If you’re considering creating a robust healthcare SEO strategy, then it is crucial for you to follow a definitive guide first. This is because health or medical-related information is directly associated with mental and physical well-being.
In aspects of health-related content, you cannot risk being wrong as you could potentially endanger lives even by making the slightest mistake. Plus, you might face lawsuits and other legal consequences for careless mistakes or unintentional health hazards.
Specifically, in the aspect of SEO, there is a high chance that your website won’t even rank on the top search results. That’s why healthcare SEO itself is a whole different specialization of SEO.
Top search engines such as Google and Bing have different sets of regulations and guidelines just for healthcare SEO, for two main reasons; to prevent accidents and secondly to provide the most relevant health-related information.
Search engines are programmed to go through a strict vetting process before ranking healthcare web pages, so if your site does not fit the criteria, it won’t rank.
Such criteria are determined as per two specific subsections of Google’s Search Quality Guidelines which include Your Money Your Life (YMYL) & Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust (E-E-A-T).
The conditions in Google’s YMYL help the search engine determine whether the content is safe or harmful to its users. If it’s deemed unsafe then your page might not even get indexed or let alone appear on the search results.
Another evaluation criterion is to identify the level of experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of your content based on several ranking factors. And, that’s how Google has rapidly improved its search relevance for health-related queries.
By implementing these policies and enhancements in the search engine algorithm, Google has managed to rapidly improve the accuracy of its search results for health and medical-related search queries.
According to the National Library of Medicine, Google’s search accuracy for health-related queries improved from 47% to 62% in recent years. And in another study conducted by Pew Research Center, it was found that 77% of online health seekers begin health-related research on Google, Bing, and other conventional search engines.
Regardless of your healthcare specialization, you must come up with highly effective healthcare SEO strategies to rank on the top search results.
In this article, you will learn what is health care SEO and the top 7 highly effective healthcare SEO strategies to rapidly boost your search rankings on Google and Bing.
What is Healthcare SEO and Why is it Important?
Healthcare SEO also known as Medical SEO is a specialized SEO strategy to optimize healthcare websites to boost organic search rankings, increase website traffic, generate more conversions, and streamline increased income for your healthcare organization.
These days most people refer to search engines to find all sorts of information and solutions, and healthcare is one of the top search queries among them.
According to Google’s Health Vice President, David Feinberg there are approximately 70,000 searches per minute daily and among them, health-related searches are around 7%, which is about 4900 health-related searches per minute every day.
The online discovery of your healthcare organization heavily relies on your website’s search visibility in the top search results as 80% of internet users refer to search engines to find medical or health-related information.
75% of online searchers skim through the first page of the top search results. The search engine listings include 10 search results per page, most online searchers only consider viewing and clicking the top 5 to 7 search results on the first page of the search results.
The healthcare industry is highly competitive, there are thousands of healthcare organizations competing to rank on the top search results. And, that’s why you need to apply better healthcare SEO strategies to outrank your rivals and dominate top search rankings.
7 Highly Effective Healthcare SEO Strategies
1. Identify the Pain Points of Health Seekers in Your Niche
To come up with highly effective healthcare SEO strategies, you must identify, understand and familiarize yourself with the pain points of health seekers in your niche.
By being fully aware of the pain points of your target audience, you will know what exactly are they looking for, and hence you will be able to assess their search patterns.
Health-related issues are a major pain point, as they can cause inconvenience, discomfort, disabilities, and even death. Being sick, bearing illness, or watching someone close suffer due to health-related issues can be emotionally taxing.
Health seekers refer to search engines to learn about certain symptoms, causes, cures, and treatment options online. So, if you are providing them with solutions to their problems, they are most likely searching for them on Google, Bing, or other search engines.
Understanding the pain points of health seekers requires taking a comprehensive and empathetic approach. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Listening to patients
One of the most important ways to understand the pain points of health seekers is to simply listen to what they have to say. Ask open-ended questions about their experiences, and listen carefully to their responses.
- Conducting research
You can also gain insight into the pain points of health seekers by conducting research, such as surveys or focus groups, or by reviewing existing research studies.
