Your Guide to Medical Practice SEO

Any business that wants to find success must have a strong online presence, including medical facilities. Most patients use the internet to find a practitioner or research medical information. With the help of medical practice SEO, you can improve your rankings, so a greater number of potential patients search and find you. Discover more about how critical search engine optimization is and how to use it to the advantage of your practice.

What Is the Purpose of Medical Practice SEO?

The main purpose for using SEO for your medical practice is to obtain a higher ranking in search engine results. The better your business’ ranking, the more people learn about your practice and seek more information, leading to an increase in website traffic and therefore, more new patients. Your goal is to target the right keywords so people who search for a treatment or procedure that you offer see the name of your practice at the top of the results list.


Medical practice SEO is an effective growth strategy that attracts new patients to your medical practice. It achieves this by positioning your business at the top of the list of results returned from a search on Google or another search engine.

Growth is crucial for a business to stay relevant and continue to generate enough revenue to operate in the long term. Continuous SEO growth gives your business the resources it needs to attract new providers that patients want to work with, gain assets to expand in size or practice, and fund continued education and technology assets and training to stay current in your field.


Climbing the results list is just the beginning. You also need to attract the right kind of traffic to view your website, focusing on those who have an active interest in gaining more information about your healthcare services or scheduling an appointment.

You must create compelling content that features keywords and phrases that pertain to your medical practice and align with the most commonly searched terms. Optimizing SEO for a medical practice is much the same as for any other website, however, a site about health requires higher standards as this is regarding a Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) query.

Quality Control

There are two main aspects of quality to pay attention to if you want to attract new patients with medical practice SEO. The first is the content you offer online. Every successful business needs a website filled with information a patient may want to know. It must give details on the types of services you offer, along with answers to frequently asked questions. A lack of information can cause a viewer to click off of your website and look elsewhere. The site should be careful to contain quality information that is accurate, clear, and easy to understand.

Along with a conscientious approach to the nature of YMYL search requests, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT) is a big part of what Google deems a quality website. Medical information can have a direct effect on a viewer’s health and quality of life. Third-party quality raters use the EAT and YMYL guidelines to score webpages and provide feedback. Essentially, YMYL webpages must score high in EAT to receive a high ranking.

The second quality control factor in medical practice SEO is the user experience your website provides. Slow loading times, dead links, and a confusing layout detract from the user experience and influence a viewer’s decision on how much time they spend browsing your site. If they become frustrated by errors or inability to locate the relevant information they desire, the viewer typically leaves the page and moves on to another high-ranking result returned from the search query.

Regular updates, testing, audits, and content refreshes are key to ensuring your site maintains its quality level. Consistency appeals to patients. When they come to learn they can rely on your website to provide up-to-date, detailed information that addresses their concerns, they are likely to continue seeking out your practice for answers to their questions and appointments for services.

What Does SEO Mean in Healthcare?

The digital age has caused changes in every industry. Word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals from other businesses in the health and wellness field are still relevant and can bring in business. However, medical SEO methods help patients find their healthcare businesses in Google search results. Since the internet is a major source of information for health and healthcare services, medical practice SEO is essential. About 80% of all people looking for a new doctor or healthcare facility use the internet to find this information.

At any given time, numerous people are browsing online and looking for the very services that you have to offer. Utilizing SEO puts your business directly in front of interested parties. If you fail to utilize these techniques, you miss out on the opportunity to connect with a huge portion of your target audience. These are the primary ways to utilize medical practice SEO to the benefit of your business.

Use Target Keywords

Keywords play a crucial role in SEO. Long-tail keywords perform well to secure a place high up on search engine result pages. Select keywords that have meaning and relevance, such as the terms that describe your medical services.

There are tools available to help you narrow your efforts in finding the best keywords. You can also do your research to discover how certain terms perform, and what your competitors are using. Or, you can hire an SEO company that specializes in these methods to do the work on your behalf.

Approach your keyword usage in your website content with care. Google picks up on the overuse of these terms, called keyword stuffing, and penalizes you. Instead, use carefully selected long-tail keywords of more than one word that naturally fit into your content for an easy read.

