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As 2020 is coming to a close, it’s a good time to stop and take a look at what physician SEO trends are on the horizon so that we can begin preparing for them now.

Looking ahead to 2021, here are some physician SEO trends to be aware of.

1). Focus on Search Intent and User Experience

Full disclosure, this isn’t really a new trend or concept, but it’s important to focus on as online patient search behavior is continuously changing.

One of the major search changes we’re seeing is an increase of patients now using question-based searches to find what they’re looking for rather than short basic searches.

For example, “rotator cuff tear” is still a standard search, but now many patients are trying to find more specific information by searching for questions such as:

  • What does a rotator cuff tear feel like?
  • What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?
  • How is a rotator cuff tear diagnosed?

This is a trend across all specialties and something to factor into your physician SEO strategy going forward.

2). Patient Page Experience and Google Core Web Vitals

Google Core Web Vitals basically takes real-world data on how your site performs (think load times, navigation, mobile experience, security, etc.) and uses this data to help determine what they believe the patient experience to be on your website.

To complicate the matter, this will be a ranking factor for your website beginning in May 2021. Physician websites that optimize for this now will be significantly ahead in rankings over those who don’t.

Putting it bluntly, this is a significant physician SEO trend that can’t be ignored.

3). Mobile SEO Is What Matters

For a long time now, Google has had a mobile-first indexing approach to websites. This is not something that is going away anytime soon.

Even if you’re in a specialty where most patients visit your website from a desktop, Google will still rank your site based upon how it performs on mobile. It will essentially ignore the desktop experience going forward.

This means that all physician website design should be developed or redesigned from a mobile experience perspective, rather than desktop. If you’ve had both a mobile site and desktop site, it’s time to consider moving to a responsive site.

Lastly, for this specific physician SEO trend, I recommend taking an audit of your current website and make sure the pages are intuitive and easy to use on mobile for your patients.

While online tools to check your site’s mobile performance are helpful, don’t just rely on getting a passing score. You want to future-proof your website by focusing on the patient’s mobile experience.

4). Create Long-Form Content

One physician SEO trend that will help you outrank the competition in 2021 is long-form content.

This has been a trend in internet marketing for a while now. In more competitive searches, pages with over 2,000 words dramatically outperformed those with 1,000 words or less.

When creating content, think in terms of long-form as much as possible. Really expand on your topics, going into detail that will help educate your patients, and help them see you as the local expert they want to see.

5). SERP Optimization for Your Brand

Google now has so much data that it’s reasonable to expect more personalized knowledge graphs to begin popping up.

Practically speaking, this means it’s time to optimize all of your online channels—Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, your images, etc. The reason being is that Google will likely begin incorporating these online channels along with your website when people search for you.


There’s a lot of change on the horizon from these 2021 physician SEO trends when it comes to online marketing.

Proactively addressing these trends now will help put you in a position to not only outrank your competition in 2021 but really “run up the score” on those who are late to the party.