For health systems and hospital websites, the quality of information and level of optimization of treatment pages is critical in determining ranking for post diagnosis condition keywords.
The fact that authoritative ranking demonstrates a high level of expertise, authority and overall trust in a topic, it is natural that patients will turn to search engines to research potential treatment options after a diagnosis and will assume the higher the ranked organization, the stronger the capabilities and likely success rates of treatment.
This article looks to offer a structure by which heath system websites can structure their treatment pages to maximize their chances of strong ranking versus their local competition.
Healthcare SEO On Page Content Framework
Rule 1 of any core service page content for healthcare and hospital websites (or any website for that matter) is to ensure that the copy is of the highest quality and is relevant to the audience that consumes it.
It must also be optimized for the intent signals that were shown by the keyword that it was written to rank for.
To do this you should evaluate the SERP that you are hoping to disrupt. If that search result page is showing tons of images or maybe videos, you should be incorporating that into your page as well, because clearly that’s what people are looking for.
Teach Me Today!
Education first. When someone lands on your service page from the organic section of the SERP we have to presume this is their first engagement. They chose your listing over any other option based on intent, trust, and relevance and we must satisfy that need. By educating the visitor on the concept in your own personal style, you can deliver a frequency of keywords inline with the searcher’s query and subsets of it.
The further down the page the visitor travels the more subjective, nuanced and personalized it becomes and with it the fewer impact keywords will have.
Talk about the concept in a fashion that fits that criteria. What it is? What it is not? Where and when it can be found? How it has changed etc. The last focus before transitioning into the next phase is to consider the “why” of the topic or of the visitor’s potential need.
Essentially, you should begin your treatment pages with an education of what the conditions that you treat actually are. This stage should include factual information about any different types of ailment that is being written about, the causes of the complaint, the medical terminology and the layman’s version of it. Treat this section like an FAQ summary and providing the page and website in general is mobile responsive, you can use accordions to minify the broader content behind the question that precedes it.
These help to target featured snippets. So if you’re incorporating some of that, not only do you get the extra traffic, but you find these opportunities of getting featured snippets, which is great. You’re expanding your real estate in search. Awesome. PAA boxes are also a great way to find commonly asked questions for a particular keyword.
Tell Me the Way!
The second objective of your treatment pages should be to tell the patient the path to recovery. What does the process look like?
How long will treatment last?
What are the success rates?
Are there alternative treatment options available and if so how do the recovery probabilities compare?
Are their side effects to the treatment?
Does it require remaining at the hospital as an In-Patient or are there Out-Patient options available?
What support is available for patients and their loved ones?
Who are the physicians and support staff in the department and what are their credentials?
Add a summary to simplify the step by step process of receiving the treatment. This serves two purposes:
Firstly, it will help the potential patient understand the process in as simplified a manner as possible considerate of the high stress levels that they (or their loved ones) will be under having just been diagnosed with an illness.
Secondly, we see Google seeking out summaries for content all of the time. They are providing summaries in featured snippets and in different SERP features to help sort or distill information for users. So if you can do that, not only will you make your content more easily scannable, but you’re also making it more accessible for search, which is half of the battle.
Show Me Okay!
Now that the topic knowledge has been shown, the keyword relevance has been filled at the earliest stage as will have any remaining curiosity previously unaddressed we can assume that the need for expertise has been achieved we can focus on the next stage which is trust.
This section is where the organization brings forth their strengths. Provider credentials, experience statistics, and testimonials are the most successful paths to meet this objective.
Choosing a format that is in line with the need is essential but where the industry has a higher weighting on trust the increased value of video as it removes as much of the ability to fabricate as possible and in so doing will be authenticated.
Their in-house treatment statistics, patient stories demonstrated through multimedia and their unique capabilities or competences that can differentiate them from their competition.
Know Me, I’ll Stay!
This section could be described as the content equivalent of the bedside manner. The final element of a successfully narrated treatment page should be a personalized empathetic message that leaves the potential patient feeling reassured that the organization being considered understands more than just the medical treatment required but also the impact that the ordeal has placed on the patient and their loved ones.
Personalizing the message to demonstrate the emotive connection of the consumer’s need is critical and the final stage of the narrative. Having empathy for the plight of your visitor is a critical factor when the reason for their arrival was an indirect presumption of trust. Reassurance that the solution is available and accessible but is not a forced event is key to maintain the context of satisfying the intent that was offered at the start of the journey.
Offering additional resources that can help them cope with the potentially very stressful and disruptive days, weeks and months ahead can elevate the organization above their less sympathetic competition which is a key ingredient to latent conversion for industries where the services offered are often homogenized such as is with healthcare.
Healthcare Content Requires Media Format Variety
Make sure the page has an appropriate variety and frequency of formats other than text. For every 600-800 words there should be one video and one image or infographic. This will break up the monotony of a long read, can help articulate processes or experiences in user friendly and preferential formats and overall will offer a more enjoyable user experience for the audience that consumes it and consequently be more valued in the eyes of search engines like Google.
Host the videos on Youtube and embed the files into your content to save bandwidth that would otherwise weigh on page load times and ensure that all infographics and images are optimized by compressing files and adding title file names, and alt text.
Technical On-Page Tips for Healthcare & Hospital SEO
Ok, so now you have the content framework, how do we ensure it is indexed, understood and valued by the crawlers? Below is the fundamentals and pre-requisite inclusions for optimizing your content.
Title tags and meta descriptions
Title tags and meta description are still so important. This is the first impression to many of your visitors on Google. Make Are you enticing a click? Are you making that an enticing call to action to your site?
Header tags & Latent Semantic Indexation (LSI)
H1, H2, and H3 header tags are still super important. You want to make sure that the title of your page is the H1 and so forth. But just to check on all of that would be good.
As you work through the 4 line stanza listed above you should find it natural that your H2’s and H3’s will flow into a next logical segment of content so that the natural thought processes and curiosities of a reader are satisfied. Whilst doing this, ensure that you do not use the same keywords over and over again as you proceed through the copy. If there are synonyms or variations of how individuals may think of the content contextually then ensure that you mix in the variations. This will ensure all potential searches are catered for and can be indexed by the crawlers as natural relevant alternatives but also avoid any demotions in value that can occur from perceived over use or repetition in the structure of sub categories of your content.
Final Checks for Hospital and Health System Content Copy
TF-IDF stands for “term frequency-inverse document frequency.” It sounds a little intimidating. It’s actually pretty simple. What’s the number of times that “chakra stones” is mentioned in this particular page divided by the number of times it’s mentioned anywhere? This is basically just a calculation to determine relevance for the term “chakra stones.” Really cool and commonly used by Google. So if you can do this on your on-page, it will just help you in the long term.
Review & Update Content Regularly
You want to review for freshness. We want to make sure that this is up-to-date content. Maybe take a look at popular content the last year or two of your site and update that stuff. This should be a continual wash and repeat. You want to continue to update the content on your site.