Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | May 10, 2024

Healthcare SEO: 7 Steps To Boost Your Organic Performance

Whether it’s to a trusted website, a search engine, or something else, the internet has become the key way patients and healthcare providers connect.

For healthcare businesses looking to grow, they’ll need to boost their online presence and find these patients wherever they are on the web. This means you’ll need to invest in healthcare SEO.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of tailoring your website and online content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). By using healthcare SEO strategies, you can improve your visibility, drive qualified traffic to your websites, and, ultimately, grow your patient base.

In this article, we’ll walk you through 7 essential steps you can take to improve your search engine rankings so that your healthcare business can attract new patients.

What is Healthcare SEO?

Healthcare SEO is the practice of making your healthcare business more visible on search engines like Google. It involves making improvements in five key areas:

  • Keyword research and optimization: Identifying and optimizing for search terms patients frequently use when looking for the services you offer.
  • Content creation: Creating content that appeals to your audience by addressing the healthcare problems or questions they’re most concerned about.
  • Local SEO: Optimizing for local search factors to improve visibility on “Near me” searches.
  • Link building: Getting reputable websites to link to you to show Google and other search engines that you’re the real deal.
  • Technical optimization: Ensuring that a website is fast, mobile-friendly, secure, and accessible so that everyone can use it and search engines can crawl it. 

By improving in these areas, you should see your site showcased more often and more prominently on sites like Google.

Why Should Healthcare Companies Invest in SEO?

Healthcare companies need to invest in SEO because the world of healthcare is becoming more and more digital. Whether patients are looking up their symptoms, comparing services, or just looking for a healthcare provider near them, being the go-to online resource is more critical than ever.   

By building your online presence through SEO, your company will enjoy advantages like: 

  • Increased patient acquisition: Ranking higher for relevant keywords like “doctor near me” or “best neurologist in Los Angeles,” healthcare providers can reach potential patients who are actively seeking their services. In fact, the top three organic search results receive over 50% of all clicks, which could mean tens or hundreds of new patients if you secure the right SERPs.
  • Cost-effective marketing: Creating “evergreen” content (content that doesn’t go out of style or become outdated quickly), such as a complete guide to treating fevers at home, will continue to rank well and drive traffic to your site month after month without the ongoing costs of paid advertising.
  • Establishing authority and trust: Informative, well-written content makes an impact on people. As they read content that helps them live better lives, they will come to see you as trusted authorities in your field. 
  • Measurable results and insights: SEO offers a wealth of measurable data that healthcare organizations can use to improve their marketing strategies and service offerings by learning more about the services patients are most interested in.

These benefits aren’t just hypothetical either. For instance, after increasing its investment in SEO, BrightView Addiction Center saw increases in 5-star reviews (387%), Google page one rankings (99.3%), and overall positive reviews (28%). 

Understanding the Unique Challenges of Healthcare SEO

Healthcare businesses face strict marketing regulations designed to protect people from privacy violations or misinformation. These regulations apply in-person, on TV, and online. That means that although the fundamentals of SEO remain the same for healthcare businesses, you do need to be aware of some extra challenges and regulations that will impact you. 

HIPAA Compliance

One of the most significant considerations for healthcare SEO is complying with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This federal law sets strict standards for protecting patient privacy and securing sensitive health information. 

When posting anything online, it’s crucial to avoid sharing any protected health information (PHI) or patient-specific details that could violate HIPAA regulations.

For instance, if you want to upload photos of your business to your site or social media feeds, you need to make sure that no PHI is included in the photo, even inadvertently.

Truth in Advertising

Healthcare providers must also adhere to truth-in-advertising laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This means ensuring that any claims made about your services, products, or treatments are accurate, substantiated, and not misleading to consumers. 

When optimizing your website content, be mindful of using language that is compliant with these regulations.

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Content

Google classifies content related to health, safety, and financial well-being as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) topics. YMYL websites are held to more strict standards because inaccurate or misleading information could potentially impact a user’s health or livelihood. 

To rank well for YMYL content, healthcare providers must demonstrate their trustworthiness and authority. This could include referencing recent scholarly papers or having the paper authored by a well-known expert in the field.  

All of this boils down to telling the truth and being as accurate as possible. As a healthcare business, you should have no shortage of experts. As long as you use them while creating content, you should have no problems.

7 Steps for Improving Your Healthcare SEO

This step-by-step guide will explain what you need to do and include helpful tips and resources for improving your SEO.

Step 1: Create a Well-Designed Website

Your website serves as the central hub for your online presence and is often the first point of contact for potential patients. 

