Ethan Lazuk

Ethan was a Sr. SEO Associate at Sagapixel, where he worked on several accounts for clients benefiting from his experience in content-driven SEO.

SEO for Functional Medicine: A Playbook for Attracting Patients Through Organic Search

Table of Contents

If you run an functional medicine clinic, you may have heard that one way to attract new patients is through organic search using search engine optimization (SEO). While SEO can be an effective and cost-efficient lead-generation channel for your digital marketing strategies, it’s also a vast field that requires a knowledge of the tactics to use and experience with what tactics will work for your functional or alternative medicine practice.

This article provides you with a complete playbook for integrative medicine SEO. These tips will suit everyone from experienced digital marketers to doctors or clinicians who are just hearing “search engine optimization” for the first time.

As an SEO agency, we’ve helped a variety of medical providers, including in the functional medicine space, grow their online presence and attract more patients through organic search.

Here, we use our experience to give you a complete picture of what SEO strategies will work for your clinic. We’ll cover how to optimize your website, ways to improve your local search presence, as well as insights for building authority and trust with search engines like Google, which is critical for a medical website to rank competitively.

Let’s get started.

SEO Tactics to Optimize Your Website for Search Visibility

Optimizing your website for organic search starts with improving the website’s overall quality and relevance for your audience. SEO fundamentals include using the right language to help your prospective patients (and Google) understand your clinic’s services, providing sufficient information to convey your authority and build trust, and delivering an optimal user experience across all devices.

Keyword Research: Knowing What Your Patients Search For

To attract patients to your functional medicine clinic online, you’ll want to explain your services like patients would search for them on Google. Speaking to customers in their own language is why keyword research is foundational to an SEO strategy.

As medical practitioners, you know the functional or alternative medicine field inside and out. You likely use precise and expert terminology when describing your services. The question is, would your prospective patients refer to your services the same way you do, and would your patients know how to search for the services using your terminology versus their own? Keyword research sheds light on these questions.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the SEO practice of using data from web searches to understand which queries (keywords) searchers may use to find a particular web page. You can glean keyword research insights from Google tools, such as Google Search Console and Google Ads Keyword Planner, as well as third-party tools, such as Ahrefs or SEMRush. Part of keyword research is understanding search intent, or what the searcher means to find or accomplish with their query.

Incorporating Keywords on Your Website

You should optimize each page on your website around a core topic represented by a collection of target keywords. These keywords may include head terms (or broad, high-volume keywords) as well as long-tail queries (or lower-volume, more specific keywords).

Suppose your functional medicine clinic offers acupuncture as a service, for example. In that case, you may include head terms like [acupuncture treatment] as well as long-tail queries like [how long is an acupuncture session].

acupuncture keyword volume

Examples of “acupuncture” keywords in Ahrefs Keyword Explorer.

Choosing Keywords

To help you with keyword selection, some SEO tools will provide metrics such as search volume (how many people search for the keyword in a given time period) and keyword difficulty (an estimate of the competition level to rank for the keyword).

While SEO tool metrics can be guidelines in keyword research, it’s most important to select keywords that accurately describe the page’s content and match the user’s search intent (what they hope to achieve by searching the keyword). There can even be SEO opportunities in zero-volume keywords that tools (and likely your competitors) haven’t picked up on yet.

Content Optimization: Improving Your Existing Web Pages

Whether your integrative medicine clinic is relatively new or established, chances are your website already has some pages of content. As a foundation of your SEO strategy, you should ensure that each page meant to drive organic traffic is optimized for search visibility using on-page SEO.

Optimizing content starts with including relevant entities, linking related pages together, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions to entice clicks in search results, and adding structured data to help Google better understand the page’s topic.

Entity Optimization

If your content optimization revolves around keyword optimization alone, you’re likely missing out on the latest SEO tactics surrounding entities. Google defines entities as “A thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined, and distinguishable.” Unlike keywords, which can be ambiguous and specific to a language, entities convey a universal meaning.

