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  • Cheyenne Kolosky

6 Reasons Why Healthcare Providers Need SEO

If you're looking to create and grow an online presence for your healthcare practice, then you're definitely on the right track. Unfortunately, for the best success, just having a functioning website won't cut it. Design, branding, and content are all key elements of a successful healthcare website. But another crucial part of healthcare marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). For doctors, that's medical SEO.


Here are six undeniable reasons why your healthcare website needs SEO.


1. DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE

5% of all Google searches are health-related. People are constantly browsing the internet for answers to health-related questions. They also use search engines to find providers. In fact, 47% of internet users look online for information about doctors or other health professionals.


As they search for this information, they come across reviews to inform their decision.

94% of healthcare patients use online reviews to evaluate providers. Reviews play a huge role in SEO, especially local SEO. Google My Business reviews can determine how prominently your practice's website performs in the "Local Park", which is the box of local search and map results that appear at the top of relevant Google searches. That's because Google wants to show potential patients the most relevant search results.


If your practice has lots of positive reviews, it tells Google that your practice is legit and that patients have benefited from your services, which can help inform the decisions of other potential patients. Great reviews help your site rank higher in local search, which increases visibility. This results in a better click-through rate (CTR), which means more traffic to your website.


2. BOOST YOUR ROI

SEO is an inbound marketing strategy, which means healthcare marketers implement it to attract patients who are actively looking for healthcare services. This means less money is spent on trying to find leads who may not be looking for these services.


So unlike with TV ads, magazine spreads, or other forms of outbound marketing, SEO brings the right people to your website at the right moment. This means that they're more likely to need your services and book an appointment.


3. COMPETE IN VOICE SEARCH

One-third of the U.S. population is using voice search features thanks to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant. What's more, 71% of consumers prefer to use voice search to conduct queries instead of typing. So more and more people are using their phones and smart speakers to find answers to their questions.


People want convenience and quick answers. So whether they're asking "Where is the nearest urgent care?" or "What dentists near me accept Aetna?", it's important for healthcare providers to optimize their websites to compete in voice search results.

Here are more notable voice search statistics to consider:

  • 51.9% of consumers are interested in using a voice assistant to help with a healthcare use case.

  • 58% of consumers used voice search to find local business information.

  • 41% of people who use a voice-activated speaker feel like they're talking to a person.

  • Voice queries are 40 times more action-oriented than search.

  • 33% of people are now using voice assistants regularly.


4. HELP PATIENTS FIND YOU

Less than half of organic searches result in a click. Because more and more healthcare providers are creating websites to attract patients online, it's more difficult to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).


By optimizing for SEO, you can increase the chances of your site being featured in rich results like featured snippets, answer boxes, knowledge panels, and local packs. Over 25% of people click the first Google search result. So being featured at the top brings more patients to your site. And even if they don't click, they can still connect with your organization. This keeps your practice top of mind for patients when they eventually do need your services.


5. MAKE ALL YOUR HEALTHCARE MARKETING BETTER

Optimizing for SEO can help inform your other marketing efforts. Doing keyword research can help you learn more about your audience, which can be very helpful to your other marketing campaigns such as email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media marketing, and more. This is because you're learning what kinds of search terms your target patients are using and what kind of questions they're asking when looking for healthcare services. You can use this information to create relevant and valuable website content.

Another marketing avenue SEO can help is offline marketing materials like brochures. By learning what kind of language your target patients use and the common problems they're experiencing, you can include these into your brochures to better connect with them.


6. IMPROVE THE USER EXPERIENCE

SEO involves making your site faster and easier to navigate. Page speed is an important ranking factor because Google wants to deliver its users the best results. Remember, people want quick answers. And it's Google's job to increase the visibility of sites that deliver just that.


So if your site loads slowly, it can be harder to rank in the SERPs. It can also increase your bounce rate, which is the percentage of your visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page. In fact, when a page load time went from one to three seconds, the chance of a bounce increased by 32%. This number increases by 90% when the page load time went from one to five seconds, and by 123% if a site takes up to 10 seconds to load. So people are more likely to spend more time on your site if its pages load faster.


Furthermore, if your site is optimized for mobile, it's more likely to rank higher. Nearly 70% of searches for healthcare terms are performed on mobile devices. 60% of mobile internet users say they've encountered at least one problem while browsing. A lot of these issues had to do with the site loading too slowly, crashing, and having poor formatting. Faster loading times, easy navigation, and high readability are important SEO ranking factors that make for a positive user experience, which means increased trust and credibility for your practice.


At DearDoc, our aim is to drive practice growth through SEO and other healthcare marketing methods. Don't hesitate to contact us today for more information.


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