The Definitive Guide To
Healthcare organizations can instantly boost their search engine optimization performance through the implementation of structured data. Highlight important information in organic search results for your existing and prospective patients with schema markup, including contact information, specialties, location, business hours, and more.
Structured data translates your content into the language of search engines so Google can better understand your webpages. In this guide, we’ll show you 6 specific page types to mark up so that you can start standing out in search and booking more appointments. These types include hospitals, medical clinics, medical conditions, medical procedures, medical therapy, and physicians.
What is Structured Data?
Structured data is basically code written in a specific format so that search engines can understand your website content. When search engines read this code, they can display the information with enhanced results in search called rich results.
Why Structured Data for Healthcare
Structured data is a powerful but underutilized SEO strategy that can help healthcare organizations stand out in search. By adopting this strategy, you can bring important and relevant information to consumers at the start of their health journey online resulting in higher engagement and more appointments booked.
What if all your Doctor’s profiles looked like this in search? This is a rich result.
Rich results are powered by structured data.
Are you new to structured data for the healthcare industry? Our guide takes you from strategy to results, with real stories from prominent healthcare organizations. Save a FREE copy to keep for reference.
Structured Data Drives Results + ROI
Here are three leading healthcare organizations. Read about their Schema App Experiences driving results from structured data.
avg. position increase
“Going the extra mile to be solution oriented and always coming up with a solution is so helpful. (You are) always staying ahead and paying attention to the details. I’ve learned so much. (You’re) really being a partner through it all, not just fulfilling a task.”
– Rachael Jones, SEO Strategist, Sharp Healthcare
increase in CTR
“We have seen significant increases in how our physicians are being found. Physician bio clips increased 90% from 150,000 clicks to about 285,000 clicks and we saw a 38% increase in the click-through rate of the search results as well.”
– Brandi West, Vice President, Consumer Innovation, AdventHealth
Upcoming & Past Events
Learn more about structured data for the healthcare industry
In this episode, hosts Chris Boyer and Reed Smith discuss the importance of the three S’s of Content Strategy. They outline seven considerations for an SEO optimized content strategy and how structured data plays a role in content design. They are then joined by Martha Van Berkel, of SchemaApp, who shares ways she uses schema to help health systems with rebranding and physician engagement.
What is Structured Data?
Schema.org contains over 200 types and 160 properties specific to healthcare. The vocabulary is always changing, which is why Schema App’s solutions contain the entire schema.org vocabulary and include any updates to core, pending, or extended types and properties. As recently as March 2021, the vocabulary was updated to reflect complex healthcare content.
Simon Yohe, former Director of Web Marketing Strategy at AdventHealth, highlights how structured data was used to drive results for their business. Full case study.
Healthcare Rich Results Examples
Healthcare organizations may need to publish urgent updates on their websites to keep the public informed during times of change, or even just about a recurring event like the flu shot. Marking up your content with structured data can help to show these updates in search through rich results. Schema App works with enterprise level healthcare organizations like Sharp Healthcare and AdventHealth to create structured data at scale so that the most current information is displayed in search.
SpecialAnnouncement Rich Results
SpecialAnnouncement markup should be added for time-stamped information updates about COVID-19 made by locally-oriented organizations, such as schools, pharmacies, healthcare providers, community groups, police, and local governments. To learn more about how to markup your website with SpecialAnnouncement schema, read our in-depth article here.
Review Snippets for Healthcare Organizations
Patient engagement is important for any health organization. 94% of healthcare patients leave online reviews about their experiences. From clinics to doctors, reviews can help organizations to stand out in search, to display their credibility, and to engage searchers with interactive rich results. Since sites like healthgrades.com show these reviews, it is a must have. Combine them with FAQ and own even more search real-estate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Rich Results for Healthcare Organizations
Search is a resource for answering questions. Having the answers to questions regarding healthcare and your organization showing as rich results is an effective way to stand out in search. By adding frequently asked questions and answers to your website and marking them up with FAQPage schema, they’re eligible to appear in search as interactive rich results. FAQs could answer questions about COVID-19 testing facilities, as the following example displays.
Other opportunities for FAQ rich results include information about booking appointments, or about the healthcare organization itself.
