You most likely arrived here seeking help for your medical practice or healthcare organization’s search engine optimization. But you didn’t arrive in a vacuum. You’ve had some history with trying to improve your practice’s digital marketing. In fact, you probably have one of the three stories below.
Which Medical Practice SEO Story is Yours?
The I Just Want to Grow, Not Worry About SEO Practice
You know that your medical practice needs a strong online presence, but you’d rather spend your time treating patients than attacking the steep learning curve of digital marketing. You’ve heard colleagues using search engine optimization, pay-per-click, and content marketing but aren’t exactly sure whether these strategies can truly help your office, clinic, or healthcare facility grow. You want to see your appointment schedule and office fuller, yet you’ve steered clear of any serious digital efforts in the past. Now you know it’s time to get your website working for you.
The Burnt & Wary Practice
You got a call from so-called medical search engine agencies and healthcare digital marketing companies. They promised you they’d get you on page one for keywords related to your healthcare business. They did manage to rank your medical website for “left-handed, green-eyed LASIK surgeon with size 11 shoes” in the top 3. But other than that, they won’t disclose what work they are actually doing and it’s really difficult to see if they are increasing your practice’s revenue or just their own. All of a sudden, your rankings tank and they just blame it on a Google update. Now you’re locked into a 12-month contract and it’s only month seven. We feel your pain. It’s the reason why we got started in SEO in the first place.
The Decent Digital Marketing Practice
You’re a digital marketing aficionado and have DIY’d your medical SEO strategy. You’ve gained some decent organic search results, but it has been a challenge to keep abreast of all the Google changes happening and you realize it won’t take much to lose the ability to stay up to date. Plus, some of what you’re implementing you’re not exactly sure why it works, if it’s outdated, or if it can get you into Google’s penalty box. Or maybe things are just stagnant. You run your practice on evidence-based medicine and wish your SEO was the same. Your medical website SEO rankings are generally good, but just like you specialize in your medical field, you realize it’s time to bring a healthcare SEO expert. You want to hand off the gains you’ve made to someone you trust and see even more growth while being educated on why their efforts work.
We know your pain, problems, and possibilities. We have helped all three types of medical practices.
Medical SEO Based on First Principles
A first-principles approach is one of the best ways to reverse-engineer complicated problems. Sometimes called “reasoning from first principles,” the idea is to break down complicated problems into basic elements and then reassemble them from the ground up. Because Google and other search engines don’t share their ranking algorithms, the best SEOs delve deep into knowledge graph database foundational principles and Google patents. patents. The more an SEO understands how knowledge graphs work, the better they will be at reverse engineering and constructing strategies that have a foundational reason as to why they work to improve ranking, traffic, and web leads.
We currently see lots of SEO strategies in different groups that we can declare absolutely do not work because of what we know through reading Google patents and other search engine patents.
A Classic Example of Not Using First Principles
A lot of SEO agencies will throw out jargon without telling you WHY what they are doing works.
“We use LSI-tools.” Sounds impressive, right? All an LSI tool is is an indexing “tool” that finds words on other pages and then allows them to match your words to the top-ranking page. Agencies claim using this tool makes sure your page’s words match the top-ranking pages’ words. Here’s the first principle: Google never used LSI as part of their engine algorithm. The strategy delivered a slight bump in ranking but because of entirely different reasons than stated. Now it doesn’t work at all. Why? A shift in the foundational principle of Google’s algorithm.
Google shifted to Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing formally with the introduction of BERT in 2019. At that moment, topics (also called named entities) became more important than merely matching similar keywords on a page. What works now is not having words that match the highest-ranking pages, it’s making sure your page covers all the topics (named entities) that Google expects to see on a page that relates to your main topic on that page. Our testing is showing this is currently the #1 algorithm signal to improve ranking. We use it to get consistent, repeatable results.
You Benefit from Our Constant Curiosity + Testing
Staying up with all that the search engines are doing is a full-time job. When we reluctantly started doing SEO in 2012. We did so because our clients begged us because they were frustrated with other providers whom we’d fired alongside them. Once we made the dive into SEO, we committed to operating off of a first-principles strategy based on the parameters and foundations of how a search engine knowledge graph had to work. We couple this with evidence-based testing against these first principles. We determined we would not be a snake-oil salesman, high-client-churn, SEO agency. Because of our founder’s deep background in medical marketing, medical clients were a natural fit.
We are a team of voracious learners and testers (lots of Meyers-Briggs INTJ and Enneagram 5 type personality types). We are obsessed with reverse-engineering the search engine algorithms to create repeatable strategies that gain our clients increased revenue. Yes, we want to rank you for keywords and do, but much more important is how can we track increased revenue for your healthcare practice directly to organic search. At the end of the day, the is the most important number to you–the return on my SEO investment.
Like to see the evidence? You can review our multiple medical SEO case studies.