The relationships between entities are connected in a knowledge graph. To understand web pages and generate the most accurate search results, Google looks at entities as well as keywords in content, hence the importance of each for SEO.

Google understands how entities are related to each other. When interpreting the meaning of your content, the search engine looks for the salience of related entities that further convey the page’s meaning. A cornerstone of entity optimization in SEO is ensuring your content contains the best mix of entities to relate the page’s content topic, expertise, and comprehensiveness.

Tools like the Google Cloud Natural Language API demo can provide examples of entities that may be represented in your content. For example, the screenshot below of a definition of “integrative medicine” from the Cleveland Clinic contains entities like “medicine,” “health,” “illness,” “disease,” “symptoms,” and “conditions.” (Interestingly, “integrative medicine” doesn’t appear as its own entity.)

NLP analysis of integrative medicine content

Example of entity analysis for medical text using Google Cloud Natural Language API demo.

One way to optimize for entities in SEO is to increase the salience of important or related entities and decrease the salience of less relevant entities by adjusting their prominence in the content.

As part of your functional or alternative medicine SEO strategy, you can also strive to have your clinic’s or physicians’ brands represented in Google’s knowledge graph with their own entities and knowledge panels. (We’ll discuss more on this topic later.)

Internal Linking

Patients will use internal links in the content to navigate between related pages. Adding internal linking to create easy, logical navigation is part of having a good site architecture (more on this later).

Beyond improving the user’s experience, internal links also play a role in organic search rankings. Google uses PageRank to measure the importance of a web page, which impacts the page’s placement in search results. Internal links can distribute PageRank strategically throughout your website, including sharing the benefits of backlinks (or incoming links from other websites to yours).

Additionally, the anchor text used for internal links helps users understand where the link will take them and gives Google more information about the linked page’s topic. Even details as minute as where the link is placed in the content, per Google’s Reasonable Surfer Model, can impact that link’s SEO value.

Title Tag & Meta Description Optimization

A traditional organic search result contains a title link and a snippet. Together, these text elements convey the meaning of your web page to searchers. If your title link isn’t compelling, you may lose clicks to competitors. If your title link promises information your page doesn’t deliver, you could increase the rate users bounce from your page.

One way to optimize the title link for a web page is to have an optimized title tag. Importantly, the keywords in your title tag have a small effect on what queries the page will rank for. The snippet, meanwhile, is most frequently pulled algorithmically from the page’s content, but you can provide a suggestion with a meta description.

title tag example

Example of a traditional organic search result (desktop) showing title link and search snippet.

Increasingly, Google’s search result pages (SERPs) go beyond showing the traditional “ten blue links” and include rich results triggered by structured data.

Structured Data

The content on your web pages is unstructured data written for humans (at least, it should be if you’re following SEO best practices around creating helpful, people-first content). Structured data, meanwhile, is placed “behind the scenes” in your web pages’ code and conveys information in a standardized format that’s easy for machines to understand. Google uses structured data to build its knowledge graph as well as return rich results.

There are many vocabularies of structured data easily found on However, your focus for SEO should be to incorporate the structured data markup that Google Search supports and your website qualifies for. These markups can result in rich results that set your search results apart from your competitors.

Content Creation: Building Authority & Answering Questions

Once your website’s content is optimized for search visibility, you can turn your attention to creating new SEO-friendly content. Every page should have a unique purpose. While not all pages are designed to be shown in search results, the pages that are should be written with user intent and search engines in mind.

Search-friendly content for functional medicine clinics generally falls into three categories:

  1. Service pages to explain what you offer.
  2. Location pages to explain where and to whom you offer your services.
  3. Informational blog articles to answer your patients’ questions, demonstrate your expertise, and build topical authority.

Service Pages

Each service you offer should have a dedicated, SEO-friendly service page. A service page’s information should include an overview of the service that entices patients to choose your clinic over other functional or alternative medicine providers and is comprehensible to search engines.

