This sponsored article was written by Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor at Coffey Communications. Coffey works exclusively in the healthcare industry and provides services such as healthcare SEO and website design.
"We want to rank better in search."
It's a common goal for healthcare marketers—and a worthy one.
Ranking well for relevant search terms is a great way to bring people to your website and showcase your services and healthcare providers.
But ranking at the top of page one for a valuable search term can be difficult. So difficult, in fact, that a study by AHREFs found that more than 90% of web pages get no organic traffic from Google at all.
Your analytics might tell a similar story. Many healthcare websites get most of their search traffic from branded terms. This branded traffic tends to lead to the home page. Deeper pages on the site may get few (if any) visits directly from search.
If you want to change these numbers for your site, it's time to ask a tough question about your content: Does it deserve to rank?
What search engines want
To understand if a given page on your website deserves to rank, it helps to think about what search engines are trying to accomplish.
Whether it's Google, Bing or another search engine, the answer is probably the same: To give people the best possible information to answer the question that led them to perform a search.
In other words, search engines exist to serve the searcher, not the website.
If you're not creating content with that same goal in mind, you're probably not ranking.
Creating content that deserves to rank
In the early days of SEO, getting content to rank involved finding relevant keywords and using them as much as possible in the content on the page. Thankfully, those days are gone.
To rank at the top of search results now, you need to provide the best and most valuable answer for the search query.
Here are three things you can do to create content that deserves to rank:
1. Target the right keywords. The keywords you choose to target should be backed by data from a keyword research tool. Ideally, choose one (such as KWFinder) that allows you to get data on your target geographical area.
You also need to look at the search results for the keywords you find to make sure that content like yours is showing up there. If, for example, you're hoping to rank for "cardiology" and the search results on page one are all general information and medical journal articles rather than healthcare providers, you might need to choose a different term.
Here's a tip for analyzing search results: Do the search using a private window (Firefox) or an incognito window (Chrome) so you don't see results that are personalized to your location and search history.
2. Evaluate the competition. Once you've identified keywords that are returning relevant results, the next step is to analyze the content that is currently ranking.
As you look at those top-ranking pages, think about how (or if) you can create content that is more complete, more valuable and more engaging.
3. Optimize your content with a "10x" mindset. Now for the hardest part: Creating or optimizing your content.
SEO and content marketing expert Rand Fishkin uses the term "10x content" to describe the approach that you should take. Don't just make your content better than the competition—make it 10x better.
Asking yourself these questions can help you get in the 10x mindset:
- What do you offer that is unique from the competition? Your healthcare organization has unique expertise. Focus on that and tell your story.
- How can you make your page a high-value resource? Think beyond text here and consider including tools like health risk assessments, videos or interactive infographics to create an engaging experience. These kinds of elements can make your page a repeat resource for consumers and also something that other websites may link to.
- Is the content presented well? Does it look good on mobile? Does it load quickly? Is the overall site design engaging and user-friendly? If you're answering "no" to any of these questions, you might need to look beyond the content to your website design and code.
If at first you don't rank—try again
Whether your newly-optimized content jumps right to the top spot or languishes on page two, your work isn't done. Search algorithms change regularly. And the content offered by your competitors can change, too.
So don't think of your content as a one-and-done. Schedule regular reviews of both the research you did to inform your content strategy and the content itself. This will help you keep the content up-to-date and identify opportunities to maintain or improve your rank.