Organic SEO

Organic SEO: the little-known secret to growing your private practice

If you have been wondering how to grow your private practice, you may have overlooked the power of online visibility. In this article, we talk about being up to 10 times more present in online conversations, when patients are looking up information and choosing a doctor. We talk about how this can eventually double or triple your revenue.
Organic SEO

Organic SEO: the little-known secret to growing your private practice

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

June 18, 2021

What exactly is ‘organic SEO’?

Organic SEO explained

SEO is a buzzword, sometimes overused, sometimes used in the wrong context. Just to get the record straight, let’s align our definitions. Search Engine Optimisation is doing the right thing with your online content, so Google qualifies it as quality content and it is worth ‘ranking’ when someone does a Google search.

SEO is sometimes also used as in ‘someone is doing my SEO’. When I drill down on what is being said, in our initial consultations with doctors, surprising things happen. First of all, these are consultations where I ask the questions and the doctor is being diagnosed…for digital performance, the quality of their lead generation, and for growth potential in their practice.

What we often find is that specialist doctors don’t really know who is doing their SEO and what exactly they are doing. It sometimes involves running Google Ads campaigns and charging a fee for that, calling it an ‘SEO package’. Now that is all good and well but…

Organic SEO is the activity of optimising your content for Google. What that actually means is optimising it for the patient who is doing a search. And just like you can’t put in the foundations after you have built your new home, you can’t expect the optimisation to be very successful if it is done after the fact, after your content has been strategically developed and published on your website.

Watch our video

Kris Borgraeve about organic SEO

So how do I do it right with organic SEO?

Grow your visibility with organic SEO

The little-known secret to growing your online visibility – and therefore, your practice – is that there is a way to predict how many patients will land on your content pages. It’s data-driven. It’s almost scientific.

It starts with being really clear about what you want to be visible for. Does it make sense that someone who sells pies in the corner shop, does not necessarily want to be found when someone does a Google search for Scandinavian fine-dining in a renaissance setting?

Once you are clear about the exact services, conditions, treatments, or surgery types you want to attract patients for, the real work begins.
The next step is to obtain data on the local search volumes for each of your core services. If no one is looking for articular aspergillosis and thorn synovitis, then let’s not decide to spend a lot of digital real estate on that interesting topic. Once we know that more searches are done for Anterior Hip Replacement and ACL Reconstruction, plus the city or town where you work, we can make strategic decisions about the web pages we build.

Organic Search Engine Optimisation starts the day you even consider building a new website. What does it do for you, 6 months or 12 months down the track? How visible does it make you for the services that you offer? How much daily traffic does it generate and how many patient consultations a week does it trigger? How will it be monitored 24/7 and how detailed will the reporting be about what patients are doing on your site and your competitor’s sites? That is the data-driven starting point for your SEO strategy as a specialist doctor.

Digital Practice customers report turnover increases of up to +200%. That is because once you understand that you are in control of your visibility, you can build the practice that you want.

Grow your practice with content

Content and organic SEO

In other articles, we cover the science, editorial skill, and craft that goes into producing the right content and positioning it on your website, to attract and convert patient leads. In this strategic process, there are two often-forgotten pitfalls:

  • Preparation: Before you write, in-depth knowledge about how Google looks at your website is needed, to even understand the strategic process behind organic SEO.
  • Monitoring: Organic Google visibility is a dynamic aspect of your private practice. When a topic is on TV, Google behaviour may shift. When a competitor starts blogging about your specialty on a weekly basis, you will see visibility and Google ranking being affected by this new situation.


The specialist doctor who has confidence in their digital presence has avoided these two pitfalls and looks at digital as a dynamic, ever-changing aspect of their business.

organic seo

This is not 2010: websites have evolved and so have your patients.

Higher Google rankings

Over 60% of traffic on medical websites is now coming from a smartphone. Gone are the days when we could dismiss ‘digital’ as something only 20-year-olds embraced. Whenever I walk into one of the hospitals I work with, I see elderly patients using their smartphones as effectively as their grandchildren.

Websites have become more dynamic too. Google has taught its own algorithms to look at usability, loading speed, text/image ratio, and relevance. Did you know that in split seconds, Google can compare your page to other pages?

If it’s copy-pasted off Wikipedia or off a colleague’s website…beware of the consequences. I’m not even talking about a lawyer dropping you a warning for copyright infringement. Google punishes duplicate content with lower rankings.

If it’s written like-you-don’t-care-about-readability in doctorspeak and Medical School language…Google punishes poor readability with lower rankings.

Websites and the whole thing we call the Internet keeps evolving. And just like you have been reading up on your line of work to remain up-to-date, so has the industry that helps you attract patients and convert leads. Your patients are the consumers in this story too, and they won’t even know when specific content has driven them right into the waiting room of one of your competitors, not yours.

How to get started and make organic SEO work for your practice?

Getting started with organic SEO

It doesn’t matter if you own or manage the practice. Anyone involved in the business performance of a health practice deserves to know how this works.

When we do workshops and webinars, I always enjoy witnessing those lightbulb moments. Once you understand that you can actually drive this process, and make well-informed decisions about your leadership position in your field, it changes the game forever.

Speak to us about your private practice, where you are at now, and where you want to be in 12 or 24 months.

I look forward to helping you make the most of your online visibility, to create and develop the practice you have in mind.

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Organic SEO

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