The content sections a service page might include are a description or definition of the service, a reason why your clinic is qualified to perform the service and stands apart from competitors, and answers to questions patients may have, such as how the service is performed, how long it takes, what the expected results are, and what is the estimated cost. You’ll also want to include how to contact your clinic or schedule a consultation or appointment and track these conversions through analytics (more on this below).

If you have original photographs or videos demonstrating the service or its before-and-after results, you can include these media on the service page. Visual media can be part of an SEO strategy that includes image search or YouTube.

In terms of how to write SEO-friendly content on service pages, you’ll want to incorporate the keywords from your keyword research as well as have high salience for related entities. The language should be professional and accurate, but remember to write at a reading level your patients will understand.

Location Pages

Location pages describe a service your clinic provides specific to a geographic area where you either offer the service or serve patients from that area. Location pages can be central to a local SEO strategy.

Amazingly, 46% of searches on Google have local intent, meaning the searcher is looking for results near them. During keyword research, local intent search queries may be indicated with phrases like “near me” or a mention of the city (such as [service + location]). Or the searcher may simply search for a medical service and let Google return local results.

Local results include Google’s local packs, which show Google Business Profile results (more on this later), and traditional organic search results. Location pages are intended to rank as the latter.

Location pages apply to local SEO strategies for functional medicine clinics that either serve multiple locations or offer services that patients from surrounding areas are willing to travel to receive. For example, if your practice offers acupuncture at clinics in different cities, you may have a location page for each city where the focus head term is [acupuncture + city].

If your clinic offers a unique service that patients in nearby areas aren’t able to get locally, you may have location pages that focus on that service and the name of the other areas you serve. Or, if your clinic is so well known for a service that patients are willing to travel to you, having location pages for the areas you serve also makes sense for your local SEO strategy.

One important SEO note with location pages is to make their content unique to avoid indexing problems from duplicate content and canonicalization issues. You can use different phrasing to describe the service on each location page. Or, if a particular area has unique characteristics that apply to your service, like maybe the area is known for having an elderly population that can benefit from your chiropractic therapy, including those details can also make the location page unique.

Other ways to make location pages unique are to answer frequently asked questions that patients from different areas might have.

Blog Articles

Part of your integrative medicine SEO strategy should be to write informational blog articles to reach prospective patients researching your services. By getting blog content in front of patients still in the decision-making stages of seeking treatment, you can introduce them to your brand and show your expertise, both of which build trust and increase your chances of winning the patient’s business.

Being on the Buyer’s Journey

Having blog articles to answer patients’ questions along the buyer’s journey increases your clinic’s visibility with those patients and the likelihood they’ll choose you. Before deciding to come to your clinic for Chinese herbal therapy, for example, patients may want to know how Chinese herbs work or their medicinal benefits. As another example, before getting massage therapy, patients might want to know which physical disorders massage therapy treats or how much it costs in their area.

Selecting Blog Topics

When choosing blog topics for your SEO strategy, you’ll want topics that satisfy two criteria: be on your patient’s buyer’s journey and have enough search volume to drive organic traffic. If a blog topic isn’t on the buyer’s journey, the article may earn organic traffic, but it won’t be from visitors who are likely to convert and become patients. Conversely, if the blog topics you choose don’t have adequate search volume, it’s unlikely the articles will appear often enough in search results to drive qualified traffic.

Sources of blog topics can include long-tail keywords from your keyword research, particularly questions that have “why,” “how,” “what,” “when,” and “which.” You can also find topics for blogging in Google’s autocomplete and search suggestions, related searches, and People Also Ask. Forums and websites like Reddit and Quora can also be mined for blog topics, or you can take inspiration from common questions your patients ask.

To rank high in search results, blog articles should satisfy the correct search intent for the topic. One way to assess search intent(s) is to analyze the web pages already ranking for the chosen topic. If you see short definitions, long guides, or listicle articles, those can be indications of how your blog should be formatted.

