Most healthcare practices that are serious about the growth and future of their practice either have an SEO program in place or are seriously investigating an SEO program. The problem lies in that a significant number of practices are making some serious mistakes in their SEO campaigns. Some of these mistakes are caused by less-than-ethical companies or companies without real experience. Some are caused by embracing a do-it-yourself mentality without a full knowledge of how SEO really works. Here are 5 of the most common medical practice SEO mistakes that we see:
Going with the Cheapest Option
Just like you wouldn’t recommend going to the cheapest surgeon, don’t use price as your primary filter for hiring an SEO agency. We certainly wouldn’t recommend overspending, but going with the “cheap SEO guy” is a bad idea. In the world of SEO, doing something wrong may not just be ineffective, you could end up getting slapped with a manual Google penalty, followed by significant time and/or money with an agency getting you out of the penalty. Go for quality.
Looking for a Sprint, Not a Marathon
Any time that someone promises great results instantly, that should raise a red flag to you. It certainly raises one for Google. Very quick and significant results don’t look natural. Most of the time, businesses grow at a moderate rate over a long period of time. So, when something unnatural looking happens, it sends a flag to Google to investigate you further. When they do, if there is anything that looks suspicious (and most often there is with exceedingly rapid growth), it will get you slapped with a manual penalty.The other related problem that medical practices run into is when they do not give ample time for SEO campaigns to bear fruit. Many medical practices will react when they do not see results right away, either jumping ship to another agency or ignoring SEO altogether. SEO takes time. Don’t give up! If you don’t see any results after a few months, then it’s good to start asking questions and looking around. We typically don’t see results for about 3-4 months after we start link building, optimizing the website, looking for new opportunities, and waiting for Google to catch up with all the changes that were made.
Looking at the Wrong Metrics
Everyone loves to feel important, and one of the ways we feel important in the marketing realm is ranking high in a Google search. Be careful using this as your metric. Just because you rank #1 for “Springfield Orthopedic” doesn’t mean you’re the best orthopedic in Springfield. Besides that, you’re more interested in patients than a web page. Make sure you’re ranking for the keywords that are bringing traffic, not the ones that just look nice. Even more important, make sure that it is traffic that brings in leads.Here are some metrics that you’ll want to concentrate on:Expecting an Agency to do Everything – The best campaigns come from the best partnerships. Hoping to just ship everything off to an agency isn’t going to help anyone. You need to help as much as possible with basic information in starting a campaign like login information, logos, etc. Make sure you alert the agency to anything new happening in the practice. A good agency can turn news into new leads. Make sure the agency truly understands what you do. The extra time taken to explain a procedure can go a long way. Also, make sure to respond to requests in a timely manner so that opportunity windows don’t close. Most doctors are very busy, so if you don’t have the time, make sure that someone in your practice does.
- Conversions – By far the most important. These are the leads that turn into patients.
- Conversion Rate – What % of visitors are contacting you? Are you missing opportunities?
- Web Traffic – Look for patterns and trends. You want to see an increase in traffic.
- Keyword Rankings – Just make sure they’re the right keywords. Keyword research is important!
- Geography – Is your traffic coming from the right places?
Not Looking at a Comprehensive Approach
There was a day that SEO meant sitting alone in a basement automating link building and spamming sites. Those days are long gone. SEO is much more an art and an integrated part of a marketing strategy than it ever was. The best SEO campaigns incorporate web design/development, user experience, PR, marketing campaigns, article writing, and more. The more comprehensive your approach, the more success you are likely to see. If you hire someone just to do SEO, the results will likely be much less than you’d expect.
There are other mistakes that practices make in SEO all the time, but these are the biggest ones. One of the most important decisions you will make is finding the right agency to work with you.
Not only do we build great SEO campaigns for medical practices, we also fix what other agencies have done. Want to see if we can help? Contact us for a free review of your site. We can let you know if you’re going to need some additional help.