A recent survey showed that SEO is the least popular channel for companies to invest in — but it shouldn’t be. Here are four reasons why SEO should be top priority for your healthcare organization.
As patients increasingly turn to the internet for health information, digital marketing has become an invaluable tool for medical practices hoping to reach new audiences. This fits in with a larger trend; a recent survey from Clutch found that 83% of businesses believe that their digital marketing efforts are important to helping them achieve their goals as an organization.
In the survey, 501 digital marketers reported the that they most frequently use social media marketing (81%), a website (78%), and email marketing (69%). Display/banner ads (55%) and mobile app ads (53%) round out the top five.
Surprisingly, search engine optimization (SEO) ranked as the least popular digital marketing channel in the Clutch survey, with only 44% of companies actively investing in SEO in 2018. For healthcare providers, that’s a huge mistake — here are four reasons why.
1. So many people are searching for healthcare information.
According to a recent Pew Research study, 93 million Americans have searched for a health-related topic online. Most frequently, these searches were for information about a specific medical condition or treatment plan.
This study indicates that looking for health or medical information is now one of the most popular activities online, behind only email and researching a product or service before purchase. In healthcare, however, search queries tend to be more significant than in other verticals; users don’t usually search health conditions or treatments unless they’re actively seeking solutions or answers for themselves. This means that healthcare organizations who invest in SEO can saliently reach patients at every point in their healthcare journeys.
2. SEO works.
Clutch posits that businesses may not be investing in SEO because, unlike other digital marketing channels, SEO doesn’t produce immediate results. But over time, SEO efforts become the backbone of a successful marketing strategy. After all, organic search still drives 51% of all website traffic, and search conversion rates are almost always higher than those on social media. If a medical practice isn’t optimizing its content and website copy for SEO, it’s missing out on a huge number of potential patients.
Local search is an especially effective tool for medical practices. Most patients looking for medical care want it to be local, and 76% of local searches result in a phone call. Knowing this, medical practices should be digging deep into mobile and local search optimization.
3. SEO is cost-effective.
As medical marketers, SEO is one of the only truly free tools we get to advertise our businesses. Startup costs are next to nothing – all you’re really paying for is the time it takes to optimize your content.
This is especially true for smaller practices in highly competitive markets. By focusing on localized long tail keywords, you can attract potential patients who are already online looking for new doctors or treatment options without spending valuable marketing dollars trying to compete with bigger hospital networks on PPC. The more content you create and keywords you optimize for, the more likely it is that patients are going to see your content, click, and convert.
4. SEO is constantly evolving.
The rumors of SEO’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Really, it’s just changing — mobile and voice search present new frontiers for healthcare organizations looking to reach potential patients. 46% of Americans are already using voice search, and that number is only expected to rise. Medical practices will need to continuously adjust their SEO strategies to account for the differences between voice and text search.
Optimizing for mobile means ensuring a consistently positive UX across mobile and desktop platforms, as a high bounce rate on mobile will penalize search engine ranking. Healthcare marketers should also be aware of the differences in search algorithms between mobile and desktop search. Ultimately, a solid SEO strategy means future-proofing your healthcare organization’s digital marketing efforts, increasing ROI down the line.