Google also prefers blog content to be helpful for users, with demonstrated expertise and original information that provides information gain. When creating an outline for a blog article, you can take inspiration from existing articles, but also remember to incorporate as much new relevant information as possible.

It also benefits your SEO strategy to make blog articles evergreen so the information stays relevant over time. However, it’s also a good SEO practice to periodically refresh articles, especially if they lose traffic due to changing search intents, updated SERP layouts, or new content from competitors.

Technical SEO: Providing a Good User Experience

Good content is essential to an functional or alternative medicine SEO strategy, but you must deliver that content in the fastest, smoothest, and most appealing way possible. That’s where technical SEO comes in.

Factors like the organization of your website’s information, the speed your content loads at, how you control search engine crawling, and the security of your user’s information provide the foundation of your technical SEO strategy.

Site Architecture

The way you organize and prioritize information on your website is referred to as site architecture. An efficient and logical site architecture benefits users and search engine bots as they navigate your website and understand how the pages relate to one another.

The best way to ensure a good site architecture is to map out your page hierarchy before the website is created. At the top of any website’s hierarchy is its homepage. For an integrative medicine clinic, the second level of pages may include About Us and Services, which would be primary menu items. In the third level, there may be an About page about the Team or Service pages about each service, which would be reflected as dropdown items in the menu.

Pages’ URLs and breadcrumbs should also reflect the website’s information hierarchy. If your website has a Team page, its position in the hierarchy may result in a URL such as If acupuncture is one of your clinic’s services, it may have a URL such as

Additionally, breadcrumbs on pages can offer further navigation. For a team or service page, the breadcrumbs may look something like “Home > About > Team” or “Home > Services > Acupuncture.”

If your website wasn’t created with SEO best practices for site architecture in mind, there are solutions. You can update existing URLs and use 301 redirects to pass PageRank and guide users. However, updating an existing site architecture is an advanced SEO practice and should be done under the guidance of SEO professionals to minimize traffic fluctuations.

Site Speed

How fast your website loads is part of Google’s Page Experience ranking factor. Page speed can be reflected in the Core Web Vitals signal, particularly Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and First Input Delay (FID).

Ways to test and improve your page speed are to use tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Keep in mind that different pages, including page layouts, may load at different speeds, so it’s important to test various pages.

core web vitals

Example of PageSpeed Insights CWV Assessment for a passing web page.

In terms of rankings advantages in search results, page experience is more of a tie-breaker between sites with similar levels of content quality. That said, today’s SEO is also about delivering an optimal user experience to keep visitors engaged for as long as necessary. Having a fast-loading site across all devices and internet connections, especially mobile, is fundamental to keeping users on your site.

Robots.txt Optimization

The robots.txt file tells search engine bots which web pages they should and shouldn’t crawl. Your robots.txt file should steer search engines toward SEO-friendly pages and deter the crawling of pages not intended for search. For example, the login page to your content management system shouldn’t be eligible for crawling as it doesn’t play a role in your SEO strategy.

The purpose of robots.txt is to control the crawl rate to avoid going over your website’s crawl budget. While crawl budget can be a concern for larger websites, robots.txt optimization is primarily a best practice for functional medicine SEO.

Bear in mind, robots.txt is not meant to keep pages out of Google’s index. Instead, a page should be blocked with a noindex meta tag or password protected to prevent its appearance in search.

XML Sitemap Creation & Submission to Google

Your website’s XML sitemap lists all the essential pages you want to appear in search results. The format of the XML sitemap acts as a roadmap for search engine crawlers to easily find and crawl the pages. You can submit XML sitemaps to Google for crawling through Google Search Console (more about this tool below).

There are size limits to XML sitemaps (50,000 URLs). Still, functional medicine SEO strategies should typically be concerned with making sure XML sitemaps include the right pages, update automatically, and are submitted to search engines.

