We have ordered an SEO procedure for the clinic. And the result? Overcrowded KPIs by 768%06. 10. 2021 Autor Roman Teuschel
Some time ago, we were approached by a network of clinics, pharmacies and laboratories asking us to improve the website and increase traffic. After a thorough analysis and careful strategy setting, we set a clear goal with the client – to increase organic traffic by 30% with the help of SEO. However, we exceeded the…
The pharmaceutical segment and healthcare, in general, is a big bite even for an experienced marketer. Customers and visitors to web portals place a great deal of trust in the information they receive. This is especially true in the case of the country’s largest network of outpatient clinics. However, its name will remain anonymous for the purposes of this case study.
The goal of our cooperation and Setting the SEO diagnosis
The primary goal was to increase the brand’s visibility in organic search and increase traffic to the main network website. We increased organic traffic by the 30% mentioned above during the six-month cooperation. We can’t be specific, but it is in the order of tens of thousands of visits per month.
As a secondary goal, we wanted to maximise the conversion rate for one of the following three objectives together with the UX team:
- an appointment with a doctor at one of the clinics,
- online examination via video call from the comfort of your home,
- click through to the pharmacy’s e-shop to the relevant category or directly to the specific medication.
The well-known Czech proverb “measure twice, cut once” applies in the pharmaceutical segment. Since August 2018, when Google updated its algorithm and ranking criteria, the utmost care and expertise have been required when making any significant changes to the website. The so-called Medic Update, that means the Google update mentioned above, can knock a website to the bottom of the search engine rankings if you make the wrong decisions and lose valuable traffic.
Fundamental pillars of SEO strategy. How to gain relevant traffic?
The collaboration was preceded by a series of audits, analyses and debriefs with the marketing and development team. It was a significant investment in data and strategy, but it paid off very quickly. What did we figure out?
- We uncovered several issues and opportunities for improvement within technical SEO.
- We made the most of the link profile by redistributing links and optimising anchor texts.
- We have identified key opportunities in different areas and quantified their potential.
- We have obtained the correct data for further decision-making, strategy development and, above all, for the executive, including a specific publication plan.
To achieve the primary goal (i. e., a 30% increase in organic traffic), we chose two main tactics:
- To look at treatment areas in terms of their location and focus on the most sought after ones. In practice, this meant optimising the website for local queries such as “dental emergency plzeň”, “mammography Brno”, etc. See the visualisation below.
- Target the most searched diseases where there is not much competition in SEO, i.e. create expert and comprehensive articles in the content section.
Local queries for treatment disciplines
The search pattern with local queries has less potential in the Czech Republic in terms of search volume. Still, the conversion rate for these queries is one of the highest. Our client had a perfect starting position for this search pattern. It was such a “low-hanging fruit” in the marketer’s words. 🙉
We ensured that duplicates and pages that would cannibalise each other over time did not form on the site. Together with the client, we established a process to create content for the clinics’ disciplines (supporting SEO and PR simultaneously), their headlines and metadata. With linkbuilder, we sourced links from local magazines, city websites and other sources.
We have more than tripled our average weekly traffic by taking adequate steps, and we are still maintaining the upward trend.
Expert, trustworthy and quality articles on the treatment of diseases
Building content with a solid SEO foundation is genuinely a long haul… Results are definitely not seen immediately. In our case, it was preceded by detailed analysis, prioritisation together with the client and careful data-driven copywriting.
Through keyword analysis, we nominated 5,701 relevant keywords with at least 20+ monthly searches (on Google and Seznam simultaneously). Among other things, we classified these terms according to the specific disease or health problem that the client is competent to address. According to the coarsest sieve, we found more than 600 of them.
TIP: In a team, we often follow Pareto’s 80/20 rule. This principle works well in the case of the analysis mentioned above. Approximately 80% of the estimated traffic can come from just 20% of the topics (specifically 135 disease articles). And, of course, we focused on these. ☝️
Together with experts, we have categorised these diseases according to specialisations in treatment fields. After consultation with the client, we have recorded 35 domains (from general medicine to dermatology to surgery). We have nominated suitable medical authors for each of them.
