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Why is Content SO Important for Healthcare Websites?

When you’re building a new site or just looking to freshen up your current one, content is always the foundation on which you should build. While the importance of content doesn’t decrease dependence on the industry, there’s a lot to say about the strength of it when determining a healthcare website’s performance. From getting your rankings for a specific procedure up to page one, to making sure that you’re fully compliant, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t skimp out on creating meaningful, readable content for your medical site!

Search engines like quality of content, not quantity of content. 

Anyone can throw up dozens of pages about their services with minimal content and hope that they get ranking for at least one or two of them. However, those that actually want to perform well and lock in organic placement on a search engine should be building quality pages with robust content that’s keyword reach and readable by all to truly maximize your potential for high page rankings. Start with your sitemap, then do a bit of keyword research to find out what you should be focusing on to gain the most traction. From there, pick a few pages to build with unique, readable content. When we say readable, we don’t mean tons of medical jargon that people won’t understand. Instead, write for the vast majority of readers that operate on a fifth grade reading level on average. Sure, this process may take a bit longer, but Google will actively read those pages and provide you with quality placement. If you already have those dozens of pages created, there’s no need to be worried. Instead, just pick a few to focus on and start building your content from there!

While Google stays tight-lipped about their ranking factors for the most part, they are open about the strength of non-duplicated content. For example, if you’re a large medical group and have a number of separate sites, it’s important to make sure that your content differs, even if just slightly, between them. Duplicate content can be confusing for search engines, as they’re not certain which content to believe, but even worse is that it can be confusing for your user. Imagine seeing three sites with identical content, but different addresses and names. Which one would you choose? At it’s core, your content should be well thought out and designed to attract and engage your reader. By doing just that, Google will appreciate you and provide you with better rankings overall. 

Featured snippets can help with voice search and conversions. 

If you’re not familiar with a features snippet, you probably have just never heard the name. A featured snippet is simply the very top organic result that comes up for a specific search, along with a link to the site, a paragraph (or whatever the content is), and usually an image. Below is an example. 

Featured snippet about fibroids

Featured snippets are important for a number of reasons.

First, the snippet itself can come up on for a national result, allowing tons of traffic to your website. In the case of the above, this is a question that is posed by a number of people, and not just on a local level. For that reason, they have seen ample amounts of traffic to their site simply from this one blog. If your content is filled with information that Google deems relevant and engaging, there’s a chance that your page will index as a snippet and allow some valuable traffic to your site that could ultimately help your overall ranking. 

Second, the snippet itself can be valuable to voice search as it’s typically the first thing that devices like Alexa and Google Home will read. If your site is the number one result for a simple question that someone asks their device, chances are you’ll be the one that has the answer. Not to mention, searches from Siri and Cortana can be equally as powerful, especially when coming from mobile. 

Third, it’s high quality. People like thought leaders, especially when they’re looking for someone who is potentially going to become their doctor. If you can show your power in the form of a featured snippet in a search, it may be a quick conversion opportunity for you in which you gain a new patient!

People like questions and answers. 

Do you ever just sit back and wonder what you’ve actually asked Google over the last few years? We’re all guilty of the “what’s that song that has the little bells in it at the beginning?” searches, so it’s suffice to say that it’s important for your website to carry some answers to highly searched questions. In fact, related questions are now appearing in nearly 83% of SERPs!

When building out your site, don’t shy away from the idea of adding questions into your meta titles and headers, especially if the page is about a specific procedure. Take the snippet example, for instance. We could have very easily said “Fibroids Can Cause Weight Gain” and left that as our title. But, if you notice the search string, that’s not how people were going to find it. People go to the internet to FIND an answer, not research something they already know, so it’s important to make sure your site is accurate for your user. 

Another easy way to build in question and answers is with a simple FAQ page. If you’re putting up a page on a new procedure that people don’t know much about, the FAQ page will most likely index much faster than a page with a ton of content about the procedure itself. Use this as part of your acquisition funnel and understand that those searching for the question will land on your site, then ultimately read the page about the procedure and ideally become a new patient! Of course, make sure you’re answering the questions with the correct answers, as you don’t want to have a page nationally ranking with inaccurate information. 

Bonus; adding in things like Q&A schema can help your site rank, and end up in Google’s answer box. However, if your language isn’t direct and straightforward (i.e, you bounce around and give “maybe” style answers) you are less likely to gain that placement. 

Content can help with website accessibility. 

By now we’re going to assume that most of you know all about website accessibility and the things you need to do to stay compliant with the laws. If not, you should probably give us a call today!

If you do know, then you understand that there are A LOT of areas in which you have to look to be sure that you’re compliant. Because a lot of these things are based on visual appearance, the importance of content sometimes gets overlooked. Here are a few: 

  1. Optimize your images with alt text. 
    • If someone needs to use a screen reader, they have to be able to read your images and graphics to know what they are. If your alt text is a long series of numbers or a weird file naming convention, then it’s not accessible. However, if your alt text is relevant and explains the image, the user will understand. In addition, alt text can provide search engines information about what your page may contain. For example, a page on fibroids with an image about a woman with fibroids or having fibroid removal will signal the crawlers that the page contains accurate information. From there, you have a better chance of getting ranking just based on a simple line of text on an image. 
  2. Make sure your URLs and file names are readable. 
    • People don’t often read file names, but screen readers and search engines do. In fact, this is how they determine relevancy. This is an easy way to fit in some keywords. Before uploading your image, rename the file as something relevant to your page content and then upload. 
  3. Don’t forget about PDFs, videos, etc. 
    • Videos should have a transcription done (content that people can read from the video), and PDFs and infographics should be named properly and have strong alt text. Although these things are very minor, they can make or break the accessibility tests for your site. 

While we constantly hear “content is king” in the world of SEO, and sometimes roll our eyes, we really understand that it’s absolutely, 100%, without a doubt a very true statement. As you’re working through your site, or looking to develop a new one, make sure that you’re taking some time to develop your page’s content–and don’t forget about the small things! In the eyes of Google, those are sometimes the most important. 

To get started with a new website build, or to learn more about opportunities to create new content, contact Practis today!



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