6 Tips to Improve the SEO of Your Healthcare Content

You probably remember a time when SEO wasn’t focused on human readers. But as search algorithms become more complex and sophisticated, optimizing content for search engines has become more about creating findable, quality content that real people value. When you’re trying to deliver the information your audience wants and understands, SEO is an essential tool for success.

Consider this your guide for writing a page that competes in online searches and provides relevant information to your users.

1. Narrow Down Your Topic

Choose one specific topic to explore on your page. This will help you optimize the page later for search terms. Focusing your topic also lets you provide the depth needed to answer users’ questions and fully communicate what your organization needs audiences to know.

To give your content direction, try to sum up in a sentence:

  • What message you want users to leave with
  • What action you want users to take

Then, you can determine what information you need on the page to support that message or call to action.

2. Give Your Content a Home

It’s important to determine early where your content will live on your site, especially if you write your pages directly in your content management system (CMS).

The Importance of Your Content’s Home

When you choose a place for your content to live on your site, you’re giving Google and other search engines clues about that page’s topic and its relationship to other site content. You should group related information and place content where it fits best for the user journey, but be aware that your decision can impact where the page ranks in search engine results.

The site structure is what web crawlers, like Googlebot, look at when indexing a site in order to return it in search results. Having an intentional site structure improves the user experience and also allows search engines to better understand your content. Another pro of a strong site structure is site links in search engine results pages, giving you more real estate and giving users a clear understanding of related links to what they are searching for.

Make sure your content is reachable through at least one link. Orphans, or pages that don’t have any inbound links, can be hard to find and hard for search engines to categorize.

Use Redirects to Your Advantage

Finally, if you move or delete a page, redirects are key. Think of a redirect as letting the post office know that you’re moving — it makes sure things don’t get lost in the shuffle. It also helps search engines pass the authority you built up on your previous pages onto your new pages. So if a page moves somewhere else on your site, set up a redirect from the old URL to the new address. If you delete a page, try to find a relevant page on your site to redirect the old URL.

3. Do Keyword Research

This is one of the most valuable steps you can take for SEO. You can put your term or topic into a keyword research tool and find out what related terms or phrases people search for online and how often they search. That means you don’t have to speculate about what people are searching for, what questions they’re asking, or even what words they use to describe what they want.

Use the results of keyword research as one factor to help you determine what to cover on a page and what specific terms to use. Doing so can boost your pages ranking in results for common queries.

Tools for Keyword Research

Some of the most commonly used keyword research tools are:

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner
  • KWFinder
  • Moz’s Keyword Explorer
  • SEMrush
  • Keyword Tool
  • Google Trends

Any of those tools can help you better understand your users’ search habits. Most require payment to access all their features, but if you use them regularly and apply what you learn, they’re worth the investment.

Narrowing Down Your Keywords

With any of those great tools, you’ll likely find lots of keywords to consider. But you probably can’t (and shouldn’t) use all of them. When you’re choosing which ones to use in your writing, consider:

  • Relevance to your topic and to your organization — don’t try to force a term that doesn’t fit
  • Search volume
  • User search intent. If you’re writing foundational website content (about your services or providers), you’re probably more interested in terms that suggest a user is interested in converting, such as “knee pain appointment.” If you’re writing for content marketing, which is less focused on the moment of conversion or decision, it’s more appropriate to focus on queries made at an early stage of seeking information, such as “knee pain running.”
  • Difficulty of ranking for a term, which you can see on some keyword research tools — let it inform you, but not stop you from writing information that needs to be shared

4. Optimize the Metadata

One important place to include keywords is in the metadata you write. Metadata briefly describes the content of the page and helps search engines determine when to display it to people searching online. There are two main types of metadata to consider: HTML page titles and meta descriptions.

Writing an HTML Page Title

When you write your HTML title, include a keyword (preferably high-volume) that accurately describes the topic of your page. Make sure your site doesn’t have another page with the same title — that will confuse search engines and make your pages compete against each other for rankings.

