Natural and user-driven content is key to securing a high ranking on SERPs. Here’s how medical marketers can boost traffic and increase conversions.
Most medical marketers recognize that ranking highly on search engine results pages (SERPs) can vastly increase their visibility to potential patients. But how do you go about making sure your content stands out among Search results?
It’s not as simple as packing your site with keywords — in fact, keyword-stuffing can actually hurt your search ranking. Instead, search terms should be integrated strategically, and enhance the natural tone of the existing copy. Learning some best practices of keyword placement and site structure can help you make the most of your content marketing strategy — and reap the rewards of topping the SERPs.
Here are five guidelines to keep in mind as you establish or revamp your SEO approach:
1. Focus on Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are longer, more specific search terms that are generally easier to rank for. (Think “knee pain doctor near me” as opposed to the common search term “knee pain.”) These keywords can help match your searchers’ intent, or the questions they’re looking to answer as they browse your page. Visitors who arrive on your site via long tail keywords are more likely to read through your content and seek out more information. As such, this desirable traffic has a higher rate of conversion.
2. Place Keywords Strategically
When it comes to SEO, it’s not just which keywords you use, but how you use them. It’s important to place relevant search terms — like specific long tail keywords — in the most impactful locations on your site. This includes the title tag, headers, meta description, and URL.
The title of your page serves as an introduction to both the reader and Google. Because Google tends to cut off titles after approximately 60 characters on SERPs, be sure to include your keyword near the front of the text. Similarly, you should place keywords naturally throughout any site headers, which helps engage readers as they browse or skim your content.
Using the right long tail search terms can also enhance a page’s URL and direct traffic to your page. Furthermore, using keywords in your meta descriptions increases a page’s ranking by making it clear what the site’s content is about. For example, a potential patient is more likely to click on your page about bunion surgery if the meta description begins with a clear phrase like, “Convenient bunion surgery in Milwaukee...”
3.Use Internal Links
Linking internally to other pages or blog posts helps search engines determine which content is most important. It’s a simple strategy but can make a big difference: whenever you reference an idea mentioned elsewhere, include a link to that page. This helps keep readers on your site longer and encourages them to explore more resources. For search engines, internal links resurface “cornerstone” (or evergreen) content and signify its importance.
4. Optimize Site Structure
SEO-friendly site structure helps Google’s algorithms crawl your site for relevant keywords as well as ensure that you’re not competing against your own content. When it comes to organizing your website, imagine your content is like a pyramid. The homepage stands at the top of the structure and links out to other important pages. These pages continue to expand the pyramid by linking to even more resources on a variety of topics. The content at the top of the pyramid should focus on ranking for common search terms, while the pages lower down should be optimized for long-tail keywords.
Another effective way to organize your site is to strategically use tags and taxonomies. These help readers and search engines understand your content better by grouping it around similar topics. However, be careful not to go overboard with tags. Too many make your site confusing and tags that are too close to one another may get flagged as duplicate content. To clean up your existing tags, narrow them down to 15-25 topics, and then tag all blogs/pages that apply.
5. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
A 2016 report revealed that nearly 60% of searches are now conducted from mobile devices. As more and more people conduct healthcare-related searches from their smartphones, it’s essential that medical marketers focus on optimizing their sites for mobile. In fact, Google displays mobile-friendly results first in SERPs.
To optimize your site for mobile, medical marketers should invest in responsive web design. This design is compatible with both mobile and desktop, meaning that sites have just one URL for both. This boosts SEO because it centralizes all links in one destination instead of dividing mobile and desktop traffic. Responsive design also proves your site’s value to Google, which is more likely to rank it highly.
By optimizing your site’s keyword strategy and design, you can make your content more visible to the people searching for your services. When combined with quality copy that speaks to patients’ needs, SEO can drive the right traffic to your website and ultimately increase conversions.