Search engine optimization best practices change regularly, but visibility is a consistent priority for CMOs and healthcare marketing directors across all industries, which is why it’s unsurprising that SEO for healthcare websites is always a top priority for hospitals and large medical practices when planning their marketing efforts.

Patients increasingly turn to search engines to find health information, research symptoms they may be experiencing, read reviews of medical professionals, and select which healthcare facility they want to visit. 

A good SEO healthcare website strategy increases patient engagement and organizational growth. Quality websites support more organic traffic and build relationships with current and prospective patients. Healthcare marketing experts need to master the intricacies of SEO to remain competitive.

You’ve come to the right place if you need information about SEO for healthcare websites. This article will discuss healthcare SEO tips and SEO strategies for hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

Read on to increase your SEO knowledge so you know what to do to improve your healthcare website’s organic search performance. Plus, get tips on becoming more discoverable online by your potential patients.

SEO fundamentals for healthcare websites

Here are a few ways to realize the power SEO for healthcare organizations can bring to your hospital or healthcare organization.

Optimization as a website marketing strategy

SEO is a digital marketing strategy that optimizes a website’s visibility on search engine results pages. SEO for healthcare websites is important in connecting patients with the information and resources they seek.

When SEO is done well, it ensures that when patients seek medical advice, information about their condition, or details about healthcare providers, they can easily find it on your website. 

By fine-tuning website content and utilizing strategic keywords, healthcare entities can enhance their online presence and make it easier for patients to get the needed information. 

HIPAA, accessibility, inclusivity, and SEO

Every business wants to maximize its SEO and be found easily online. But because of the nature of healthcare, healthcare organizations have other considerations to keep in mind, making SEO for healthcare websites more challenging.

Avoid the use of personal health info

When optimizing content for your website, you must ensure you do not include personal health information, such as full names, dates, or other identifiers, in testimonials or reviews without the proper consent. Good SEO for healthcare websites ranks your website without disclosing confidential information.

Consider user intent when creating content

It may surprise you, but HIPAA can affect your healthcare organization’s SEO. 

Search engines have increasingly focused on the E-A-T principle, or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, for ranking content. Healthcare websites can boost their E-A-T score by using informative and responsible content that avoids making definitive medical claims. This is especially crucial in the “Your Money or Your Life” categories, which include healthcare.

Clear, informative content that avoids overstepping into personal medical advice encourages better user engagement. High-quality engagement metrics, such as longer time spent on a page and lower bounce rates, positively influence SEO for healthcare website rankings. 

The content language that complies with HIPAA and avoids definitive medical claims also means avoiding potential penalties from legal authorities and search engines. Websites flagged for providing misleading information or violating regulatory guidelines can suffer in search rankings.

Creating accurate and responsible content and having a keyword strategy that targets users seeking reliable healthcare information adheres to HIPAA. It also ensures your SEO for healthcare website strategy attracts users looking for trustworthy healthcare information.  

Keep up to date all content that supports site credibility

SEO for healthcare websites involves regularly updating your privacy policies and disclaimers. This is sometimes overlooked by healthcare website managers, but it shouldn’t be.A transparent and clearly articulated privacy policy can improve user engagement, user experience, and trust. It helps users feel more secure, potentially increasing their time spent on the site and their willingness to interact.

Search engines favor websites that are seen as trustworthy and credible and will penalize those who engage in unethical practices or violate regulations like HIPAA. A comprehensive, up-to-date privacy policy can safeguard against SEO penalties.

A clear privacy policy can encourage other sites, including medical directories and institutions, to link to your website. This is a key factor in SEO. Displaying a commitment to privacy can lead to increased patient engagement, such as more inquiries or registrations, which can indirectly boost SEO through enhanced site metrics.

Focus on all of your healthcare website users 

A key healthcare SEO trend is to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ensure your SEO for healthcare websites can be accessible to people with disabilities. For example, provide descriptive alt text for images to assist users with visual impairments who use screen readers. Maintain sufficient color contrast between text and backgrounds, write in plain language, make sure your forms, video, and multimedia are accessible, and be sure your website is responsive when accessed from any type of device.  

Think local

If you’re interested in SEO for patient acquisition, especially for patients who live near you, try incorporating specific local keywords into your website content, meta tags, and URLs. Acquiring backlinks from local businesses, healthcare directories, and community websites can also strengthen local SEO efforts. 

To build trust with your local audiences, publish content that addresses community health issues and services specific to your region. Respond to your online reviews, especially Google My Business and Yelp, and claim any and all practice profiles on Google My Business. 

These practices can strengthen your local SEO for healthcare website efforts. 

Website security and search engine optimization

Google has confirmed that secure websites are favored in search rankings over non-secure sites. HTTPS, enabled by SSL encryption, is a ranking signal.

Regularly updated and maintained websites are more secure and less likely to suffer from downtime due to security issues. Healthcare websites that have been compromised may be flagged by Google or receive a lower ranking. So, keep your website secure for optimal healthcare industry SEO.

Forms and patient portals

Another strategy that supports SEO for healthcare websites is to incorporate user-friendly forms and portals. These features have higher user engagement and lower bounce rates, positively influencing SEO. If potential patients trust your website, they will submit more forms, inquiries, and interactions. 

Example of healthcare website SEO excellence

Zocdoc is a great example of a company that excels at SEO for healthcare websites. Their local SEO function helps connect patients with local healthcare providers, whose dedicated pages are optimized with location-specific keywords.

They also provide a comprehensive provider profile so patients can easily search for specialties, locations, and reviews. Zocdoc features fresh, updated, keyword-rich patient reviews about treatments and locations that contribute significantly to their SEO.  

They strategically place keywords throughout their website, focus on quality content on their informative blog, and have optimized their website and app for mobile users. Zocdoc does a great job of maintaining a technical, fast-loading, and easy-to-use website, which are crucial for SEO.

Improving your healthcare website’s SEO 

Medical website SEO doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. If you consider the fundamentals of SEO for healthcare websites—such as accessibility, privacy, local keywords, security, and user engagement—you can develop a strategy that makes your healthcare organization successful.

Experts in SEO for healthcare websites

If you have questions about SEO for healthcare websites or don’t know where to start, TBH Creative can help. Our experienced team has assisted dozens of marketing leaders in growing their organic reach—even in competitive marketplaces like Indianapolis and Chicago—with strategic improvements to the SEO for their medical practices’ websites.

We know how to make your organization found online and how to build a secure, compliant, and quality website that will keep your patients coming back. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn more about our SEO for healthcare website strategy and how we can help you succeed.