How to DO voice search seo for doctors & medical practices?

Voice search is undeniably a growing trend. Between 2017—2022 the number of people using voice search in the US increased from 79.9 million (eMarketer) to 142 million (Insider Intelligence). That represents an increase of 46%.

But what does this mean for doctors and medical clinics and their digital marketing campaigns? It seems logical to assume that patients fall within this general transition toward voice search. So, in other words, if you are not yet making use of voice search marketing then you are missing out on a growing percentage of prospective patients.
Voice search increased by 46 percent between 2017 and 2022

What is voice search SEO for doctors and medical practices?

Voice search SEO for doctors

Voice search SEO is the process of optimizing your medical website to increase the chances of it being found by prospective patients using a vocalized search term instead of typing it out. With the number of voice searches increasing as a % of total search, voice search should be included in the broader SEO campaign for your practice. Read more about SEO for Doctors and Medical Practices

What are the most popular voice search devices?

As of 2022, the most popular voice search devices are:

  • Google Assistant (36%)
  • Apple Siri (36%)
  • Microsoft Cortana (24%)
  • Amazon Alexa (19%)
  • Other (1%)

But regardless of the particular brand, it seems that the broader societal shift toward voice search is set to continue. Importantly, 27% of these searches are done on mobile devices (Think with Google), emphasizing why your practice should adopt a 'mobile-first' approach to digital marketing.

Most popular voice search devices

Why does my practice need voice search marketing?

In a report about voice search by PWC, they found that over 72% of people have used voice search at least once. According to the report author, '[voice search] adoption is being driven by younger consumers, households with children'. 

This youth factor is significant. As we know, the youth is society's future. So, high use of voice search among younger audiences indicates that this trend is set to continue. Practices, in other words, need to prepare for the voice search revolution. Investing in medical SEO, including voice search optimization, is becoming an increasingly important component digital marketing for doctors and medical practices.

How does voice search affect search engine optimization?

Good news—optimizing your medical website for voice search will have a positive effect on your broader SEO campaign, because:

  1. It requires adding more natural content to your site—for example answering Frequently Asked Questions about your specialty. By adding this content, your site will rank better for long-tail healthcare keywords and questions;
  2. In order to be included in Google's Featured Snippets, your content must be succinct. Succinct content generally has a good effect on SEO rankings as it helps patients to find the information they need on your site;
  3. It requires your Google Business Profile to be optimized which can greatly benefit your local medical SEO rankings.

How to do voice search SEO for medical practice websites?

There are many steps you can take to optimize your medical website for voice search. Here are 8 ways to optimize your medical website for voice search.

1. Use more natural language and long tale keywords

Voice searches are not the same as text searches. They tend to be longer and often phrased as a question. For this reason, you may wish to target long tale keywords. Of course, the number of searches for long tale keywords is lower, but the good news is that the conversion rate will be higher.

Your site's content should aim to mirror this style—asking and answering many of the questions that patients may ask. Not sure what kind of questions the public is asking? Check our this tool:

Search volume vs. conversion rate for long-tale medical keywords
A/B testing email marketing for doctors

2. Optimize for mobile

Considering that 27% of voice searches are conducted on smartphones and mobile devices, it is a good idea to ensure your site is 100% mobile-friendly. This makes sense—Google is unlikely to recommend a site that is likely to display badly or not function properly on the user's phone. 

Not sure if your site needs improving? Use Google's free tool to check if your site is mobile-friendly.

3. Optimize your Google Business Profile

Over half of all voice searches are related to local businesses (Semrush). In order to give your medical practice the best chance of ranking for such results, you need to optimize your Google Business Profile. Possible optimizations include:

  • List all specialties relating to your practice (and not just one);
  • Add a link for scheduling appointments;
  • List all of your services;
  • Ensure you have populated all other fields, including address, phone number, website;
  • Use Reputation Management for Doctors to increase your number of 5-star reviews.
Google business profile for doctors
seo optimized content

4. Write content that is succinct

Short and succinct answers to questions give your medical content the best chance of being quoted in Google's Featured Snippets section. This section appears above all other search results and can be a fantastic source of traffic for your site.

5. Speed up your website

On average, websites ranked in voice search results load over 50% faster than websites that do not (Backlinko). In other words, in order to give your medical website the best chance of ranking in voice search queries, you should ensure that your site is running fast. Not sure if your site is fast enough? Check your site speed using Google's free tool.

If your site is running slowly, there are a number of steps you can take:

  • Upgrade your hosting to a high-speed hosting provider;
  • Reduce the size of image and video files;
  • Ensure all plugins are up-to-date;
  • Identify any additional pieces of code slowing down your site and fix them accordingly.
Test site speed with Google
domain authority

6. Improve your Domain Authority

Google uses a criterion called 'Domain Authority' (DA) to determine a site's popularity and trustworthiness. It is scored out of 100. Put simply, the higher your Domain Authority, the more likely your site is to appear in search results—including voice search results. Of course, this is just one factor in Google's search algorithm, but it certainly helps. Not sure what your site's DA is? Check your domain authority for free here.

7. Longer content

On average, pages ranking at the top of voice search queries have 2,312 words (backlinko). In other words, even though your answers to FAQs should be succinct, the page in general needs to have over 2,000 words. Not sure how to create that amount of SEO-optimized medical content? Read about our Medical Blog Writing Services.

content patients need
https for medical practices

8. Ensure your website is HTTPS

Last—and perhaps easiest of all—you should ensure that your website is HTTPS (and not HTTP). Over 70% of all voice search results are HTTPS (Backlinko), so it's another box to check in terms of improving the voice search rankings for your medical website. Not sure how to set up HTTPS? Read Google's HTTPS advice here.

Book your free strategy session today.

Dr. Richard Girling
CEO & Founder
Free of charge. No obligations. Learn more about how we can help grow your practice.
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