Many ENTs, audiologists, allergists and cosmetic surgeons have chosen to limit or close their practices.
These acts helped to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and likely saved lives in the process.
Search engine optimization continued to work in the background, even when those practices were closed. That’s because Google’s ranking system is automated, always-on, and constantly working to determine the best options for searchers, even when none of those options are currently open for business.
Reopening means focusing your practice’s efforts on your most profitable services while preparing your practice in case social distancing measures need to be taken in the future. As this seems likely, there are certain areas you’ll want to focus on.
Support Your Most Important Services With SEO
Every practice is different, and focusing on the services that benefit your facility the most is the best option for your reopening. There are several reasons for doing this:
- You want to build up your financial reserves now by promoting your most valuable services in the event there is a COVID-19 resurgence that requires social distancing.
- You want to increase the number of patients that utilize your practice for services that can also be executed remotely in the event of a future closure or distancing measures that impact regular business.
How Does SEO Help?
Search engine optimization is a broad term with a singular goal—to increase organic traffic back to your website.
SEO strengthens signals that can push existing pages up in the search results for specific terms, help pages rank for new keyterms and phrases and acquire more search result real estate with the inclusion of images, question and answer boxes and other rich snippets. SEO can also identify and fix errors that may be hurting your site and preventing entire pages from showing up in search results.
How Long Does SEO Take to Work?
SEO can target different areas. For example, if you have a service page that ranks really well for terms X, Y, and Z, but not so well for closely related terms V and W, some content changes to include more information about V and W might help that page rank quickly for those terms.
New service pages or major content adjustments can cause a page to be reevaluated by Google’s search engine. These may take as long as eight to 12 months to reach their full ranking potential, but any adjustments to a page or website that strengthen or weaken it can have an effect on that timeline.
Does SEO Ever Stop Working?
The best feature of SEO is that it doesn’t turn off. Improvements to your website can provide an increase in your organic traffic numbers and overall rankings long after the work is completed. These gains typically require maintenance and adjustments like additional on-page content or videos that support what the page is about, as well as blogs that provide additional detailed information on aspects of your service topics and link to the service pages they expand upon.
These additions help to keep your content fresh and ahead of competitors who may be looking at what your website does well in order to try and improve upon it.
How Is SEO Different From SEM?
SEM stands for ‘search engine marketing’, and in our industry is only used to reference paid advertising. Paid ads can be placed nearly anywhere online, but because Google’s search engine has an 80% market share, our SEM campaigns are strictly carried out in Google.
SEM ads appear at the top of Google search results and stop appearing as soon as the preset daily or monthly ad budget has been depleted. Your campaign settings determine how ads show up, and what search phrases they can show up for.
SEO helps website pages to naturally show up higher in the search results and local MAP Pack, Google’s set of map-based result rankings; there is not a set limit or time frame for how often they can appear. Any search related to a page on your website could cause it to display in the search results from something short like “ENT near me” to a question your site answers like, “Does an ENT diagnose ear infections?”
Do SEM and SEO Work Together?
Google Ad campaigns paired with SEO typically provide a boost over SEO alone because an SEM campaign chooses where its ads link to.
These ads often link to specially made landing pages to promote a specific service or speak to a certain local area or customer base. Landing pages then link to associated service pages that get a tiny boost every time someone clicks that SEM ad or clicks through into the service page itself.
Over time those tiny boosts can help a page move up a spot or two for specific search terms.
I Don’t Have an SEO Package. Did I Miss My Chance?
The short answer: not at all. SEO can be integrated into a site at any point in time. Blogs will always help support the services you care about, a citation campaign will always help strengthen the digital authority of your website, and technical SEO will always help your site to rank in more varied ways and for a greater variety of keyterms.
All of these improvements can also help increase your MAP Pack rankings well, helping you to compete at a local level, even when a search term like “hearing loss” is so broad it brings up nationally ranked technical resources.