SEO and UX: How to Use Both for More Effective Health System Digital Marketing

Creating an effective yet unique digital marketing strategy for your health system is no small feat. Every aspect of your healthcare operation, the needs of your target audience, and even the digital marketing efforts of other health systems should be considered.

While a multi-pronged approach to marketing is always the way to go, your overall strategy can ultimately be broken down to two considerations. The first is driving traffic to your website with search engine optimization (SEO). The second is user experience (UX)—what visitors will see and feel when they arrive on your site. The best strategies balance these elements to create an impactful digital plan with diverse tactics to get the best results. 

SEO determines who sees your digital marketing efforts, whereas UX dictates how prospective patients interact with your site and marketing content. These seemingly divergent elements are actually closely related, and many facets of your health system’s digital marketing strategy impact both SEO and UX.

Where Do SEO and UX Intersect?

The trick to having the greatest impact is learning where SEO and UX connect. What traits of your digital assets can help (or hurt) SEO and UX simultaneously? By focusing on these aspects, you’ll exponentially increase the influence of your marketing efforts. Here’s where SEO and UX work together.

1. Metadata

Literally translated as data about data, metadata enhances your SEO and UX at the same time. Each page on your website includes personalized metadata covering everything from the meta description to title and header tags, as well as alt text and canonical tags.

From an SEO perspective, metadata is exceptionally helpful. Title tags significantly impact search results, as does the meta description.1 Three out of four of the top-ranking pages on Google show meta descriptions have been used on that page.2

Metadata improves UX without most users ever knowing. When appropriately added across your health system website, metadata helps prospective patients find the content they’re looking for faster and more accurately. Who doesn’t want that?

2. Page Speed

One of the most important aspects of any online journey is speed. Users expect to get the information they want quickly, and as a result, page speed affects both SEO and UX.

The average loading speed for a top-ranked page on Google is 1.65 seconds.3 Even more impactful is the decisive statistic showing that 82% of consumers allow page load times to guide their purchasing decisions, including healthcare choices.4 A fast website ranks higher, appears to more users, and delivers a more enjoyable experience. Slow-loading pages have the opposite effect. 

3. External Links

External links are one of the most well-established SEO ranking factors. When another site links back to your content, Google views your site with more authority. Plus, other entities viewing your health system as a source of knowledge is good for your reputation and brand.

But external links go both ways, meaning they improve UX, too. When writing articles for your blog or sharing content elsewhere on your site, always link back to your sources. This helps users better understand the content and boosts their confidence in your credibility. And depending on where they’re reading, an outbound link just might improve their navigation experience, too.

4. NAP

One of the reasons users search for your health system online is to get basic information. They want to know your name, address, and phone number (NAP). Listing these pieces of information consistently across your health system’s digital footprint is an excellent boost to UX.

Easily accessible NAP information helps SEO, too. In addition to being a known local ranking factor, research suggests that NAP consistency alone can improve a site’s performance on Google by as much as 16%.5

5. Privacy and Security

Site security is important to web users and developers alike. Investing in a secure site not only improves SEO but also enhances UX.

To help with SEO, design your site with a well-coded builder and utilize a robots.txt file and a sitemap. These elements help Google index your page correctly so your link appears in the most relevant search results.

Having SSL certification (so your URL starts with https) enhances your legitimacy so users can navigate without fear of a security breach. Displaying security trust badges from TRUSTe, TrustedSite, or Norton demonstrates the safety of your website as well. Posting the legally required privacy policy and terms and conditions is another great way to improve UX. 

Organizations operating in the healthcare space have their own sets of patient privacy and data security obligations. A healthcare digital marketing agency can assist you in ensuring your health system website meets all applicable regulations for privacy and data safety without sacrificing UX.

Not sure if your website strikes the right balance between technical performance and user experience? Dreamscape can help. Call us at 888.307.7304 to schedule a discovery session with our health system web design experts to review your site and discuss opportunities to take your digital presence to the next level.


For a list of references, please contact us.