To ensure that your website is ready for an SEO-first strategy, it must be fast, mobile-friendly, well laid out, secure, and accessible to all users. Here are some steps you can take to do that. 

Site Speed

Improving site speed is essential for better websites because it directly impacts user experience, search engine rankings, and accessibility. 

Faster loading times encourage Google to rank your pages higher on their search engine. Plus, they increase your site’s accessibility, as people on slower connections or older devices will be able to access it properly.

Results of a speed test run on PageSpeed Insights

Here’s what you can do to improve your site speed without needing to know too much in the way of coding:

  • Optimize images: Use online image compressors to reduce file sizes and choose the right image types so that images get served on your pages more quickly.
  • Enable browser caching: Configure your website’s cache-control headers to specify how long browsers should store cached files, reducing the need to reload them on subsequent visits.
  • Implement a CDN: Use a reliable Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider so that your website content is hosted on servers closer to your patients, which will reduce latency and increase page speed.


With the majority of internet users accessing websites from phones or tablets, having a mobile-friendly website is crucial. To make sure you’re properly serving these people, here are some steps you can take to make your site more mobile-friendly.

  • Use responsive design: Implement flexible layouts so your pages automatically adapt to different screen sizes, ensuring your website looks great on any device.
  • Optimize touch targets: Ensure buttons, links, and other interactive elements are easy for people to tap on when using mobile devices.
  • Improve mobile readability: Use a readable font size (at least 16px), and ensure text contrasts well with the background for better legibility on mobile screens.
  • Conduct mobile testing: Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to identify and fix any mobile usability issues your site may have.

Site Architecture

A well-thought-out site architecture helps patients and search engines navigate and understand your website. 

An example of what a site architecture should look like.

Better architecture leads to better user engagement and improved search engine crawlability, all of which contribute to higher search rankings.

  • Create a clear hierarchy: Organize your website’s content into main categories and subcategories using a logical and intuitive structure that’s easy for users and search engines to understand.
  • Use descriptive URLs: Create URLs that accurately describe the page content, using relevant keywords separated by hyphens for better readability and SEO.
  • Implement breadcrumbs: Add a breadcrumb navigation system so users know where they are on your site, making it easier to navigate back if they need to.
  • Create sitemaps: Generate an HTML sitemap for users and an XML sitemap for search engines, and submit the XML sitemap to Google Search Console to improve crawlability.


Website security is critical for healthcare organizations dealing with sensitive patient information. Implementing security measures like SSL encryption not only protects your website from cyber threats but also builds trust with users and search engines.

  • Implement SSL: Get an SSL certificate and configure your website to use HTTPS, encrypting data transmitted between your website and users’ browsers.
  • Update software regularly: Keep your content management system (CMS), plugins, and other website software up to date to patch security vulnerabilities and protect against potential attacks.
  • Strengthen passwords: Use hard-to-guess passwords for all website accounts and implement two-factor authentication as a backup.
  • Perform regular backups: Schedule automatic backups of your website’s files and database, storing them securely off-site in case of a security breach or fire.


Improving website accessibility ensures that all users, including those with disabilities, can easily access and engage with your healthcare website. Not only is this important for providing an inclusive user experience, but it also helps your website comply with accessibility guidelines and regulations.

  • Provide alt text for images: Add descriptive alt text to all images, ensuring that visually impaired users can understand the content conveyed through images.
  • Use semantic HTML: Structure your content using appropriate HTML tags (e.g., <h1>, <p>, <nav>) to help screen readers and other assistive devices interpret your website’s content accurately.
  • Optimize for keyboard navigation: Make sure users can navigate your website using only a keyboard, providing clear focus states and intuitive tab orders for interactive elements.
  • Provide accessible forms: Use clear labels, descriptive placeholders, and helpful error messages to make forms easier for users with disabilities to complete.

By focusing on these key areas, you can create a website that people actually want to be on, which helps with retaining old patients and attracting new ones. Plus, it establishes a strong foundation for your future healthcare SEO efforts. 

Step 2: Claim or Create Listings on Relevant Directories

Business directories are like online phone books that list and organize information about different companies. Popular business directories include Google Business Profile, Yelp, and Healthgrades, just to name a few.

For healthcare providers, having accurate and consistent listings across multiple directories allows you to reach more potential clients. The more directories you’re listed on, the larger your reach will be.

Quality is also important. Since this may be the first time a patient interacts with your business, you want to ensure your listing is professional, accurate, and a great first impression. 

Follow these steps to make sure you’re getting the most out of the internet’s most popular business directories. 

