Here’s the thing about healthcare SEO: there are far more people talking and writing about it than actually doing it themselves. And succeeding at it.
It’s not necessarily malicious, but there are a lot of bloggers and other self-proclaimed “SEO experts” out there who portray healthcare SEO as if it’s a whole lot simpler than it actually is.
Search engine optimization is inherently incredibly complex in itself, and it is even more challenging for a medical practice (given Google’s YMYL guidelines and since the Google Medic update). As such it is hard to capture every element of medical practice SEO in a blog post. Most marketing blogs want to appeal to as large an audience as possible, and that means that a lot gets left out for the sake of simplicity.
If you are looking to improve your search engine rankings, then what’s missing could mean the difference between success and failure for your medical marketing efforts. By skipping a lot the important stuff to get more readers, bloggers are inadvertently harming the very audience they are theoretically “trying to help”.
There are some sources on the web that provide SEO information correctly, but not many. And even if you do get the right information, it doesn’t mean one can execute it at the right level that will actually yield business results. The fact is, SEO and getting your medical practice website to rank higher to attract the right kind of audience and then actually converting all that organic traffic from Google into paying new patients takes a significant investment of time, money and effort.
Healthcare SEO is not a simple fix, despite what certain blog headlines might lead you to believe. High quality healthcare SEO involves so many factors all working in unison that bloggers and marketers either don’t completely understand it themselves (as they have not tasted success with their own SEO) or do not want to take the time to explain it in detail (as they are afraid that the inherent difficulty and complexity of it all could scare away potential prospects).
However, at Inbound Medic, we are not afraid to shy away from discussing all that is challenging and complex. Because to really win and get the business results that only few get, you have to do the difficult and challenging stuff well. And if you are really the sort of high-level entrepreneur and medical practice leader that we are interested in serving, chances are that challenging complexity doesn’t intimidate you. Au contraire, it’s part of your everyday life and you thrive in it.
So here are some hard truths you need to know about healthcare SEO.
Healthcare SEO Is Not a Quick Fix
You’ll find a lot of marketers or agencies that will tell you that regular blogging will get you ranking higher and pulling in more eyeballs to your medical practice website. However, while that is true, it doesn’t happen overnight. Healthcare SEO for all the high-niche content marketing topics covering all your high-value medical services is like exercise. Your results will vary depending on several things, such as how often you post, how many posts you publish, how long each of your posts are, how well your posts are optimized, whether you are actually answering questions your ideal patients are actively searching for in Google and whether you are actually conveying nuanced subject-matter-expertise.
Much like with exercising, you need to focus on the process and doing it properly rather than simply getting it done.
The key is to write your posts to try and be as engaging and informative as possible. If you treat blogging only as a way to increasing your search rankings, then you will end up producing cookie-cutter fluffy filler content that will be boring and uninspiring to your ideal patients who actually have the money to afford your medical services (and have high standards). On top of that, Google will identify unoriginal or unauthoritative content and, as such, your medical practice website will never really gain ownership of prime digital real estate in the search engines.
Consistently creating great content is how you will find success, but that consistency has to be met with quality. Figuring out your keywords and then putting out some content won’t increase your rankings in a day, or even a week. You will need to work at it for several months before you start to see the fruits of your content marketing efforts through healthcare SEO.
To put things in context, you need a minimum of 100 digital assets in terms of published high-authority and topically relevant services pages and blog posts in your medical practice website that comprehensively answer all the questions your ideal patients usually have about your high-niche medical services.
Even if you published 8 blog posts a month, that’s 96 blog posts over a course of 12 months. This takes a serious amount of investment in research, time, effort and money. This is your minimum required foundation for your medical inbound marketing to start attracting visitors to your website and to start generating consistent appointment requests (provided you have a well-designed medical practice website). And then you need to work even harder to keep them.
Following publication, next comes monthly maintenance, powering up and technical healthcare SEO of these assets. This involves analysis of all organic search query impressions and clicks through your Google Search Console, finding as many long-tail keywords that are most likely to convert to new patients and then gradually incorporating them into your existing content to keep beefing up your digital assets in terms of expertise, authority, relevance and trust.
