The Ultimate Website Content Checklist for Healthcare Marketers

by | May 12, 2021 | Content Strategy | 0 comments

Writing digital content is as much science as art. Follow the guidelines in this website content checklist to give your audiences and search algorithms exactly what they’re looking for.

Every page on your web­site should serve a purpose—and every ele­ment on the page should dri­ve toward that goal. To gain a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage in a crowd­ed and con­stant­ly evolv­ing dig­i­tal space, use this web­site con­tent check­list to guide your plan­ning, copy­writ­ing, design and dis­tri­b­u­tion efforts.

Define the goals

Con­tent designed to gen­er­ate organ­ic traf­fic will be struc­tured dif­fer­ent­ly than pages cre­at­ed to dri­ve con­ver­sions. Make sure the first ques­tion you ask is focused on your mis­sion: “What am I try­ing to achieve with my website?”

When cre­at­ing web­site con­tent, always start by defin­ing your goals along with met­rics that will be used to mea­sure suc­cess. This check­list out­lines the com­mon objec­tives for web­site con­tent and key per­for­mance met­rics for each:

If the goal is dri­ving traf­fic and engage­ment, you can mea­sure suc­cess through:

  • Bounce rate
  • Increas­es in key­word rankings
  • New/return users
  • Pages per session
  • Share of organ­ic search rel­a­tive to paid promotion
  • Total ses­sions

If the goal is gen­er­at­ing leads, you can mea­sure suc­cess through goal events set up across asset down­loads, event sign-ups, clicks to sched­ule appoint­ments, email sub­scribers and more.

Plan your content

Once the goals for a piece of web con­tent are estab­lished, the next step is to audit your cur­rent site, exe­cute SEO research and eval­u­ate com­pet­i­tive sites to plan your strat­e­gy for web­site opti­miza­tion. By align­ing your pri­or­i­ty ser­vices lines with local search and com­pet­i­tive trends in web­site con­tent, you’ll start to more effec­tive­ly engage con­sumers at the con­sid­er­a­tion and action stage of their health­care jour­ney by deliv­er­ing them the infor­ma­tion and next best action they’re look­ing for in a moment of need.

Remem­ber that your blog and web­site con­tent serve two dis­tinct pur­pos­es. Your blog should be designed to engage and build rela­tion­ships at the aware­ness stage of the con­sumer jour­ney. The pur­pose of your web­site is to inform, edu­cate and dri­ve action at the con­sid­er­a­tion and action stage. What’s the difference?

Here’s a few exam­ples of top­ics that would be addressed dif­fer­ent­ly on your blog ver­sus your website:

Caus­es of stroke—On your web­site, there should be a page ded­i­cat­ed to what caus­es a stroke and the symp­toms to watch for. On your blog, you might have arti­cles detail­ing each poten­tial stroke risk fac­tor and how to man­age it. For exam­ple, “how stress increas­es stroke risk” may be a high-per­form­ing blog top­ic to consider.

Menopause—Your web­site should have a page focused on defin­ing menopause and direct­ing women to the sup­port they need. Sim­i­lar to stroke, your blog can have arti­cles focused on indi­vid­ual symp­toms and what women might be able to do to man­age them, like “man­ag­ing menopause weight gain.”

The for­mat of your con­tent is also crit­i­cal when devel­op­ing your mar­ket­ing strategy.

Con­sid­er­a­tion stage con­tent helps con­sumers under­stand their diag­no­sis or symp­toms. This type of con­tent is crit­i­cal to earn­ing strong organ­ic rank­ings and per­for­mance. This includes con­di­tion and symp­tom pages to define com­mon ail­ments and their symp­toms, risk fac­tors, the diag­no­sis process and an overview of treat­ment options.

On these pages, con­sid­er including:

  • Health risk assessments
  • Patient tes­ti­mo­ni­als or provider Q&A ses­sions with video content
  • Ani­mat­ed explain­er videos on spe­cif­ic con­di­tions or procedures
  • Down­load­able guides on spe­cif­ic con­di­tions or procedures

Deci­sion stage con­tent is designed to help your con­sumers access the care that they’re look­ing for. This includes your ser­vices pages, which are eas­i­ly acces­si­ble from the appro­pri­ate con­di­tion pages. This type of con­tent enables a con­sumer to eas­i­ly find a provider or point of care.