- Engaging with healthcare professionals
Talking to healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and other medical specialists can provide valuable insights into the challenges that health seekers face.
- Walking in their shoes
Try to put yourself in the shoes of health seekers and consider what it would be like to navigate the healthcare system from their perspective.
- Collaborating with patients and healthcare professionals
Collaborating with patients and healthcare professionals can help you better understand the pain points of health seekers and develop effective solutions to address these challenges.
By taking these steps, you can gain a deeper understanding of the pain points that health seekers experience and develop effective strategies to support them in their online healthcare journeys.
2. Conduct Effective Keyword Research
Keyword research is the most integral part of healthcare SEO, in fact, keywords build the foundation of all the SEO strategies at your disposal.
Search engines analyze web pages and index them by identifying specific keywords based on which the search relevance is determined.
When health seekers search for specific health or medical-related information; the search engine generates results based on particular keywords or phrases.
So, if you want your healthcare web pages to rank on the top search results, then you need to focus on conducting effective keyword research.
To conduct effective keyword research, it is important to be well aware of the 4 main types of keywords, this will help you understand the types of keywords you should use for different types of content.
The four main types of keywords include,
- Informational Keywords
These are keywords that health seekers use to find health or medical-related information, which can be about the symptoms, preventive methods, remedies, cures, treatment options, or even established research and articles about certain health conditions or diseases and any information-related health content.
- Navigational Keywords
These are keywords that health seekers use to find a particular website or web page, which mainly includes brand keywords.Healthcare prospects or potential patients who are familiar with your healthcare products or services are likely to search using your brand keywords.
- Commercial Keywords
Health seekers who are interested to buy your products or services will use commercial keywords on search engines to find the web pages containing them. To be more precise, commercial keywords are used to optimize product and service pages.
Health seekers who use commercial keywords are on the verge of deciding where they should acquire the healthcare product or service from. In this case, they usually consider comparing multiple options that appear on the top search results.
- Transactional Keywords
Health seekers who intend to buy your healthcare product or services will use navigational keywords. These are keywords used by health seekers to find a reliable healthcare facility nearby or to find healthcare products that they immediately need.
As these keywords directly pose a strong purchase intent, they should be used in web pages and content to drive direct sales.
Figuring out effective keywords to streamline enhanced search traffic to all your digital channels is a crucial step, and tactfully finding highly potential keywords for each segment of your target audience will rapidly boost the scope of ranking on the top search results.
Alongside, the 4 main keywords, you can also consider the use of long-tail keywords. In the context of healthcare SEO, long-tail keywords are more specific and targeted keyword phrases that contain four or more words.
They are typically used by people who are searching for very specific information related to a particular health condition, treatment, or procedure.
For example, instead of searching for a general term like “diabetes,” a user may search for a more specific long-tail keyword like “type 2 diabetes diet plan” or “diabetes medication side effects.”
Long-tail keywords are often less competitive than shorter, more general keywords, and they can help healthcare businesses to attract highly targeted traffic to their websites.
In general, long-tail keywords can be a powerful tool for healthcare SEO because they help businesses to better understand and target the specific needs and interests of their audience.
Long-tail keywords directly associate with the pain point of health seekers, and that’s why 70% of online searches are done using long-tail keywords.
So, by finding highly potential long-tail keywords, you can scale up your search rankings to new heights. Plus, you can leverage the benefits of enhanced search visibility, increased qualified traffic, and ultimately, drive more conversions and revenue.
Here are some steps to conduct effective healthcare SEO keyword research,
- Understand Your Audience
Identify who your target audience is and what they are searching for. Look for topics related to your healthcare practice, including symptoms, conditions, treatments, and medications.
- Use Keyword Research Tools
Utilize keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest to find relevant keywords and phrases that your audience is searching for.
- Analyze Your Top Competitors
Research your competitors and analyze the keywords they are using to target their audience. This will help you identify gaps and opportunities in the market.
- Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are more specific and have a lower search volume. However, they are easier to rank for and have higher conversion rates.
