Healthcare SEO has become a tough game and it’s hard to get ahead. If you’re struggling to make progress then it might be a good idea to look at some mistakes that are easy to make (and easy to rectify), when it comes to your approach.
- Your understanding of SEO is out of date
- You’re refusing to invest in SEO
- You have SEO tunnel vision
- ‘Great SEO’ is getting in the way of you doing good SEO
- You’re trying to reinvent the SEO wheel
1. Your understanding of SEO is out of date
“We can proudly say we’ve implemented all the best practice findings that came off the back of the Medic Update. Our SEO performance will be bouncing back any day now.”
Your site’s SEO can be out of date across a wide range of different areas, but the factor that matters most is whether or not you have a contemporary understanding of SEO.
It is probably the fastest changing marketing discipline if you look at how often the paradigm shifts. The chances are that when people talk about healthcare SEO in 2020, at least one person can’t resist bringing up the Medic Update to the Google algorithms. You know, that one that happened a while ago…
There’s an almost endless list of resources for current knowledge online, so staying on top of what’s new in SEO can and should be part of your day-to-day. The real problem is that even if your team knows their stuff, if your senior staff are working on 18-month-old assumptions, they can’t prioritise or allocate resources effectively.
Keeping your whole company ahead of the game on SEO can be the biggest challenge, and potentially the biggest success, of your overall strategy.
Some great links for staying in the SE-Know:
2. You’re refusing to invest in SEO
“Why would anyone invest heavily in a low cost-per-acquisition channel? It’s right there in the name – no paid clicks or expensive campaigns, just easy conversions without spending much money.”
Either you still think SEO can pull revenue out of nowhere (see the section above), or else like many in the field of marketing, the ambiguity and lack of guaranteed ROI means you just can’t face sinking money into ‘taking on Google’.
With SERPs becoming more and more sophisticated, and dominated by Google-generated content, it’s becoming harder and harder to break through the noise and reach your users. But, rather than giving in, why not double down? If you can find your niche and get SEO working for you, you’ll have a greater share of the voice if you’re one of the few sites that users come into contact with on page one.
Healthcare SEO is not impossible nowadays, but you need to be smart about how you invest in it now. With big health news and information sites, it’s no good throwing up basic health information that will be covered better elsewhere and expecting it to rank. Instead, look at what is missing. Users want comprehensive answers to health questions they can’t get from the standard format of ‘conditions’, ‘symptoms’, ‘treatments’ etc. Something with a human touch, from the perspective of someone who is confused about a personal health issue and needs guidance.
And of course, you won’t be able to give these users what they want if you’re not able to build solutions, invest in well written copy, and provide users visual assets to show the user they’re in the right place and they’re getting the answers they can’t find elsewhere.
Still not convinced?:
3. You have SEO tunnel vision
“We know there’s a lot of fiddly SEO considerations out there and lots of conflicting opinions, but we’re confident if we just produce the best possible landing page content, the algorithms will notice we deserve to rank and we’ll be (back in) position 1 in no time.”
Which is the more appealing scenario – one where you have to look at a big, resource-intensive SEO strategy that ticks all the boxes, or one where you can pin all your hopes on that spunky copywriter to work their magic while you focus on bigger things?
It’s understandable why many people want to believe that SEO can be accomplished by the ‘silver bullet’ of perfect landing page content. And obviously, there’s no denying your content needs to be good for you to rank well. But it’s not enough on its own. The Google algorithms are nowhere near perfect and they can’t ensure the most deserving content ranks highest just on stand alone merit.
To give your content the best chance of getting evaluated and ranked fairly, you need to make sure you’re doing everything Google expects of you to send the right signals to them and to your users that you have the medical expertise, authority, and trustworthiness that means you deserve visitors.
Get a broader view of SEO:
4. ‘Great SEO’ is getting in the way of you doing good SEO
“We need good SEO yesterday, but the competition is fierce. We’re not spending one second implementing anything until we’ve had enough meetings and workshops, and we have a long-term plan we know is going to outperform everyone else and deliver results.”
Indecision and inaction are natural responses when dealing with a crisis (like watching your SEO performance tank). But, you need to fight the urge to wait and see or plan obsessively with SEO because for you to succeed and grow your organic revenue, your SEO machine should only ever be accelerating.
Digital business culture loves to conduct retros and pivot strategies, and there’s a lot of value in that, but not if it means you’re stopping the presses to do so. Google loves fresh content and there’s always more publishing and optimising to do. So, while improving your approach to SEO is always a good idea, it’s unlikely to be worth derailing your day-to-day productivity to do it.
There are no guarantees in SEO, no matter how long you spend on your strategy. The best way to see results is to implement and monitor. Yes, there is a risk of ‘making things worse’ and big decisions do need thinking through, but you’ll probably lose out more in the long-term from being overly cautious or standing still.
Need more motivation to take action?:
5. You’re trying to reinvent the SEO wheel
“We know there’s a lot of expert SEO advice out there but we’re a unique case and we’d feel more confident if we did a lot more internal research and testing before we implement any of the changes those experts are suggesting.”
Definitely linked to the section above, it’s easy for a testing-orientated, inward-looking company to be skeptical of expert SEO advice. When it’s easy to set up an A/B test for other channels and proof that a specific optimisation will guarantee uplift, it can be frustrating to hear the same is not really true for SEO.
The problem with SEO is there are so many, many factors that affect performance and it’s difficult to isolate and measure the impact of changing just 1. Still that won’t stop a lot of marketers from sinking a lot of time, energy, and money into trying this for themselves.
There’s plenty of useful advice on modern healthcare SEO, especially because healthcare sites have been a big focus for Google algorithm updates in recent years. There’s not a lot of contention around what is best practice for SEO because Google themselves outlined what you need to do to make their algorithms happy.
If you’ve ticked every box and you’re well prepared to adapt to whatever Google throws at online healthcare next then trying to innovate makes sense, but you need to walk before you can run and most companies are still playing catch up when it comes to best practice.
Get up to speed:
If you’re sure you’ve got the basics down: