The Ultimate SEO Guide for Australian Healthcare Practices

If you’re a medical or healthcare practice in Australia, and you’re looking to market yourself and grow new patients, the advice below is going to be very relevant and very practical for you.

As you would be well aware, when participating in medical marketing and healthcare marketing – there are certain rules around how you can and can’t market your practice.

These rules make search marketing (your presence in Google and other search engines) paramount to growing new patients!

In this post, we’ll explain exactly how you can make the most of this to drive a constant stream of new patients. We’ll give you the specifics of key tactics your practice can focus on so that you can be in front of the hundreds or even thousands of users per month searching for your services in Google.

So get your notepad and pen and be prepared to add some things to your to-do list as we explain how Google treats healthcare practices differently, what they’re looking for, and what you need to implement ASAP to get a constant stream of new patients from search engines.

Why search marketing is so important for medical and healthcare practices

Most healthcare practices can rely on a few key channels as their major source of new patients:

  • Word of mouth from happy customers
  • Referral partners
  • Direct (driving past your practice and seeing signage)
  • Search marketing

Facebook and Instagram ads can also be very powerful for some providers, although depending on your service you need to be very careful with your content and images in ads or you will be disapproved.

However, most clinics with a healthy rate of repeat business and referrals will be satisfied with search marketing alone when done right.

The question is though, how do you do it right, and how is it different from search marketing for other industries?

How Google treats Health related queries differently

Google has many different ranking factors that they use to decide who they show to a user for their query. Part of what makes Google so smart is that they know to weight ranking factors differently depending on the search query.

For example, if you’re looking up sports scores, ‘freshness’ as a ranking factor is going to be very important. How recent the page was updated will be an important factor as to who Google ranks.

Whereas for most other industries, freshness is not much of a factor (despite uneducated/old school web devs and SEO’s saying you need ‘fresh’ content).

For the healthcare industry, Google not only uses ranking factors differently, they’ve had core updates to their algorithm solely targeted towards these industries.

These changes have been dubbed ‘E.A.T’ (expertise, authority, trust) and the ‘Medic’ update to Google’s core algorithm.

So doing SEO for doctors or health practitioners or cosmetic surgeons or any other healthcare business is a little different to doing SEO for other industries.

So what do I need to do differently?

So, now that you know how Google treats health sites differently, what do you need to do on your website and in your digital strategy to make sure you’re fitting in with what Google is looking for?

If you can implement the below SEO strategies for healthcare practitioners effectively you’ll go a long way to ranking higher than your competition and growing new patients substantially:

Appropriate Schema markup:

Schema markup is coding that you add into the backend of your website that helps communicate certain information to search engines. So rather than search engines having to figure out what you are, or what the post is, you can directly tell it.

Using Schema markup can enable ‘rich snippets’ that make extra information (like review ratings, images, price, stock etc) show in search results.

This helps for 2 reasons:

  • Your listing in the search results becomes more appealing, which will improve click-through rates and traffic (without needing higher rankings)
  • It can also improve rankings

You would have seen this in search engine results pages before, it looks like:

You’ll also see these a lot for queries related to recipes and eCommerce, where ‘in stock’, price, images etc are displaying in the search results.

For doctors, dentists, surgeons, physiotherapists and other healthcare practitioners, you’ll want to use the appropriate schema for your business.

Contact information visibility and consistency:

As a part of the ‘Trust’ equation of what Google is looking for, we’ll need to make sure our contact information is easily visible on the site, ideally on all pages including business name, address and phone number.

It’s also super important that this information is consistent around the web. If you have listings or mentions on other websites, you need to make sure it has exactly the same information as your website, and as your Google business listing.

Having everything super consistent is a big trust factor. If you’ve changed address or phone number or domain name or anything in the past, you’ll need to make sure everywhere says exactly the same information.

Cite references:

You’ll want your content on your website to talk to users and be user friendly, but you also need to keep it ‘medical’. Use technical terms where appropriate and cite references where appropriate. Link out to research papers, studies, and data.

It’s important that you indicate to Google that you’re an educated and qualified practitioner focused on evidence.

Link to authorities:

You’ll also want to associate yourself with the authoritative organisations and governing bodies in your industry. Linking to these types of sites is important to strengthen the connection to your specific industry.

Flaunt your qualifications:

For any team profile pages or any blog posts written that have the author bio at the bottom, make sure you’re including your qualifications.

Even linking to your profiles on governing body websites will help strengthen the connection that you’re qualified and registered.

Contribute articles on authoritative sites:

Part of proving your authority in an industry is contributing content to the most authoritative sites for that industry.

Not only will this help prove yourself as an authority but it can also provide valuable backlinks if you’re linking to your own content (on your website) from your guest posts.

Remove thin/duplicate content

Quality is super important in this niche, and Google’s view of quality is a site with fewer pages, each with more/better content on each page.

Do a search in Google for “site:yourdomain.com.au” and see how many pages show. You would be surprised how many pages are being indexed you weren’t aware of. The more you can combine into one page the better.

Some will need to be removed from Google’s index and others should be combined into one better version.

Check how much duplicate content you have on your site with siteliner.com

Provide advice:

Let’s be clear here, I’m not saying to put out a blog post a week so that you have ‘fresh content’ on your site, that’s a massive waste of your time.

You’re probably producing content that is low-effort and low-value in order to get it done in your busy schedule, and no one really cares (that includes Google).

But I do recommend you develop key resources that are truly valuable. Content that others would want to reference when talking about a topic and that will help solve a query to any users searching for information in search engines.

This type of content will help attract traffic and potential customers to your site, and will also help attract quality links to your site that will help you rank better for more ‘buying related’ terms for your services.

If you can manage to have 1-2 successful pieces that get picked up and mentioned by other relevant and authoritative sites, then you’re continuing to prove yourself an authority – which Google loves.

So don’t bother producing 50 low-effort, low-value posts for the year, just create a handful of epic pieces of content instead.

Is that all?

Obviously doing SEO for healthcare services includes a few elements that are weighted differently and are more important for this niche than others.

But, all of the other elements to SEO still apply!

Need help?

Implementing all of this starts to get pretty technical, and it’s not really something you can lump onto your practitioners that have gaps in their diaries, as they just won’t have the knowledge required.

If you would like an audit on your website as to how you can improve and begin gaining a reliable source of new patients for your clinic – book a free strategy consult below to see how many people are searching for your services in your area in Google each month.