How to Boost Your Healthcare SEO Efforts With Content Marketing

Contributed content / By Josh Harisson / 9 April 2019

Content marketing and SEO for the healthcare sector are different from other industries. Learn how to use the right content to acquire top spots in the search results. 

What does an average patient do when he or she experiences adverse symptoms? Twenty years ago, they would have called the doctor. Today, they open up their browser.

According to research by Pew Internet & American Life Project, 55% of adult internet users search for health-related information online. 

Companies from the medical sector can take advantage of the client’s desire to search for extensive information. If you have the right content, your SEO efforts can improve trifold. 

This step-by-step guide can help you take a smart approach to content marketing in your field.

As an SEO expert with over 15 years of experience, I’ve come up with a few smart, sly, and important tips that will help you achieve your SEO goals. 

Step #1: Identify Your Target Audience 

Who are your patients? Of course, you know the answer to this question. Or do you? Make a list of the patients who are likely to visit your office according to the following parameters. 

  • Location - Identify where your patients live. Ideally, they should be within a short driving distance from your facility or office. Your content marketing efforts should have location-related keywords, such as “best physician in Chicago” or “nearest dentist in Lowell.” 
  • Demographics – age, gender, family size (composition), occupation, income, and education. 
  • Psychographics – behavior, lifestyle, personality. This is especially important for older patients, who may not accept innovative technologies while being highly receptive to word-of-mouth marketing. 
  • Needs – what does a patient need? What is their likely level of knowledge about the conditions are you are treating? Where do they usually find their information?

You may find that your audience is between 30 and 40, married with one or two children, educated, income over $50,000, busy and in search of quick solutions, likely to use internet for information, mostly on their mobile gadgets.

Or you may find out that your audience is between 65 and 75, married, educated, retired, not highly active, looking for extensive information to make a decision, need time to decide, not too internet-savvy. 

Two completely different pictures, right? Can you see how the content you employ will be different or these two audiences? 

In the first case, when marketing your services, you are likely to focus on the latest technological solutions in your sector, fast access to services, and top-notch options at extra cost (if any). This audience is also likely to download your company’s app.

In the second case, you may want to focus on giving extensive information about your solutions as well as offering full information about your credentials and sources. 

Calls to action should focus on calling a representative to get more information. The content can share solutions with a lower price tag than for the first audience. 

Step #2: Find the Right Question

What are the questions your target audience is asking about their health? Your business should anticipate what exactly potential patients will search for online. 

  • My foot hurts when I sneeze
  • Which doctor deals with eyes?
  • My hearing gets worse when I chew
  • Ear hurts when I swallow

These types of requests are highly common. When you are writing your content, you should be keeping the patient in mind. 

For example, an average patient is unlikely to search for “otitis,” which is a specific type of ear pain. They will, instead, simply type “ear pain” into the search engine.

View the content from the reader’s perspective. 

If you must use medical terms, make sure these terms are placed next to common words for the same condition in your article (ex. “otitis, a type of ear pain”)

Your goal is to give a solution, not to shower a person with information and jargon they don’t understand. 

Smart tip: Be careful about giving direct advice in the articles you post on your website.  While telemedicine is on the rise, it comes with its own set of rules.

Sly tip: “Consult a doctor for more information” should become your favorite phrase (that doctor is obviously you, so contact info must be readily available.)

Important tip: Don’t jump in over your head. If you aren’t competent or don’t have the resources to answer a question, don’t do it. You should always value the patient’s health over your own content marketing. 

Step #3: Turn to Social Media and Stay There  

Social media content marketing can improve your SEO efforts

According to Pew Research, 80% of internet users, who engage on social media, are specifically looking for health information, and nearly half are searching for information about a specific doctor. 

Content marketing on social media is somewhat different than on-site. You need to be concise while engaging the audience.

On social media, you should follow all the latest trends in your sector. Try to be one of the first people to discuss any new findings in a way for the average patient to understand it.

Anything new and important to your audience will be reposted in the blink of an eye, bringing more subscribers to your account and more viewers to your website. 

Doctors vs Social Media: The Importance of Patient Reviews
 
In fact, doctor’s social media accounts tend to show up in the search engine results quicker than websites.
Take advantage of this information to market your office through particular specialists. 

Step #4: Add Some Fun

While there isn’t anything funny about being sick, reading long and boring medical texts is, well, long and boring.

According to SEO experts from a digital service agency, Miromind, adding a human element to the content you are writing is a must-have. Help the patients relax when they are reading your content.

The more you identify with your target audience and make your content visually appealing, the likelier they are to convert. 

One of the simplest ways to make content more engaging is to diversify it with images and videos. These days, videos are gaining immense popularity.

Smart tip: Your medicine-related videos shouldn’t swallow large portions of your budget. They can boil down to a specialist speaking about a certain subject in front of a camera. 

Sly tip: Tell a funny story. Humor always sells. Even when it’s in the middle of something terribly serious. 

Step #5: Check Yourself and Your Copywriter 

When the content is nice and ready, run it by the following checklist:

  • Did you answer at least two questions important to your audience?
  • Did you add the entertainment factor to the content?
  • Are you speaking in the voice of a leader?
  • Is your information useful and relevant?
  • Did you share original thoughts or an alternative point of view?
  • Did you give a call to action, which directs the patient to make an appointment?
  • Did you make the information easy to share?
  • Did you write a concise and catchy summary for social media?

Don’t miss any of the above. Even if it seems that the text looks better without one of the points, find a way to include it. 

Step #6: Make It Readable 

Don’t make the mistake of saving money on a website designer and SEO consultant and lose quality content. 

No matter how amazing your marketing efforts are, they’ll fail if the content isn’t readable. 

What I mean by readable is the content’s physical appearance. You should always write digital content in short paragraphs that are filled with bullet points and images. 

Creating a less overwhelming block of text makes it easier for your reader to stay engaged. 

Large Chunk vs. Better Text
 Which one of the above would you continue reading?

When it comes to mobile gadgets, a huge number of nuances exist as well, such as:

  • Shorter passages, summaries, and titles 
  • Not more than 3 font sizes per text
  • Image and video size optimization for better loading speed
  • Fewer colors 
  • Simpler and shorter words (i.e., “use” instead of “utilization”)
  • More whitespace

Making your content easy to read will encourage people to stay on your article instead of clicking away. You never want to overwhelm potential readers with information and huge blocks of text can deter people. 

Don’t avoid readability issues. Start with them.

Outrun Your Competition With Content Marketing 

The medical sector is an excellent field for building out your content marketing efforts. An overwhelming number of people are turning to the internet for medical advice. 

By creating the right content, it’s easier to end up on the first pages of the search results than in any other industry. When someone searches for a medical professional, your website should show up first. 

Don’t miss out on potential opportunities because people can’t find your website. Create valuable and readable content that people find when looking for answers to their medical issues. Hire an SEO agency if you are unsure of how to best support your site. 

Strive to share information your target audience is looking for and watch your clients increase.  
 

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