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Urgent care operators who rely on search engine optimization (SEO)—in other words, the art of building a website that Google will punch up to the top of search results for prospective patients—essentially have to guess at what digital tactics will get them into the top spot on Google. For the most part, Google’s algorithms have always been a closely guarded secret. Recently, media outlets like Inc. reported that some proprietary Google search algorithms were leaked. While marketers were hoping for a fresh advantage, the leak shared little in the way of practical SEO help. One variable from the leak seems to suggest that inbound links from other relevant web pages might be especially important to Google. However, SEO is always a long game with a host of other factors that figure in too. 

Do you really need SEO? “Digital advertising consumes the greatest percentage of marketing spend for all urgent care centers, posing a challenge in diminishing returns,” says Alan Ayers, President of Experity Consulting and Senior Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. “Local urgent care centers have to compete not only against well-heeled health systems, national corporate operators, and national demand generation services, but they’re also competing click-per-click against the competition across town. Understanding what factors drive search performance in Google can give urgent care centers a leg up in achieving critical ‘top of page’ positioning.”

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