Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run: Get Your SEO Fundamentals in Order
// By Mark Samber, PhD //
Ranking high on search engine results pages (SERP) is probably the most important endeavor for any healthcare marketing department. After all, 60 to 70 percent of your potential customers (patients) search Google for providers. It is imperative that the bulk of your resources — infrastructure and marketing spend — are devoted to capturing that potential market.
While every healthcare marketer and website publisher has best intentions for improving their search engine optimization (SEO), in reality, we’ve seen a different picture of SEO readiness. We work with dozens of healthcare clients — hospitals, health systems, practices, and payers — and only the smallest fraction of them understand what it takes to excel at SEO. In all fairness, SEO seems seductively simple: You want to maximize the ranking of your content to the broadest level of search. While the concept is simple, the execution is where site publishers consistently fail.
To improve your ranking, you need to become a master at the fundamentals of SEO. As a result, your site will appeal to humans (relevant content that matches query intent) and bots (flawless technical implementation), and Google will reward your proficiency with higher rankings. Repeated over time, this continuous optimization process becomes a virtuous circle and your hard effort pays off in top positions and high domain authority and trust.
Ideally, you want the circles in the diagram below to converge so that all of your web content ranks high in user queries. But how do you do that? In this article, we’ll begin with the fundamentals of good SEO. Then we’ll look at ways to align content with structure and strategy, and how to establish online reputation and authority. Last, we’ll discuss what’s coming – mobile indexing and voice search – and what you need to know to prepare for these trends.