Thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) when planning healthcare marketing content creation can be the secret to high conversion rates.
For writers and editors, thinking about SEO may not come naturally—and SEO experts may not feel comfortable with content creation or editing. Keeping these skill sets divided hurts healthcare marketing efforts. When content creators are not SEO-savvy, more time must be spent checking and fixing content or the content is less successful in the search rankings.
The solution is to keep SEO front-of-mind for all content creators, starting before an article is ever typed. Use these SEO tools to increase readership and publishing efficiency:
1. Write engaging, valuable content.
If you have excellent content creators, the good news is you’re halfway to SEO perfection already. The goal of Google’s algorithm is to promote webpages that answer questions from real people. If your content is written for a person, not a search engine, Google will reward this. Make your content useful and rich in information, then use keywords and title elements that are human-friendly and descriptive.
2. Adapt to web writing.
Web content needs to be concise. Short sentences and paragraphs get the point across quickly. Avoid pithy or clever headlines and subheads in favor of specific, accurate summaries—“One Step Ahead” is a great print headline for the importance of walking, but it tells the web reader nothing about what the article is actually about. “5 Ways to Walk to Better Health” or “How to Walk for Health and Fitness—Without Breaking a Sweat” are longer, more engaging, and summarize the topic at hand.
3. Search before you write.
Performing a Google search of your own before writing provides insight into what your readers want to know about any given topic. For example, a search for bariatric surgery shows a list of searches related to bariatric surgery—in this case, “bariatric surgery before and after,” “bariatric surgery diet,” and “bariatric surgery side effects,” all of which provide additional focus for an article topic. Google may also include “People also ask” suggestions. A Google search will also show what everyone else is already writing about, allowing a savvy writer to fill in the gaps.
4. Know why people search for your content.
Searcher intent is key to reaching consumers effectively. The three main types of internet searches are navigational (intent to reach a particular site or brand), informational (intent to acquire more information), and transactional (to acquire a good or service). This path for searchers applies in health care as much as it does other fields. For example, a patient who has questions about joint pain may start with a simple “joint pain” search to gather more information before ever searching for a specific hospital. Once the patient identifies a specific potential problem, they may continue informational searches for “arthritis pain” and “alternatives to joint replacement surgery.” After going through these searches, a patient may finally search for “orthopedist near me” or “best orthopedist.” By targeting content at each stage of searcher intent, you can provide relevant information and increase the likelihood of conversion.
5. Choose good keywords that guide your topic.
The Keyword Planner from Google Adwords is an invaluable SEO tool. You can search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category, get search volume data and trends, and multiply keyword lists to get new keywords. Don’t just look at the list of potential keywords blindly—remember the searcher intent, and let that guide your choices as much as the amount of monthly searches and the competition level.
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