We’ve Helped Someone Like You
We have increased revenue for general surgeons, bariatric surgeons, ophthalmologists/refractive surgeons, a complex hernia center, cancer surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, medical technology companies, and medical SaaS companies. But once you are our client, rest assured, you get exclusivity. None of your competitors receives our services.
No Long-Term Regret
Many SEO agencies tie you into long-term contracts. Why? Because they aren’t confident they can keep you with results. They have a high churn of clients coming in and out of the revolving door. We highly recommend not signing a long-term contract.
The Medical SEO Questions that Often Get Asked
How long will it take to see our healthcare SEO efforts deliver results?
Every medical specialty and its competitive landscape is unique. We typically see revenue sourced from organic search traffic start to increase in four months. At six months, an evaluation against a pre-launch benchmark should show significant progress. Remember that organic SEO is akin to a retirement plan. Your healthcare organization should be making a consistent and steady investment in those efforts.
What kind of ROI should I expect from SEO on my medical practice website?
You need to be able to track clear revenue that occurs because people found you on search engines. Typical traditional marketing campaigns like radio and TV or even paid PPC (AdWords, Social Media) return at around a 1:4 return ratio. An SEO campaign should return higher than this ratio.
At Moon and Owl, we include a FEDS widget (For Every Dollar Spent) on our monthly reports. This widget shows how much revenue you made via organic traffic efforts divided by the amount spent on the organic efforts as a ratio.
Example: You spend $2200 on SEO and made $300,000 from converting organic traffic and leads into patients? That’s a $1:$136 FEDS. Most medical search engine optimization companies don’t measure like this. Instead, they’ll send you a list of random keywords they managed to rank.
Is ranking a medical site in search engines difficult?
Care must be taken with medical sites and search engines. Google is definitely the largest player in generating search results. They categorize medical, financial, legal and healthcare/medical web pages as Your Money Or Your Life (YMYL) sites. This means they get extra attention as the reliability of the content can directly influence the quality of visitors’ money or life. author, the better.
Google has its own team of reviewers called quality raters to hold medical websites to a higher “Page Quality” (PQ) standard than other types of web pages.
Should I select an SEO specialist who has experience in the healthcare industry?
Content creation will play a role in any medical SEO strategy. The last thing you need is the headache of working with an agency that doesn’t understand the ins and outs of medical. You cannot write for medical like you can for red widgets. The state medical board, HIPAA regulations, FDA, and even the medical technology providers all have guidelines. You must have privacy statements, user statements and avoid content that creates unintended medical consequences for a reader. Make sure to select an agency with extensive experience in healthcare high-quality content marketing.
As an aside, we have found it beneficial to be a medical heavy agency but not a medical exclusive agency. There is valuable cross-learning that can occur between market verticals. Cross-learning you only benefit from if you hire a multi-disciplinary, multi-vertical agency.
Is local SEO important for my medical practice website and how is it different?
Local search means the searcher is intending for a solution to their query in relative proximity to either where they are searching from or the city or area modifier they are attaching to the search. Google search places heavy emphasis on the importance of local SEO ranking.
This has become so important that all of the major search engines include a map display in their SERPs.
Google displays a knowledge panel in a map three-pack (Google’s local pack) tied your business’s listing in Google My Business listing (recently renamed Google Business Profile).
It is important that your practice is sending the ranking factors from within your GMB so your map listing shows up for search queries like LASIK near me or LASIK Austin. Local patients are looking for a local solution.
Other Search Engines that present maps as part of their listing include:
- Duck Duck Go
Healthcare practices to be actively and ongoingly engaged in posting entity-tuned content into their GBP/GMB, garnering online reviews and other ranking factors that help get into the Map Pack.
Are search engine rankings important for a non-elective medical practice?
Yes, with the growth of the internet and pharmaceutical companies advertising directly to consumers, potential patients feel empowered to advocate for their own medical care. Patients search for a physician, surgeon, or a hospital or treatment center that appears professional and trustworthy. Even if their general practitioner or primary care physician refers them, it is likely they will research the healthcare provider their PCP recommends.
A potential patient may also often suggest a referral they’d like to receive for a non-elective procedure. Medical sharing and cash pay patients with no network restraints may do a direct search for a doctor without even seeking their family practitioner’s input. As patients self-advocate, you want to be in the conversation. Organic search is key to this.
If you are a specialist, your website reinforces your expertise to other referring doctors and physicians. You need content that speaks directly to these doctors to help them trust you with their patients.
What specialties benefit from medical SEO?
Any specialty where someone is seeking out information about their medical issues online including:
- Allergy and immunology
- Diagnostic radiology
- Emergency medicine
- Family medicine
- Internal medicine
- Medical genetics
- Nuclear medicine
- Obstetrics and gynecology
- Physical medicine and rehabilitation
- Preventive medicine
- Radiation oncology
Couldn’t we just run AdWords and other SEM Paid Media to promote our medical services instead of organic SEO?