- Monitor and Adjust
Continuously monitor and adjust your SEO strategy based on the performance of your keywords and content. Stay up-to-date with changes in search engine algorithms and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Disclaimer: Effective healthcare SEO keyword research requires extensive skills and experience, it is not a beginner-level task. So, if you want to conduct proper keyword research for your healthcare organization then it is better to get it from an SEO expert or a keyword research specialist.
3. Create a Robust Content Strategy
Content has always been the driving force in SEO. Search engines prioritize ranking web pages that are reliable, helpful, and contain high-quality information.
In aspects of healthcare SEO, you need to ensure that your content is created to the highest standards, which will be beneficial to health seekers in your niche.
Whether it’s the creation of new content or the optimization of your existing content, it needs to be properly planned out.
It is crucial for you to ensure that your important web pages have the right content and are well-optimized to rank on the top search results. A typical healthcare website contains web pages such as
- Home Page
- About Us Page
- Contact Page
- Product or Service Pages
- Blog Pages
Each of the web pages mentioned above needs to contain certain information which will be instrumental in navigating search engines to determine their purpose and search relevance.
You will be creating content strategies to inform and educate your healthcare prospects on how you can resolve their pain points with your healthcare solutions.
To carry out a super effective content strategy on each of your landing pages, it is very important for you to keep the EEAT criteria recommended by Google Search Quality Guidelines in mind.
This will help you establish your Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust (EEAT) towards the search engines and target audience in the following manner,
Showcase your healthcare experience and feature your best work throughout different pages on your website. This will create and reinforce a positive impression of your healthcare services.
While you’re at it, you can highlight reviews and testimonials of your former healthcare prospects. If you want to be more transparent you can even have a review section or review page on your website.
Plus, you can also encourage your healthcare prospects to drop a review about what they think about your services on your website or public directories such as Google Business Listings, or public forums.
When it comes to acquiring healthcare products and services, people don’t like to take risks. Most health seekers look for experts to resolve their healthcare issues.
That’s why create content in such a way that your target audience gets the idea that you’re an expert in your field. You need to share in-depth knowledge and verified information to establish the credibility of your expertise.
You can do this throughout the content on each of your web pages, but as you need to go into detail about certain healthcare information it is best to create blogs.
You can create informative and helpful articles to share your knowledge and experience. You can cover a broad range of healthcare topics and suggest effective solutions to each of those issues to your target audience.
Keep in mind that, the credibility factor also depends on the author of the blog posts, articles, and research papers.
People usually tend to trust medical specialists in their respective disciplines when it comes to reading health-related content about certain topics. So, it is important to prioritize the author’s profile to present a form of expertise.
There are certain healthcare aspects where you have extensive knowledge and experience right? Leverage your expertise, and create content to prove that you’re a subject matter expert in those topics.
If you can create value-packed content around certain topics, both search engines and your target audience will consider you an expert in that field, which will help you gain high authority in that particular healthcare specialization.
This is the most important part of the EEAT criteria, you need to create content that adds value to health seekers in your niche.
If you create content by strictly following the EEAT criteria then there is a high possibility of establishing a high level of trust in your healthcare products and services.
Alongside following the EEAT criteria, it is also very important to adhere to the subsection Your Money Your Life (YMYL) of the Google Search Quality Guidelines.
The EEAT factors will help you create content strategies to boost high credibility for your healthcare products or services, and following the YMYL guidelines will help you stay on the safe side.
Remember, as you’re providing health-related information throughout your content, there isn’t any scope for misinformation here.
Even the slightest errors can lead to search engine penalties like your website being deranked, or deindexed, and in the worst-case scenario, it can even get banned from appearing in search results.
Make sure to do extensive research, fact-check your content, and do an editorial review to prevent such mishaps.
4. On-Page SEO Development
On-page SEO is the process of optimizing web pages to help search engines understand your website better, especially by guiding search engines to comprehend the correlation among the web pages on your site.