Most search engines will display about 60 characters in results listings, so make sure your page title is around 65-75 characters with spaces. If the title needs to go a little over, that’s okay — search engines won’t penalize you, they just may not show the full title. Instead, make sure to frontload the most important information in your page title.

Try This HTML Page Title Formula

Consider this formula when writing your HTML page titles:

Page Topic/Keyword | Geographic Location | Organization Name

For example, Chemotherapy | Cedar Rapids, IA | Benefit Cancer Center

Writing a Meta Description

Use this your chance to “sell” your content. Although Google doesn’t consider the content of the description as a ranking factor, this metadata may entice users to click on your page in search results, and Google does look at the click-through-rates of results in their ranking formula.

It’s valuable to include keywords in your meta descriptions. If your keywords match a user’s query, they will often be bolded in search results. That emphasis can help catch a user’s attention as they skim results.

Usually, Google results pages will display up to about 175 characters, including spaces. Try to write within this limit.

Try This Meta Description Formula

Meta descriptions can also benefit from a simple formula. Consider using this formula when writing your meta descriptions:

[Action] + [Organization/Facility Name] [Geographic Location] [Benefit]

For example: “Reach your health goals at Benefit Health Fitness in Cedar Rapids, IA, where you’ll find support from certified athletic trainers to stay in shape.”

5. Optimize On-Page Content

Getting users to your content is only the first step — you also need to keep users on your page. Search engines pay attention when users click and then quickly bounce back to search results.

So follow these tips to keep users engaged and encourage them to stay on your site:

  • Make it informative: Answer your users’ questions in ways that is easy to read and understand
  • Localize it: Highlight your geographic area in your copy, so users know you can serve them
  • Make it unique: Google doesn’t want to show users multiple pages with the same content
  • Use keywords strategically: Focus on integrating them naturally into content in 2-3 places, especially in headers, body text, and metadata, as relevant
  • Look for crosslinking opportunities: Adding strategic links to other relevant pages to boost the SEO of both the page you’re writing and the ones you’re linking to, while also providing additional content for your users

For even more information on optimizing your content, make sure to check out our writing for the web video — which offers in-depth training on making your content readable and accessible.

6. Measure the Results

After you publish your page, you want evidence that people are finding it through search. Consider monitoring:

  • Pageviews resulting from organic search
  • Page’s ranking in search engine results for certain queries
  • Organic impressions (number of times your URL appears in search results)

Keep in mind that it’ll take time before you start to see the SEO boost that you’re trying to achieve — Google has said that it can take months. You can always request a Google crawl to make sure Google is taking your new page content into account.

Get Started

The time to get started on SEO improvements to your copy is now. Remember, your SEO work is never done — but if you keep your audience in mind as you approach your content, you will be building an excellent foundation for content that search engines like.

If the idea of making or measuring changes seems a little tricky, get an expert’s advice — contact us today! Our SEO and content specialists handle these matters every day, and they’re excited to help you get your search rankings where they need to be.

4 Signs You Need Content Development

1. You create or update content only when someone in your organization asks.

A reactive approach to copywriting may placate the squeaky wheels in your organization. But it leaves behind audiences — who don’t have a direct line to your team — as well as departments with less-vocal stakeholders. Good content results from a proactive approach that answers questions before they’re asked. It makes your website as useful as possible, putting it in a stronger competitive position.


To guide content development:

  • Do user research to learn what information target audiences want and need
  • Interview subject-matter experts to get that information
  • Check in regularly with stakeholders across departments, uncovering problems copywriting (and other digital marketing tactics) may help solve

If content gets neglected due to lack of time or staff, explore options for outside help. When evaluating agencies and freelance writers, ask targeted questions to find the right partner for your specific needs. Even if your budget is limited, you should be able to find help with key pieces of the copywriting process, such as prioritizing content, writing a few core sections, or providing editing and feedback.

2. Organic traffic is low.

Organic search is usually the largest driver of traffic to the websites of hospitals and healthcare systems. If you’re not seeing much of it to webpages that should perform competitively in search, there could be problems related to on-page, off-page, or technical SEO. Ask your digital marketing agency or web vendor for help pinpointing possible causes.