The majority of patients who look for a medical facility will search for a specific service along with the desired location. Keyword selection should pair terms describing your medical specialties with the name of the area you serve.

Include Location Specific Content

If you want your medical practice SEO tactics to target your greatest potential patient base, those living in your surrounding area, you must feature local details. If you have more than one facility location, provide the full address for each one. Most patients want to find a provider close to their location. Google even displays a map result with three to five relevant businesses at the top of the results list to meet the demand for direction and links to local businesses.

Optimize local SEO by creating your Google Business Profile and keeping it accurate and current. Crucial information used in these map listings includes your business description and services, address, phone number, business hours, and reviews. Together, this content provides an excellent snapshot of your facility to users.

Highlight Medical Practice Specialties

Providing general information won’t do you any favors when it comes to medical practice SEO. People researching healthcare businesses have specific needs and goals. You can connect with those who need your services by providing detailed descriptions of your practice and its specialties. Use keywords that directly describe your available services, such as “orthopedics” or “pediatrician.” Narrowing down your target audience in this manner eliminates many of the low-quality hits that have little chance of converting to a phone call or booking.

Expand Your Content

Viewers who visit medical websites want plenty of content. Pages with scarce information don’t inspire confidence or trust. You need many pages of content, with each one carefully fleshed out to include all pertinent information in a way that is easy to understand.

Content pages should address common questions about your practice, such as detailed descriptions of the types of services you offer. Include information about your facility and providers so viewers can learn more about where they will receive care and who provides it.

Medical practice SEO also benefits from content pages like blog posts. These posts can discuss popular concerns, trends, or any topics patients want to know more about. Blog posts also provide an opportunity to accumulate backlinks that draw more traffic to your website.

Include Visual Elements

Certain additions to your site’s content can quickly generate more views. Visual elements like high-quality images, infographics, and videos are all popular with viewers. Infographics and images provide a quick reference to find out the most important information. They also add interest and variety to your website, making it more visually appealing and engaging. Include a diverse selection of images with alt text for keyword optimization and to inform page content.

It’s a known fact that web pages that feature the use of video content naturally earn more clicks, and then spend more time on the site to watch the video. Many viewers prefer videos as a way to obtain information instead of skimming through endless text. Videos appeal to more senses and offer more detailed insight into the topic presented. Some popular types of videos are content explaining medical conditions, symptoms, and treatments, as well as virtual tours of the facility.

Ensure Website Security

Site security is an important element of the page’s appeal to patients. The nature of medical sites means that visitors who supply data are trusting you with their sensitive personal and financial information. They will want to know your website is secure to protect their data from getting hacked. An SSL certificate is a welcome inclusion. It authenticates identity and provides an encrypted connection. Failure to use SSL security earns you a penalty in Google rankings.

How Is SEO Used in Healthcare?

Medical practice SEO generates high-quality leads that convert to appointments. When someone searches for a specific medical service in their area, your SEO efforts make sure that your website content includes popular search terms to get your business recognized as a top result. The searcher clicks on a promising result, typically from the top of the list of the search engine results pages (SERPs), and spends time looking at reviews, ratings, and your website. If they like what they see, they book an appointment or visit your facility to use your services.

SEO in Healthcare

It takes knowledge and expertise in the correct methods to make the most out of medical practice SEO. You have to understand what your current and future patients want to know about your practice, along with the right tactics to employ to generate traffic and see continued growth. Learn more about the proven ways to use SEO to build your medical business.

Organic SEO vs. Google Ads

There is some debate on whether organic results are better than paid advertising. By improving rankings in search results, medical practices like yours can organically attract more business without paying for ads. Using advanced medical practice SEO techniques results in your webpage showing up in the very first results of a page.

Prospective patients typically put greater trust in the first few results and click on the link to visit your site. The key is to do your research on what topics and keywords are most searched and create content that utilizes the correct words and phrases to meet common search queries.

Search Engine Optimization Best Practices

Medical practice SEO demands a multi-pronged approach to generate the best results possible. Learn more about the top tips and methods that lead to the growth of your practice and increased earnings:

Conduct an Audit

The first step is to examine your current website and rankings. This lets you see where you stand right now so you can identify which areas need improvement and what is working well already. Your audit should include combing the website for bugs, and broken links, and testing its speed. Use this opportunity to examine your content quality and freshness. Also, analyze competitors to see how you compare.

