Search engine optimization (SEO) best practices are always subject to review and change, and healthcare SEO copywriting should adapt according to these shifts.
To borrow the common adage, “content is king.” That sentiment must extend beyond copywriting—and it must involve SEO. Since content marketing and SEO work in tandem, it’s important to create your content with healthcare SEO performance goals in mind.
Some of the primary responsibilities of every healthcare marketer who specializes in SEO include generating brand authority for the health systems they represent while also helping their organizations meet their key performance indicators and desired metrics. Those goals cannot be achieved without a strong foundational understanding of SEO as it relates to healthcare.
Use these tips to improve your healthcare organization’s SEO.
CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE
Each hospital and health system must consider first their business objectives when developing marketing strategies, but then the needs and motivations of their community when it comes to each of those priority healthcare services. Healthcare SEO strategies need to span top‑, middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel engagement to ensure you’re effectively driving consumers from awareness to action. It’s the job of the healthcare marketer to understand what your audiences’ needs are at each stage through SEO research and tune content production to meet those needs.
If your organization is, like many others, focused on service lines like primary care, women’s health, cardiology and other specialty care lines, for instance, it makes sense to focus your SEO efforts where they will make the most impact.
Make determinations about your audience and look to your community to answer the following questions to guide your content planning:
- What are people searching for?
- Who is the target audience for this campaign?
- Why are users drawn to my website?
- Which information are they looking for at each stage of their journey in this particular service line?
Tools like SEMrush and Google Keyword Planner, among others, help to demystify the question of which keywords and key phrases to target. By pointing you in the direction of which keywords people in your area are searching for, you can more effectively market your services and align ad copy and your overall display ad strategy to be more focused on the keywords and phrases people are searching for.
FILL IN ALL THE FIELDS
There are many aspects to healthcare SEO metadata to consider when building pages and content on your website. Many of these areas comprise technical SEO, which covers the background data that Google needs to properly scan and rank your web pages. Similar to the way the Dewey Decimal System keeps books at the library organized, covering your technical SEO bases ensures that you label and store your content effectively.
Here’s a short checklist to keep in mind when ensuring your on-page content is optimized for search engines:
- Metadata—Elements like title tags, meta descriptions, alt text on images, focus keyphrases and more will all enable Google to crawl your page and file it accordingly.
- Formatting—Subheadings (H1, H2, etc.), bolding/italicized copy, internal and external links, and length of your copy can all impact how your page ranks.
- Content and website optimizations—Site speed delays, image issues, mobile compatibility and outdated content can all slow your site down. Continuously look for ways to improve on-page metrics, like a user’s time on page and click-through conversions.
PRIORITIZE BRAND POSITIONING
Technical SEO is only one side of the scale for healthcare marketers to balance. Overall brand authority should also be taken into account when developing content, which does have some SEO components to consider in addition to traditional media and other marketing activities. Here are a few things to consider:
- Working to develop backlinks to your content from other organizations’ content to add authority to your pages
- Featuring providers and other high profile subject matter experts throughout your content, particularly your blogs and PR focused pieces
- Implementing a comprehensive listings and reputation management strategy to enhance local SEO performance
- Collaborating with other firms to feature your subject matter experts in their content
BUILD PRIMARY CONTENT PAGES
Whether it’s creating pillar content pages to help centralize your messaging and hone in on your service offerings, or developing a content calendar informed by long-tail keywords relevant to your brand, framing your content strategy around SEO is easier than it looks. Pillar pages, in particular, offer the opportunity to include a range of links to relevant service pages, blog posts, social media pages, white papers, downloadable guides, landing pages and more.
Pillar pages for a healthcare marketer should be focused on website pages that cover common conditions and services and serve as a landing page for a variety of related blog posts and pages across your domains.
Users are looking for healthcare content to help them make an informed decision about their medical care. As a result, healthcare web pages are scrutinized and held to a higher standard by Google than other verticals, such as entertainment or lifestyle. Hospital content should be authoritative and compassionate and offer solutions through targeted calls to action (CTA) and other actionable items to get them from web browser to patient portal.
DEFINE YOUR WEBSITE AND BLOG STRATEGIES
A key to success with SEO is defining what you hope to accomplish with each channel, and this can be a challenging task when it comes to your website versus your blog. As you research audience questions and search trends, you may find yourself wondering whether a topic should live on the blog or on the website, and it’s a more critical answer than you may think. By clearly defining what should live on your website and what should be a blog post, you’ll be aligning your content strategies to your audience’s needs and building a thoughtful approach to content marketing.
At True North, we believe that your blog is top of the funnel, while your website is middle and bottom of the funnel. More specifically, your website should be centered around content that directly defines and explains conditions and services as a way to address consumer questions, and clearly provides an appropriate next step. Throughout your website content, it’s certainly appropriate to “sell” your brand and organization as the best choice for care. Your blog, on the other hand, should be designed to engage and educate at the very top of the funnel, and not always with a revenue-generating call to action in mind.
One example of how to address a similar topic on the website and your blog is Osteoporosis. On your website, you’ll have a page that defines the condition—symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment—very clearly and provides a next step. On the blog, you might have content on topics like:
- “When do I need to worry about bone density?”
- “Benefits of calcium for bone health in women”
- “Osteoporosis friendly exercises”
Get More Insights to Guide Your Strategy
Now that you’ve reviewed SEO healthcare writing and planning, review our ultimate website content checklist for healthcare marketers next to take your content to the next level.
Discover How We Can Help You
Connect with us to learn more about our content strategy, creation, and promotion capabilities.