The “experts” out there aren’t telling you how hard the work is to start finding success ranking with keywords. If you talk to agencies and SEO consultants, they often try to make you think that it’s simple. But only by ranking for a large volume of commercially-relevant organic keywords will you be able to rise above your competition and shoot to the top of search engine rankings. This is why healthcare SEO is so hard.
Do not fret, however. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. All you need is patience and consistency. Check above the results we got for Dr. Kate Brayman through our medical marketing strategy. We got her dentistry services ranking organically for over 3,000 commercially-relevant keywords that gave her a monthly organic traffic value of $103,800. That too in the most competitive place in the world: New York City.
This means that for her competitors to acquire the same revenue-producing traffic that her website commands organically, one would have to spend $103.8K per month through PPC (Google’s paid ads service).
These concepts can be hard for people who live in our current “low attention space’ society. We want everything to happen instantly, including our increased rankings and traffic, and the revenue that comes with them. The fact is that the more consistent you are, the more sustainable your results will be, and the longer your success will last.
Much like exercising your way to a strong core foundation, your results don’t just disappear overnight. And even if you go astray here and there, it is possible to get back in shape quickly, once you take the time to develop that strong core foundation.
The Age Of Your Healthcare SEO is Important
While it’s unclear to what extent, how old your domain is can make a difference in how fast you can get it to rank. That is why a lot of brand new medical practice websites that might be doing everything perfectly for their SEO struggle for a very long period of time to rank for keywords than more established websites with a few years of domain age, authority, trust and relevance.
The issue is that if you have a brand new website and your competitors are all established, you are going to have trouble catching up. That’s why that consistency of quality is so important. The success you do get will be due to the links that point back to your posts because of how good your content is. Older domains have had time to build up an audience and build up a wide array of links, which gives them an advantage.
Healthcare SEO consultants selling healthcare SEO services are often reluctant to tell potential clients this truth. That’s because it can be harder to sell someone on the fact that it will take a good period of time to achieve the results that you are looking for. Unfortunately, it can be confusing to know exactly how much the age of a domain means. The only solution is to keep producing excellent content over an extended period of time. This is the evergreen content that will get shared and generate inbound links. The better your content and the more inbound links you get, the less it will matter how old your content is.
Chasing Trophy Keywords Is Detrimental To Your Business Outcome
Keywords are a big part of healthcare SEO. However, they are only valuable if they are part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy. If you are publishing consistent quality content, then you need a diverse range of topically relevant keywords to really attract your target audience who are uniquely different in how they are searching for you. Without this keyword diversity, you will simply not draw in enough of the qualified organic traffic you need to convert to new patient sales.
Without consistent publishing you will have an issue having your pages indexed by search engines. If you only have a few posts that you’ve crammed with your keywords, then there is simply a lot less in terms of sufficient digital assets for Google to index. In the past, this sort of laziness may have not been too detrimental. In fact, some websites found success using this strategy of keyword stuffing around only a few pages and posts to find themselves at the top of the search rankings. But not anymore.
As for bloggers, it’s much easier to give a simplified version of SEO to be more appealing to readers. Flashy headlines like “5 Easy Tricks to Healthcare SEO Success” and “All You Need to Know to Get On the First Page of Google” will draw in inexperienced medical practice owners. The information these blogs provide is usually perfectly valid, but it does not portray the whole picture. They make it seem that with only a little bit of time and effort you can transform your website performance into a juggernaut that will bring you a consistent opportunity volume of 20 – 30+ new patients a month.
Do not let yourself be tricked into a “get results fast” mentality. Healthcare SEO and inbound marketing are powerful tools to get more qualified patients to your website and more conversions. You can reach the upper levels of search rankings, but it will take a lot of work and time.
There are no quick fixes, but there can be long-lasting and sustainable results by doing healthcare SEO the right way with consistent, engaging and authoritative content.