Debunking SEO Myths for Medical Practices

SEO myths can break a business, including a healthcare practice. It drains the marketing budget with nothing to show for it and wastes resources. Bad SEO also damages a company’s online reputation.

SEO myths

As more patients use the internet for healthcare, now is the best time to debunk these ten SEO myths:

1. SEO Is a One-Time Job

The internet is fickle, and search engine positions and ranking rules can change overnight.

Many experts estimate that Google updates its algorithms over 500 times a year. Some of these are significant enough to impact web traffic.

SEO should be an ongoing activity as long as doctors want to keep themselves visible online. This strategy is one of the best ways to continue to drive leads and conversions.

2. The More Links, the Better

Not all links are equal, meaning some links can hurt a medical website’s ranking.

Schemes like buying links and participating in link schemes can result in deindexing. Using exact-match anchor text can look spammy.

In some cases, backlinks from questionable websites can also lead to a decline in ranking.

The takeaway? 

Quality trumps quantity when it comes to links. 

Medical practices should consider linking to authoritative websites to improve credibility.

3. Google Has a Sandbox

One of the long-time SEO myths is Google’s sandbox. Some marketers believe search engines have a special place for new websites. Here, they must “prove themselves” and earn the right to rank.

That isn’t true.

New websites can have low traffic levels and rankings at first. But this is not because Google is holding them back.

It takes time to build authority and trust with the search engines. The ranking of a page can even take up to six months.

Fortunately, medical SEO marketers can use many tools to improve their rankings and maintain their SERP positions. These platforms can also help medical practices adapt quickly during Google core updates.

4. Social Media Doesn’t Impact SEO

Social media is not a ranking factor, but its impact on medical SEO efforts is significant. It:

  • Increases website traffic and leads
  • Builds brand awareness and online reputation
  • Paves a way to connect with patients on a deeper level
  • Generates quality content ideas
  • Provides valuable data and insights

Medical practices active on social media are more likely to see success with their SEO campaigns than those who aren’t. It still pays to engage the audience on well-established sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok.

5. Google Penalizes Duplicate Content

Does Google penalize duplicate content? Marina Turea with Digital Authority Partners says no.

Bora explains the search engine is not in the business of punishing websites. Its duty is to provide the best answer to people’s searches and questions.

If a website has pages with similar content, Google will likely only index one version.

But medical practices should not think that duplicate content is okay. Google can deindex a page from a suspicious, spammy website.

Medical practices can avoid having duplicate content by adding canonical URLs or using 301 redirects. 

They can also update old blogs to incorporate newer or better relevant keywords or change the format to include optimized videos and images. 

Repurposing can also add more value to the content, increasing its chances of ranking higher.

6. Rankings Guarantee Traffic and Leads

SERP ranking matters. Websites on the SERP’s first page receive over 70% of the clicks. Meanwhile, the click-through rate (CTR) drops to 2% for those on the tenth page.

But a SERP rank is not the be-all, end-all when generating leads and customers.

Many factors influence whether searchers will click on a result. These include title and meta descriptions, brand awareness, search relevancy, and more.

Non-SEO factors, such as customer service, can also affect lead generation and management.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report suggests that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand after a single bad experience.

Medical practices should pay attention to their search engine rankings, but they must also look at their internet marketing strategies holistically.

7. SEO Is Enough to Promote a Website

SEO should be one part of a medical practice’s digital marketing strategy. It should not be the only promotion tactic.

Consider the following statistics from the 2021 HubSpot report:

  • Email collection forms had the highest conversion rate in 2020 at 15%.
  • The website ranked only second to social media as a marketing channel.
  • Marketers used video as their primary content strategy in 2021.
  • Facebook is the number one distribution channel for marketers today.
  • About 50% of marketers use bots.

Doctors generate more leads and grow their practices by mixing different marketing techniques.

8. Any SEO Agency Can Help Doctors Grow Their Practices

Many SEO agencies are excellent, but not all can help doctors grow their practice online. 

Healthcare is a highly specific, regulated industry. Professionals should choose an agency that understands the unique challenges and opportunities involved.

The best agencies have experience working with medical practices. They are also up-to-date on the changes in healthcare SEO.

Further, they are familiar with industry laws, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Most of all, they understand the healthcare market.

9. Long-Form Content Ranks Better

This SEO myth stems from experts saying that the best-ranking pages have 700 to 2,000 words.

It makes sense. An in-depth discussion of a topic is possible with a longer article. It can also include more keywords than a shorter piece. 

But in reality, it depends on the type of content, audience, and context.

A white paper, such as a study, may have to be much longer than a landing page to explain concepts comprehensively. A 500-word blog post may be more valuable than a 1,000-word article if it provides a better answer to a query.

Instead of focusing on length, medical practices should strive to create valuable content.

10. Bounce Rates Are Bad

One-page bounce rate measures how many visitors leave a website after viewing only one page. The bounce rate of a website refers to the percentage of visitors who leave after viewing just one page. For this reason, a high bounce rate is often seen as a bad thing.

But this isn’t always the case.

For example, if someone goes to a doctor’s office website and immediately schedules an appointment, the bounce rate will be 100%.

That doesn’t mean that the website is bad. In fact, it did its job perfectly.

The key is to look at the website’s overall goal and how well it’s meeting it. 

If the objective is to generate leads and the website has a high conversion rate, then a high bounce rate may not be a cause for concern.

Final Words

SEO can be a complex and ever-changing field, which is why many myths float around.

By debunking these SEO myths, medical practices can set themselves up for success. They can avoid wasting time and money on strategies that don’t work.

Doctors can always consult with an experienced healthcare SEO agency when in doubt. This way, they can receive the most accurate information and guidance.


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