When it comes to a healthcare SEO consultant, there are two types. One that executes our projects well and one that tells us which projects we’ll benefit the most from.
It’s like going to get a haircut. At one place you tell them what you want and they’ll do a good job but at a truly premium barbershop, they’ll tell you what looks good on you based on their wealth of experience in the field.
Each of the two types of healthcare SEO consultants serves a different purpose. One works well at an early stage with no baseline, as almost any execution will make a difference when going from zero to one. The other can truly make a difference when we’ve gotten the low-hanging fruits and are looking for meaningful impact.
There is a reason why one charges $50/h and the other, ten times that.
What is healthcare SEO?
Healthcare SEO is the discipline of performing search engine optimization on your business’ website in order to drive more visits from organic search engine traffic such as Google, meaning without paying for ads.
In exchange for our ad budget, we’ll have to use our time and energy budget instead. That’s usually what we hire a healthcare SEO consultant for. Most often the goal is to acquire more patients for the business and be easy to find for someone already familiar with the brand.
Why hire a healthcare SEO consultant?
The obvious answer as to why it might make sense to hire a healthcare SEO consultant is if you feel the need to get someone to help with more experience than yourself. Usually, consultants don’t execute your projects but can help your team understand which direction is the next best step and save them time by avoiding going down the wrong path – something that the consultant might have experienced in the past.
Hiring a healthcare SEO consultant can be particularly useful to handle the specific terms and requirements as the content is usually sensitive within the healthcare topic. If you are looking for execution, you might prefer working with a freelancer instead of a consultant.
5 healthcare SEO consultants you could work with
As I was searching for a healthcare SEO consultant I could only find what appears to be large, established agencies. You wouldn’t believe how challenging it was to find any solo healthcare SEO consultants! I was quite surprised… most either cater to a wealth of industries like healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, cyber security, etc. or can help with many different services. To my surprise, I wasn’t able to find ten consultants that only focus on SEO work in the healthcare industry as I was roaming the search engines. Mind-blowing.
Since I was looking and had to dig them up anyway, I took the liberty of gathering a few examples here. Keep in mind that I haven’t had the pleasure of working with any of them yet.
Healthcare SEO consultants
How do I find a good healthcare SEO consultant?
When we are looking to hire a good healthcare SEO consultant, there are a number of things that will be handy to have thought out beforehand. In this chapter, we’ll go through each one.
Before shortlisting any potential SEO contractors, let’s figure out what we need first. Here’s the list and let’s dive deeper into each one.
- Do you want to meet one on one? Do they have to be in your local area?
- Do you only provide care in your local area and need a specialist in local SEO?
- Which problem are you looking to solve?
- What’s your budget?
- What’s your timeline? When are you expecting results from this project?
- What are your goals and what does success look like?
- What is most important to you?
- Blackhat vs. whitehat
Let’s dive in.
Do you want to meet one on one? Do they have to be in your local area?
Some healthcare startup owners prefer to meet with contractors in person while others don’t care or just want to meet in person for the first time while moving everything remotely after that.
As I was researching in preparation for this article, I found it surprisingly hard to find highly relevant search engine optimization consultants specifically for the healthcare industry. If you want to narrow that down even further to be a specialist that also lives in your area, it might be difficult to find unless you live in a major city.
There is no right or wrong as we all have different preferences. One business might want more help explaining what’s going on with the project but don’t care as much about the contractor’s experience in the healthcare field, whereas someone else might not care about communication as much but requires deep expertise in the field. The key is to be aware of what’s most important for you.
Do you only provide care in your local area and need a specialist in local SEO?
Many healthcare businesses only provide care in a specific local area, meaning that it doesn’t make sense to build a local presence with traffic and sales from all over the world since they can only service a certain area.
The approach when doing ‘local’ area search engine optimization is different from when doing SEO globally, so it makes sense to hire for that if it’s relevant for you.
Which problem are you looking to solve?
Although many contractors agree to anything and everything, different contractors have different skill sets so it’s helpful to them and crucial to you to get someone who has already done what you are trying to achieve.