Recipe Rich Results for Healthcare Organizations
An interesting opportunity that we’re seeing several of our healthcare clients adopt is Recipe schema markup. If your organization has the capacity to maintain a blog, posting recipes for healthy living and then marking them up with Recipe schema can make that content eligible for rich results in search.
Frequently Asked Questions about Healthcare Structured Data
What types in the schema.org vocabulary are specific to healthcare?
Schema.org contains a Health and Life Sciences extension of over 200 types and 160 properties specific to the medical space. These include everything from terms for describing diseases and injuries, such as AnatomicalStructure and MedicalSignOrSymptom, to terms for describing systems of medicine, such as TraditionalChinese and WesternConventional.
Since this is a vocabulary that is often changing, some of the available types and properties are pending. All these terms can still be accessed in Schema App by going into Settings > Project Settings and selecting “Schema+All Layers”. Schema.org has stated that organizations using the vocabulary are encouraged to join community discussions and share their usage scenarios to help improve the schemas.
Where should I begin with my schema markup for healthcare?
As a first step, it’s a good idea to markup your homepage as either an Organization or a subtype that’s more specific to the healthcare industry. Some examples include MedicalOrganization, MedicalBusiness, MedicalClinic, and Physician. For more information about getting this markup setup, check out our Ultimate How-to Guide for Local Business Schema Markup.
Once you’ve established markup for your homepage, we recommend taking a look at Google’s list of features. If any content on your site aligns with these features, using these types can make this content eligible for rich results within search. Just make sure you’re satisfying all the properties that are required!
How should I markup a Hospital or MedicalClinic?
Someone working for the organization. Expected value: Person.
The date that the organization was founded. Expected value: Date expressed in ISO 8601 format.
URL of another Web page that unambiguously indicates the item’s identity. E.g. the URL of the item’s Wikipedia page, Wikidata entry, social media sites. Expected value: URL.
The larger organization that this organization is a subOrganization of. For example, a MedicalClinic may have a parentOrganization that is an Organization or a Hospital. Expected value: Organization.
A medical specialty of the provider. Expected value: MedicalSpecialty.
Learn more about Local Business Structured Data in our Ultimate Guide.
How should Physician pages be marked up?
In Schema.org, Physician is defined as “A doctor’s office” which is also a subtype of LocalBusiness. The same properties listed in the table above should also be considered when marking up a Physician data item. However, only the Physician type has access to the hospitalAffiliation property which expects the value Hospital. What’s more, you may want to state that this Physician is an alumniOf a particular medical school. The alumniOf property is only available to the Person type. In the event you want to markup this information, consider using the employee property to connect to a Person data item. This Person—now embedded within the Physician data item—can use the alumniOf property.
What kind of medical markup is eligible for Review Rich Results?
In 2019, Google updated the list of things that could be eligible for the Review snippet rich result. This update excluded Articles, Blog Postings and Services. LocalBusiness is still eligible for review rich results, meaning Hospitals, Medical Clinics and Physicians can all benefit from this markup. The one stipulation is that ratings and reviews can’t come from the organizations themselves. They have to come from a third party application in order to ensure unbiased reviews and be eligible for markup.
In the case of Advent Health, their development team built an internal solution using Press Gainey to ingest ratings and doctor.com to manage the data. Due to patient privacy requirements, they removed any identifiable user information replacing names with “Advent Health verified patient”.
How can I measure the success of my healthcare structured data?
To assess changes in your site’s metrics, consider using Google Analytics. If you’d like more information about search-engine performance and the health of your markup, consider using Google Search Console, SEMRush or the Schema App Analyzer.
Learn more about How to Measure the Impact of Structured Data.
Do I need to mark up all content on my web pages with structured data?
Google’s General Structured Data Guidelines state that markup should only be added if relevant content exists on the page and is visible to users. While your content must inform your schema markup, you can also consider schema markup when creating your content. If you’re missing any properties that are required for rich result eligibility, consider adding this information to your content.
Schema App is at the forefront of schema markup strategy and implementation, providing enterprise solutions to some of the top clients across the world. To learn more about our structured data solutions and how we can help you reach your online business goals, contact our expert team. We’d love to hear from you and help you get started!