1. Claim or Create Your Listings

Research and create a list of online directories that are most relevant to your healthcare organization. These may include general directories like Google Business Profile and Yelp, as well as healthcare-specific platforms like Healthgrades, RateMDs, and Vitals.

Here’s a quick list of ten to get you started:

  • Google Business Profile
  • Bing Places For Business
  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Facebook
  • Superpages
  • Healthgrades
  • RateMDs
  • Vitals
  • WebMD

Once you have your list, check to see if your healthcare organization is already in each directory. If a listing already exists, follow the directory’s process to claim and verify ownership of the listing. This typically involves creating an account and providing proof of ownership, such as a phone call or postcard sent to your business address.

If you have multiple doctors working at your healthcare organization, you should also ensure that each one has its own listing. Under these listings, make sure to include information patients will need, like the hours they will be available and their specialty (specialties should be included in the category section of the listing).

If a doctor works in multiple locations, then ensure they have a listing for each location, with each listing optimized for the specifics of that clinic. So, in summary, you should have the following:

  • A listing on each online directory for your healthcare organization, hospital, etc.
  • A listing for each doctor at your organization on each online directory.
  • For doctors who work out of multiple locations, additional listings should be placed in each directory for each of these additional work locations. 

2. Optimize Your Listings

Whether you created a new listing or claimed an existing one, your next step is to ensure that these listings are completely up-to-date and optimized. 

Here are the steps you should take on each of your listings:

  • Ensure NAP consistency: Use the same business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on every listing to avoid confusion and improve your chances of ranking well in local search results.
  • Add photos: Include a variety of quality images to showcase your facilities and employees. However, make sure all of these images are HIPAA compliant.
  • Fill in all of your info: If a directory asks for information, you’re best off filling it in. The more descriptive you can be, the better your listing will be at converting potential patients.  
  • Include relevant keywords: When creating your business description, incorporate relevant keywords that potential patients might use when searching for healthcare services in your area. For example, if you’re a dental practice in Houston, you might include phrases like “Houston dentist” or “dental implants in Houston.”

3. Monitor and Update Regularly

Regularly check your listings to ensure that all information remains accurate and up to date. Respond to patient reviews and questions promptly to show that you value their feedback and are engaged with your online presence.

Here are some ways you can make sure your directory listings stay relevant:

  • Set up biannual reminders to review your listings
  • Remember to update listings every time you have a sale or special event
  • Appoint someone specifically in charge of keeping listings updated

Check listings at least once a week so you can respond to any reviews you receive. 

Keeping your listings updated is a lot of work. If you’re handling multiple locations, this work compounds exponentially. If you’re not sure if you can handle it all on your own, take a look at Chatmeter’s listings management tools

Our tools can help simplify the listings management process by automatically monitoring your listings across multiple platforms, alerting you to any inconsistencies or inaccuracies, and letting you update all of your listings simultaneously. This will save you time and effort in managing your online presence.

Step 3: Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is one of the most important online directories for healthcare providers. It’s a free tool that helps you manage your business’s presence on Google Search and Maps, making it easier for potential patients to find and connect with your healthcare organization.

An example of what a listing on Google Business Profile can look like on mobile and desktop.

Because it is so important, we recommend that you spend extra time making sure this particular listing is as good as possible. 

  1. Verify your listing: If you haven’t already, claim and verify your Google Business Profile to ensure that you have control over the information displayed. This process typically involves receiving a verification code via mail, phone, or email.
  2. Complete all relevant information: Fill out your Google Business Profile completely, including your business name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and a detailed description of your healthcare services. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for potential patients to find and engage with your organization.
  3. Add high-quality photos: Upload high-quality photos of your healthcare facilities, staff, and equipment to showcase your organization’s professionalism and build trust with potential patients. Follow Google’s photo guidelines and avoid using stock photos or images that contain sensitive patient information.
  4. Choose the right categories and attributes: Select the most accurate and specific categories and attributes for your healthcare organization to help Google understand what you do. 
  5. Encourage patient reviews: Ask satisfied patients to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile to build social proof and improve your online reputation. Respond to reviews (both positive and negative) in a professional and empathetic manner to show that you value patient feedback.
  6. Utilize Google Posts: Create Google Posts to share updates, promotions, and events related to your healthcare organization. These posts appear on your Google Business Profile and can help attract potential patients and keep your listing fresh and engaging.

Step 4: Create High-Quality Content for Your Site

Creating valuable, informative content is a crucial component of any successful healthcare SEO strategy. By developing content that addresses your patients’ needs, concerns, and questions, you can attract more qualified traffic to your website.

Here’s how to go about creating high-quality content that speaks to your audience and drives results for your healthcare organization.

