August 17, 2023

How to Get Started with SEO for Healthcare

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, over 70% of internet users in the US have searched online for health information, hospitals, or medical treatments. This meant a solid online presence isn’t a luxury, but a necessity in today’s day and age.

With search engine optimization (SEO), healthcare providers can improve their search engine visibility and reach anyone needing medical attention or information more easily. SEO is the process of making websites rank higher in search engine results pages for specific keywords and phrases.

This article will explore various SEO techniques healthcare organizations can use to reach more patients online.

Keyword research for healthcare

Keyword research involves identifying the keywords and phrases potential patients use to search for healthcare services online. By incorporating these keywords into a healthcare website's content, healthcare providers can improve search engine rankings and attract more organic traffic.

For example, a primary care physician may want to focus on keywords related to "annual physicals" or "preventative care." Dental practices may want to focus on keywords related to "teeth whitening" or "orthodontics."

It's also important to consider each keyword's search volume and competition. High-volume keywords with high competition can be difficult to rank for, while low-volume keywords with low competition may not attract enough traffic. It's important to find a balance between relevance, search volume, and competition when choosing keywords.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific keyword phrases that typically have lower search volume but higher intent. These keywords often target a specific audience and can be easier to rank than broad, generic keywords. For example, instead of targeting "primary care physician," a healthcare provider might target "family medicine doctor near me" or "geriatric care specialist in [city]." This way your medical practice can also appear in Google Maps and Bing Maps.

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Competitor analysis

By analyzing the keywords and search terms that competitors are ranking for, healthcare providers can identify market gaps and new opportunities for their websites. Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can identify the keywords that competitors are ranking for, their search volume, and competition.

Tools for keyword research

Various tools are available to help healthcare providers with keyword research. Some popular options include Google's Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz Keyword Explorer, and Ubersuggest. These tools can provide valuable insights into search volume, competition, and related keywords and phrases.

Incorporating keywords into healthcare content

Once relevant keywords have been identified, they must incorporate them into their website content naturally and strategically. It's important to avoid "keyword stuffing" or excessively using keywords to manipulate search engine rankings. By creating content that meets the needs of potential patients, healthcare providers can improve their search engine rankings and attract more website traffic.

On-page SEO for healthcare

On-page SEO involves adjusting elements on the website itself to make it easier for search engines to understand and index its content. There are several important factors that must be considered but here are some key areas to focus on:

Title tags and meta descriptions

dental clinic google search result

Title tags and meta descriptions are HTML elements that provide information about the content of a webpage to search engines and users. Including your target keywords in these elements is important, as they help search engines understand your page's topic. However, be sure to write these elements compelling and informative for users, as they will often see these elements on search engine results pages. 

Headers and content

Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are HTML elements that help organize the content of a webpage. Including your target keywords in headers can help signal the main topics covered on your page to search engines. Additionally, it's important to have high-quality, informative content on your page that is relevant to your target keywords. Be sure to avoid keyword stuffing and write valuable content for users.

URL structure

The structure of your URLs can also impact your position in search results. Including your target keywords in your URLs can help search engines understand your page's topic. Additionally, having a clear, logical URL structure can make it easier for users to navigate your website.

Image optimization

Use descriptive image file names and alt tags that include your target keywords to help search engines understand what the image is. Additionally, be mindful of the file size of your images, as larger file sizes can slow down your website and negatively impact your position in search results.

Off-page SEO for healthcare

Off-page SEO is about enhancing the perception of your website in terms of relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. This is achieved primarily by other reputable places on the Internet (websites, pages, people, etc.) linking to or promoting your website, and effectively "vouching" for the quality of your content. Key components of off-page SEO include:

Backlinks and link building

Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors in Google's algorithm. They signal to search engines that other websites consider your content valuable and relevant. Building high-quality backlinks in the healthcare industry can be challenging, as many websites may be competitors or not open to linking to other healthcare websites.

However, there are still opportunities to build backlinks through guest posting, partnerships, and outreach to relevant websites in related industries. For example, you could contact medical associations or healthcare blogs to see if they would be willing to link to your website.

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It's important to focus on building high-quality backlinks rather than just trying to accumulate as many links as possible. High-quality backlinks come from authoritative websites in your industry and are more valuable than links from low-quality or spammy websites. Additionally, anchor text, which is the text that is used to link to your website, should be varied and natural rather than repetitive or stuffed with keywords.

Social media

Social media can also play a role in off-page SEO for healthcare. While social media links do not directly impact your website's rankings, they can help drive traffic and increase your brand's visibility online. Additionally, social media activity can help build your website's authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines.