The biggest advantage of on-page SEO is, it includes all the SEO elements of your website that are completely within your control, which includes content, headlines, headers, image optimization, title tags, meta descriptions, structured data, alt text, and more.
Here are some steps you can take to get started with on-page SEO for healthcare SEO:
- Optimize your website using relevant keywords
Use keyword research tools to identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to your healthcare website and your target audience. These could include medical conditions, treatments, services, and other related terms.
- Optimize your content
Create high-quality, informative content that is optimized for the keywords you have identified. This can include articles, blog posts, videos, and other types of content. Make sure to include relevant headings, subheadings, and internal links to other pages on your site.
- Optimize your titles and meta descriptions
Make sure your titles and meta descriptions accurately reflect the content on your page and include relevant keywords. Keep your titles under 60 characters and your meta descriptions under 155 characters.
- Use Header Tags
Use H1, H2, and H3 tags to structure your content and make it easier to read. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your headers.
- Optimize your images
Use descriptive file names and alt tags for your images, and compress them to reduce their file size.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
With the majority of internet usage now happening on mobile devices, it is crucial to have a website that is optimized for mobile. Make sure your website is responsive and loads quickly on mobile devices.
- Improve your website’s speed
Website speed is an important factor in search engine rankings, so make sure your website is optimized for speed. This can include reducing the size of your images, removing redundant content that hogs unnecessary space, and rendering files to provide a smoother browsing experience.
One of the most effective on-page SEO strategies is internal linking which involves linking to other relevant pages within your healthcare website.
Here are some ways that internal linking can benefit your healthcare SEO efforts,
- Improving search navigation
Tactful internal linking can help the search engine understand your website better, in that way the search engine can determine the search relevance by understanding how the content is related to each other.So based on the search query, the search engine will be able to generate specific web pages on your site that health seekers are searching for. With proper internal linking, you can guide search engines and enhance the search navigation process.
- Boosting website authority
When you link to other pages within your website, you’re passing on some of your website’s authority to those pages. This can help improve their search engine rankings and visibility, which can ultimately benefit your entire website.
- Distributing page authority
By linking to important pages within your website, you can help distribute page authority more evenly. This can help ensure that all pages on your website have a chance to rank well in search engine results.
- Encouraging clicks and user engagement
Internal links can also encourage users to click through to other pages on your website and engage with your content. By including links to related or complementary content, you can help keep users on your website for longer periods of time and improve their overall experience.
When it comes to internal linking for healthcare SEO, it’s important to focus on linking to relevant and high-quality content.
This can include related medical conditions, treatments, and services, as well as blog posts or articles that provide additional information on a particular topic.
By strategically using internal linking, you can improve your website’s search engine rankings, user engagement, and overall success.
5. Focus on Strategic Link Building
Link building is the process of influencing and enticing other websites to send inbound traffic to your website, in other words, link building is also popularly known as backlinking.
Backlinks are a crucial part of SEO, as search engines see backlinks as ‘votes of confidence’, and that’s why backlinks are among the top ranking factors of search engines like Google and Bing.
Backlinks help search engines understand the search relevance of the website and to determine whether the website is trustworthy enough to rank on the top search results.
Reliability is a strong factor for healthcare websites, so it is vital for you to ensure that you have backlinks from reputable and relevant websites in your industry.
Apparently you are not in control here, you might get backlinks from shady sites, which can either be random or a deliberate attempt to hamper your website’s search visibility.
That’s why it is crucial to consistently monitor your backlink profile and evaluate whether it’s coming from a reliable source, if not you should take steps to remove them.
The basic approach for removing low-quality backlinks is to reach out to the site owner and request them to remove the backlink. However, if they refuse to remove it, you will have to go for more extreme measures like the process of disavowing backlinks.
Disavowing backlinks is an advanced feature and should be used with caution, it is best to take the help of an SEO expert to disavow toxic backlinks. Learn more about disavowing backlinks on Google.
