The Healthcare Sector is a very competitive one when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and now that the Covid-19 pandemic has raised the awareness about health, medical companies are struggling to level up their Digital Marketing efforts and keeping up with the competition. As a highly regulated industry, healthcare SEO must demonstrate adherence to certain quality standards. Moreover, the SERPs tend to be dominated by major players, due to their offline authority.
What is SEO?
In case you are new to this concept, “Search Engine Optimization” is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of a website organic traffic in the search engine results. SEO can be quite of a complex practice to understand, take aside to improve. You need to be aware of many details, such as your audience’s search intent, the correct keywords that will deliver traffic opportunities, the content they want to consume, etc. without forgetting about technical issues such as allowing the crawlers to access and index your website.
However, SEO is one of the only marketing channels that, after setting them up correctly, will provide results over time, so it is a worthy investment. Not only organic results appear more credible to the searchers but also has approximately 20X more traffic opportunities than PPC. Plus, it doesn’t need continuous funding to send traffic to your website.
Main Ranking Factors for the Health Industry
Although a high percentage of Google’s ranking factor is similar for every industry, they may differ depending on it. When it comes to Healthcare SEO, text relevance and length are key. A high presence of keywords and unordered lists can also help you to perform better on search engines SERPs. In this list, there is a quick summary of the most important ranking factors for the Health Industry:
Best Practices for Healthcare SEO in 2020
Improve your E-A-T
E-A-T stands for "Expertise, Authority and Trust", three factors that Google uses to judge a page's quality. More than in other sectors, healthcare websites should strongly demonstrate these qualities to get a high authority ranking. But, how can marketers improve E-A-T?
Receiving links from reputable sites is one of the most effective ways to gain authority. External linking has special importance when it comes to Healthcare SEO. Link building helps to show the crawlers how influential is your website. Being linked to a site with high authority in the field, crawlers will add significant value to your website. Moreover, links from major websites - such as a .org, .gov, or .edu source - have a high impact.
Marketers should not forget to write medical advice or information in a professional style. Dynamic content should be also updated on a regular basis (and never forget to include the date of creation). In 2020, content is still king. Content should be relevant, up-to-date, and valuable for searchers. Content with the most useful and relevant information is more likely to engage users that are visiting your site, and, furthermore to rank higher on the SERP.
Last but not least, independent reviews from third party websites are also important. Try to improve the ratings to demonstrate a positive public perception.
Other ways you can improve your medical website reputation:
- User Ratings and Reviews
- Recommendations by experts
- News and Blog articles
- Wikipedia articles
- Magazine articles
- Forum discussions
- Relevant awards
Meditate your Keyword Research
Keyword Research is important in any sector, but can really get tricky in the healthcare industry. Sometimes the terminology used by the health professionals on their websites is quite far from the queries users insert in the search engines. That is why creating a buyer persona is a key element in your business’s approach to digital marketing. Who is your main customer? General population? Patients? Researcher or other doctors? The contents on your website should be matching your main target audience’s vocabulary and searching patterns.
That is why finding the “sweet spot” between technical vocabulary and search volume is so important.
Look for SERP Features
Rich Snippets add visual elements to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that are not so common in most of the traditional organic results. In Google, a standard organic result would look like this:
Meanwhile, a quite common Rich Snippet can make your website much more appealing to the user's eyes, having higher CTRs than regular organic results:
The health industry can take advantage of many SERP features, both on mobile and desktop. In fact, there are many kinds of Rich Snippets to showcase websites in the medical sector, including knowledge Graph Block, Reviews, Sitelinks, Image Blocks, and My Business Block, among others.
Fulfilling user intent
Search Engines every year are getting more refined and can understand better the user intent. The user or search intent states which goal an internet user has when entering a query into Google or any other search engine. They might be looking for information, a product review or to book for an appointment. Making sure your content solves the main problem the user might have will make your website rank higher in the search results.
For healthcare companies, local SEO is a very effective way to capture high-value users. Users are more likely to search locally when looking for healthcare providers, so improving the Knowledge Graph and Google My Business Panel will pay off. Some easy ways to optimize your geolocalization are specifying location keywords in key page elements (such as titles, H1, and others) and create a My Business listing including as many details as possible.
Digital transformation in the health sector was a real thing but has definitely been accelerated by COVID-19. Your organization should start improving its SEO efforts, if haven't started yet, or you will be losing rankings on the SERP. There are a lot of growth opportunities for those with a full SEO plan.