Medical SEO Voice Search Optimization For Doctors (BERT)

We are “Speaking” to devices, like Siri from Apple and Alexa from Amazon. More and more patients are searching online using these devices and digital assistants. Search engines such as Google are placing a higher emphasis on voice search optimization. After all, the point of Medical SEO is to rank medical websites accurately so patients can find the best information for their search query as accurately as possible. Hence “BERT”.  Google announced an open-source neural network-based technique for natural language processing called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT, for short.

BERT From Google Search, For Medical SEO  

The way Google provides search results has gone through many different adjustments and algorithm changes. Where we are today is light years from where we were a decade ago. There are advances in search engine technology every year, and the changes Google makes to its search algorithm isn’t even always announced. This ends up leaving website owners to figure out on their own what they need to do to optimize their website for search.

There are billions of search queries every day that Google provides search results to users. Many of these search queries are common and are things they see every day. These searches have a good history of successfully providing relevant results to the people who search for them. However, there are some searches that Google has never provided results for. These challenges have forced Google to build ways to provide results for searches they’ve never seen before. Adding problems to search is that people don’t always know exactly what they are looking for to begin with. There may be a misspelling, misuse of words, or other problems that don’t quite get the search query just right.

Google has worked for years, making its search engine respond better to natural language. In fact, many people would use specific keywords in their searches to help Google provide them the right results. Previously, the search engine had trouble handling complex queries and queries that are conversational. However, that has changed with new advancements in search at Google that allow a better understanding of natural language while searching. Last year, Google announced an open-source neural network-based technique for natural language processing called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT, for short.

Patients are "Speaking" for Search Medical SEO

What exactly does “BERT” do to search for my medical practice?

BERT will consider all the words in a search sentence rather than look at them one by one. The result? The full context of your search is considered when returning results. This change is helpful for search engines to understand the intent of your search query. In order for a website to take advantage of this change in search technology, they must adjust their content strategy. 

The BERT search model affects not only rankings but also featured snippets in search results. Ideally, Google wants to provide its users with as much useful information as possible more efficiently. The company estimates that nearly 10% of all English searches in the United States will benefit from his new model, and it will eventually be applied to other languages over time. Search requests that are more conversational and include words like “For” and “To” benefit significantly from his search model. By better understanding the context of a search, better results can be provided. Prepositions can dramatically change the meaning of a sentence, so this improvement will undoubtedly affect not only search results by the way people search. These changes will apply to healthcare search results as well. 

What are some ways the BERT search model will affect my search results for my medical practice? 

For example, if you were to search “2019 Indian traveler to USA needed vaccines,” the word “to” indicates someone is traveling from India to the United States, and not the other way around. Previously, Google would consider every word in that search query without context. It may provide you with a vaccine list while traveling to India, which would work for those words but not for the context of those words. The BERT model applied to search takes the “to” into consideration and, therefore, will provide the user with more relevant results.

Another example of how BERT can help with search results would be the phrase, “treatments for legs while I stand at work.” The words “stand” and “work” can have multiple meanings. However, when taken into context with the entire sentence, more relevant results will be presented.

With context becoming more critical in search results, you should strive to have your content sound more natural and conversational. This may mean spending a considerable amount of time rewriting the content on your medical practice’s website. While this may be time-consuming, you will reap the long term benefits of your efforts. First, you will bring your content in line with new search engine practices that allow you to present your website as a relevant search result to more and more potential patients. Second, this could be an excellent time for you to update your website’s content to reflect any changes in medical practices. You should be doing this on a regular basis, but if you have fallen behind, this is a great chance to accomplish two things at once. Updating your medical content to reflect current medical trends and writing it in a way that falls in line with new BERT search models will be beneficial to the growth of your practice.

What are some other ways BERT can help people find my website?

Another way Google is applying BERT to search to provide better results is by using its improvements and applying them to other languages. As the system learns context in English, those patterns and context can be applied to other languages. If you have patients that are searching in your area in a different language, BERT can provide more relevant results and help them find your website.

Should I expect continued changes in search that will change my SEO strategies?

