Lure Creative is a full-service marketing company in Kansas City. We help healthcare companies Get Found & Be Known. In our adventures, we’ve found that many doctors and healthcare practice owners have questions about marketing, marketing budgets, and just what it takes to grow their business in this digital/online world. We have answers! So we decided to try to answer some of those questions in an ongoing series of blog posts. Part 13 of our Healthcare Marketing Questions Answered series focuses on a common question:
What’s the Importance of SEO & Do I Need to Pay Attention to Google?
If you’re asking this question, we’re going to break this down as simply as we can – when it comes to getting your healthcare website found online, Google is God. This single search engine has a 92.47% market share of searches (as of June 2021). So if Google decides/controls where your website ranks, and getting found is critical to your practice, you definitely need to know what to do to rank higher in searches.
Search Ads Offer Immediate ROI, But The Long-Term ROI of SEO Is More Valuable
Most companies overspend on paid search ads (PPC or pay-per-click), but drastically underspend on organic search. While paid search ads provide a modest ROI, organic search investments build value over time, ultimately providing much higher returns and over a longer time span. Healthcare companies have spent the last twenty years paying billions of dollars for the small percentage of searchers who actually click on ads while ignoring the long-term benefits of an organic SEO strategy.
Why Does Google Change Their Algorithm So Often?
Google has an algorithm they use to rank millions of websites and they update this algorithm constantly. Ever-changing technology (like voice search) affects search behavior and habits and Google must constantly adapt to stay on top of these changes. For instance, over the years, Google has penalized keyword stuffing because it disrupted the reading experience. When users shifted to cell phones, it rewarded sites that were easy to use on smartphones (mobile friendly). Google prioritized HTTPS over HTTP because it wanted increased security for searchers. They frown upon disruptive pop-up messages. Their main goal is to make the search process easier/better for the searchers and that means following a moving target.
So What Does Google Want When It Comes to Your Healthcare Website?
Google does try to help us understand the changes to its algorithm. It communicates its intentions by publishing new organic ranking guidelines, especially when an algorithm change will seriously affect businesses. For instance, we all know from past years that Google punishes keyword stuffing and duplicate content, but more recent organic ranking factors have been announced. Here are the last two major updates that affect website content and the specific areas they impact.
Page Experience Signals
In May 2020, Google announced that page experience signals would become an organic ranking factor. They told us that these items could impact how websites are ranked in search results:
- Safe browsing
- HTTPS (secure websites)
- Content accessibility without intrusions (pop-ups)
Core Web Vitals
Then in November 2020, Google added three new metrics to their page experience signals called Core Web Vitals to encourage a fast, seamless, user experience. These included (and yes, Google-talk is weird):
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures load times
- First Input Delay (FID) – Measures time between input (when a user clicks, taps or swipes) and when the page responds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures the visual stability of a page (proportion of the screen that shifts and how far elements move).
Your Website and SEO Are Critical to Your Success
We know it’s hard to stay on top of all of these algorithm changes and you are super busy running a successful practice, medical group or hospital, but Google and SEO are critically important to the success of your healthcare business. Google made another “broad” core update in November of 2021. Their advice? “Focusing on providing the best possible content is the top recommended way to deal with the impact of a core algorithm update.”
You will most likely need some help making sure your website meets all of the aforementioned criteria. Whether you choose to get professional help from us or someone else, don’t ignore the power of your website on the internet. It’s a big place and businesses get lost every day without proper search engine optimization.