If it turns out that on-page copy needs work, you may want to:

3. Different pages sound like they were written by different people.

Content tone and reading level naturally vary by topic and audience. But if some of your patient-focused webpages read like excerpts from a medical journal, while others sound like they’d fit in a health guide for middle-schoolers, it may be time to reevaluate your messaging.

Inconsistency can pose problems for both your organization and your readers. From a marketing perspective, it means you’re not conveying a singular brand. Users may have trouble understanding content that uses long, complex sentences or is filled with medical jargon. Or they may be turned off by copy that doesn’t sound like it was meant for them. All these scenarios can translate into lost opportunities for your organization and your audiences to connect.


If you don’t have an established voice, tone, and style guide, now’s the time to develop them.

If you do have writing guidelines, but people don’t consistently follow them, consider a training or refresher course for your internal team and any contract writers. Group exercises and peer editing activities can be great ways to help all writers develop the same “sound” to represent your organization.

Once your writers have thorough documentation and training, maintain control of the process with a solid content governance plan.

4. Your competitors’ websites have much more content about their services and programs than your site.

Healthcare decisions are big. That’s why almost half of patients take more than two weeks to research options before booking an appointment, according to a 2012 Google/Compete, Inc. hospital study.

Patients want to be convinced you’re their best choice and understand what to expect when they visit you for care. If your website doesn’t give them enough information to feel confident choosing your organization, they may go to a competitor who does.


Cover the who, what, where, how, and especially why of getting treatment at your clinic or hospital. When highlighting your organization’s strengths, consider:

  • Approach to care
  • Ease of access
  • Quality measures
  • Staff experience and qualifications
  • Support services
  • Technology
  • Typical outcomes

Most importantly, explain how patients benefit from anything you promote. Maybe a new surgical technique means they’ll recover sooner. Or care navigation services mean patients can focus on getting well instead of figuring out how to schedule their next test.

Contact Us

Need help getting started? Reach out. Geonetric’s writers have crafted copy for many healthcare organizations like yours and can help you make the most of your content.

Bringing Patients Back to the Doctor’s Office After COVID-19

Reversing a Trend

Your healthcare organization has spent months delaying elective procedures, restricting visitors, and shifting some appointments to telemedicine. As the number of COVID-19 cases starts to fall in some areas, your organization may be ready to spread the opposite message: Come back in for care.

It feels like a tall task, as it does for all industries trying to encourage the return of consumers who’ve been told for so long to stay home. But the stakes are highest for healthcare. Emergency departments have seen fewer patients come in with life-threatening stroke and heart attack symptoms — which professional medical societies believe is due to fear, not fewer emergencies. Since the pandemic started, there’s been an 18% drop in healthcare spending, according to MarketWatch.

Some healthcare organizations are planning for a potential surge of patients as restrictions ease on nonurgent procedures. But some people, especially those who don’t have life-disrupting symptoms, may wait and see how their community’s initial return to public life plays out. Or, having managed their symptoms at home for the past few months, they may decide they no longer need professional help. Many patients almost certainly won’t seek timely care.

What You Can Do

Information was key to changing public behavior to control the spread of COVID-19. Knowledge will also help consumers feel confident returning to in-person health services.

During the height of the pandemic, your organization may have seen record numbers of website visitors, email subscribers, and social media followers eager for updates on COVID-19. Harness your new reach to educate people on the need to get medical care.

Some valuable information to share:

  • Measures you’ve kept in place to continue preventing the spread of infections. Patients will feel safer knowing some precautions are still in place:
    • Sanitization efforts in offices
    • Phone screenings of patients before in-person visits
    • Social distancing guidelines in waiting rooms
    • Face masks for staff and patients
    • Separate entrances for immunocompromised or high-risk patients
    • Maintenance of separate care areas for patients with contagious illnesses
    • Highlight even the routine safety measures you’ve always taken.
  • Risk to patients’ long-term health of avoiding medical care. Cape Cod Healthcare wrote a cautionary blog post on this topic, citing a patient whose delay seeking care for appendicitis resulted in a weeklong hospital stay. Another hesitant patient, who felt chest pain, had to hear that “the actual risk of having a heart attack was worse than the theoretical risk of getting COVID-19” at the hospital.
  • The value of getting evidence-based care in your established medical setting. When hospitals restricted visitors and cared for coronavirus patients, some expectant moms planned home births. Forced to put off elective procedures, other patients may have explored unproven alternative remedies.
  • Any guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization on the safety of returning to public life. Consumers have gotten used to relying on these sources over the past few months. Support your advice with their trusted information.

