patients by earning their trust and allaying any doubts they have about your procedures by showing your expertise, authority and trustworthiness.
The exact same thing is happening online.
Do you see all the questions above related to the core keyword query “does coolsculpting work” (14,800 prospects are searching for this keyword every single month in Google with a CPC value of $10.04)?
You have to think of your inbound digital strategy as an extension of what you and your medical team are doing in person every single day at your practice — answering patient questions. Think of your website as your state-of-the-art technology to create an inbound automated patient question-answering system. In that sense, your website is your #1 rockstar sales and marketing employee working for you 24 / 7 at attracting and converting new patients even while you sleep.
You can actually train your website and devise an SEO strategy so as to specifically target your ideal patients who are searching for exactly what you have to offer, attract them through high-quality, well-optimized content, filter out qualified appointment requests and then convert them as paying new patients at your practice.
What is the cost of medical SEO services for doctors?
The average annual salary of an SEO Manager in USA in 2020 is $77,095 (the salary range falls between $66,258 and $95,058). So if you had to go through the tedious hassle of hiring a full-time SEO Manager for your medical practice, you will have to shell out over $70K+ (along with offering perks, benefits, health insurance and doing employee taxes etc)!
Add to this, an SEO Manager is only good at “SEO” in a narrow sense. They do not have the mindset and expertise of a high-level entrepreneur and business growth expert. “SEO” is only a subset of your overall inbound patient acquisition system and “ranking for a few keywords” in itself will do nothing for your business unless it is fully implemented in a cohesive and well-thought-out sophisticated inbound marketing strategy that is ultimately rooted in your strategic organizational business vision, the psychological profile of your ideal patients and your core medical services that will make you the most money.
As a result, over and above an ‘SEO Manager”, you also probably have to hire a Web Designer, a Web Developer, a Creative Strategist, a Content Writer, a Conversion Rate Optimization Manager and a Data Analytics Analyst to have a well-rounded inbound marketing team who can deliver the entire range of services. The bottomline ROI of your medical website inbound SEO design is for you to convert at minimum an extra 10+ new patients a month in order to consider it worthwhile.
To achieve such a result, here is a breakdown of a very basic pricing structure of our inbound marketing SEO services for medical practices:
Example — Medical practice with 1 location:
- Month-to-month agreement over a 12 month period (Phase 1: Foundation. Phase 2: Build and Phase 3: Grow)
- Creating, optimizing and maintaining about 100 high-converting digital assets (20 – 30 top-level service pages and minimum 70 blog posts).
- Targeting 100 – 200 high-value keywords, with 50 – 75 revenue-generating keywords spread across 4 – 5 main services that bring you at minimum $3,000 per new patient.
- 60 – 100 high-quality editorially curated backlink outreach over 6 – 12 months.
- Generating 100+ qualified leads a month in the form of calls through website, Google My Business and web-form inquiries.
- Ongoing measuring, monitoring and tweaking to fit your optimal sales goals.
- Our monthly retainer: Starting at minimum $5,400 a month
- Web design, development and monthly digital infrastructure maintenance included in retainer price.
- At this monthly rate, our average ROI is a minimum of 11 new patients a month. That’s minimum an extra $33,000 a month in extra sales if your average revenue per patient is $3,000. That’s over a 6X ROI. And that is how you calculate the ROI of SEO services for surgeons, doctors and medical practices.
- Check out the below screenshot of an ROI conversation with one of my clients from November, 2019. Generated an excess $31,000 in sales that month.
Key term to note here is excess. As in, an extra $31,000 in sales for that month directly through our services and not just overall sales for the month. We hit an extra $50,000 in monthly sales by January 2020.
Now you tell me: does it make any sense as to how a digital medical marketing agency serving competitive medical niches can possibly deliver these business results and ROI at even a remotely respectable enough standard and still make healthy enough margins by charging you only $500 a month?
Can you get something extremely cookie-cutter, mass-market and basic that will do pretty much zero for your sales? Yeah, sure. As such, what you do have are a bunch of SEO industry hucksters targeting doctors with cheap, low-level, cookie-cutter SEO services that do more harm than any good to your medical practice in the long run. Yet, business owners keep falling for it and, over time, get jaded, bitter or burnt out. To me, that is expensive. To not understand the importance of your most powerful business asset (your website), going with the herd mentality of being cheap with your marketing budget, wasting years not seeing business results and then ultimately burning out. That is expensive! In comparison, our services are reasonably modest and affordable for well-established elite medical practices.
For less than the cost and hassle of hiring a full-time junior marketing employee, you are getting a highly customized, tailored and high-quality service from our experts who have a proven track-record of driving tangible business results.
In short, good SEO that will actually move the needle for elite surgeons, medical practices and doctors is NOT cheap.
How much should I be spending per month on medical SEO services?
As a rule of thumb, businesses in the $1 million to $10 million range should spend 10% of their monthly gross revenues on marketing. So if you are producing a monthly gross revenue of minimum $100,000, your marketing budget should be $10,000 a month to actively focus on new patient acquisition and growth.
Of this marketing budget, you should allocate minimum half, that is $5,000 (if not more), towards owning your organic prime digital real estate (SEO) every single month. The rest should be diversified across inbound paid acquisition (Google PPC) and inbound social media (Facebook / Instagram ads).
Some might suggest involving a few traditional channels like print, TV, billboards and / or radio as you deem fit, but I am confident your digital advertising will far outperform any traditional advertising channel as 100% of your ideal patients are using the internet to decide, choose and schedule appointments with their preferred surgeons, doctors and medical practices.
That being said, I have spoken to a few medical practices who were eager to start with their digital strategy with me who confirmed that print ads have worked well for them.
As always, it’s about picking ONE traffic source and marketing strategy and mastering it to scale before mixing others into the equation.
If you are a leader at an elite medical practice and want to chat with us to see if there is a mutual fit, schedule a strategy session with us.
Let’s talk and see if we click.