The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

How long does it take for medical SEO to work?

Search engine optimization (SEO) requires consistent effort over time. But when will that effort lead to practice growth? Here’s what to expect — and what you can do to speed it up.

Medical practice manager reads about how long it takes medical seo to work

At a Glance

  • It generally takes an average of 3-9 months to see results from medical SEO efforts.
  • SEO is a long-term strategy requiring consistent, ongoing work over time.
  • Many complex factors impact SEO effectiveness, including niche and location competitiveness, site maturity, search engine algorithm changes, and more.
  • Methods to boost SEO include leveraging social media as another source of links and credibility, dedicating a portion of your marketing budget to digital ads and promoted posts to drive traffic, and more.

If you’ve been putting a lot of work into your search engine optimization (SEO), you might be wondering, “How long does it take for medical SEO to work?” On your journey, you’ve made sure your medical practice website has:

  • Regularly published relevant and current content
  • External and internal sources hyperlinked as supporting information
  • Relevant graphics with descriptive captions if applicable, useful alt text, and other ways to support web visitors
  • High-ranking keywords that relate to published content

Said another way, SEO results require you to give your website consistent attention and updates. So how long do you need to wait to see results from these efforts? The consensus from multiple SEO experts suggests that the short answer is anywhere between 3 to 12 months, although the 3 to 9 month time frame has the most traction.

Patient Perspectives Report

The SEO game is a marathon, not a sprint

When you decided to create a website for your medical practice, did someone tell you that SEO would be a magic button to  quickly bring new patients to your practice while you slept?

That may have been an accurate statement decades ago. However, the popularity of using SEO to achieve a favorable web page ranking has made it highly competitive.

To get favorable results, SEO requires significant, consistent work. Does that mean you must put all your time and effort into your website? No. It just means determining what regular commitment you can make and maintaining it over time.

Why does it take so long for SEO to make a difference?

Several complex factors impact a site’s SEO effectiveness. These include:

Working to rank well in search engine results is exceptionally competitive. There are:

  • Older, more established, and more linked-to websites
  • Websites with a plethora of pages
  • Companies that employ a full-time web admin focused on website performance and ranking

These facets put the more prominent and established websites ahead of newer competitors. You have to create a library of relevant content that incorporates valuable keywords and current topics that are being searched.

You have to create a library of relevant content that incorporates valuable keywords and current topics that are being searched. ”

That being said, it may be tempting to take that information and decide that there’s just too much working against you. But what if you flip that mental script and look at things differently? You have a:

  • Fresh perspective on what patients are looking for online
  • Specific local geography to focus on as opposed to a national or international target
  • Grouping of exact keywords that don’t apply to all businesses

One way to get some reasonably quick results is to focus on your specific location. The way you do this is to include nearby towns or suburbs in your article. Using your specialization in article titles and as defined keywords can also help you.

How your social media can help your SEO

Each time you create a post on social media, you build your practice brand. But at its most basic, every social media profile you create for your practice is another link to your website.

This ensures your social followers have an easy, built-in way to navigate to your site for additional information. Your practice’s social media presence also provides another means of credibility that the search engines will use to confirm your identity.

You can also backlink articles on your website’s blog by publishing excerpts or information from the articles on social and linking directly to the post. You can do this with old content as well as new. 

SEO as part of your marketing budget

Part of your practice’s general budget likely includes money for marketing to and attracting new patients in your area. Spending a portion of that money on digital ads on search engines and promoted posts on social media will gain your website traffic.

Spending a portion of money on digital ads on search engines and promoted posts on social media will gain your website traffic. ”

So will making sure your content is engaging and relevant enough to keep users reading. A longer dwell time tells search engines that your site is credible and you are knowledgeable. This improves your SEO, which translates into website visits from more users who will ideally spend more time on your site. 

You can also try to get other sites to link to your content, as inbound links can help to establish your site as an authority. This can take the form of exchanging guest posts with other providers, and writing for local publications and including a link to your practice site in your bio or byline.

The long game doesn’t intimidate you

You’ve been through many years of medical school, residencies, and continuing education. You know all about having a long-term focus. In that context, how long does it take for medical SEO to work is a drop in the bucket — and your site’s SEO will be another area of expertise you can add to your accomplishments.

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75% of people look online to find a doctor. Patients take a critical look at web presence, online business profiles, and reviews when they decide to pick a health provider. Learn where your practice should be online in the Patient Perspectives report.

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Written by

Karmin Gentili

Karmin Gentili has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate HR and compliance consulting. She has worked to further elevate her skills by pursuing and receiving multiple certifications, including copywriting, video scriptwriting, effective content positioning, case study writing, and SEO. Her love of writing motivates her to use those skills to develop content for the medical field that ensures others can work toward achieving their goals.

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