After you’re done removing your toxic backlinks you should focus on acquiring new high-quality backlinks. The following steps will help you learn how you can get quality backlinks from reliable websites,
- Create High-Quality Health-Related Content
Posting high-quality health-related content on your website will encourage other sites to cite information from your site, as a result, you can easily gain high-quality backlinks from other reputable healthcare sites. You can post informative blogs, articles, case studies, and even research papers to attract quality backlinks.
- Guest Posting on Other Websites
Write guest posts on other relevant and high-quality websites and include links back to your website in the author bio or within the content itself. This can help build relationships with other website owners and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
- Attract Local Journalists
You can create content about the immense benefits of certain healthcare products and services that you sell, and how it’s beneficial to society. Try to come up with points that create a very positive impact and help to resolve complex healthcare issues.
If it’s appealing enough, the local journalists might give you news coverage on their website, which will help you earn quality backlinks. You can also try tactics like posting groundbreaking research on medical issues.
- Gain the Attention of Medical Researchers
You can do your own medical research and publish highly informative articles and research papers. You can even include your own perspective on these studies, and add statistics from primary and secondary sources. This will help you gain high website authority and also entice researchers to cite your work, which can help you earn backlinks from top medical research sites.
- Participate in online communities
You can also participate in online communities and forums related to your industry, and include links back to your website in your profile or signature.
However, it’s important to make sure that your participation is helpful and relevant to the community, and not just a way to promote your own website.
Moreover, if people find your suggestions worth it, then might feature your website and include backlinks to your site.
Overall, the key to acquiring high-quality backlinks is to focus on creating high-quality content, building relationships with other website owners and professionals in your industry, and avoiding unethical or spammy link-building practices.
By taking a strategic and ethical approach to backlink acquisition, you can improve your website’s authority, visibility, and search engine rankings over time.
While you are occupied getting new high backlinks, don’t forget to take steps to optimize your existing ones.
Reach out to website owners of your existing backlinks and ask them to optimize the content. It’s up to them to decide whether they want to optimize their content or not, but if they do that’s a huge plus point for you.
6. Leverage the Benefits of Local SEO
Healthcare services are usually provided within a particular area, so the target audience of healthcare services is limited to a specific geographic location. Plus, most patients prefer to visit clinics, hospitals, and healthcare practices nearby.
Even if you’re selling healthcare products such as medicines, gadgets, or healthcare equipment, local SEO can still come to your advantage.
The customer demand for local healthcare services is commonly higher as it usually costs significantly lower to purchase medicines, gadgets, and healthcare equipment that are locally produced.
Plus, most healthcare items are urgently required, so most patients prefer to purchase them immediately, so that’s another reason why most healthcare customers prefer to source their healthcare necessities from the nearest store.
As a healthcare practitioner, it is crucial to ensure that your healthcare website appears on the top search results for local search queries like ‘healthcare services near me or nearby’ or ‘hospitals nearby’. Or specific health-related services by mentioning specific geographic locations in the search query.
According to Google, 76% of people who conduct local searches tend to visit nearby business outlets within 24 hours and 28% of them either purchase a product or acquire the service.
Given the sense of urgency for healthcare services, the chances of visiting the nearest healthcare facility are likely to be higher, especially in events of emergencies or for getting urgent medical treatment. That’s why it is extremely important to focus on local SEO to enhance your search visibility and brand awareness.
Here are some Local SEO strategies that you can apply to enhance your healthcare SEO efforts
- Get Listed on Google Business Profile
Having your healthcare business listed on Google Business Profile has tremendous benefits. It will rapidly enhance your scope of ranking on the top search results for local search queries and also on Google Maps, which can drastically improve your search visibility.
People who search for your healthcare services will get to see your healthcare facility’s name, location, address, opening hours, contact details, website link, images, and reviews.
Most health seekers tend to compare the local search results when it comes to choosing the most reliable and suitable healthcare service within their budget.
By being enlisted on Google Business Profile you might gain a competitive edge if your healthcare service is perceived to be more reliable, convenient, and affordable. Learn more if you’re interested in getting your healthcare business listed on Google Business Profile.
- Get Listed in Local Directories
Make sure your healthcare business is listed in local directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and HealthGrades. Ensure that your information is consistent across all directories and that you have claimed and verified your listings.
