Podcast #55

Robust Content: How to Improve SEO Rankings and the Patient Experience

Compared to other search optimizations, the expansion of thin content can make the biggest impact for healthcare providers. Not only does robust, in-depth content improve patient experiences, but it also makes Google happy—ultimately improving rankings.

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Episode Highlights:

Jacquelyn Green: “When we talk about robust content, especially with the helpful content update, it’s really important to remember that this is information that is for your users and for potential patients or existing patients.”

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Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Lauren Leone: Hey, everyone, welcome back to Ignite Healthcare Marketing Podcast. My name is Lauren Leone. I’m the SVP of Healthcare Marketing here at Cardinal. Today I have a very special guest. This is my first-time having Jacquelyn on as the host of the podcast, but she has joined us before with Alex. Jacquelyn is our Director of SEO Operations. What we want to do today with Jacquelyn is bring you all some really practical and tactical tips on how to think about content for your website.

A couple weeks ago, we met with John, and John walked us through the helpful content update, who it was affecting, how it was affecting them. What we really want to learn from you today, Jacquelyn, is what do we do with that information. What do we need to change? How does the strategy need to adapt to best fit the new algorithm update? Jacquelyn, I think the first thing that you could do to help frame this up for our listeners is explain why healthcare groups in particular need to have robust content. Like just give us a couple nuggets of information on why it’s important.

Jacquelyn Green: I think just to start, it’s really important to back up and think through what we’re talking about when we’re talking about content. I think a lot of times, especially in the context of SEO, people can ge hung up on content is this long-form ultra-keyword stuff, blog content that is maybe buried at the bottom of a page and really just for third kitchens.

When we talk about robust content, especially with the helpful content update, it’s really important to remember that this is information that is for your users and for potential patients or existing patients. Really, what the helpful content update is that promoting is that the information on your website is truly valuable to your patients and is going to give them the information they need to make a decision on their care and their provider.

Lauren: One of the things that came out of that, and for us as an agency and a lot of people that we’re doing white-hat SEO, this doesn’t actually materially change your approach, right? But it is important for companies and businesses thinking about SEO to make sure that and validate that their in-house team, their agency, whoever’s doing it is oriented towards the right things. Help us define what thin or bad content looks like.

Jacquelyn: Right? I think a lot of businesses, especially in healthcare, struggle with this because you are so used to understanding what your practice does, what your providers do. Again, it’s really important to put yourself in the shoes of your patients and make sure that you’re giving them adequate information, like I said, to make a decision.

When we talk about thin content, really, we’re just talking about any webpage that does not have valuable information for a user. That might be duplicate content, content that is just pasted all across your website, or content that is very low quality in terms of the description that it’s providing branded language that maybe has a lot of words, but it doesn’t tell you anything, really just any content that doesn’t provide unique value, that’s what we’re talking about. It doesn’t have to be a certain word count, it doesn’t have to be a certain ratio, it just needs to be information that search engines can use to understand what your website and what your brand is all about.

Lauren: I think a good example of that is it’s hard to identify or call something bad content. I think thin is an appropriate word because, let’s say, for example, you have a page about your orthodontic services, right? One of those is true braces, like metal bracket braces. You can have a webpage that, on its surface, it explains in a couple hundred words what braces are, right? What makes that thin is that it then lacks the additional– like think about what the patient needs to know next above what that page does. In that example, what would a next logical piece of content look like? How could you build out a page above just saying what the service is?

Jacquelyn: Right? Yes, I think you really need to think about user intent too for the keywords that you are trying to approach. When you’re putting together a keyword map, which is something that your SEO agency or your in-house team will do when they’re starting their SEO strategy, you really want to think about who is finding this page and what information do they need at this step in the journey. It really will depend based on what your service page is about.

In the example of orthodontics, outside of just laying out what braces are, since most users are going to have some concept of what those are, really think about what questions are going to be asking themselves when they’re deciding what provider to go with. You want to make sure you’re giving information on the types of braces you provide, what does the process look like? What cost considerations are there, and do you accept insurance or different payment methods that might be helpful for them? Where are your providers from? How long have they worked at your practice?

All of those little things are going to add up and make that decision easier for them, or it might make it easier for them to take the next step in the process. The next step might not be scheduling an appointment. The next step might be comparing Invisalign to metal braces or comparing at-home Invisalign to Invisalign through an orthodontist practice. Think about all those potential questions and make sure that your page is outlined to accommodate all those potential next steps.

