You may not really need SEO if you have a unique medical specialty

The Top 5 Specialties That May Not Need SEO

Why many Periodontics, Endodontics, Prosthodontics, Oral surgery, Pathologists and other specialty practices may have dodged a bullet when it comes to SEO.

There are a few medical specialties that might not see a tangible benefit from better search positioning (via SEO) because some prospective patients just aren’t looking for those specific specialty types online. An obvious example might be a Dental Lab that derives most of its new and ongoing business from referrals from dental offices and other medical practices, not the typical retail online end-user.

If you think about this for while, you will certainly come up with many more non-SEO scenarios like these.

some specific web searches just don't happen

Even in some other cases (locally competitive medical and dental practices) where online marketing is critical, search engine optimization might not always be the best way to attract attention from potential new patients. Word of mouth and referrals are still an enormous positive marketing tool, they can also, unfortunately, have a substantial negative impact on a practice as well.

Beyond that, potential new customers looking for the services you offer are often prone to look to their insurance companies, CareCredit, Google Business, Yelp, Healthgrades or even Facebook before they reach for a search engine. This is partly for convenience, but also because they may trust recommendations and reviews they find online more than they do the often self-serving marketing on your website.

With a specific doctor’s name or reference in-hand, the web searcher may ‘Google’ that doctor’s name or click a direct hyperlink from the referrer’s webpage to the specialist’s website. Boom! a big SEO strategy, even more costly PPC ads could be rendered useless.

Direct entry of the medical or dental practices proprieter can ofthen bypass the need for SEO or PPC
A direct entry of the medical practioner's name may bypass the need for SEO

The Competition May be Consuming a Great Deal of a Good Thing

Another factor that some medical specialties should consider is that while you can always benefit from better search engine rankings, there may not be a noticeable advantage from investing in deep SEO. That’s because there may be competitors that are already entrenched and invested in staying at the top of the search rankings, making it prohibitively expensive (and time-consuming) to attempt to attract visitors via this medium.

For new medical practices, especially those in very competitive fields and highly populated communities, it certainly is recommended that they have a strong web presence for referral traffic and credibility reasons. But there may not be much room on the first page of the search engine results for any organic listings. Some web agencies will certainly work to pursued them otherwise, selling them on the idea of fitting these practices into an already packed space, and without much of a payoff.

Snapshot of the Google SERP and where PPC, Maps and SEO play
Organic, SEO driven results show below paid PPC ads and Google Map listings

Let’s take a moment for a refresher on how the Google search results page is formatted.

Paid Search Results

The infamous PPC (Pay-Per-Click), where advertisers pay to have specific ads show up on the search engine results page.  If managed unwisely, this is where advertising dollars go to vanish. Following a Google search, text ads appear at the very top of the results as well as at the very bottom of the page. An easy way to identify Search ads is the green “Ad” icon next to the ad.

The top #1 position costs more than spots #2 and #3. The next lowest bidders get the bottom of the page spots.

Google Map Listings of Local Results

When conducting a search for local products and services, Google’s response is with either a Local Pack or a Knowledge Graph. The Local Pack is linked to Google maps and displays a snippet of a map, paired with at least 3 local business listings. The results that are listed in the “pack” vary, depending on the location of the person searching. 

Organic Results

Organic results are unpaid search results that are ranked by their relevance to the query entered directly into the search engine’s text entry box. Organic listings are ranked based on wide-ranging factors directly related to the quality of your SEO strategy and activities.

technical seo, on page seo and off page seo
The most effective SEO strategies incorporate a perfect mixture of Technical, On-Page and Off-Page SEO.

As we have discussed, medical and dental specialists including periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgeons, pathologists, and other practices may not reap the short or long-term benefits of a broad and expensive SEO program.

However, their websites still need to be optimized for SEO, that’s the technical side of things including:

And Content will always be King. Any website that is anticipating web traffic in 2018 and beyond needs solid content and images, referencing the practice’s purpose, specialty, treatments, communities served, principals, staff office hours, and anything else that the visitor may be searching for. And if this content goes stale, it must be updated – a benefit to the visitor, the search engines and the practice.

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