How to Get the Message Out

Take advantage of the same channels you’ve used for other information related to COVID-19. Consider:

  • Using your website’s alert panel or homepage banner for timely content urging patients to resume routine and elective care, and linking to a blog post with the information above
  • Asking a respected or well-known doctor to let you record a video of them explaining why patients shouldn’t delay care
  • Encouraging individual providers to deliver customized messages to their patients via the patient portal, mail, or email
  • Publishing a blog post with questions for patients to ask their provider before coming in for a visit
  • Profiling patients who came in for elective care and recovered successfully
  • Reaching out to the media for help spreading the message; news outlets will be covering the effects of the pandemic for months
  • Engaging with skeptics or hesitant patients on social media

Accommodate Nervous Patients

If you’re like many organizations, you ramped up telemedicine offerings in response to the pandemic. Continue promoting these for all patients, especially those who aren’t ready to return to a clinic. Expanded virtual care will be part of the new normal after COVID-19.

If your organization has concierge medicine doctors who make home visits, consider giving this service more promotion as well. It’s an option for patients who want in-person primary care without having to worry about the perceived risk of coming to a doctor’s office.

Address Financial Barriers

For some patients, the obstacle to care isn’t fear, but finances. Pandemic-related job losses have cost many patients not only income, but also health insurance. That means more members of your audience will need information about financial assistance programs and free or low-cost clinics. As long as the insurance providers you work with waive copays for video visits, publicize this information as well.

Get Communications Advice From Experts

Post-pandemic healthcare marketing is relatively new ground for many professionals. Get advice from strategists and content writers who’ve worked with other organizations in your position. Contact us to learn how Geonetric can help.

Telling Healthcare Provider Stories During COVID-19

COVID-19 has thrust healthcare workers into the spotlight like never before. We’re all feeling vulnerable, and there’s surging interest in the people we rely on to take care of us.

Social media posts by medical professionals have gone viral. An Iowa nurse’s posts describing what it’s like to work on the pandemic frontlines were shared tens of thousands of times and received over 1 million likes, including from actress Liv Tyler. News outlets regularly carry stories about health professionals working tirelessly to save lives, and it’s common to hear references to “healthcare heroes.”

The Power of Narratives

Your own employees’ first-person narratives can powerfully reinforce the basic information you’ve shared about how patients can help stop the spread of coronavirus. It’s invaluable for your external audiences to hear about how their actions may impact a nurse or doctor with a face and name. And when patients see medical professionals’ dedication and commitment, they’ll feel reassured someone will be there to care for their family, if needed.

Inside your organization, employees benefit from hearing the stories of their colleagues. Your organization has told them how to do their jobs safely and effectively, but personal narratives can fill a need that’s just as vital — the drive for human connection during a crisis. Workers want to know how their colleagues in different roles, departments, and buildings are coping. Most importantly in this time of social distancing, everyone wants to know they’re not alone.

Topic Ideas

Consider soliciting first-person content about topics like:

  • How medical professionals are supporting each other and managing their physical and mental health
  • What a day is like for an urgent care employee during the COVID-19 outbreak
  • How the pandemic is affecting:
    • Healthcare professionals who aren’t on the COVID-19 front lines, like maternity nurses, social workers, or diabetes educators
    • Employees who work in nonclinical areas, like food service, housekeeping, or a call center
    • Medical students, resident physicians, and their training
  • How medical staff are trying to protect their own families from the virus
  • What healthcare workers want the community to know

Post content that’s most relevant to other employees on an internal forum, like your intranet. Share information that’s appropriate for the public on your content marketing hub, crisis resource hub, and social media.