1. Identify Your Patient’s Needs and Concerns

Start by researching the most common issues, questions, and concerns your patients face. Use tools like Google Analytics, social media, and patient feedback surveys to gather insights into what your target audience is searching for online.

Dental topics popular in California according to Google Trends

For example, if you run a dental practice, you might discover that many of your patients are searching for information on how to manage dental anxiety or what to expect during a root canal procedure. You could use these insights to write a series of blog posts with tips on handling anxiety or create a video of one of your dentists explaining the root canal process.

Based on your research, create a content calendar that outlines the topics, formats, and channels you’ll use to reach your target audience over the next six months.

2. Write Content That Will Rank

Blog posts that never get seen aren’t helping anyone. So, here are some rules to follow that should help you ensure every piece of content you create is a winner:

  • Quality over quantity: Focus on creating in-depth, well-researched content that provides real value to your audience rather than churning out short, superficial posts.
  • Survey the SERP: Before creating content on a specific topic, search for related keywords on Google and analyze the top-ranking pages. Look for common themes and formats (such as blog posts or videos) that are performing well, and use these insights to inform your own content creation efforts.
  • Demonstrate EEAT: Showcase your organization’s Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EEAT) by citing reputable sources, providing clear and accurate information, and highlighting your team’s credentials.
  • Use keywords naturally: Search engines are pretty smart these days, so don’t try to trick them by forcing keywords into your content more than they need to be. Just include them in your title and then naturally throughout your writing. 
  • Create internal links: Linking to other relevant pages across your site helps search engines understand your site’s structure and gives them a little SEO boost. Use descriptive anchor texts and links to pages that provide additional value to your readers, such as related blog posts or service pages.
  • Make it easy to read: No one likes a wall of text. Instead, use short paragraphs, clear headings, and include bullet points or numbered lists when appropriate. 

3. Distribute, Analyze, and Update

To maximize the impact of your content, you need to distribute it, analyze the results, and prioritize ongoing updates.

For distribution, you want it in front of as many relevant eyeballs as possible. Here are some of the more popular channels you should consider: 

  • Social media: Share your content on your organization’s social media profiles, such as Facebook, X, and LinkedIn. 
  • Email marketing: Send new content to your email subscribers through newsletters or targeted campaigns.
  • Guest posting: Reach out to other reputable websites or blogs in the healthcare industry and offer to contribute a guest post. This exposes your content to a new audience that may have never heard of your business before. 

After your content goes live, you need to determine if it’s actually succeeding in your content goals. If you’ve never tracked content analytics before, here are some important metrics to start with:

  • Traffic: Use Google Analytics to track the number of people reading your content, where that traffic is coming from, and how visitors are engaging with your pages.
  • Engagement: Monitor metrics like engagement rate (how much time people are spending on your website) and average engagement rate to understand how well your content is resonating with your audience.
  • Conversions: Track the number of visitors who schedule an appointment, create an account, or read more about your services.
  • Search rankings: Use tools like Google Search Console or SEO platforms like Chatmeter to monitor your content’s search rankings for target keywords and identify opportunities for optimization.

Finally, even the best content doesn’t stay the best forever. You’ll need to update and refresh your pages regularly so they stay relevant to your audience. Here are some tips for making sure none of your best pages become stale:

  • Regularly review your content: Set a schedule to review your existing content every few months to identify pages that may be outdated, inaccurate, or no longer relevant.
  • Update information: If you find content that contains outdated information, such as old statistics, treatment options, or staff members who are no longer with your organization, update it with the most current and accurate information.
  • Refresh your content: Even if the information in your content is still accurate, consider refreshing the page with new examples, case studies, or insights to keep it engaging and valuable for your audience.
  • Optimize for new keywords: As you review your content, look for opportunities to optimize for new or emerging keywords that may be relevant to your topic. Update your page titles, headings, and content to incorporate these keywords naturally.

Step 5: Build Links With Other Local Businesses and Organizations

When a website creates a hyperlink to your site (called a backlink), Google considers this a positive sign of trust. Having a strong backlink profile can help you improve your search rankings. 

To start improving your backlink profile, you can follow these steps: 

1. Identify Local Link Opportunities 

Start by researching other local businesses, organizations, and websites that may be relevant to your healthcare organization. 

Some examples include:

  • Local government websites
  • Local chambers of commerce
  • Local business directories
  • Local bloggers or media outlets
  • Local charities or non-profit organizations
  • Local schools or universities

For example, if you’re working for a hospital, make sure the local city website is linking to your organization as a valuable resource for the community.

