As the popularity of search engine optimization (SEO) as a low-cost tool to grow traffic and visibility grows it appears that more industries are beginning to use the practice, including doctors.

In an article for, a publication of the American Medical Association, Pamela Lewis Dolan writes that while search engine optimization (SEO) can lead to patients finding a practice, it can also be helpful for other doctors looking online.

"For starters, experts say, these techniques can help you gain control of what is found when people Google your name," writes Dolan. "Good placement in an online search also can help attract referring physicians."

Dolan uses the case of NorthShore University HealthSystem which used search engine optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to its site. Although the hospital began its campaign with paid search, it quickly moved to more organic options to build traffic to specific physicians and areas.

One way the company did this, according to the article, was through the use of original content, like blogs, written by the physician.

Although many companies, like hospitals and medical practices, are using search engine optimization (SEO) to grow business, nonprofits can benefit from the practice as well.

In a study from Pepperdine University last year, researchers found that nonprofits should be using online marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) to raise awareness and grow traffic as it is more cost effective than traditional forms of marketing.