What Some Health Systems Are Doing

Tidelands Health published a story about the work of critical care nurses during COVID-19 and included photos of care professionals the community doesn’t normally get to see. The article quoted a nurse explaining what keeps her motivated: “I got into this job because of my love of caring for other people,” she said. “Running away is not really an option.”
But you don’t need a full article to get the message across. On Mercy Cedar Rapids’ Facebook page, the organization shared a physician’s photo of the emergency department team, along with his words of pride about the work they’ve been doing. It was one of Mercy Cedar Rapids’ most popular recent photos. The community posted hundreds of thankful comments in response, giving the medical team valuable encouragement.

Ideas for Getting Started

Consider making a social media post like this with a photo and a few words from a different employee each day for a week. Or:

  • Offer to ghostwrite a first-person story based on an interview with a busy healthcare worker
  • Ask a nurse to record a short video clip describing what she’s thinking and preparing for at the start of a shift, and then record another clip after the shift
  • Publish a Q&A conversation — on a podcast, video, or written blog — with a healthcare provider about their experience
  • Start a blog with short entries contributed by one or more employees a few times a week

Yes, your healthcare employees are swamped. But some will still want to take time to make their voices heard. Telling stories can be a therapeutic form of stress relief.
And you don’t need a polished, five-minute video or 1,000-word blog post to leave an impact. Especially in times like this, audiences care more about the message than the production value.

Reach Out

Need help getting started? Contact Geonetric. Our experts can help you tell the stories of your “healthcare heroes” and galvanize support for your organization.

User Research Connects Healthcare Marketers with Real People

Well-informed, user-centric digital marketing helps your audiences feel comfortable and confident in choosing your organization for their care, employment, or charitable giving. It improves goal completion, engagement, and ultimately, your health system’s bottom line.

So before you launch a service-line promotional campaign, redesign your website, or start a blog, consider information such as:

  • Who your users are: Get relevant demographic information like age, gender, location, education level, disabilities, socioeconomic status, etc. Don’t forget to think about people close to those you’re trying to capture, like spouses or caregivers.
  • Who influences them: Who are the biggest decision makers in your users’ lives? Should you target your marketing efforts to the loved ones of potential patients in addition to — or even instead of — the patients themselves?
  • What they want: Your users’ content needs to override what your organization thinks is important. What’s motivating your users? Is that pressure positive or negative? What are their end goals — not just the task they want to complete on the website, but what they want to accomplish as a result of that task, like improving their health or community?
  • What they’re afraid of: Healthcare almost always involves uncertainty. What specific concerns do audiences have about your topic? What or who is fueling those anxieties?
  • What their obstacles are: Are the roadblocks tangible, like language barriers, disabilities, or lack of time? Or less tangible, like community taboo around a particular medical service? Who or what can help users overcome this obstacle?
  • How they act: What tools do users prefer to engage with your web content? How much time do they spend with it? What are they searching for?

Empathy can help you start thinking of answers to some of these questions. But answering most of them requires some combination of market research, user research, and user testing. And since data is only as good as the process used to get it, you must choose the right sources and tools for your particular needs.

How to Get Information

You’ll understand your users best when you use both of these types of research:

  • Quantitative – Numerical, measurable data
  • Qualitative – Information that’s not numerical, like opinions and emotions

You’ll find no shortage of resources to help you find both quantitative and qualitative information at every stage of a digital marketing initiative—from brainstorming topics to refining navigation labels to tracking clicks. Your marketing agency or web partner can guide you to the right tools for your specific project, goals, and budget, and help you interpret the results.

Research & Testing Methods

Here are some tools Geonetric uses to help healthcare systems improve consumer engagement on the web:

Recruiting Participants

Whenever you’re testing a website or campaign content with real people, try to recruit the types of participants your marketing initiative is targeting. (That means not just your colleagues down the hall!)