- Create Location-Specific Content
Creating content that is specific to your local area can help to improve your local SEO. This could include blog posts or articles that provide information about healthcare services or providers in your area.
- Use Local Keywords
Make sure to use local keywords in your website content, such as the name of your city or town, and specific healthcare terms related to your practice.
- Encourage Your Patients to Post Online Reviews
Online reviews are a key factor in local SEO. Encourage your patients to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, or other review sites. Responding to reviews can also help to improve your local SEO.
- Monitor Your Online Reputation
Keep an eye on what people are saying about your healthcare business online. Responding to negative reviews and addressing any concerns can help to improve your online reputation and ultimately your local SEO.
By implementing these local SEO strategies, you can help to improve the visibility of your healthcare business in your local area and attract more patients.
7. Competitive Research
SEO is a highly competitive strategy with thousands of websites actively competing to dominate the top position of search results.
If you want to scale up your organic search rankings then it is critical for your healthcare website to stand out in the competition.
But to outcompete your top competitors it is vital for you to know their strengths and weaknesses so that you can figure out potential opportunities that you can leverage to enhance your website’s competitive position on search rankings.
Plus, by analyzing the strategies of your top competitors you can gain valuable insights into how you can improve your competitive stance.
Here are some tips to conduct effective competitive SEO research,
- Identify Keyword Gaps
By analyzing your competitors’ websites, you can identify new keywords and phrases that they are ranking for, which may not have been on your radar. This can help you to identify new opportunities for your own healthcare SEO strategy.
- Evaluate Content Strategy
By analyzing your competitors’ content, you can identify the type of content they are publishing, how often, and the topics they cover. This can help you to develop your own content strategy and identify new opportunities to create content that is more valuable and engaging for your audience.
- Evaluate Backlink Strategy
Backlinks are important for healthcare SEO, and by analyzing your competitors’ backlink profiles, you can identify potential sources of backlinks for your own website.
- Identify Areas for Improvement
- Stay Ahead of the Competition
By understanding your competitors’ healthcare SEO strategies, you can stay ahead of the competition and adjust your strategy as needed to maintain your competitive advantage.
When it comes to conducting effective healthcare SEO practices, it is wise to always keep tabs on your competitors, in this way you will be able to understand their strategies and use counter strategies to gain a competitive edge.
Make Sure Your Website Does Not Have Technical Issues
Technical issues such as slow loading speed, lack of mobile-friendliness, and security issues are serious drawbacks. According to Google, technical aspects are a ranking factor as it directly affects the user experience.
Think about it, who likes to visit a website that’s slow, difficult to navigate, and contains security risks? In fact, if your website has these issues, then there is a high chance that it won’t even get indexed on the search listings, which puts you on a far edge from ever being ranked on the top search results.
Plus, there is also a potential risk of your website being severely penalized by search engines. Usually, websites with such technical issues are abandoned which increases the bounce rate. And a high bounce rate is a clear indication to search engines that your website isn’t useful to searchers.
Search engines also have these automatic detection systems which allow them to identify websites that have major technical problems.
The most effective way to prevent technical website issues is to have your website audited from time to time, and conduct proper technical enhancements. You can read our article on the major technical issues and how to resolve them.
Will These Healthcare SEO Strategies Enhance My Online Search Visibility?
The 7 Healthcare SEO strategies have been suggested based on extensive research findings and also based on our own experience in healthcare SEO. These strategies are proven methods with a tremendous scope of success.
If you can apply these strategies properly and effectively then you can expect incredible results soon. Although when you’re conducting SEO you need to be patient as it takes time for SEO strategies to take effect which can range from a few months to a year.
The biggest advantage of SEO is, it yields long-term sustainable results. But to leverage the opportunities of benefiting from the long-term benefits of healthcare SEO, it is essential to consistently conduct effective healthcare SEO.
If you don’t have much experience in SEO, then it is highly recommended to hire a healthcare SEO professional or an agency with extensive experience in healthcare SEO, as these strategies require the use of high SEO specialization.