That wouldn’t be ideal. Some studies show that anywhere from 51-80% of web users will not click on PPC ads. And without organic results, you are beholden to continually pour out money for Google ads. AdWords and other search engine marketing is a viable investment. It can reinforce organic Google rankings. Prospective patients see you in the ad and in organic results, familiarizing and reinforcing you as a solution to their medical needs. If you don’t show up in the organic search results you are missing potential patients who need your help and leaving practice revenue on the table.
What does Moon and Owl Marketing do to improve my Medical SEO?
We are a first principles SEO agency. We do not do GuessSEO. We have established, evidence-based and tested practices to get your medical practice new patients from Google search results, emerging voice search, and other search engines. We don’t hide what we are doing from you, as we value transparency.
- The LUCID Process™ clarifies how your brand best states its message emphasizing the chief benefits you provide patients. Taps into their transformational aspirations and differentiate from your competitors. Make sure your SEO is amplifying the right message.
- Deep semantic research to make sure we have a clear hierarchy of topics and medical keywords.
- Complete review of your existing website’s layout and the changes needed for higher conversion, or the design, creation, and content for a new site or site redevelopment (your choice of which).
- Site structure that organizes topics into deep information silos.
- SEO-tuned content that contains the needed named entities (related topics) that Google wants and expects to see on the page.
- Interlinking within the site to sculpt PageRank (Google’s authority score) to key pages.
- Full title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions, Facebook and Twitter OpenGraph to send the strongest topical signal possible with no technical SEO errors or issues.
- Organizational, FAQ, and About/Mention schema for each page on the site to help the search bot understand what the page is about using Google-recommended, invisible-to-the-reader JSON-LD code). Think of it as the card catalog for your library of web pages on your site.
- Install our proprietary SEO plugin to power up semantic topical relevance.
- Set up organic conversion goals in Google Analytics as close to your practice’s wallet as possible so you measure what counts-confirmed appointments or completed surgeries.
- Create interlinked branded properties that surround the website to better credential your brand and medical professionals, improving their expertise, authority, and trust score (E-A-T).
- Aggregate all available Google properties they offer businesses in a unique way to leverage Google’s propensity to prefer its own properties to your advantage (Gsites, Gdocs, Gsheets, YouTube, Google Slides and much more). We create your practice’s Google TopEnt Stack™.
- Get you listed as a named entity in Wikidata and/or Wikipedia.
- Create an @idpage that aggregates all your key entity properties in a single location to strengthen the search engines’ understanding of your medical brand’s reach.
- Establish a PressPage repository where all your newsworthy releases are aggregated.
- Build healthy backlinks from topically relevant sites to your practice’s website.
- Optimize your GMB/GBP and business page to get you local search results in Google’s local pack of maps.
- Clear tracking of organic SEO revenue (ROI, ROAS, FEDS), website conversion rates, patient leads, and entity cluster/keyword rankings so you can be confident in your investment.
- Create a long-form article around an important entity topic that gets high search with transactional intent.
- Create educational articles to show the expertise, authority, trust your physicians possess, and the quality of care patients receive from your physicians.
- Ongoing schema updates to help disambiguate content as search shifts more to artificial intelligence using natural language processing.
- Articles can be ghostwritten by our medical writers, written in collaboration with you, or written entirely by your team and we simply SEO tune them. Whatever works best for you.
- Build healthy backlinks to your branded web properties as a signal of a vote of confidence for improved search engine results.
- Optimized video creation for your branded YouTube channel to appear as a video snippet.
- Quarterly expansion of your Google TopEnt Stack™, @id page, and syndication network,
- MediaBlast™ Press Releases to announce important happenings and new articles to place you in Google’s news streams.
- Regular posting of tuned content into your Google My Business/Google Business Profile.
- Geo-photo uploads to create relevance between your practice and the cities you want to reach.
- Ongoing heatmap reports assess what visitors click and how they behave on your medical website with ongoing conversion optimization.
- A dedicated account manager so you know exactly who you’ll be communicating with and who to call if you need anything, backed by our technical SEO team and writing team.
- Ability to fold Google ads, paid social media ads, and other PPC into your campaign if warranted with clear reporting on ROAS.
- Proven proprietary Agile Strategies for qualified website traffic we share and implement once you are our client. Shhhh…this is the icing on the cake!
Why We Love Medical SEO
You help people!
We love helping brands promote their health services because what you do makes a massive difference in people’s quality of life. You aren’t selling some unneeded gadget; you are in the trenches committed to making changes in your patients’ lives.
As a physician and medical practice owner, you want to be referred patients because of your expertise and excellent care. So do we! We get most of our medical clients through referrals. Healthcare professionals talk and our clients actively refer us. If you don’t already know one of our clients, we are happy to share references with you.
As medical marketing and healthcare SEO experts, we aren’t a cheap one-size-fits-all discount medical marketing agency, but then neither is your practice. We provide value with a clear ROI on all your efforts. It would be our privilege to help more patients discover, trust, and experience you and your medical practice.