To gather initial interest, try placing an ad, posting on social media, or using an existing email list. After getting a pool of volunteers, narrow it down to a manageable number that will provide the depth and breadth of results you want. You might filter according to demographic information, or do a phone screening to gauge things like familiarity with your organization and website. Consider also attending a Patient & Family Advisory Council meeting, if you have such a group, to explain your project and ask members to participate. Whatever methods you choose, reward participants for their time by offering to put their name in a drawing for a gift card or another prize.

Industry Research

In addition to custom user testing and research, you can also make your digital marketing more effective with industry research into broad user trends. Nielsen Norman Group shares results and insights from their wealth of usability and user experience studies on topics like eye tracking, intranets, mobile design, navigation, young users, and much more. Consider NRC Health for healthcare industry research and surveys (available for a fee). And for basic demographic information in your area, check the U.S. Census Bureau and University of North Carolina’s Health Literacy Data Map, which shows literacy levels by county across the country.

Patient Perspectives

If your marketing initiative focuses on patients, you have a few options for gathering additional qualitative data. Your organization may have support groups for people with certain medical conditions. Ask to meet with the organizers and/or members to learn more about their needs, concerns, and goals to discover how your digital marketing efforts can better help people in their situation. These members could form the basis of a focus group — a small-group discussion you moderate and record. Invite a colleague to take notes so you can focus on facilitating the conversation. If you’d prefer to discuss topics in greater detail with each person, consider individual (consumer) interviews instead. This approach can especially help you better understand the patient journey.

If focus groups or interviews aren’t an option, explore online communities for the patients and families you’re targeting. Patients Like Me has forums for many medical conditions, where you can read the questions, frustrations, and successes members have throughout their treatment journey. Many nationwide organizations, like the American and American Cancer Society, also have online communities open to anyone who creates an account. And Facebook has a wealth of groups and pages related to medical conditions and treatments — virtual hangouts where people express thoughts even more openly than they may in person.

If you’d like to ask questions, first check whether a particular online community has rules about posts from journalists, marketers, or people other than patients and families. And ask with sensitivity, explaining how responses could ultimately help other people with a certain medical condition.

Consolidate & Visualize Your Information

Once you have a foundational understanding of your users as a whole, consider using what you’ve learned to develop personas. These fictional, research-based representations of your audience can help you visualize and empathize with users and better understand the customer journey. When making your online marketing plan, you may find it easier to keep in mind a few well-developed personas than a mass of data. Use them to motivate and guide content strategy, writing, and design.

Examples of User Research Success

Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is one organization that saw firsthand the impact of user research and testing. When the organization learned web users were highly interested in information about urgent care, Mercy made the content more prominent. That simple change tripled visits to urgent care webpages, including the eArrival online check-in service.

Cone Health in Greensboro, NC, also saw impressive results from user behavior analysis and testing. After updating its brand promise, purpose, and vision, the organization reimagined its website to reflect its new priorities — and better engage users. Click tracking, analytics review, and user testing led to better-performing content, including a high-priority “Compare Your Care Options” page whose views increased 112%.

The Norwegian Cancer Society also adjusted their website content to prioritize what users identified as their top tasks. Rather than devoting banner ads and homepage space to users’ low-priority task of donating, the society promoted giving opportunities in more-strategic places — like content about research and funding needs. As a result, the organization recorded a 70% increase in one-time donations and 88% increase in monthly donors registered.

Want to see results like these for your organization? Contact us for help getting started.

Writing for SEO: 6 Tips to Improve Your Healthcare Content

Gone are the dark days of keyword stuffing and other black hat tactics that didn’t benefit actual human readers. In this 20-minute webinar, we’ll cover rules for writing a webpage that competes in online searches.

You’ll learn:

  • Tricks to optimize your page for certain search engine queries
  • How a page’s placement in your site structure can affect page ranking
  • Why researching keywords is vital
  • The value of metadata
  • And more…

Power Up Your Locations Content

If you’re in Springville and looking online for urgent care, Google wants to show you urgent care locations in Springville. The search engine will look for content optimized for that particular location – and may prioritize it over content that describes urgent care services across a health system.