Thus, based on the various inputs, we defined:
- Traffic potential and current position for diseases,
- Competitiveness of queries (= difficulty),
- Business priority for the client,
- The capacity of experts,
Based on this data, we created the perfect publishing plan. A precise “timetable” for the wider marketing team as well as the doctors themselves. We know when potential patients are most likely to be concerned about what issues. We also create helpful content that we communicate through various online marketing channels – not just through SEO.
But let us now return to our primary objective. That was “to generate free traffic from search engines” and subsequent customer acquisition, in this case through expert and comprehensive articles by doctors. And what was the result?
Traffic to the content section has increased by an average of 2000% per week. We are literally in the top league in the main areas compared to our competitors. We’ve caught up with the most prominent magazines, competing for clinics and professional forums. We’re getting featured snippets (i. e., zero positions, most often in the form of a box, to increase brand visibility and CTR), and our articles are reaping great success.
TIP: Featured snippets are a frequently mentioned and searched topic. However, queries related to treatment, prevention, or symptoms repeatedly appear in the null positions. We knew about this opportunity in the early days and focused on it. Out of the original 22 featured snippets, our client received a whopping 502!
People spontaneously share articles on social networks and in various corners of the internet. In addition to traffic, we also get natural backlinks. More than 50% of users spend more than a minute on an article, and the bounce rate is only 8.7%. Secondary goals (making a doctor’s appointment, getting an appointment online or clicking through to the pharmacy’s e-shop) are again performing well beyond expectations.
The recipe for success cannot be gained by prescription. It is freely available!
Let’s leave aside clichés like “content rules”. However, the truth remains that success is mainly due to perfectly prepared content supported by linkbuilding. In the case of articles, we put maximum emphasis on EAT (English acronym for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness), according to which Google focuses primarily on pages promoting products or services affecting, among other things, users’ health, finances and safety (from insurance companies to banking to clinics).
Only the most competent people commented on the diseases. The authors of the articles are doctors and experts on the subject. They naturally try to give their best advice and share as much knowledge as possible. Together with the quality input from SEO consultants and the subsequent revision by our copywriters, all of this creates precisely the type of content that Google, especially the target audience, will appreciate. The various technical tweaks to the site, the linkbuilding mentioned above and PR activities also play a big part in its success.
Thanks to close cooperation, the client’s ambitions and the extraordinary commitment of the people involved in the project, we undoubtedly exceeded all expectations. Because, as mentioned in the title of this article, we exceeded the original KPI, i.e. to increase organic traffic through SEO by 30%, by 768%!
Did covid-19 help our traffic rate?
Yes, it helped partially. However, the cooperation started after the first wave of the pandemic, and the KPIs were built with the following expected waves in mind. In addition to the techniques mentioned above, we were of maximum assistance to the clinic in the covid-19 disease segment.
We have optimised the landing pages and their texts to actually serve people as a quality source of information. Without our help, the client again had no chance to perform. Before our cooperation during the first pandemic wave (March-May 2020), the client had practically zero “covid traffic”. With our help, he tapped that potential to virtually 100%.
To be as fair as possible to the client, in addition to various views, numbers and graphs, we also report regularly the development of “covid traffic” and its share of the total. Fortunately, the proportion of “covid traffic” continues to fall (the pandemic is, at least at the time of writing this case study, in a recessionary phase), but overall organic clinic traffic is rising dramatically upwards. Currently, covid makes up only a few per cent of attendance. And we’re actually glad about that.
I am glad that I could be a part of such a success story together with other colleagues. Moreover, we are far from finished – based on the initial investment in analysis, we have many different tasks and ideas at our disposal that we plan to release for production soon. And we’ll spice up that growth. But more on that in the following case study. Finally, I would like to thank our team – especially SEO consultant Mark, Terka and Verča from the copy team and two linkbuilders Aneta and Sabča, for their excellent cooperation and demonstrable results!