Create a User-Friendly Medical Practice Website

The structure of your medical website determines how easy users find it to use. Content pages must have a clear layout that makes sense, so viewers can find the information they want quickly. Drop-down menus, a frequently asked questions page, and a good flow all contribute to the user experience.

Speed is one of the most important aspects of a user-friendly experience. Ideally, your website should take just half a second to load or two seconds at most. Speed alone won’t earn your site a penalty in Google rankings, but many viewers tend to click off of any webpage with more than a three-second load time. Regularly checking your site speed can help you avoid losing patients from a simple and correctable error like this.

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Most people who browse the internet for information use mobile devices at least some of the time, so your medical practice websites must be optimized for mobile use with a responsive and smart design. Your site needs to adjust to fit the size of the screen the viewer is using without making it difficult to view some or all of the content. Without this feature, you could lose out on viewers who choose another site that is easier to use than yours.

Include Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials about your facility and the services it provides are a major influence on a potential patient’s decision to follow up with your business and request an appointment. They provide insight into the experiences others have had, highlighting the positives and negatives. Many people rely heavily on reviews.

Online reviews also provide more content for your facility to get noticed. Displaying a selection of reviews helps you to add diversity to your page content, and increase your inclusion of keywords and phrases others may search.

Target Local SEO

Locally focused searches are an important part of successful medical practice SEO. You want your practice to show up on the map that lists the top three results in the area. The criteria used to select the results map include your proximity to the user’s query location, reviews of your practice, and how relevant your practice is to the search terms. It makes sense to focus on local SEO since most of your patients will come from the surrounding area instead of traveling a great distance for an appointment.

Focus on Content

Excellent content keeps current and potential patients engaged, increasing the amount of time they spend on your site. Keep in mind that most viewers are searching for answers. Your content should focus on providing the answers to common questions. If your webpage doesn’t have the relevant information, you won’t get a high place in the rankings.

The main thing to ask yourself is whether or not the content you provide is useful. Provide complete answers to avoid patients leaving your website quickly, called a bounce rate. When this happens frequently, your rank drops.

Feature keywords in prominent locations throughout your content, such as titles and subtitles. This makes for easier reading and shows the viewer that your content is about the topic that wishes to read about.

Craft Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

A focal point of medical practice SEO is optimizing your page titles and page snippets to attract the viewer’s attention and make them want to find out more. Google results show a webpage’s title, URL, and a short description, or snippet, detailing its contents. This information is what someone uses to decide if they want to click on the link to visit your website.

Update Your Medical Websites and Content Regularly

Stale content gets fewer views than fresh content. Increase your traffic by frequently updating your content. This is excellent practice to utilize the most relevant keywords and stay competitive amongst similar medical facilities.

Newer content is often more trusted in fields like medicine which can change often. Providing regularly refreshed content shows that you are an authority on the subject by sharing the most recent information about medical procedures and your facility’s capabilities. Google even checks for updates to display current results first.

Use Clear Language

Lengthy, wordy descriptions are often hard to follow. Use clear and simple language to convey vital information. This is especially important for complex medical subjects. A page’s readability typically improves with the use of active voice, short sentences, and content broken down into sections.

Text that’s difficult to read can frustrate the viewer and influence their decision to leave your page. If in doubt, it’s generally better to simplify complex subject matter and deliver it in small sections. This gives the reader time to absorb the information.

Include Images and Videos

Medical practice SEO is more than text. Viewers have a range of preferences when it comes to absorbing content. Some would rather take in the information visually or through audio rather than read long blocks of text. You can appeal to a wider audience by including content in different formats.

As with text, the quality of your images and videos is important. Choose images and infographics that contain information people want to learn about quickly. Make sure your video content is crisp, clear, and easy to follow.

Research Medical SEO Keywords on Search Engines

Do some research to find out what types of questions patients are asking to discover target keywords. Check out competitor sites, medical news updates, and world events that you can tie into your content to increase visibility.

You can also type in the ideas you have for keywords and take note of any alternatives suggested to aid your query. Google and other search engines predict search results as you type, giving you an easy way to find out what others are currently researching.

