Top 3 SEO Healthcare Trends for 2016

Is your healthcare practice sitting pretty at the top of Google’s search rankings, or is it buried under a list of other providers? Increasingly, today’s digital-savvy consumers turn to Google to find everything from information on urgent care insurance to walk in clinic hours. Nearly 75 percent of consumers turn to the Web first for answers to health questions, according to research from GSW Worldwide. Without a smart SEO strategy, your healthcare practice will be buried by the competition.

structure-620304_1280Search engine optimization (SEO) is a type of digital marketing dedicated to growing a healthcare provider’s visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. SEO includes both technical and creative strategies to maximize ranking so when potential patients search for a specific healthcare service you provide, like urgent care, your practice comes up first. From location-based search to mobile optimization, these are the hottest SEO trends for 2015:

1. Think local.

Fifty-nine percent of consumers use Google every month to find a reputable, local business, according to Search Engine Watch, and that’s no different for healthcare practices. If your practice is based in California, you’re probably not looking to attract patients in New Jersey, and vice versa. Local optimization is key for ensuring you reach the right people in the right place. Once your practice has verified its NAP (name, address, place) data with Google, be sure all your on-site optimization includes location-based information. Include your city or neighborhood in conjunction with keyword phrases (e.g., “Portland urgent care provider” or “Santa Monica dermatologist”). Include the city and state information in your alt image tags, title tags, and Meta description.

2. Be mobile-friendly.

Is your website mobile-friendly? Thanks to a new Google search algorithm update, healthcare providers who do not have a mobile-friendly site now risk being virtually invisible in mobile search engine results. Google now uses a website’s “mobile-friendless” as a factor in searching ranking results, which means if your site is not mobile-friendly, it may no longer show up in mobile search results. And when doing a search, the most common starting point is mobile research, including for healthcare providers, and this could have a devastating impact on your practice. Test whether your site is mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Developer Tool.

3. Reviews matter.

In the last year alone, 68 percent more patients turned to online reviews to gather information about potential healthcare providers, according to a survey posted on Nearly half of all patients (44%) may be willing to seek out-of-network doctors with favorable online reviews, according to a survey featured on While you cannot directly control the quality or quantity of your practice’s reviews, these reviews play an increasingly important role in generating referral traffic to your website. Improve search traffic to your website by including a feedback page where patients can review their visit.