- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On May 13, 2015
You know that old cliche about the tree falling in the forest when nobody’s around to hear it? It’s such an old, absurd question, but it’s a good way to think about your SEO efforts. You can create the most engaging, compelling content out there—the van Gogh or Picasso of content marketing—but if no one reads it—was it worth it?
Getting started as a content creator can be a pretty daunting task. Building an audience is hard—or downright impossible if you don’t have something important to offer the audience you and your bosses crave. Fortunately, as hospital marketers, you’ve got a leg up on marketers in other industries because your information can literally improve or save the lives of your readers—but people still need to find it.
If you want people to find you, you’ve got to put yourself out there in a way that allows you to be found. Whether or not SEO is a big part of your marketing plan, it goes hand-in-hand with quality content. Here are some things to keep in mind as you create content that’s both search engine- and human-friendly.
Keywords are king
Doing a lot of keyword analysis for every blog post you write may sound like a lot of extra work, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re already creating user-friendly content. Relevant information that people actually care about reading will almost always naturally contain relevant keywords that they actually search for. Google rewards quality content more than anything—if you have to work hard to fit your chosen keywords into the flow of your article, then it’s probably not good enough to hit #1 anyway.
Not all searches are created equal
Google displays search results in numerous ways, but the two important ones to understand are local and non-local searches. Non-local searches are the ones a user does when they’re researching a topic; the search engine will offer the results it thinks are the best ones regardless of where they’re physically located. For example, you could search for “heart attack” in New York and see results from a hospital in California amongst all of the pages from WebMD and Mayo Clinic. If you’re looking for non-competitive keywords, you’ll have to look long and hard to find one here.
Local searches, on the other hands, are ones where Google determines that you’re looking for a nearby location to visit, whether it’s a store or a doctor’s office. Local keywords are much less competitive because you’re not fighting giants like Mayo Clinic unless you share a geographic area, and the people who search for them are much more likely to make an appointment and come in for a visit. Think of someone who knows what kind of car they want to buy and are just looking for the right dealer—you’re not trying to convince them to see a doctor, but to see a doctor in your system.
Robots don’t read
When you start optimizing for SEO, it’s easy to get carried away with creating content for the crawler. While it’s important that the crawler can interpret what you’ve published, the quality of your content is what’s going to help you rise to the top—and convince prospective patients that your physicians can help them better than your competition’s. Reacting to great content that’s not getting read by sacrificing quality for traffic might boost your page views for a little while, but it won’t keep those visitors coming back for more.