SSL Certificate & Security

An SSL certificate, or Secure Sockets Layer, creates an encrypted link between a web server and the browser. SSL certificates are important security measures for websites and core components of an SEO strategy, as Google includes them as a Page Experience ranking signal. The presence of an SSL certificate is indicated by the “s” in the HTTPS that starts a page’s URL. Most browsers will display the secure connection with a lock symbol in the browser bar.

An additional security measure integrative medicine clinics could take is to ensure a HIPAA-compliant environment, especially if the website collects protected health information (PHI), such as through lead-gen forms.

Data & Analytics Collection: Tracking Your Results

Data should drive the SEO strategy for your website. Information about which pages are driving traffic and the keywords those pages are ranking for can help you make smart SEO decisions about optimizing content. Additionally, monitoring for Page Experience and other technical issues, such as pages not being indexed, can help alert you to technical fixes you can make.

Generally, there are two main sources of data for making SEO decisions: Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is a webmaster tool that provides information about your organic traffic from Google Search as well as technical SEO issues. The Performance report can show you metrics like clicks and impressions (search appearances) for your pages and list queries the pages rank for, including their average position and click-through rate. Monitoring the Performance report on a regular basis for increases or dips in traffic, and diagnosing the reasons for the changes, should be part of your ongoing SEO strategy.

The Pages report under Indexing (also referred to as the Coverage report by SEOs) can show you how many pages are indexed or not. This report can also explain why pages aren’t indexed, such as they return a 404 status code, are soft 404s, or maybe have been discovered but not yet indexed.

You can also look for optimization opportunities in GSC; for example, pages marked as “Crawled – currently not indexed” may need improvements. Furthermore, you can use the URL Inspection tool to look at pages individually, including their indexation status, date of the last crawl, and the canonical Google chose.

canonical in google search console

Example of Google Search Console Pages report showing indexed and not indexed pages.

You can use GSC to submit XML sitemaps to Google, check that your website is mobile-friendly, and assess Page Experience signals like Core Web Vitals. You can verify your website in GSC using Domain verification or URL prefix verification. (Domain verification is preferable because it will include any subdomains and both the HTTPS and HTTP versions of the site.)

Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) measures data about the users on your website. GA shows metrics like users, new users, sessions, bounce rate, pages per session, and conversions in a given timeframe. GA also breaks down traffic by channel, such as organic search, paid search, social, direct, and referral.

For organic search traffic, looking at source/medium can be helpful to see how much traffic is coming from search engines besides Google, such as Bing and Yahoo. Importantly for integrative or alternative medicine clinics that rely on local search traffic, Google Analytics can also show visits from a Google Business Profile when UTM tracking is used.

There are two versions of Google Analytics: Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). UA will sunset on July 1, 2023, and stop processing new data. Therefore, it’s important to set up and learn GA4 as soon as possible. Looking at Life cycle under Reports in GA4, for example, can provide quick snapshots of information about user acquisition and engagement, such as sessions by channel or conversions.

Conversions that Matter

A conversion is an action taken by a user at the end of their journey on your website. For integrative medicine SEO, the end of the user journey may be to submit a form to schedule a consultation or appointment. Conversions can be set up and tracked in Google Analytics.

Along the user journey, a prospective patient may also perform microconversions on your website. Microconversions include actions like:

  • Sharing a blog article on social media.
  • Following your clinic on social media.
  • Downloading an ebook or other form of marketing collateral.
  • Watching a video.
  • Clicking a particular link, such as making a phone call to your clinic.

Having too many kinds of conversions in GA can paint a messy portrait of user behavior, while having too few may not lend enough insight into how visitors are using your website. Ultimately, tracking the right conversions along the buyer’s journey is important so you can spot and fix potential roadblocks in the conversion path and attribute results to your SEO efforts.

Local SEO Tactics to Reach Your Closest Market

A comprehensive SEO strategy involves managing all the ways your functional medicine clinic is visible in organic searches. Beyond optimizing your website for search results, it’s also important to optimize other types of online real estate, particularly local search results in Google’s local packs and map listings. For this, you’ll want to turn your attention to your clinic’s Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile: Key SERP Real Estate

A Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a free profile that your clinic can use to manage its presence in the local listings and map results on Google Search.

