In 2017, one of our clients – a well-known hospital system serving Colorado – came to us with a technical problem on their website. Potential and current patients were having trouble locating providers using the “Find a Doctor” widget on the website, which was leading to lower conversions. Naturally, our client thought that the problem was with the code; something must be slowing down the search process, costing them revenue from potential patients.
While the coding team set to work, our search engine optimization (SEO) team decided to look for opportunities within the crisis. We conducted a full SEO audit of the site to uncover a better way to reach those impatient potential patients. This analysis yielded an unexpected insight into people’s search behavior. When picking doctors, most people don’t even touch the ‘Find a Doctor’ widget. Instead, they find providers who are covered by their health insurance, and then they locate those providers by searching their name in Google. In other words, the key to conversions was making sure that Google connected specific providers with the health system’s website. No need to mess with the widget.
Our treatment plan involved meticulously implementing schema for all providers. Schema refers to a system of tags used by search engines to understand your website content and present it to searchers. Our SEO team implemented a schema that assigned the hospital system’s address, hours of operation, and the specific campus phone numbers for each provider. We also implemented a sitemap that included each provider’s pages. All of this allowed for a seamless user experience that truly matched user behavior.
As seen in the above before-and-after, implementing schema for providers triggered the appearance of knowledge graphs that directly tied the provider to the hospital system. Because of this, the hospital system itself became the dominant choice, even if a given provider has admitting privileges at other institutions.
The data shows that our treatment was indeed effective. One year after we implemented our schema strategy, pageviews across all provider pages were up 162% compared to the previous year. This translates to an increase of over 1.5 million pageviews to provider pages.
The big takeaway from this is that any website problem deserves a deeper look. There are always ways to improve the user experience. SEO tools like schema help us better understand and adapt to user behavior so that we can meet patients where they’re at, not just where we expect them to be.
About us and this blog
We are a digital marketing company with a focus on helping our customers achieve great results across several key areas.
The SEO Physician, is a healthcare SEO agency that specializes in patient acquisition for healthcare systems, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician groups. The SEO Physician is owned and operated by Pero SEO, Inc.