To make the most of social media for off-page SEO, it's important to choose the platforms that are most relevant to your business and target audience. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may be the most effective for healthcare businesses. By posting regular updates, engaging with followers, and sharing valuable content, you can help build a loyal following and increase your website's visibility online.

Online directories

Listing your website in relevant online directories can also help improve your off-page SEO. List your website in directories relevant to the healthcare industry and include accurate, up-to-date information about your business. Examples of relevant directories include HealthGrades, ZocDoc, and WebMD.

Guest posting

Guest posting on other relevant websites can be a valuable way to build backlinks and increase your website's visibility online. When guest posting, make sure to choose high-quality websites that are relevant to your industry and have a strong online presence. Additionally, provide valuable, informative content that will interest the website's audience. Doing so can help build your brand's authority and credibility while driving search engine traffic back to your website.

Local SEO for healthcare

Local SEO can help healthcare providers to reach out to potential patients in their locality and gain more visibility in local search results. Here are some key elements of local SEO for healthcare:

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free tool from Google that allows healthcare providers to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps. Setting up a Google My Business account is the first step to improving local SEO for healthcare providers. It enables healthcare providers to provide accurate and up-to-date information to their potential patients, including their names, addresses, phone number, websites, and operating hours.

google maps

Location-specific keywords

Location-specific keywords are essential for local SEO for healthcare providers. These keywords include the name of the city or area where the healthcare provider is located. For example, suppose a healthcare provider is located in New York City. In that case, they should include location-specific keywords such as "healthcare providers in New York City," "clinics in NYC," or "hospitals in Manhattan." These keywords should be included in the website content, meta tags, and other relevant places.

Reviews and ratings

Online reviews and ratings are crucial in local SEO for healthcare providers. Positive reviews and high ratings can help healthcare providers to rank higher in local search results. Patients often look for reviews and ratings before making an appointment with a healthcare provider. Encouraging patients to leave reviews on platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, or Healthgrades can help healthcare providers to improve their online reputation and attract more patients.

Technical SEO for healthcare

Technical SEO refers to the process of optimizing the infrastructure of a website so that search engines can visit and interpret its content effectively. The focus is not on the actual content of the healthcare website or with site promotion, but rather on setting a solid foundation to ensure search engines can access and understand the content. Key components of technical SEO include:

Site structure

Healthcare organizations should ensure their website has a clear and concise navigation structure, with easily accessible links to all the important pages. They should also optimize the URL structure by using descriptive, keyword-rich URLs.

Schema markup

Schema markup is a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand a website's content. It allows healthcare organizations to provide additional information about their services, such as opening hours, contact details, and reviews.

XML sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on a website and provides information about its content and organization. It helps search engine crawlers to easily navigate and index a website. Healthcare organizations should ensure that their website has an XML sitemap and is regularly updated to reflect any changes in its structure or content.

Website security

Website security is crucial in determining a website's search engine ranking. Healthcare organizations should ensure their website is secure by using an SSL certificate and implementing other security measures such as two-factor authentication.

Measuring and tracking SEO success for healthcare

Here are some tools that healthcare organizations can use to measure and track their SEO success:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows healthcare organizations to track website traffic, user behavior, and other important metrics. It provides valuable insights into how search engine users interact with the website and can help healthcare organizations identify improvement areas.

Search Console

Google Search Console is a free tool that allows healthcare organizations to monitor their website's performance in Google search results. It provides information about search queries, click-through rates, and other important metrics.

Other Tools for Tracking SEO

There are several other tools available that healthcare organizations can use to track their SEO success, including SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz. These tools provide an in-depth website performance analysis, including keyword rankings, backlinks, and other important metrics.


SEO is an ongoing process and medical professionals should continually monitor and analyze their website's performance and adjust their medical SEO strategy accordingly. By focusing on the user experience, providing quality content, and optimizing their website for search engines, healthcare providers can improve their online visibility and attract more patients to their medical practice.

If your medical practice or healthcare website needs assistance in improving its position in search engines, we’re here to help. We exert maximum effort and deliver outstanding results to all our clients.

Contact us at Serphead and let us put together an SEO campaign specifically tailored to your healthcare website. Email us at and get the SEO support you need today.

Sergei Ivanov

Sergei Ivanov

Co-Founder and CEO of Serphead

Sergei has more than a decade of experience blending data-driven insights with SEO strategies to enhance online visibility and user engagement. He has been providing practical guidance for businesses and individuals navigating the digital landscape since 2012.