That means webpages describing your healthcare system’s locations are more important than ever. Certainly, web content about your healthcare system as a whole is still vital. But maintaining and optimizing content for your system’s location profiles is key to competing in search and meeting user needs. One of the last things you want is for potential patients to land on a location page and quickly leave because they found little valuable information, no conversion opportunity, and no links to additional relevant content. Or, worse yet, for potential patients to never make it to your website because their Google search didn’t turn up any pages about the location they want.

Getting Started

Before you expand or create content for specific locations, you need to strategize. Start by prioritizing certain locations or types of locations for content development. Then, think about the following:

Stakeholder Goals

Find out what the stakeholders for each location on your list want to accomplish for their facility or medical practice. Who are their audiences? What should they do and learn after visiting a certain location’s webpages? How will stakeholders judge whether online marketing efforts succeed?

As with almost any marketing project, it’s essential to get stakeholders’ feedback and give them a voice. But to get the most benefit from locations content, you must balance individual stakeholders’ priorities with those of your overall health system and your website users.

User Behavior

User behavior analysis can help you discover how website visitors engage with your locations content – how they arrive, where they go next, what other pages they visit during a session, etc. You’ll likely find that user behavior varies by location type. Expect to see different results for an urgent care facility vs. a wellness center vs. a hospital, for example, because of different user needs and goals.

Learn about your users’ behavior with Google Analytics or other tools. If doing so starts to feel complicated or time consuming, don’t be afraid to call a professional for help collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the results.


You already know your business competitors, but have you considered certain locations’ SEO competition as well? A particular medical practice or provider might not compete much for your location’s patients or consumers, but it could rank before your facility’s webpages in Google search results. Consider where organic search engine optimization or paid digital advertising could boost your standing.

Your health system’s locations also might compete with each other for online visitors. This happens most often when your health system has multiple similar facilities – like primary care practices – in a single metro area. To address this internal competition, find out what’s different and beneficial about each particular location. Ask stakeholders about the advantages of their facility’s:

  • Unique provider team (if applicable)
  • Amenities
  • Awards, recognitions, or certifications
  • Approach to care
  • Physical location

You also can use keyword research to ease internal competition by directing the copy of a particular location’s pages to a narrow geographic area. For example, when planning the content for a couple of urgent care facilities, you might find that Google users in one city search most often for getting stitches, and people in a neighboring city search most often for removing stitches. Even though your urgent care locations in both cities insert and remove stitches, you might write about the service in a slightly different way to appeal to a particular audience. Doing so also helps prevents you from having the exact same content on both pages, and it can boost their SEO.

Other Relevant Online Content

Locations strategy involves more than just locations. You also have to consider what content related to your facilities already appears elsewhere on the website. If a certain webpage applies to multiple clinics or hospitals, try to link to it instead of repeating that content in your location pages. That way, you’ll spare yourself content maintenance headaches.

This is especially important when it comes to service-line content. Location webpages need to describe the services offered at that facility, but those pages should also link to sections of content describing relevant service lines from a system-wide perspective. Those links help users learn about all the relevant services your health system offers – including services at locations they might not have known about.

Again, don’t hesitate to give your efforts a boost with help from someone who has experience in locations content strategy.

SEO for Healthcare Locations

Once you make a plan for locations content, you’re ready to write informative, valuable, user-focused pages that Google values. Start with these SEO tips:

  • Optimize HTML page titles using a formula such as: Location Name | Key Services | City.
  • Include basic details for local search, including the address and brief wayfinding description, phone number, hours, and embedded Google Map.
  • Use schema markup. Adding this code to your site helps search engines understand what your page is about and makes pages eligible to appear in features such as Knowledge Graph cards and rich snippets.
  • Earn outside links. Where possible, try to get your locations’ listings on directory sites or Google My Business to link to the relevant location landing page, rather than your home page.

Want to know more? Watch our free October webinar, Local SEO Strategy for Healthcare Organizations.