Con­tent on these pages should include:

  • Clear call to action to con­nect now or request information
  • Physi­cian pro­files with online sched­ul­ing opportunities
  • Sched­ul­ing options, includ­ing tele­health, urgent care or express care

Select the right keywords

Key­word research is a crit­i­cal step when going through your web­site con­tent check­list. Using a tool like SEM­Rush, you can iden­ti­fy the key­words that match the top­ic, have a strong search vol­ume, align with your pri­or­i­ty ser­vice lines, and sig­nal high con­sumer intent to learn more or con­sume health­care services.

Here are three types of key­words and how they can be used to engage and con­vert visitors:

Infor­ma­tion­al key­words—These terms tar­get users who are in research mode. Gen­er­al­ly, these key­words have low­er buy­er intent as the user’s goal is to learn, not make a pur­chase. Some exam­ples include:

  • Best
  • Ideas
  • Guide
  • How
  • Tips
  • What
  • Where
  • Why

Nav­i­ga­tion­al key­words—These key­words are typ­i­cal­ly used dur­ing the eval­u­a­tion stage. They include brand names, spe­cif­ic prod­uct names, spe­cif­ic ser­vices or reviews.

Trans­ac­tion­al key­words—These are terms and phras­es that have the most buy­er intent. The cus­tomer is ready and wants to buy and the only ques­tion now is from whom. Exam­ples of trans­ac­tion­al key­words in health­care are “best place to have a hip replace­ment” or “where to have a baby in Chicago.”

In plan­ning key­word strate­gies, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber the dif­fer­ence between web­site and blog con­tent and con­sis­tent­ly work to avoid key­word cannibalization.

As web­sites grow and evolve, it’s easy to get to a place where you have mul­ti­ple pages tar­get­ing “symp­toms of a heart attack,” for exam­ple. How­ev­er, when that hap­pens, the per­for­mance of each indi­vid­ual page or arti­cle suf­fers. Use a tool like SEM­Rush, Yoast or anoth­er plug-in to ana­lyze your site for can­ni­bal­iza­tion as you pro­duce new content.

Create a clear, comprehensive headline

Mad Men-era adver­tis­ing leg­end David Ogilvy said craft­ing a head­line is 80% of copy­writ­ing. He esti­mat­ed that five times as many peo­ple read the head­line as the body copy. While that’s like­ly still true as skim­ming is the new read­ing, the struc­ture and approach to writ­ing head­lines have evolved con­sid­er­ably since Ogilvy’s era.

If cre­ativ­i­ty is essen­tial to engage print read­ers, clar­i­ty is key when writ­ing web­site con­tent. A good rule of thumb is to imag­ine the head­line on a search engine results page and ask, “Does this match the user’s expec­ta­tion when click­ing through to the content?”

The head­line is anoth­er ele­ment that can impact search rank­ing, so fol­low these tips when com­ing up with the per­fect headline:

  • Address user intent.
  • Craft head­lines with 10 to 13-words—they dri­ve twice as much traf­fic and 1.5X more shares than short­er ones (< 7 words).
  • Describe what is dis­cussed in the text body.
  • Ensure it stands out on the page.
  • Make it unique and comprehensive.
  • Use num­bers or ques­tion words.

Consider adding images and video

While cur­rent trends point toward high­er word counts because of sat­u­ra­tion and com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket, this doesn’t mean vis­i­tors want to be met with a wall of text when arriv­ing at your con­tent via search. Research shows images can have a big impact on web­site per­for­mance, so find ways to break up copy with pho­tog­ra­phy, illus­tra­tions and oth­er cre­ative elements.

By incor­po­rat­ing at least one image, on aver­age your posts will gen­er­ate twice as much traf­fic, 30% more shares and 25% more back­links com­pared to posts con­tain­ing text only.

