5 Healthcare SEO Planning and Writing Tips to Boost Performance and Results

by | Jun 22, 2021 | Content Strategy | 0 comments

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.

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