Elevating SEO at Cleveland Clinic

Top-Ranked Hospital Sees 43% increase in traffic, 16% increase in appointment sessions, 2/3 of visitors from Organic

pages to manage
improvement in page load time


As recently as three years ago, Cleveland Clinic's focus on SEO for its 20,000+ page website was limited soely to the work of two employees. While SEO performance would grow steadily each year, they struggled to get the necessary traction to make the leap in visibility they felt could be achieved. The team based that sentiment on the amount of content that gets generated in-house on a daily basis by other colleagues within the Marketing & Communications Division. In order to generate that growth, they realized that empowering their fellow caregivers with better SEO knowledge and helping them understand why this was critical for long-term success became one of their top priorities.


After adding on a new member to lead their search marketing efforts, they continued to develop their own skills through online learning, including BrightEdge certification. That was followed by developing and presenting a comprehensive series of ongoing in-house SEO training and measurement sessions that were attended by more than 90 coworkers in the organization over the past three years. These additions to their in-house SEO partners include colleagues from individual service line marketing teams, content marketing, web development, patient education, and website maintenance.

These groups also help spread the importance of the SEO mindset across the organization by connecting directly with clinical staff and leadership. This has been crucial in helping keep SEO as a primary topic when reshaping their content planning strategy. This strategy included gathering feedback that helped writers craft content in a manner used by actual patients instead of relying entirely on complex medical jargon. The approach directly mirrors the organization's "Patients First" mantra.

During this time, BrightEdge has remained a key compotent in their content creation and optimization strategy. BrightEdge Data Cube has been invaluable for keyword research, competitive benchmarking, content gap opportunity analysis, and prioritizing content refresh opportunities for "striking distance" keywords related to key clinical areas of importance. StoryBuilder provides enhanced reporting. ContentIQ helps eliminate redundant pages. BrightEdge also helped them restructure their entire library of health content during their responsive website design project, which ran from the end of 2016 through the first half of 2018.


Since spreading the importance of SEO across the organization, these efforts helped drive significant lift in search engine visibility, traffic, and patient acquisition, including the following:

  • Two out of every three visits to clevelandclinic.org comes from Organic search
  • A 43% increase in SEO traffic over past two years, including a 15% lift in Organic search traffic year-over-year in 2018 alone
  • Closed more than 150 content gaps within their Health Library
  • Boosted organic sessions by 3.5 million visits to their Health Library (19% year-over-year lift)
  • Increased image search visibility by 87% for targeted keywords (July 2018 vs. January 2017)
  • Improved page load time by a stunning 97% by completing their website redesign project
  • Lifted user sessions by 16% year-over-year for traffic to the online appointment request form after entering our website through organic search

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