Yes, you should. However, these changes will only make it easier for patients to find your medical practice, but only if you keep your website up to date. The “best practices” for SEO Optimization that were all the rage years ago are becoming less and less effective. Search is now moving towards a more natural language, focusing on the way people speak and context. You should strive to have your SEO Optimization strategies match people’s natural conversation. With that said, Google will continue to make improvements to its search engine, and they will not always get everything right. Improvement of search results using natural language will be an ongoing challenge for Google. You should expect to see further changes as years go on and improvements will be made. If you stay on top of these changes and apply them to your website, you will be in good shape to continue to grow your medical practice.

How can I learn more about BERT search models and make sure my website is optimized for it?

Call Patient Gain today and speak with our experts. We are continually refining our client’s websites to reflect the best practices in search. Make an appointment today with our specialists so we can show you what we can do for your medical practice.

Medical SEO and BERT Example 1
Medical SEO and BERT Example 2
Medical SEO and BERT Example 3

What Is Content & Why Is It Important?

1) Text, words and sentences – useful information for the reader.
2) Images with relevant tags and links
3) Videos, diagrams, and other visual aids that support the main headings, sub headings and actual paragraph text.

This information is consumed by your prospect and existing patients in the form of Website pages, Blogs, Facebook Posts, Email Newsletters, Images on Instagram, Feeds on Twitter, SMS text messages on mobile devices.  Hence your medical marketing content should be interesting, attractive, useful, and provide value to your prospect patient or an existing patient. Unique quality content on your own website is the single most important factor for higher SEO rankings for doctors and medical practices.

PatientGain.com platform contains 6 different apps that help you with Content Marketing. Medical Content Distribution Engine is new product from PatientGain.com. 

4 Good Examples of Medical SEO for Your Practice

Medical SEO Example 1 :  Patient Searching for “invisalign cost toledo ohio”

Medical SEO Example 1 :  Patient Searching for “invisalign cost toledo ohio”

 

Medical SEO Example 2 :  Patient Searching for “pediatric urgent care orlando”

 

Medical SEO Example 2 :  Patient Searching for “pediatric urgent care orlando”

 

Medical SEO Example 3 :  Patient Searching for “med spa newington nh ”

Medical SEO Example 3 :  Patient Searching for “med spa newington nh ”

 

Medical SEO Example 4 :  Patient Searching for “physical exams in easley sc”

Example of SEO for Urgent Care Center

 

4 Good Examples of Local SEO for Doctors & Medical Practices 

Local SEO Example 1 :  Patient Searching for “family dentist toledo oh”

Local SEO Example 1 :  Patient Searching for “family dentist toledo oh"”

 

Local SEO Example 2 :  Potential client Searching for “med spa lake zurich il”

Local SEO Example 2 :  Potential client Searching for “med spa lake zurich il”

 

Local SEO Example 3 :  Mobile Patient Searching for “primary care doctors reseda ca”

Local SEO Example 3 :  Mobile Patient Searching for “primary care doctors reseda ca”

 

Local SEO Example 4 :  Patient Searching for “sleep apnea clinic near me”

Local SEO Example 4 :  Patient Searching for “sleep apnea clinic near me”

How Much Do Doctors Spend On Advertising in USA?

Range is $600 per month to $15000 per month, depending on specialty and competition. 

The actual advertising budget for each clinic and practice is different. Some clinics/doctors are very aggressive and spend $1000 per day (or more) and some spend $1000 a month on advertising. We also have few clinics/doctors who do not spend any money on online advertising, they doctors rely on referrals and very strong SEO rankings. This data refers to online advertising, not offline advertising spend. 

Also you have to understand that every practice area is different. For example  let’s review specific specialties:

Medspa and aesthetic practices

For Medical Spas and Aesthetic practices, it is highly recommended to have  online advertising budget. The typical range is $3000 to $10000 per month,  with average budget of $4210 per practice in USA.

Plastic surgeons

Plastic surgeons need online advertising, more than any other category. It is next to impossible to be successful without proper online  advertising budget. The typical range is $5000 to $15000 per month,  with average budget of $6677 per practice in USA.

