SEO consultant

What exactly is an SEO consultant?

The role of a medical SEO consultant is rapidly changing. It used to be just about generating clicks. In today’s private health market, your SEO consultant wears more than one hat and becomes a sounding board for the business development of your private practice. 

SEO consultant

What exactly is an SEO consultant?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

September 21, 2022

Why it matters to improve your rankings

ranking better as a doctor

Ranking better as a doctor is a relatively new concept. Only a decade ago, you could just rely on GP referrals and be a successful surgeon or specialist. Digital tools have changed everything. Or rather, our behaviour as humans has changed, now that we google anything we need information on. 

That is exactly why it is important to optimise your rankings. Plural. Some surgeons I meet will only focus on the commodity search. ‘Plastic surgeon Melbourne’, for example. And even though it is extremely valuable to get a Page 1 Google ranking for this popular search term, you can rank for other searches by potential patients and build a successful practice, just based on that visibility.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"An SEO consultant will understand the income avenues of your practice, discuss business goals and provide market research to help you choose priorities for your content marketing strategy. They are not tech people. They are content and communication experts."

You may understand the basics of Search Engine Optimisation, and yet still struggle to get the results you want. That is quite common because medical marketing is an ever-expanding niche area and it is no longer possible to be both a medical marketing expert and a digital wizzard for let’s say mining and tech at the same time. This is the time of specialty expertise and you – as a specialist doctor – would know that. So let’s unpack what you can or should expect from your SEO consultant and medical marketing expert.

The big questions around SEO consultancy

SEO consultancy in Australia

SEO consultancy in Australia is an interesting specialty area. I grew up in Dutch and French and in those language areas, we don’t find patterns of outsourcing like the ones we have here in Australia. In short, anything that can be done on a computer, at some stage, gets outsourced to low-income countries. 

That is definitely the case for many of the SEO services in Australia. So-called white-label businesses will happily do the SEO work in Pakistan, India, The Philippines or anywhere they find team members on lower salaries. That is a bigger economical conversation and item but…let’s see how that affects many doctors in private practice here in Australia.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"If someone in a totally different economic environment is working on your content, your key messages, your online visibility, you miss out. You miss out on local market expertise, insights in your patient demographics’ online behaviour and common sense. Always check where your SEO consultant is located before you say yes to a contract."

Here are some of the typical questions doctors ask us when we do medical marketing workshops: 

  • What is it that an SEO consultant does? Ideally, they work with you to analyse your target market, the online behaviour of your prospective patients and referrers and the content that is needed to make you stand out as a thought leader.
  • Do I really need an SEO consultant? If there is an elective component to your private practice, causing patients to spend time online and search for information, then it is highly recommended to find an SEO expert who specialises in medical marketing.
  • Should I see an SEO agency instead? Larger agencies often outsource the work to low-income countries and as a result, the person executing the work is not in tune with the realities of your local market, your healthcare system, your association with allied health professionals, hospitals and colleges.
  • How do I find a good SEO consultant? There are moments in life where it’s ok to speak one’s truth. Here at Digital Practice, we are leading senior Australia based SEO consultants with a total focus on healthcare content. You have come to the right place.

The importance of an SEO audit

free seo audits

There are many websites that offer free SEO audits. Quite often, these are automated reports that scan through a few superficial aspects of your website to deliver a report you will never read. 

Yet, the importance of an SEO audit is real. If you want to attract more patients and use the latest tactics in medical marketing to grow a future-proof private practice, free SEO audits are a good entry point to get familiar with the level of google-friendliness of your online profile as a doctor.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"A good SEO audit takes a holistic approach and looks at keyword visibility, as well as your overall online authority. If your profile is not patient-oriented, it may attract traffic but it might not convert visitors into new patients. Our audit looks at the bigger picture of your online profile."

When we conduct your free SEO audit, we make an in-depth analysis of your website’s ability to rank in search engines. We look at the technical health of your website first. If it’s a do-it-yourself site or the backend is outdated, we will point out what can be done to replace the engine behind your website and get it up-to-date. 

If the content is poor, or not organised in the most ideal way for Google to scan it, we will discuss ways to improve your strategy.

In particular, we will look at your competitive ranking for the essential income avenues of your practice. After that, you will be in a position to make better choices for your medical marketing priorities.

The importance of data about your specialty

keyword research for doctors

With the latest evolutions in content marketing comes another subspecialty area. One that is rapidly becoming important for anyone in medicine who explores a private practice: Keyword research for doctors. 

In simple terms, it’s knowing what information consumers need. If you were able to predict all the things patients type into Google as they experience a health concern linked to your specialty… imagine what your content could look like?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Keyword research for doctors is like medical research for treatments: the more information you have, the more you can make safe and well-informed choices. In this case, choices about the content you use online, to educate patients, become a thought leader and get more referrals than your competitors."

If you have never worked with an experienced medical marketing & SEO consultant before, you may not have a routine of monthly meetings to go over your performance. You may not have a plan that produces regular updates and keeps you top of mind for the GPs and the general public in your local area. 

What we often hear is that there is a little bit of SEO. It is often an indicator that nothing effective is being done and that it’s time to get an audit or book a strategy session with our team.

SEO consultant

The secret weapon: on-page SEO

on-page SEO for doctors

A last term I want to share and unpack with you is on-page SEO.

SEO is often used to describe different activities. When it refers to creating backlinks, you can rest assured that often it’s expensive spam someone far away is posting on your behalf, linking back to your website. Ideally, a backlink would be your local newspaper covering a medical story and linking to your website. Or your hospital, linking to your website from a relevant page on the hospital website. 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"A backlink in the comment section of an overseas travel blog, stating that you are the best plastic surgeon in Melbourne, is useless. Moreover, it’s an outdated ineffective SEO technique that is now often more toxic than beneficial. If your SEO consultant is primarily charging your for backlinks: Run! Or in other words, get out of the contract as soon as you can!"

So what is on-page SEO? As the word suggests, the work is done at the time your content pages are being conceived and created. 

This is the moment of truth for your SEO consultant.

Ideally they would:

  1. Bring market research to the table: Once they know your specialty, subspecialties and service offering, they should be able to map the competitive situation in your town or city. In other words, give you an idea of the work that will be needed to become more visible, develop a thought leader profile or attract more patients or referrals of a certain type.
  2. Understand your uniqueness: Once they have gone through your current online profiles, qualifications and experience, they should be able to understand what sets your practice apart. This is where SEO meets your brand story as a doctor.
  3. Design a content plan: Once you hire your SEO consultant with a particular expertise in medical marketing, they would demonstrate an understanding of your private practice. On-page SEO for doctors depends on an in-depth understanding of the patient journey, the income avenues of your practice and the FAQs patients have in this area.

After a typical workshop, many doctors tell me that they have gained a deeper understanding of what is involved in selecting the best SEO consultant for your practice. This knowledge has made a massive difference in the lives of many specialist doctors and when you take a closer look at our live strategies across Australia and New Zealand, you will see that we practice what we preach.

Let's meet

SEO consultants and much more

get advice about medical SEO

To get advice about medical SEO, there is no better concept than our free 1:1 Strategy Session format. It’s as simple as booking your meeting, sending us a few details about your private practice and your current online profile, and spending 30 minutes with me on Zoom. We will go over your business goals, growth opportunities and the best way forward to achieve the goals you have in mind as a specialist doctor or surgeon. 

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