The imperative role of SEO for any business, by now, is self-evident. There are quite literally millions of resources available about what SEO is, how to do it, and why it matters. Everyone’s read or written at least one of those resources. 

Where most companies go wrong is failing to connect the dots of fundamentals and strategy; that strategy needs to be specific to their goals, niche, and more importantly, the valuable actions they need web visitors to take. 

Traffic is nice, sure, but you’re not taking sessions to the bank, and time on a page doesn’t show up in your P&L. 

In this article, we’ll go beyond the basics of SEO and drill down into the unique considerations that enterprise healthcare companies have in the implementation and strategy phases. 

The Significance of SEO in Healthcare (and Everywhere)

Even if we go beyond the obvious, there are some universal truths for SEO—many of which may even be more important considerations for enterprise healthcare. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Everyone is online, including your target market.
  • A well-optimized, authoritative website establishes you as a source of credible information. It’s almost like a business card, and even if people don’t spend much time, reaching a site that looks credible removes an obstacle for you in the consideration phase of the customer journey.
  • Healthcare content is tough to rank for. Not only is the market saturated with companies like yours competing for the same terms, but you also have to compete with .orgs and .govs for many of the fundamental keyword phrases. Low-hanging-fruit types of wins early on matter a lot.
  • ROI is high, and strategy can require ongoing course correction. This means when you hit a home run, you keep that winner forever, but you’re not burning dollars on the input while you find them.

Major SEO Challenges for Enterprise Healthcare Businesses

There are certainly technical considerations—the “how” of it all—here, and we’ll cover those later. We work with a lot of enterprises across a massive, diverse healthcare niche, but a common denominator we’ve seen precedes optimization, keyword research, and even the website itself. 

Defining the actions that make your funnel profitable, and building your strategy, website, content, and everything else around that is the single most important starting point. 

Many companies benefit from strong brand awareness, or years of ongoing SEO work, and therefore see stronger than average site authority, or lots of web traffic. Somehow, they still find themselves scratching their heads and wondering why that value isn’t shaking out in the revenue reports.

Start With a Decision Tree

“If someone visits my website, what’s the most valuable action they can take?” 

This isn’t always cut and dry. In SaaS, demos or trials are obvious. For eCommerce, the goal is sales. 

In healthcare, you often see a parent website for dozens, even hundreds, of subsidiaries. Many are information hubs that funnel down to more well-defined websites or contribute to brand awareness for the portfolio. 

Even more commonly, a significant portion of the traffic a site gets will be informational searches from the patient demographic, but the most valuable conversion point is only relevant to 5% of visitors who might be prospective partners or clients. 

When these companies start doing SEO, everything feels like grasping at straws because they’re investing time and/or money to make it work, but there’s really no quantifiable “why”. The content is great, and the visitors come, but no one has a sense of what success looks like. 

A simple decision tree exercise can clarify this and bolster a long-term strategy for success. 

Ask Yourself:

  • What do I need more of? 
  • Is my website doing all it can to help people take that action? 
  • Am I ranking for the keywords that those people are searching for? 

These are high-level and naturally tangential questions, but they are fundamental in leading you to a more successful output when you begin implementing your strategy. 

Bringing It Together in Your Implementation

Now that we understand the common pitfalls and unique considerations of SEO in healthcare, let’s explore the key strategies to boost your online visibility and attract more of the visitors you need.

1. Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. Start by identifying the keywords and phrases that prospects are likely to use when searching for services like yours. Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you discover relevant keywords and assess their search volume.

There’s a wealth of specifics on keyword research online, but for the enterprise health sector, a few creative adaptations of those basics will go a long way. 

What happens when no one looks for what you offer? 

Here’s an example: Someone might specialize in network management from the business side, but the only search volume for that is either irrelevant (IT-focused intent), or commonly associated with some kind of specific software. What you actually want is a VP-level check-signer that needs to partner with someone like you. 

Good luck finding the magic keyword for that. 

Instead, really get into the head of that check-signer. When they’re interested in the thing you do, what are some related articles they might be searching for? Stats, how-to, and what-is types of articles in your niche that are easier to rank for, but primarily trafficked by the people you want more of, are the golden ticket. 

How do you avoid mass local- or consumer-level searches? 

Your niche might be something like physical therapy, but all of your niche keywords end up being people searching for local physical therapists, for example. 

Try adding variations like “for [niche]” or “enterprise” to drill down further. You might be discouraged when search volume goes from hundreds to dozens, but in most cases, 10 amazingly qualified visitors are more valuable than 1,000 unqualified ones. 

2. Quality Content

Content is king in the world of SEO, and healthcare businesses are no exception. Create informative, engaging, and well-researched content that addresses the questions and concerns of your target audience. This content can take various forms, including blog posts, articles, videos, and infographics.

Remember to optimize your content for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords naturally. However, avoid keyword stuffing, as it can harm your rankings and readability. Additionally, ensure that your content is medically accurate and adheres to industry standards.

You’d be surprised how many competitive keywords are ranking pages that are content thin, simply because no one else has bothered to develop out the niche. 

Go see what you can do better than the competitors, .orgs, and .govs and make a page that’s miles better.

3. Keep the Technical In Order

There’s nothing fancy or unique in the healthcare world in this regard. Again, there’s a wealth of specific information, all of which can be their own article, about what technical SEO entails. 
No matter what niche you’re in, try to do at least quarterly check-ins on the basics, with heavy emphasis on a few of the big ones:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Site speed and performance
  • Clearly defined calls to action (CRO)
  • Internal linking
  • 404 management
  • Image alt text
  • Sitemap and robots.txt updates

4. Link Building

Link building is the process of acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites. These backlinks signal to search engines that your website is a trustworthy source of information. Here are some strategies for effective link-building:

If you’re here already, you’re probably researching tactics for this by now (if you’re not, you definitely should). There are a few helpful tricks you can leverage in the competitive healthcare spaces, though. 

Firstly, run a report on the top 5-10 websites that rank for your target keywords; you can use a tool like Semrush for this. Find out what their authority scores are and how many backlinks they’ve got, and set a goal around that. 

Always go for quality vs. quantity. Use ongoing reporting to judge how much your backlinks are helping you, forecast what the long-term input will be to reach your competitor’s level, and work on overtaking them. 

Take it slow at first; backlinks can be expensive and time-consuming. If done poorly, they can work against you. 

How to Get There

Whether you go in-house or outsource to a vertical expert like us, keep these fundamental strategies in mind before you make those decisions. 

Whoever is ultimately responsible for driving results should help you clarify and creatively execute a roadmap but still understand your fundamental needs before you get started. Clarifying those needs, then, becomes the obvious step one. 

More importantly, define how you measure success. We spent a lot of time talking about how visitors don’t equal revenue, but visitors might be a genuinely strong KPI for you to optimize against. 

Success could be leads, too, or revenue, or anything else. Whatever it is, make sure you find the baseline of where you’ve been in rolling 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24-month time periods. Align on why that KPI matters and where it should be, then measure against that. 

You’ll save yourself the frustration of asking “Is this working?” months into your SEO journey and empower your team to make informed, data-driven decisions to serve that goal. 

Finally, if you’re feeling stuck, let’s talk shop! We do this well, and our team is happy to discuss strategic options to level up your digital presence.