Dermatology practices

The typical range is $1000 to $4000 per month,  spend on average spend $1960 per month per location.  However these are “average” locations with medium competition. If a dermatology is also focused on cosmetic procedures, their budgets are more like Medical Spas and aesthetic clinics.

Urgent care centers

The typical range is $1000 to $9000 per month,  spend on average spend $3600 per month per location. However these are “average” locations with medium competition. There are many factors, number of exam rooms and how many providers, and fixed overhead also dictates how aggressive each owner is. Brands and chains spend more on advertising than stand alone locations. We have also noticed if the owner is a doctor/physician, vs a business person, doctor/physician owners will have a hard time understanding value of advertising. doctor/physician owners view advertising and marketing as an expense, rather than an “investment” with an ROI (Return On Investment).

Walk-in primary care practices

Walk-in Clinics – with primary care services and some “urgent care” services spend $1000 to $3400 per month, with an average monthly budget of $1900 per month.

Primary care practices

Primary care doctors spend $600 to $1300 per month, with an average monthly budget of $890 per month.

Naturopathic, wellness focused care practices

Primary care doctors spend $800 to $1900 per month, with an average monthly budget of $1230 per month.

Pediatric care practices

The typical range is $600 to $1600 per month,  spend on average spend $900 per month per location.

Sexual healthcare practices – multi-focus

The typical range is $3000 to $8500 per month,  spend on average spend $4200 per month per location.

Sexual healthcare practices – Erectile Dysfunction

The typical range is $4000 to $10000 per month,  spend on average spend $6700 per month per location.

Fertility healthcare practices 

The typical range is $3300 to $7500 per month,  spend on average spend $4700 per month per location.

Dental practices – General dentists

The typical range is $750 to 1900 per month,  spend on average spend $1230 per month per location.

Dental practices – Specialist dentists

The typical range is $1300 to 3210 per month,  spend on average spend $2540 per month per location.  These type of practices include Endodontists, dental implant  focus, Invisalign focus etc.

Dental practices – Celebrity & cosmetic focus

The typical range is $8300 to $18850 per month,  spend on average spend $9600 per month per location.  These type of practices include dentists who do not accept insurance, and accept limited amount of patients, but each patient  is treated as a “celebrity” with extreme focus on customer service, and results for each patient. Services include invisalign, porcelain veneers, whitening, bonding, laminates, implants, and orthodontics.

Podiatrists – Foot and Ankle Doctors and Surgeons 

The typical range is $800 to 2200 per month,  spend on average spend $1655 per month per location.

Orthopedic Surgeons 

The typical range is $800 to 1900 per month,  spend on average spend $1380 per month per location.

Women’s Health and OB/GYN

The typical range is $500 to 2700 per month,  spend on average spend $1600 per month per location.

Medical Fat loss / Physician Supervised Weight Loss Practices

The typical range is $2100 to 8700 per month,  spend on average spend $4300 per month per location.

Integrative practices – Serving multiple focus areas

The typical range is $1200 to 3210 per month,  spend on average spend $2341 per month per location.  These type of practices include multiple focused areas, like heart health, general wellness, diabetic patients, mind – brain wellness, pain management, hormonal imbalance and many other areas. These type of practices have to compete with traditional non-integrative  practices, so conversion cost per patient is higher than traditional primary care practices.

Sleep clinics and TMJ clinics

The typical range is $500 to 1580 per month,  spend on average spend $940 per month per location.

Pain clinics – Chiropractors

The typical range is $1200 to 2200 per month,  spend on average spend $1400 per month per location.

Pain clinics – Spine focused – minimally invasive pain management and regenerative medicine

The typical range is $1500 to 3000 per month,  spend on average spend $1900 per month per location.

