SEO for Doctors 2020 – Guide to Winning Google Search (Updated)

  • seo for doctors
Justin Knott
President, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing

SEO for Doctors: A Complete Guide to Search

Now more than ever, SEO for doctors is extremely doable, even if you are a small or brand new practice, because of the seismic shift toward local SEO.

In years past, you needed to have clout, backlinks & great website traffic to have a fighting chance to outrank your colleagues and their established medical practice.

Now, armed with the proper knowledge, time & consistency, you can not only quickly show up in the Google local “3 pack” but you can be right up at the top.

What would it mean to your practice as a physician to dominate local medical search results for your practice type?

  • Increase in new patients?
  • More high revenue procedures?
  • More consultations or appointments?
  • Overall practice growth?

It is now within your grasps all you need to do is jump into the local medical search engine optimization a.k.a. SEO for doctors game and know what you are doing.

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Knowledge is power when it comes to ranking doctors in search results and with this guide, you will be well on your way to new calls, website visits & direction requests.

Follow these SEO for doctors tips & bask in the increased search results. All you need to do now is track the results am I right?

10 Tips for SEO for Medical Practices

1. It Starts with Your Medical Website Design

It sounds like a no brainer, but before we can look at the other points to solid local SEO for physicians, it starts right here.

Correcting and updating your medical website design and the information contained therein.

Make sure you have a dedicated contact page that contains your NAP (name, address, phone) contact details that will be uniformly used on all other listings & reviews sites moving forward.

Uniformity is vital in the whole scenario so start on the right foot here. Put the contact details in the universal footer of the site & nestle it again on the contact page of your website because this is one of the first places Google will reference for these details.

Read this to learn more about designing a medical website that converts new patients.

2. Online Reviews Play a Big Role in SEO for Doctors

This is a carryover from the first point but it is so critical it deserves its place on the list.

When addressing SEO for medical practices & ranking first on Google make sure you have a reviews/testimonials page on your website.

Make it a right blend of what we call “first party” reviews, which are those that people have given straight to the practice and third-party reviews, which are pulled off sites like Facebook, Google & Yelp.

Reviews are a strong indicator of page rank in Google’s eyes so make sure you have some on your website. We will be addressing off-site reviews again in a few minutes.

3. Claim the Provider Google My Business Listings

To rank first on Google as a physician, you need to make sure you are listed on Google My Business.

To do so, you need to claim, verify & update your listing or create a listing if Google has not already done so for each provider.

seo for doctors google my business

You may be surprised to see you are already listed in Google Maps even though you have never done so yourself.

This is why it is critical to be proactive with SEO for doctors because Google is doing it for you whether you ignore it or not.

You do not want people to receive the incorrect information, so take it into your own hands.

Providers tend to move several times from residency to fellowship to practicing, which can cause a lot of errors in your Google My Business profile.

Once you have claimed the listing make sure to take the time to complete the verification process as this will get your updates live on Google and unlock critical analytics.

After the verification process, complete the profile in its entirety using the same information for NAP that you used in tip #1 on your medical website matching provider page.

seo for doctors local seo

4. Create a Practice Facebook Business Page

If you do not have a Facebook business page for your practice, you are WAY behind the curve for numerous reasons, but you may not have considered one of those reasons being medical search engine optimization.

Correct. Facebook is critical for first-page search results.

Why? Because 9/10 times, if you do a quick search of a competitor’s dermatology practice (for example), their Facebook page will be one of the highest-ranking listings on the first page.

The same goes for every other specialty or primary care practice out there.

Facebook has ultimate clout in search ranking, and you are losing landscape and visibility by not having a practice Facebook page so do it now.

5. Claim Third Party Reviews & Listings Profiles

Claiming your physician Google My Business and creating your practice Facebook are a giant step in the right direction for successful SEO for doctors and making it on the first page of Google for your practice.

However, it does not end there. There are 50+ additional listings & reviews directories that should be claimed, verified and completed using the same NAP information that you have used above.

To stress even further, UNIFORMITY is critical in all things physician SEO related.

seo for doctors listings

This is because Google has much higher confidence in returning your practice in search queries if it has a slew of information confirming that the details it has been accurate.

Start with essential listings, including Healthgrades, Vitals, CareDash, etc. & move down the list to the lesser-known yet still critical provider listings platforms.

Learn about our provider listings management service.

6. Get Started With Video Content

Video is a powerful way to create increase engagement and develop a know, like, and trust relationship with your potential patients.

The most successful content marketing programs (which we will discuss in more detail later) have the providers directly engaged in the content development process.

Patients have taken the research process into their own hands and want to hear directly from providers they will potentially be seeing.

Adding videos into your blog posts also increase on-page time, which is a critical ranking factor.

When posting your new videos onto Youtube, make sure to follow the tips in the video below to optimize the video for maximum reach.

Remember, Google owns Youtube, and SEO matters a lot as it is the second largest search engine.

Are you struggling to come up with initial video content ideas?

Start by jotting down common FAQs and questions you get asked by patients throughout the week.

I bet if you pay attention, you can quickly come up with 4-6 months’ work of video content in 1 hour or less.

The best thing?

You know, for sure, patients are seeking the answers to these questions.

7. Do Extensive Keyword Research

Keywords are the backbone of great SEO for doctors.

Many people fail right out of the gate by never utilizing the resources available to them on the web for FREE to do keyword research.

Ubersuggest has come a long way since Neil Patel purchased and retooled it.