Medical SEO

Join Social Media Sites

Social media is not just a place for users to share personal information and entertainment. It’s also become a great place for people to discover new and read business and service reviews to inform their choice of a medical practitioner.

Create a profile on popular social media sites and put in the effort to keep your profile and content up to date. Use your account to feature posts that inspire users to find out more about your medical practice and to interact with current and future patients. Start a dialogue to spark interest in what you stand for and what you offer.

Monitor Backlinks

Exposure to your medical practice through a third-party website that links to your content is a big part of medical practice SEO. These links help to expand your audience if used correctly. However, if the links stem from spam or questionable sources, they could hurt your SEO performance.

You can check your link profile using a link-building tool. This allows you to discover what kinds of sites are linking your content, and disavow any that are harming your ranking. Many people in the medical field have ample connections to use to gain backlinks. Check your memberships to any directories and organizations that may entitle you to this perk. Social media sites also give you the option to link your website to your profile. This simple action can have a big impact.

Examine the Page Authority and Domain Authority of a page to gauge its level of respectability according to Google rankings. Every site has a numeric ranking from 0 to 100. New sites typically rank lower as they haven’t had time to build credibility.


Any business can benefit from collaborative efforts. This includes your healthcare facility. Take advantage of any offers to feature your business on another site or media channel. You may write a guest blog, speak about your services on a podcast or radio interview, or work together with another provider on a special project or community event.

Medical practice SEO benefits from using as many avenues of information sharing as possible. Your efforts to get involved are also a great way to gain exposure and show that you care about your community and patients. Consider investing your time in a mixture of profitable ventures and volunteer work. This grows brand awareness and improves your image.

Use Alternative Methods to Drive Traffic

Online methods aren’t the only way to increase your website’s traffic. You should opt to use as many other avenues to advertise your business as you can. A wonderful way to share information and stay in contact with patients is by sending out a newsletter. Give patients a chance to sign up for your newsletter and include your website link to encourage them to visit.

Traditional advertising through radio and print media is another alternative to consider. You can even take advantage of any community events that agree to feature your business through ads or mention of your services. Finally, Facebook and Google both have options to pay for advertisements. You need to consider if the cost is worthwhile, but paid methods are often fast and effective.

Why Is SEO Important in Healthcare?

Search engine optimization is a universal strategy necessary for the success of your business, no matter your industry. It helps build brand awareness and authority, making your healthcare practice a trustworthy option for patients to seek out. If you don’t use SEO as part of your plan to increase visibility and attract new patients, you miss out on a lot of potential business.

Benefits of SEO for Medical Practices

Medical practice SEO is critical because you must achieve high rankings to become visible to prospective patients. The majority of people browsing the internet only look at the first five or so results. These are the links that get clicks as users go on to view the website after finding relevant information in the search result listing. If the first few results don’t generate a promising lead, the person is more likely to modify their search criteria than peruse lower-ranking results.

Stay Current on Patient Trends

Attracting patients to grow your practice requires you to stay current on the latest trends in healthcare and patient preferences. Old methods of waiting for someone to look up your practice in the phone book don’t lead anywhere. Today, most prospective patients pull out their phones, type in a quick search, and call one of the first results that appear. Medical practice SEO aids your efforts to feature high on the results list, getting you more website clicks and phone calls.

Get a Better Return on Your Investment

Ranking at the top of Google SERPs can generate thousands of clicks each month, directing possible new patients to your website to learn more and make an appointment. This has a huge impact on your business because it works multiple times after putting in the effort once.

Other methods require payment for each click. While a small investment, the cost can add up quickly if you generate enough traffic to make a difference in your practice. In the end, new patient leads cost much less with medical practice SEO than they do with other marketing strategies.

Gain More Private Pay Patients

Indeed, many of the patients who find your practice through your medical practice SEO efforts will have healthcare insurance, but not all. Those who have an active insurance plan have more resources at their disposal to locate the services they need, whether that is through referrals from their current providers, or through searching their insurance carrier’s available in-network providers.