When a patient searches for your clinic explicitly in Google Search, chances are your Google Business Profile (GBP) will appear prominently in the results. You can use this profile to show your address and phone number, link(s) to make an appointment, images of your practice, reviews from patients, and announcements or deals.

If a prospective patient searches for a service you offer in their local area, Google will likely show a local pack with three organic GBP listings. Optimizing your GBP to rank for relevant local intent searches can bring you leads and organic traffic beyond what your website alone could provide in the traditional search results.

Main GBP Ranking Factors & Best Practices

As a rule of thumb, your Google Business Profile should be thorough, accurate, and contain as much detail as possible. That said, certain aspects of GBPs play a role in rankings while others do not.

Having keywords in your business title is a ranking factor. That said, your business title should accurately reflect your clinic’s name. Stuffing keywords into a business title is against Google’s rules and could result in a suspension.

Your GBP’s primary category is also a ranking factor. It’s important to double-check the most accurate category is selected for your clinic. The link pointing to your website also impacts rankings. Many clinics will use their homepage, but other pages, such as a services overview page, could be more relevant. Adding UTM parameters to GBP links allows you to monitor traffic in your analytics tools and test different links.

The proximity of your clinic’s address to searchers is a ranking factor, albeit one you can’t control. A ranking factor you do have some control over is reviews. Gathering positive and detailed patient reviews can improve your clinic’s GBP rankings. Responding to reviews is also a best practice. If you receive a negative review, which happens now and again, responding in the right way could change the reviewer’s mind and result in an updated rating.

Placing keywords in review replies, service descriptions, or your GBP business description won’t impact rankings. It’s better to write these sections naturally with an eye toward detail and user comprehension.

If Google has already created a GBP for your clinic, make sure you claim the listing and manage who has access to it. Google or users may suggest edits from time to time, so it’s important to stay on top of any changes to your GBP and ensure the information is always accurate and up to date.

Build Your Website’s Authority & Improve Rankings

Becoming an authority on the web means your website is a go-to source of information in the functional medicine space. Not only does authority improve your brand visibility, but it also helps with organic search rankings.

A goal of your clinic’s SEO strategy should be to build topical authority for functional medicine services through quality content and links.

A Functional Medicine Website Must Build Trust

In the functional or alternative medicine space, a website builds its topical authority in part by establishing trust with its audience.

Google implements thousands of updates to its search ranking systems every year. Before pushing the updates live, it tests the quality of the results using human reviewers known as quality raters. Quality raters follow a detailed set of guidelines for assessing search results and the websites shown.

Fundamental concepts for the quality rater guidelines are that websites should provide helpful content that shows expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, particularly for Your Money or Your Life content. A grasp of YMYL pages and E-A-T is essential to an integrative or alternative medicine SEO strategy.

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)

Pages that could impact “the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users” are deemed Your Money or Your Life by Google. Because integrative medicine pertains to health, it’s a YMYL topic. Understanding the implications of having YMYL content is particularly important for integrative medicine SEO.

YMYL pages are under higher scrutiny by search engine algorithms to deliver quantifiable facts. One indication of low quality content in the medical field is when the information contradicts scientific consensus. This point is particularly important for functional medicine SEO: failure to provide information in an objectively factual way or making statements that don’t align with scientific consensus could make it difficult for a web page to rank. Per Google’s Helpful Content system, we also know that individual pages of unhelpful content can impact the overall site performance.

To satisfy the high standards that YMYL pages should have, the content should demonstrate high levels of E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness).

Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

The concept of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness is discussed throughout Google’s quality rater guidelines. Google confirmed in 2022 that E-A-T should apply for every query searched, but it is especially important for YMYL pages, like those on functional medicine websites.