Write Powerful Provider Profiles

To do this, you have to get beyond the lists of academic degrees, certifications, and professional society memberships. Certainly, those achievements are all key facts to include in a provider’s profile because they show expertise and inspire confidence. But many patients want to know even more about the provider who’ll come to know them on an intimately personal level.

“Likability” factors—such as bedside manner, listening skills, and a sense of caring—are some of the top factors patients use to evaluate a doctor, according to a survey conducted in 2014 by the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs at the University of Chicago. Before patients see a provider for the first time, they’ll try to judge his or her likability based on what’s ideally an engaging, well-written biography that portrays a relatable human being.

Interviewing Your Doctors
To help a potential patient get to know your providers, ask the doctors about:

  • How they approach care (Are they efficient and straightforward? Do they want to make patients feel comfortable and secure?)
  • How and why they decided to enter medicine and a particular specialty
  • What they find rewarding about their career
  • What patients can expect during an appointment
  • How the providers spend free time (e.g., with family, hobbies or community involvement, especially any activities that tie into health, wellness, or medical care)

Whenever possible, interview providers in person or by phone. You’ll be able to ask follow-up queries, and you’ll likely end up with more—and more interesting—information than you’d get through email. But for providers who are hard to reach, your best option might be sending questions electronically.

Videos also go a long way in familiarizing a patient with a provider. Hearing a physician’s voice helps potential patients sense his or her personality, and it’s the next-best thing to a face-to-face meeting.

Wherever you add videos, try to include a transcript and/or manually written captions (not YouTube’s messy auto-captions) to make the content accessible to a wider audience. Captioning can also make the videos more shareable on social media, where videos sometimes autoplay without sound.

Prioritize Your Efforts
Which providers should you prioritize for creating expanded profiles? Consider those who are:

  • New to your organization or local region
  • Specialists in an area of healthcare that’s an organizational marketing priority
  • Primary care providers, especially pediatricians, whom patients often carefully evaluate because the PCP-patient relationship is particularly long and important

Get Physicians to Participate
Let’s be real: not every provider on your wish list will cooperate, at least initially. Try these tactics to boost your success rate:

  • Start with the providers you think are most likely to participate. Use their new, expanded biographies as examples to show the more-reluctant doctors what they can expect.
  • Track before-and-after appointment requests for the newly profiled providers, and compare the results to those of similar providers who stuck with basic profiles. Use the data to bolster your case to the holdouts. (Check out how PIH Health saw a 182 percent increase in pageviews after rewriting and redesigning its provider profiles.)
  • Take advantage of peer pressure. Make sure the providers on your list know if their competitors – or a well-respected doctor in your health system – have content-rich profiles.

Writing Physician Bios
A well-rounded provider profile includes two main types of information: professional and personal. The former includes essentials such as the physician’s:

  • Specialty
  • Conditions treated
  • Insurance plans accepted
  • Academic degrees and certifications
  • Honors and awards
  • Professional experience
  • Clinical interests

Display this information in an easy-to-scan list with clear, specific headers. For example:

Medical School
Medical College of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Medical College of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

University of Missouri – Kansas City – Kansas City, Missouri

Board Certifications
American Board of Orthopedic Surgery
Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Personal information – the kind you’ll get when asking the questions mentioned earlier – doesn’t fit neatly into a bulleted list. Write this content in narrative style, taking care not to repeat professional information. Save this section for content that wouldn’t make it onto a CV. If it matches your organization’s voice and tone, use the words “I” and “you” instead of “Dr. Johnson” and “patients” to make users feel the provider is talking straight to them. Consider this example:

My nursing background helps me better understand your everyday health concerns. I see you and the rest of my patients as part of a big family. A Springville native, I love spending time with my husband, Sam, and two grown daughters. When the weather’s nice, you might find me going for a bike ride or hiking the trails. I tell my patients to enjoy as much physical activity as possible, and I take my own advice!

Physician Marketing Strategies
After you take time to write high-quality profiles, don’t forget to promote that content! Download Geonetric’s physician promotion guide for comprehensive advice about everything from your online doctor directory to SEO, social media, and content marketing.