Private pay patients have no insurance and must rely more heavily on their research to locate the best quality healthcare services for their needs and preferences. They don’t have to comply with the terms of a Managed Care Organization (MCO) and are free to choose any provider. Optimizing your content and marketing strategies is one of the best ways to gain more views, which leads to more clicks and resulting business.

Generate Leads to Attract the Right Patients

Not all views are of equal quality. Medical practice SEO works by targeting a specific demographic that already has an interest in your business and the services you offer. You want to attract viewers who have the intention to book an appointment with your healthcare facility because they require the services you offer. When you optimize your web pages to include content that features popular search phrases and keywords, you place your business front and center before people who have a higher probability of conversion once visiting your practice’s website.

Quite a few factors influence whether a patient is a good match for your medical practice. Take into account their medical history, the procedures they need, and their healthcare insurance. You may prefer to specialize in several types of procedures that have a high reimbursement, or only work with patients that have certain insurance types. It’s a good idea to identify what factors appeal to you and use this knowledge to inform your keyword selection to target your ideal patients.

Increase Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is an important concept for all types of businesses, including medical facilities. Consistently high levels of exposure through top ranking in search engine results pages is an excellent way to gain these necessary views.

High visibility helps patients remember your healthcare business; that is if you make the effort to stand out from the rest. Patients are inundated with a vast amount of information with every search. It is difficult, and often frustrating, to skim through these, which is why high rankings are important. However, you also must consider how to highlight your distinct qualities and qualifications to gain attention amongst your competitors.

Medical practice SEO can boost brand awareness by focusing on the elements of your healthcare practice that appeal to hoped-for patients. Some of the vital aspects include:

  • Trust: The patient must feel safe and trust in the skills of your practice to deliver high-quality care with the best possible outcomes.
  • Reputation: Your facility’s reputation provides evidence to your patients of the desirability of your services through reviews, testimonials, and rankings.

The relationship between a patient and provider is sensitive. They place their well-being in your hands by discussing sensitive and personal details and expecting your attention and effort in return. Part of building and maintaining a good relationship is through the availability of information. By using medical practice SEO to update your content often, you can keep your appeal and brand awareness high.

Develop Authority and Trustworthiness

Patients put their health and wellness in the hands of their medical providers, believing them capable of providing good care and expert advice. Your authority to offer this stems from more than just proof of your qualifications, training, education, and patient results.

Medical practice SEO's role in promoting brand authority is crucial to your success. As your ranking in SERP rises, you gain more visits to your website. Google interprets these results to mean that your business is an expert in your field and can offer high-quality services to prospective patients.

The criteria Google uses to evaluate the overall quality of a website are Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT). These are considered the most important, especially for queries that fall under the category of Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). A YMYL query pertains to a topic that can affect a person’s life, such as their health or finances, and demands accurate information to avoid causing harm.

Enjoy Greater Affordability than Traditional Advertising

Paid advertising has its place in your healthcare business’ marketing efforts, but the cost is typically higher than SEO. There is still a financial investment to get started, but once you understand the type of content and engagement you require to drive organic traffic, you continue to see results without the necessity of pay-per-click and other methods that quickly add up.

How to Measure Success on Your Medical Practice Website

You can usually begin to tell if your SEO efforts work well within a year, although often results improve within a few months. The time it takes depends on your starting point. If you already have an active website, you have a head start and can adjust your current site instead of starting from scratch. Another factor that determines how long it takes to see results is how much competition your practice has. Those with high levels of competition often take longer for SEO to take effect and show significant progress.

A good way to analyze the success of your efforts is by installing Google Analytics. It gives you statistics on the number of visitors you receive, the popularity of your content pages, where traffic originates, and any pages that have a high bounce rate.

Where to Find Professional Medical Practice SEO Services

Medical Practice SEO Services

While you can quickly see results from employing the right search engine optimization methods, effective SEO is a continuous strategy that requires constant updates and research to adapt to changes in search trends and keywords. Your practice must evolve and create fresh new content all the time to keep your high ranking.

Most businesses don’t have the time or expertise to devote to an SEO that makes a positive impact. Instead of settling for limited success, hire a professional to take care of the crucial details. elk Marketing offers medical practice SEO solutions that work to organically generate consistent growth. Contact us today to request your SEO analysis and get started.