CareTech News

The MetroHealth System: Organic Search Brings SEO Advantages and Budget Benefits

MetroHealth Website Meets Competitive Challenges

The MetroHealth System has 17 facilities in the Cleveland area – a very competitive healthcare market including the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital Systems. MetroHealth leadership wanted to increase awareness in the system’s immediate geographical area, as well as beyond Ohio in web search results for those who were looking for specific treatments and surgeries. MetroHealth is the only Level One Adult Trauma Center in Cleveland, as well as the only certified Adult and Pediatric Burn Care Center. While other systems offer lower levels of trauma care, MetroHealth wanted to promote their status and the certifications they’ve worked hard to reach and maintain.

When MetroHealth decided to redesign its website to expand its reach throughout the area, its marketing staff turned to CareTech Solutions’ Web team for innovative design and construction, and to Peak Positions, CareTech’s SEO partner, for a state-of-the-art search effort.

Laying the Groundwork

The CareTech Web team produced a new site design with clean navigation from the home page. The site’s strong and well-organized navigation enabled users to remain on the site in order to complete their tasks more efficiently.

Once the newly redesigned site was launched, MetroHealth’s Kate Ruggiero, Manager of Digital Communications, and Nancy Fishburn, Director of Shared Services, looked at how organic traffic was flowing on a weekly and monthly basis to get a feel for the general search terms people used repeatedly. Top performing pages were monitored, as well as departments and services that weren’t getting as much traffic as they should be. Because seven out of ten clicks occur in organic search results, MetroHealth saw the organic traffic side as something they could really work on with the appropriate vendor to maximize content and page positions – all without breaking the bank.

Modifying Terms for Best Advantage

At this point, the MetroHealth team involved Jack Roberts of Peak Positions in order to get the most out of organic Search Engine Optimization and maximize their budget. They provided Roberts with the list of terms from their Google Analytics results, and he and his team went to work researching and investigating each term, and producing an insightful report on whether the terms were worth pursuing or not.

Peak Positions then narrowed the range of organic terms down to 15 or 20 strong keywords that were not oversaturated by competition. They continue to monitor traffic month to month. When a keyword begins to “go stale” or not perform, then it is replaced with an alternative.

The CareTech and Peak Positions teams talk with the MetroHealth team on a regular basis, noting what’s working and what’s not. Updates occur regularly, which is very critical to SEO. A well-designed SEO program should deliver rankings, traffic gains, benefits, and value for upwards of 18 months before a major re-evaluation becomes necessary.

Ranking Responsive Design

Recently, another factor has become significant to the always-changing Google algorithm: Responsive design. With the enormous popularity of mobile devices (now surpassing desktops and laptops for search), websites that adapt themselves automatically to display content on all devices are favored by Google. If all site metrics are equal on the keywords, of the websites in Google’s database on a particular keyword, the site that is mobile-friendly is going to outrank the site that is not – by implication, mobile-friendly sites can be trusted more to render content and serve users in all browsers. Accordingly, the new MetroHealth website was designed to be responsive from the beginning.

Accessibility Raises Trust

The responsive design of MetroHealth’s site contributes to its accessibility – a key point that also raises rankings. Its mobile accessibility also helps to expand its reach into lower-income areas where people who can’t afford laptops or desktops more than likely have smart phones – and still search for healthcare information and services. In addition, accessibility can be an issue for seniors, who typically search for and consume more healthcare than any other demographic group and who may have a custom browser, such as those for the visually impaired. Such capability also raises Google’s “trust” and rankings of a website.


In conjunction with SEO and healthcare-focused Web experts like Peak Positions and CareTech Solutions, MetroHealth has improved the volume and quality of traffic to its website from search engines via “organic” or unpaid search results, while realizing a considerable budgetary advantage.

MetroHealth’s Kate Ruggiero, Manager of Digital Communications states:

“CareTech had been instrumental in redesigning our site and improving its performance. Our site traffic has grown immensely over the last year-and-a-half that the site has been live, and plugging in this new SEO (services) campaign has really been a positive thing. We’ve seen enormous growth in those (targeted) areas of the website. And I know for certain, having been in this industry for a while, that we wouldn’t have seen that kind of page traffic increase had we not invested in the SEO effort … I’m positive this is something we couldn’t have attained on our own.”


Over the recent six-month period for MetroHealth (late 2014 and early 2015):

  • Overall search engine traffic has increased by 16%
  • Organic search traffic is up by 10%
  • New site visitors have increased by 14%
  • Local traffic (Cleveland) has increased by 7%