2. Develop Local Content

Create content that’s targeted to the people who live in your area. This will showcase your organization’s involvement in the community. Some ideas include:

  • Local health guides or resources
  • Local event recaps or sponsorships
  • Local case studies or patient success stories
  • Local awards or recognition

By creating valuable, locally-focused content, there are more opportunities for local businesses and organizations to link back to your website. 

3. Reach Out to Local Organizations

Once you’ve identified potential link opportunities and created local content, contact these organizations to introduce yourself and explore partnership or link-building opportunities. 

Some strategies include:

  • Offering to write guest posts or contribute expert content to their websites
  • Sponsoring local events or charities and requesting a link back to your site
  • Participating in local business groups or chambers of commerce and securing links in member directories
  • Collaborating with local influencers or bloggers to create content or earn mentions and links

Step 6: Create a Review Management Strategy

Reviews play a crucial role in shaping your healthcare organization’s reputation and influencing patient decision-making. A well-executed review management strategy can help you monitor, respond to, and leverage patient feedback to grow your practice.

Here are some steps you can take to make sure you are getting more positive reviews for your services:

  1. Monitor review sites regularly: Identify the key review platforms where your patients are most likely to leave feedback, such as Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, and RateMDs. Set up alerts or use reputation management tools to monitor these sites regularly for new reviews.
  2. Respond to reviews: Make it a priority to respond to all of the patient reviews you can. However, before doing so, make sure to review HIPAA guidelines on how to respond to patient reviews.
  3. Encourage patients to leave reviews: Develop systems to encourage happy patients to leave glowing reviews on your preferred platforms. This can include sending follow-up emails with links to your review profiles or even providing instructions on how to leave reviews in your post-appointment materials.

If all of this seems like a lot, then consider using a reputation management platform like Chatmeter to streamline your review monitoring and response process. Chatmeter’s reputation management system allows you to:

  • Monitor multiple review sites from a single dashboard
  • Receive alerts for new reviews and mentions of your practice
  • Respond to reviews directly from the platform
  • Encourage additional reviews from patients
  • Analyze sentiment trends and benchmark your performance against competitors
  • Generate reports to share with stakeholders and inform your strategy

By implementing a comprehensive review management strategy and leveraging tools like Chatmeter, you can proactively manage your online reputation, build trust with patients, and drive more traffic and growth for your healthcare organization.

Step 7: Post Consistently Across Social Media

Social media has become one of the most important marketing channels for healthcare organizations looking to engage with patients where they hang out online. By posting consistently across social media platforms, you can build your brand and become a patient’s go-to place when they need your services.

Here are some simple steps you can follow to start leveraging the power of social media:

  1. Develop a social media content calendar: Create a social media content calendar that outlines your social media posts for the coming weeks or months. Plan a mix of educational content, promotional posts, patient stories, and timely updates to keep your feed fresh and engaging.
  2. Tailor content to each platform: Adapt your content to the type of social media platform it’ll be on. For example, use eye-catching visuals on Instagram, share industry news and articles on LinkedIn, and engage in conversations on Facebook.
  3. Maintain a consistent posting schedule: Find a posting cadence that works for you, and then stick to it. This will help keep you on track and your content top-of-mind among your followers.
  4. Adhere to HIPAA guidelines: When sharing patient stories or content related to your healthcare services, ensure that you comply with HIPAA regulations. Get written consent from patients before sharing their stories or images, and avoid disclosing any protected health information (PHI) on social media.
  5. Engage with your audience: Monitor your social media accounts regularly and respond to comments, questions, and messages in a timely and professional manner.
  6. Use social media management tools: Consider using social media management tools like Chatmeter to streamline your posting and engagement processes.

By providing a mix of informative and engaging content, you’ll keep your audience interested and coming back for more, ultimately building a strong online presence that supports your healthcare SEO efforts.

More Patients With Less Effort

Implementing a comprehensive healthcare SEO strategy is crucial for attracting more patients, building your online reputation, and driving long-term growth for your organization. 

However, managing all of the components that make up an effective SEO strategy can be time-consuming and complex, especially for healthcare organizations with limited resources or multiple locations. That’s where Chatmeter comes in.

Chatmeter’s all-in-one platform provides a suite of tools and services designed specifically to help healthcare organizations become more successful online. From local listings management and review monitoring to social media management and analytics, Chatmeter makes it easy to streamline your healthcare SEO efforts and achieve your goals.

But don’t just take our word for it. Experience the power of Chatmeter for yourself by exploring our interactive demos or signing up for a live demo with one of our expert consultants. Our interactive demos allow you to get a hands-on look at our platform’s key features and see how Chatmeter can help you take your healthcare SEO to the next level.