Healthcare SEO: Why work with a healthcare SEO agency

Healthcare SEO specialist build human connections

We can start every article with a load of stats about the power of SEO (see here), but it’s almost certain you found this article through a search engine. When it comes to search engines, if you’re not on page one, you’re nowhere. That principle works for commercial firms, but it can be applied to healthcare organisations too. SEO is about ensuring your healthcare service, treatment, or medical device is seen by your key audience. At its heart, SEO is simple – and the impact can be transformative.

Healthcare organisations, the third sector, and charities need to take a more commercial approach to SEO. We’ve written a lot about the technical aspects of SEO (including how to structure content, commission content, and edit existing content), but in this blog, we’re going back to basics to explain what a healthcare SEO agency can do for you.

What is SEO in healthcare, and why does it matter?

SEO, or search engine optimisation to give it its full title, is a catch-all term that describes a huge range of activities. SEO for healthcare organisations includes creating and optimising content, improving site performance and user experience, building links (and more).

So, why do healthcare organisations need SEO? 

Patients and the public (and you and I) rely heavily on search engines to find healthcare services, research medical conditions, and make informed decisions about their healthcare needs. This phenomenon isn’t always positive, with some researchers coining the term “Dr Google” to describe patients who self-diagnose themselves. Like it or not, search engines are an integral part of how we search for information (that’s before we get to the growing trend of voice search, something we’ll focus on in future posts).

Put simply, by implementing effective SEO strategies you can ensure that your website appears at the top (or at least on page 1) of search results. This makes it easier for potential patients to find you.

Page one is about building trust. It’s obvious that patients want to feel confident in their choice of healthcare provider and one way they establish that trust is through establishing a strong online presence. A strong ranking is an important signal that a business, brand, or service provider will deliver on promises. 

We can illustrate this with an example. Let’s imagine a patient searching for a local dentist who specialises in dental implants. Without a well-optimised website, the dental practice won’t appear in search engine results. A potential customer won’t learn about the business, its services, and positive outcomes. The winner in this scenario will be a dental practice that’s serious about SEO, with a well-optimised and easy-to-use website, a Google My Business page (to capture local search traffic), and a regular stream of positive reviews sourced from real patients. 

The result of this investment in SEO is greater visibility, which translates to more patients and more profit. Sound good? That’s SEO in a nutshell.

Why your healthcare organisation needs to get serious about SEO

We can provide you with mountains of stats and data about the macro impact of search and the importance of SEO, but let’s flip it around. Think about how you use search engines.

When was the last time you searched for information on a healthcare provider, Googled a drug that you (or a family member) had been prescribed, or advice on how to use a medical device? Chances are it wasn’t too long ago. 

When you’d typed in your query (or asked your virtual assistant), did you go through the pages of potentially millions of pages to find your answer, or did you click on the first few search results and trust the algorithm got it right? 

We’re guessing it’s the second option here (because that’s what we do).

If your website doesn’t appear in their search results, you’re not capturing clicks. There are two key reasons why every healthcare organisation needs to get serious about SEO. 

Firstly, if you’re not on the first page for every search query, you’ll miss out. Research suggests between 70-90% of searchers won’t go further than page 1

Secondly,  the risk of patient and public misinformation is high. Patients rely on Google to deliver the truth, but some nefarious providers can game the system. We can clearly see this with pharma companies who rage an ongoing war against generic drug manufacturers that use dodgy SEO tactics to capture users. 

What can SEO achieve? A well-executed and audience-driven SEO strategy can secure you a high ranking, drive organic traffic to your website, and establish your brand as a credible and trustworthy source of healthcare information. If patients and the public see your website consistently appearing at the top of search results, they’ll have confidence in your brand, business, and service.

Investing in SEO isn’t a one-off spend, but an ongoing process that must be driven by strategy.  Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends and best practices is crucial to staying high in SERPS. 

Despite the importance of SEO in healthcare, many don’t have a dedicated team or department – which is a risk. The solution?vBy partnering with a reputable healthcare SEO agency, you can optimise your site and ensure it delivers the best information for patients and the public, today and tomorrow.

Does the NHS need SEO?

The NHS is arguably the world’s most trusted brand, and it’s certainly the UK’s most trusted brand. This works in the favour of the NHS in search results, as you have a natural advantage over commercial businesses. This works for existing Trusts or organsiations with an established profile and digital presence, but new healthcare services (a new GP surgery, dental practice, pharmacy, walk-in centre, urgent care centre, or hospital) should consider SEO when creating websites and optimising existing ones.