Video also adds val­ue to web­site con­tent. The same research cit­ed ear­li­er shows posts with­out a video get 92% less traf­fic and 24% few­er shares. In addi­tion to search impact, video can be effec­tive in con­vert­ing leads, as over half of con­sumers use the medi­um to influ­ence their pur­chas­ing decisions.

Pitch the piece with the perfect meta description

The meta descrip­tion is designed to “sell” a user on click­ing through to the con­tent. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Keep the meta descrip­tion to two sen­tences or less, between 140–160 characters.
  • Include the keyword.
  • Con­vey your site’s unique sell­ing point.
  • Add a clear call to action that reflects the content’s value.
  • Geo-tags for web­site con­tent are impor­tant as con­sumers often search for things like “heart care in Chat­tanooga, TN.”

Conduct a final review of other elements that impact SEO

An impor­tant part of this web­site con­tent check­list involves the con­sid­er­a­tion of SEO. Before pub­lish­ing, take a few min­utes to review these ele­ments that are often over­looked when cre­at­ing content:

URL— While often gen­er­at­ed auto­mat­i­cal­ly based on the head­line and left as-is, the URL deserves your atten­tion. Like key­words, the URL is a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to search rank­ing as it sig­nals to vis­i­tors and search engines that the con­tent is rel­e­vant to the top­ic. Here are a few guide­lines for SEO-friend­ly URLs:

  • Include your keyword.
  • Be descrip­tive and meaningful.
  • Use rel­e­vant categories/subfolders based on your site map.
  • Con­tain around 3 to 5 words.
  • Avoid using the year so the con­tent isn’t dated.

HTML struc­ture—A more com­plex tag­ging struc­ture is ide­al for dri­ving organ­ic traf­fic. Research shows more than half of posts with h2, h3 and he sub­head­ings are high-per­form­ing in terms of traf­fic and engage­ment, com­pared to 44% with a sim­ple struc­ture (h2+h3) and 39% with no struc­ture at all (no h2).

Work to drive engagement

Once the web­site con­tent is devel­oped, the real work (and fun) begins. Con­tent is king but dis­tri­b­u­tion is equal­ly royal.

Earn­ing con­sumer atten­tion and organ­ic reach has nev­er been more dif­fi­cult. In fact, more than 90% of web con­tent receives no organ­ic traf­fic from Google.

To mul­ti­ply the reach of your con­tent, con­sid­er exe­cut­ing paid media, par­tic­u­lar­ly paid search pro­mo­tion, of your high­est val­ue con­tent. While we typ­i­cal­ly rec­om­mend using con­ver­sion-focused land­ing pages, there may be some ser­vice lines across your site that don’t have a unique cam­paign strat­e­gy, but that war­rant paid media atten­tion. Focus on those pages and key­words that dri­ve the most val­ue, need the most vol­ume, and see the most com­pet­i­tive pressure.

Optimize often (more than you might think)

Web­site con­tent is nev­er a set-it-and-for­get-it strat­e­gy. Once your con­tent is live, you’ll need an iter­a­tive, pro­gram­mat­ic approach to ana­lyz­ing per­for­mance and key­word rank­ing pro­gres­sions to deter­mine when to edit or rewrite indi­vid­ual pages.

Many health sys­tems need to think about a com­pre­hen­sive over­haul of web con­tent in 2021. For those who have already tak­en those steps, set­ting up a month­ly or quar­ter­ly review of key met­rics to define your ongo­ing con­tent plan will ensure that your web­site con­tent con­tin­ues to per­form for a long time, min­i­miz­ing the need for future overhauls.

This check­list serves as a start­ing point for your web­site con­tent strat­e­gy. Evolve your process­es often and let your results inform your future mar­ket­ing plans.

Leave the Heavy Lifting to Us

If you’re ready to lev­el up your con­tent strat­e­gy or are sim­ply stretched thin, let the health­care con­tent experts at True North come along­side and guide and/or imple­ment your efforts.

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