E-A-T isn’t a ranking system or score but a conceptualization for how Google wants its search algorithms to work. Central to the concept of E-A-T is content quality, particularly having the content be written or reviewed by someone with expertise who is a well-trusted authority on the topic.

The reputation of your website and its content creators can be influenced by their online reputation as indicated by reviews and mentions from prominent, trusted sources, website schema (structured data) and their knowledge panels (driven by Google’s knowledge graph), as well as quality backlinks.

If your integrative medicine clinic or its providers qualify for knowledge panels, these should be claimed by the person and maintained for accuracy. In terms of backlinks, these should be earned organically or acquired through approved means, always with considerations for relevance and quality.

Active Link Building

Artificially manipulating your website’s backlink profile to improve search performance, such as paying for links, is against Google’s guidelines. That said, there are ways to actively build links from trusted sources that can pass PageRank and generate qualified referral traffic.

Broken Link Building

Using a tool such as Ahrefs, you can analyze the backlink profiles of websites that you’d like to earn a backlink from (generally, these would be authoritative medical sites) and look for broken links that return a 404 response code. You can then reach out to that website and suggest they swap out the dead link for a working link from your website. The thought is that the website would rather have a live link than a broken one and would reward your help by linking to your resource, as long as it’s a suitable destination.

Want to do this quickly? View our post: Broken Link Building Techniques That Don’t Take Hours.

Guest Blogging

Writing articles for authoritative websites in your niche or where your patients are likely to visit can result in link placements that drive qualified referral traffic. Your authorship in guest blogs also presents an opportunity to build brand awareness for your clinic and yourself as an industry expert.

Unlinked Mentions

Gary Ilyes of Google once said that E-A-T is largely based on links and mentions on authoritative sites, such as the Washington Post. Mentions, therefore, have their own value for E-A-T.

tweet to Gary Illyes from Google

Gary Ilyes perspective on E-A-T as reported by Dr. Marie Haynes on Twitter.

That said, unlinked mentions also present an opportunity to have your website linked naturally using its brand name. By searching for mentions of your clinic online and reaching out to the most relevant and authoritative websites asking for a link to your website, you can earn quality backlinks.

Passive Link Building

The ideal way to build a backlink profile is to passively earn links to your clinic’s website based on the quality and shareability of your content. By publishing informational content, you can earn backlinks from other websites that use your article as a resource. Having original research that can’t be gotten elsewhere also increases your chances of earning a link.

You can also create content assets more prone to earn backlinks as part of your SEO strategy, such as statistical roundups. This link-magnet content provides a list of industry statistics that are easily quoted and linked to by websites writing about the integrative medicine space.

link magnet

Excerpt from Sagapixel’s 12 Healthcare Marketing Statistics that Speak Volumes [2022] article.

Online Directories

In addition to finding your clinic in traditional search results or local listings, prospective patients may also be searching in directories. Ensuring your clinic has an optimized listing in general and niche industry directories your prospective patients might visit improves your chances of earning organic leads. Furthermore, having your clinic’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently represented across different directories is a good SEO practice that solidifies Google’s confidence in your business details.

Auditing online directories can be a time-consuming process. One way to quickly ensure consistent directory listings and find new opportunities for listings is to perform a citation builder campaign with a tool like BrightLocal. Bear in mind that having more listings isn’t necessarily to your advantage. Rather, the goal is to be represented in relevant listings where your prospective patients may be looking for an functional medicine provider.

Sagapixel Knows the Functional Medicine SEO Playbook

As you can see, the playbook for an functional medicine SEO strategy has a lot of steps that require different areas of knowledge and expertise. There may be aspects of the SEO strategy that your clinic can perform in-house. For other areas of SEO, you may need outside assistance.

At Sagapixel, we’re a full-service SEO agency that can handle every part of the integrative medicine playbook for you. From content strategy to technical improvements, we can help your website gain visibility with prospective patients in search results while delivering an optimal user experience.

Schedule a call with us