Lauren: All right, Jacquelyn, I want to conclude with a very important topic when it comes to content. We audit sites all the time when we’re considering new clients coming on board. One thing that we see oftentimes is in all locations page where you have a listing for, maybe you have 3 locations, maybe you have 50 locations, but they’re all listed on one page, right? That is the extent of the information that they’re providing on locations. It is so critical, from a ranking perspective, but also from a UX and helpful content perspective, that each individual location have its own page dedicated to it on the website. Talk to us about the anatomy of that website, why it’s important, and what should be on that page.

Jacquelyn: For any multi-local healthcare business, it’s really important to make sure that you do have location pages that are not only present on your site but that are easily findable and that they are engaging for the user who is trying to make an appointment at that location. Typically, the location page is going to be one of the most bottom-funnel pages on your website.

Usually, when a user is finding that page, they’re ready to make a decision, and the information you provide on that page needs to really be geared toward helping them do that. Some of the key elements there, you absolutely want to include name, address, phone number above the fold on your page. Can’t stress that enough. You don’t want to bury the lead there. That’s really what a user needs to get to your office at the end of the day, right? They need to know where you are, they need to know how to find you. Including the NAP information is crucial.

Include a link to your Google business profile. That’s an easy way to send a signal to a search engine that connects your location page on your website to your listings. I think that’s overlooked often, and it just helps users connect immediately to a maps view of your location. They can see it in context, they can see quickly how to get there. All of those things are huge and important to include.

Outside of that, you definitely want to make sure that you are including accurate information about your services. Often, we’ll see that different locations of different practices might include different services, different offerings. You want to make sure that you’re being extremely accurate there. You don’t want to inadvertently mislead a user by telling them you provide root canals at a place where you only provide orthodontics. You want to be super clear there. That’s a step now to overlook. Other things you want to include, provider information is huge. That can be a major factor in making a decision is knowing who you’re actually going to be seeing.

Lauren: Headshots. Like they want to see with their eyes that this is a real human and that I’m going to see that same face when I go in. I think, too, the imagery of a practice, like what does it look like on the outside? When I pull up, I know I’m in the right place, and what does it look like on the inside so that I know just like you want your digital storefront, your website to look modern or I want to see like, “Okay, it’s clean, it looks welcoming. I want to go there.”

Jacquelyn: For sure. Yes, I’m so glad you mentioned that. That’s definitely something you don’t want to forget. I think often people overlook that because they will have stock images of their practice that they replicate. I know it’s difficult to go into the practice sometimes and actually get those physical pictures, but it is so helpful for a user who needs to know where they’re parking, who needs to know what part of town they’re in.

Lauren: Yes. Last but definitely not least when it comes to location pages and just website in general, payment, whether that’s insurance, whether that’s self-pay, whether that’s Medicare, Medicare Advantage, whatever it looks like, how does that play a role?

Jacquelyn: Yes. That is crucial and definitely something you want to provide on your location pages. You want to be direct about it. You want to include all of the payments that you do accept, all of the insurances you accept. Make sure that you do list out the actual names if possible. Don’t just include the logos because you do want Google to be able to see what you’re talking about, and they can’t necessarily read the logos. You want to make sure that you include all of that on your location page.

It can be easy to hide that information in an FAQ page somewhere or in about page. You definitely don’t want to do that because that is something that’s crucial for patients to know before they go to your practice. In order to be as transparent as possible, just list everything out on your location page. Make sure that you include any information they need to know about self-pay, what that might look like for them, what the process is like. Make sure, of course, they have a link to contact you more, to call your office directly so they can talk to a provider or a practice manager about that if needed.

Lauren: I think what I’ve seen organizations do a really great job of is to say, and this is probably always the case, this is not an extensive list of how payments can be made, please contact us, right? To not exclude anyone who maybe doesn’t fit those categories, but to your point, help Google to understand if I’m searching mental health provider near me that accepts Cigna, that page, in order to be eligible to rank for that, needs to have the mental health services, it needs to have the clear location information so Google understands that it’s near the user and it needs to have the insurance information right. If pieces of that are missing, that page is less likely to rank than other competitors that have it. Really important tips guys on why you need to think about the anatomy and the content of your location pages.

Jacquelyn, thank you so much for joining us. We had a great discussion about defining thin content, understanding what robust content needs. Gone are the days of just word count, but it is important to really think about and still have extensive content where it’s needed and some tips and tricks on how to think about certain page types, conditions, services, locations, payment, and insurance, and your homepage. Again, thank you all so much for joining us on Ignite, we hope to see you guys again next week. Please like, share, subscribe wherever it is that you’re listening, and we’ll be back again.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our blog at cardinaldigitalmarketing.com.

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