All you need to do it pop in your focus keyword and the tool it give you insights into search volume, backlinks, top pages and much more.

seo for doctors keyword research

Another easy way to find related keywords is simply doing a Google search and scrolling to the bottom of the page to “Searches related to [keyword]”.

lsi keywords seo for doctors

These keywords should be taken into consideration as section titles for your piece of content.

Another great tool you should leverage is LSIGraph.

Just pop in your focus keyword and check out the LSI keywords that you need to include in your content.

medical seo guide keyword research

This will spit out a list of long-tail keywords that people search surrounding the topic, in this case, “butt lift.”

Here is a video on more information about LSI Keywords and how they help with SEO for medical websites.

You want to take those keywords and make them section titles on the page you are creating on the topic of butt lifts. For instance, make sure you have a section in an H tag for Brazilian Buttock Lift Cost as people are searching for this.

The more of these long-tail related keywords you can include in your page the more well-rounded Google will grade your content and offer it up in not just “butt lift” searches but other related topics too.

Greatly extending your reach.

8. Generate New Patient Reviews on Google

Now that you have followed the instructions above and added a reviews section to your website and claimed 100+ third-party directory and review site listings it is time to put a significant emphasis on collecting new patient reviews from your satisfied patients.

Reviews are one of the most important ranking signals for Google and often in the Google “3 Pack” the ones near the top have several solid 5-star patient reviews.

This is one of the main areas you need to focus on if you want to grow your local SEO as a doctor.

healthcare marketing trends 2020

As you see between Google My Business and reviews they make up 40% of local search ranking signals so the matter a TON.

Google sees that as sort of a social proof that says other consumers in a given area have enjoyed the services that they have received at your practice so they should send other people that same medical practice’s search result.

reviews local seo for doctors

Doctors frequently give push back on addressing new patient review generation because of the fear of bad reviews from disgruntled patients.

While this concern is justified, it is often unavoidable, so you need to work continuously to counteract this by generating new, high-quality reviews consistently. It is one of the most important things to be done to show up on the first page of Google for medical practices or providers.

Check out the client above.

He has 228 reviews and as a result, is one of the top search results for “primary care” provider related searches in the West Orlando area.

We recommend starting your review generation focus on Google My Business but always give a secondary option.

Whether that is Facebook, Vitals or Healthgrades not ever person has a Gmail and you want to give them an option to leave a review elsewhere.

Read this to learn more about automation capabilities for new patient review generation.

9. Active Content Marketing Strategy is a key part of SEO for Doctors

Content is still king when it comes to search engine optimization.

Most providers think of blog posts when it comes to content marketing.

While this is one of the most common types of content marketing there are 50+ types of content marketing including podcasting for doctors, videos, graphics, and much more.

healthcare marketing trends content marketing

A blend of several mediums works the best as different patients prefer to consume their content by various means.

However, it is important for you as a doctor to find a mode of content that you believe you are likely to produce the most of and focus you time and energy on that avenue.

Investing in a well thought out, strategic content marketing strategy that is backed by keyword and competitor analysis may be the most crucial long-term ranking factor.

Note: Make sure you are utilizing Google Analytics to track which content is most successful and what avenues are the best delivery so you are not wasting your time and efforts and optimizing resources.

Here are some fantastic tips for optimizing new blog posts that you post on your website.

Check out this Google Search Console snapshot from one of our clients. It shows the power of content marketing.

We began a monthly content and SEO strategy on their website in November.

seo for doctors case study

This shows their search impressions (purple) and organic search clicks (blue) from October 2019 – April 2020.

Their impressions have nearly 2.5X and their organic clicks are up nearly 3X.

That is all despite being smack dab in the middle of COVID at the time of this screenshot.

10. SEO for Medical Websites: Backlinks are Critical

Backlinking is another critical on-going portion of a robust local doctor SEO strategy to get a medical practice ranking first on Google.

What is a backlink exactly?

Moz defines a backlink as a backlink, also called an “inbound link” or “incoming link,” is created when one website links to another. The link between the two sites is the backlink — so named because it points back to the linked-to page.

Ever quality backlink serves as an additional validation point (similar to a review) that another credible website is giving your practice the “thumbs up” so to speak.

The two key terms here are quality and credible when it comes to receiving backlinks.

The better known the site or relevant to your particular business, the better local SEO juice you will receive.

Example: a reference in a WebMD article to a doctor in the practice is a significant backlink compared to a local listings website that is linking to your medical website.

Note: Buyer beware of agencies and people claiming to be able to acquire 100s of backlinks a month for your medical website to increase your SEO ranking. These are generally a scam and considered a black hat approach to SEO for healthcare organizations. Google not only frowns upon this practice but it can get you demoted, worse case even banned from Google so be very cautious.

Wrap up SEO for Doctors Strategies

Following these steps will get a physician and their medical practice on the path to medical SEO search success.

Start with claiming listings, proper structure with your website and roll into a solid on-going SEO strategy for your doctors.

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While showing up at the top of organic search results is not an overnight fix it can be done quickly if the proper process is followed and consistency is achieved monthly.

Investing the time and energy in local SEO for medical practices will increase website traffic, phone calls and overall new patient leads that are generated for the practice. Trust me it will be worth the investment.

If this all seems a little overwhelming to you or you want to perform an SEO audit to find out exactly where the practice is at and how you could improve your ranking and website traffic use our SEO Audit Tool.

Intrepy Healthcare Marketing offers industry-leading expert SEO for doctors to generate new website traffic and patient leads to your practice. We use a variety of techniques and strategies to create impressive, measurable results. We are here to help! Give us a call 678-250-4757 or fill out our contact form.

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