The simplest way to break down most SEO projects is by the goal you want to achieve. Here are three common examples:
- Are you looking to grow traffic from scratch?
- Convert more of your existing traffic?
- Have you been trying to grow by creating lots of content but you aren’t getting high rankings?
That way, we can ask each potential contractor what their specific experience is with the goal we’ve chosen for our project and if they can share some examples or experiences related to similar projects.
My favorite thing about picking contractors this way is that we don’t need to know all the nitty-gritty of SEO as it relates to healthcare. That’s why we are hiring them in the first place, and I’ve found that good contractors help educate us as they walk us through the process of what the project could look like or how a previous one came about.
What’s your budget?
Many people prefer to lead with the budget as the cost of it all is the most important factor for them. I get it since there’s no point in entertaining an idea if we can’t afford to invest in it. The challenge is that it’s hard to understand if it’s fair and reasonably priced if we don’t understand what we are getting first.
I guess what I’m trying to say is how can we know something is reasonably priced if we don’t know what we get for the price? Then the price is compared to nothing. The second and perhaps even more important part is that it’s harder for us to understand if that contractor is really relevant for us in terms of experience within the specific projects we’ve done before.
As they say, even a rotten apple at a discount is still a rotten apple. In my experience, it’s usually harder to find the right fit for the project than it is to find someone who can do it within our budget.
The question is also if you are looking for implementation or simply consulting for your team to execute the direction. External implementation usually costs quite a lot extra, so the question is whether you need a freelancer who can also execute your projects, a consultant for guidance or an agency for both at scale.
What’s your timeline? When are you expecting results from this project?
When hiring a healthcare search engine optimization contractor, it’s imperative to have discussed the timeline to when you are expecting the project to be complete and are delivering results. SEO is often slow going at first, especially if you are used to how ads work as we pay to get exposed to potential customers instantly.
SEO is the opposite. It’s organic and we pay with time and energy instead of cold cash, so it takes a while to kick in. The concern I’ve heard most often is that businesses are afraid to invest in SEO with a contractor because they don’t know when the results will come (and if it will work), expect it will not be quickly. At the same time, many businesses invest but get cold feet throughout and shoot themselves in the foot by canceling the project before seeing results.
What are your goals and what does success look like?
The classic answer to this question is ‘more sales’. The vaguest response ever. Ideally, your team knows exactly why you are looking for help with SEO–because you have a great idea about how it can grow the bottom line.
Even if you don’t know the exact numbers, I suggest asking your team or the contractor to help forecast estimates. They will never be correct because search engines don’t serve us perfect numbers to calculate with but a reasonable estimate is absolutely possible to get.
What is most important to you?
Related to the point above, we need to be aware of what’s the most and least important to us when choosing which contractor to work with as they all are a little different. The most common ones are results and cost but, usually, the best indicator that the project will go well is communication throughout. Some will cost more and be better at timeliness and communication – in this space, we usually get what we pay for.
Looking for that unicorn that costs next to nothing and drives an amazing return on your investment is hard to find and it might cost more in churning through contractors until the right one appears. Not to mention the headache you and your team might have throughout.
The most common values top healthcare startups tend to consider are:
Blackhat vs. whitehat
If you are not that familiar with search engine optimization in the healthcare industry, there are two ways to categorize consultants based on the way they implement SEO projects. Blackhat and whitehat.
The easy distinction is that while whitehat refers to SEOs who only do things that are in line with Google or other search engines’ terms, blackhat refers to those who might go against them in the name of return on investment.
The long-term risk is high, though, as you’ll usually get banned from the search engine meaning that you’ll not show up at all after the penalty.
Unless you have a particular reason to use a blackhat approach and understand the consequences well, I suggest sticking with whitehat methods for the long-term gains.
- In my research, I found it surprisingly difficult to find healthcare SEO consultants. Most were not healthcare specialists but also focused on other industries or where agencies rather than a solo contractor
- You and your team will set yourself up for success the more you prepare and figure out what you really want in advance of speaking with contractors
- We tend to get the best return on investment when we focus on whitehat SEO compared to the temptation of short term gains with blackhat tactics