Physical therapy care practices

Physical therapy clinics have expanded into many areas  and they offer services overlapping with other practices also. For example  here is list of services for physical therapy practice : post-surgery rehabilitation, senior rehabilitation programs, work injury rehabilitation, back stabilization, balance training, functional capacity evaluations, neurological rehabilitation, orthopedic rehabilitation, pain management, physical therapy, wellness & weight loss program, vestibular sports medicine, graston technique, fitness program – So this can be quite large.  Most clinics like these spend $1200 to $3400 per month, with an average monthly budget of $1900 per month, per location.

 

Data from 2018 to 2020.  Also note that brands spend much more than non-brand focused medical practices, they also have more patients and perceived medical care provided is of higher value to patients, as evidenced by reviews received by the medical practices. The data is here for your guidelines and not guaranteed to generate same or similar results.

 

 

4 Important Tactics For Online Healthcare Marketing Strategy

  1. Focus on Patient Acquisition – This area focuses on your website, SEO, online advertising (Google, Facebook, Instagram etc), tracking of leads, secure HIPAA compliant CRM.
  2. Patient Engagement – This area focuses on your ability to engage patients. For example, Facebook and Google posts, Texting/SMS from your website so you can capture leads. Referral strategy, monthly Email marketing, auto-follow up emails and texts. Building a fan base on social media.  
  3. Patient Revenue – This area focuses on your ability to monetize your marketing. Many doctors are doing a great job on marketing, but they are missing out on maximizing revenue per patient. Life time value of patient has 2 aspects. First initial visit and revenue generated by the first initial visit. Second part has to do with Life-Time-Value (LTV) of each patient - This could be a much bigger number and when calculating ROI - Return On Investment, should also be calculated.  The second area is most overlooked by doctors. 
  4. Reputation Management – This area can be a headache or a winning differentiator for your medical practice. As you service your patients, your plan should be as every patient ( shortly after providing service ) asking them "Based on your experience with our medical practice, would you recommend us". This is probably the most important question you can ask. This can be done 4 different ways. 1) Personally asking them - This approach is most effective, however in real life, it is simply not possible.  2) Using Texting/SMS app sending a similar question and asking if they are happy with your service and willing to recommend you. If they say "yes" then software sends them link to a review site. 3) Using Email similar strategy is implemented.   4) Using an I-Pad in the lobby, similar strategy can be implemented. However this requires some clever software for changing the IP address. 

Healthcare Advertising VS Healthcare Marketing

Many healthcare professionals confuse Healthcare Advertising  with Healthcare Marketing.

Advertising is just ONE of the many "things", "programs" or "techniques" launched to achieve a successful Marketing Program.  So Medical advertising is one, but very important part of Medical Marketing for a practice.  For example if you are a pediatric physician with focus on urgent care for children, and your goal is to acquire more patients, you may want to "market" your practice in 20 mile radius for potential parents of patients who may seek Pediatric Urgent Care.  For this effort you would typically  have many things to do :

Step 1: Sign for the building
Step 2: Business cards
Step 3: Doctor's bio printed and promoted to local primary care physicians
Step 4: Providing free "meet-and-greet" for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 5: Collaboration with local schools for "low-cost" physicals for school athletes 
Step 6: Mail drop in 5 mile radius using USPS mail and flyers for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 7: Networking with other local businesses close to your own location
Step 8: Using social media campaigns
Step 9: Making the lobby of the clinic a pleasing place for parents of potential pediatric patients and for children
Step 10: Referral program to market using existing for parents of potential pediatric patients
Step 11: Launching your online strategy to market your practice
Step 12: Offline advertising offline for your healthcare practice
Step 13: Online Advertising for your healthcare practice

 

Healthcare Advertising Defined

Advertising for doctors can be offline or online. Offline advertising for doctors refers to Billboards, Newspapers, Paper Yellow Pages, Ads in Cinemas, Radio Ads.  

Online Advertising for doctors refers to advertising focused on internet based mediums. For example:

  1. Google search advertising
  2. Facebook display ads
  3. SEO / Search Engine Optimizations
  4. Website conversion techniques to improve the actual patients generation from your website
  5. Advertising on Instagram 
  6. Email marketing
  7. SMS/Text based marketing
  8. Display advertising 
Online Medical Marketing