We’ve written a detailed post about winter pressures and one of the ways the local NHS can support its population is in signposting where patients can access care at the right time and right place. Optimising new and existing website content is a critical activity to ensure patients receive the best information about where to access healthcare, appropriate local services, and 

If you’re looking for an incredible example of how SEO and great content work together, check out the NHS website. Its simple and clear UX is perfect for all patients. It’s fast and easy to navigate, and the information is well-structured and clearly written. It’s perfect for patients and search engines. 

We’re not going to labour the point, but if you want to learn more about the power of content read our healthcare content marketing guide

Key factors to consider when working with a healthcare SEO agency

Can you do SEO on your own? Absolutely. You’ll find the NHS and healthcare organisations have access to skilled and experienced digital marketers who can do a lot of this work themselves. 

But do they want to?

Resources are righter than ever for any business, and while you can get your in-house team to take on some of the digital marketing load, it’s easier to work with a specialist healthcare SEO agency like 42group.

We’re going to help you in your search. When choosing a healthcare SEO agency, there are several key factors you should consider:

Check out the agency’s healthcare sector experience

Healthcare is unlike any other sector in the UK. The challenges of working for and with the NHS are massive – and you’ll need an agency that can navigate this complexity. SEO strategies vary across different industries, and a healthcare-specific agency will have a deep understanding of the unique challenges and regulations that healthcare businesses face. Look for an agency that has a proven track record of success in working with healthcare clients and delivering measurable results – and ask them to share these with you.

One of the key challenges for SEO is developing a picture of your audience. Specialist healthcare agencies like 42group can create SEO strategies that target relevant keywords, optimising your website in a way that resonates with patients and complies with all regulations regarding pharma products, medical advice and more.

Another benefit of working with an agency that has worked with healthcare clients is access to a network of industry contacts and resources that can be leveraged to benefit your business. This is important in the link building process that can help boost your website online. 

Range of SEO Services Offered

SEO isn’t one activity but an integrated plan of action to boost your website online and increase your digital presence. You’ll need an agency that can support you with keyword research, website optimisation, content creation, and link building. As a Google Partner, we do all this with a deep knowledge of how the search engine giant works, which means all work we do protects your business and its reputation.  

Content creation is a crucial aspect of SEO. An experienced healthcare SEO agency like 42group can create engaging and informative content that not only attracts search engine traffic but also resonates with your target audience. Trust us, this isn’t quick or easy. It takes a deep understand of the pain points and motivations of your audience, and involves just as much listening as writing.

Ethical link building is an essential component of any SEO strategy. A healthcare SEO agencylike 42group has the knowledge and resources to build high-quality backlinks from reputable healthcare websites, directories, and other sites that will boost your ranking. Generating backlinks in a positive and ethical way is key to boosting your ranking, but you’ll want to work with an ethical agency like 42group that doesn’t buy links from the black market. Doing so can have a negative impact on your website, including Google penalties which can hit your ranking position.

How does the agency approach SEO Strategy

Every SEO agency has its own approach to strategy development and implementation – the key is to find one that suits your organisation. We’ll be honest and say that SEO agencies haven’t always had the best reputation, and that’s fair – but not all companies use dodgy tactics to help you grow online. 

If you’re working with a partner, it’s crucial to choose an agency that aligns with your business goals and values. Look for a partner that takes a data-driven and patient-centric approach to SEO, delivering content and making changes that improve the experience. The results can take time to come through, but investing in a long-term strategy is what successful SEO looks like.

We talk a lot about being “data-driven” – but what does that mean? A data-driven approach means we use analytics and metrics to make informed decisions about your SEO strategy and changes we can make to improve it. 

For the partners we work with, we regularly monitor and analyse website performance, making adjustments as needed to improve its visibility and drive more organic traffic. This influences the type of content we produce, including length, style, and tone of voice. We (and Google) prioritise content that addresses the needs and concerns of potential patients, positioning your healthcare organisation as a trusted source of information.

You’ll want to know your investment is getting results, so take the time to understand the agency’s SEO metrics and reporting. A good SEO agency will provide regular reports detailing the progress of campaigns with reports covering key metrics such as website traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates. This information should be provided regularly (monthly is reasonable) and should be accessible by anyone, regardless of their knowledge or experience with SEO.

Choosing a suitable healthcare SEO Agency

At 42group, we are healthcare specialists with over 20 years’ experience working with healthcare orgaisations including the NHS, pharma, academic and research, and medical device manufacturers. We’ve built our reputation on delivering strategic SEO activities that deliver lasting impact and ranking improvements. We’re happy to tackle the technical, but we’re all about building human connections. 

Want to chat with a specialist healthcare SEO agency? We’re here when you need us

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