Best Practices for Managing SEO Internally
Insight from the Bozeman Health Digital Team
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
Bozeman Health is a rural health system serving southwest Montana, with two hospitals, 20 clinics, and 150 providers. “Montana is an interesting puzzle when it comes to healthcare because we are about 90 percent of the size of California with about a million people,” says Joshua Francis, Bozeman Health’s webmaster and digital strategist. (California’s population of 39.5 million is nearly 40 times Montana’s.) Bozeman is the 4th-most-populous city in the state, with a population of 40,000. The health system’s service area covers 100,000 people.
“The hospital-side competition is a little bit limited,” Francis says. The system’s top competitor is Billings Clinic, 130 miles away. But like many local systems, Bozeman Health has to contend with consumer perceptions that patients need to travel to Seattle or Salt Lake City to get excellent care. Besides that, other Montana-based health systems are beginning to open facilities right in Bozeman that compete with its pediatric, women’s health, primary care, and urgent care facilities. These are all reasons Bozeman Health wants to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to search engine rankings and making it as easy as possible for consumers to find its providers and services.
Not every organization has the resources to hire an agency to manage SEO. At Bozeman Health, SEO and nearly all other marketing functions are managed in-house. Francis participated in a discussion we followed on the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) online member community about tools to manage SEO in-house. We followed up with him to learn how Bozeman Health’s internal marketing team creates and optimizes content for search, and how it analyzes activity to continuously improve results.
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