This is the fifth post in the series What You Need to Know About Medical SEO.
My town has a great little downtown area we call The Square. Lots of cute little shops and restaurants in historic buildings encircle the county’s original courthouse, which is now a performing arts center. When my sister visits, we love to wander around The Square, in and out of shops, looking for unique treasures. But if we happen to walk into a shop that is poorly organized, doesn’t smell so good, or lacks the sort of merchandise we’re expecting, we duck right out of there.
And that’s exactly what users do when they land on a website that doesn’t meet their expectations. They bounce. The thing about bouncing is search engines know when it happens. So if everybody who lands on your website immediately hits the back button, the search engines say, “Aha! This site is not satisfying the needs of searchers so I will quit ranking it so high.” Those crazy anthropomorphic search engines.
So what makes someone want to leave your website instead of hang around? It’s the same concept as my shopping experience on The Square. It’s the medical website user experience.
Give Searchers What They are Looking For
I expect the shops to give me what I’m looking for. If I’m looking for home decor items and find plumbing supplies, I’m out. Likewise, if someone is looking for safety information on vaccines, but doesn’t find it, they will bounce. So, be sure the content you provide on your website answers the questions someone searching for your keywords is asking.
Create High Quality Content
Make sure the content you provide is high quality. When I shop The Square, I’m not interested in cheap, poorly made crafts or the same items I can find in shops in fifty different cities. I’m looking for well-made, one-of-kind items. In the same way, if your content is thin and weak, you aren’t offering anything of value that isn’t in a bazillion other places on the internet. A thoughtful discussion of the pros and cons of vaccines is valuable. A list of required childhood vaccines with no discussion is less so. Give your readers something only you can offer.
In addition, the quality of the writing is important. If your content is full of grammar and spelling errors, that’s not a good sign. If your writing is complicated and hard to follow, you will lose your readers. Make sure the quality of your writing creates a great experience for your reader.
Provide an Easy to Use Experience
Make sure your site is easy to use and navigate. When I walk into a store with tight aisles and lots of breakable things my handbag can snag, I’m less inclined to stay there. I want to feel at ease as I make my way through the shop along easy to navigate and clearly marked aisles. Same with your website. If your content is interesting but your reader can’t figure out your navigation menu, they may just head on out of there instead. Make it easy for them to click through for more information or to make an appointment.
Offer an Attractive Design
Make sure your site has a clean, up-to-date design. If I walk into a store that has lovely things but they’ve crammed them into crummy displays, it’s just not the same experience as shopping in a place where the merchandise is displayed in a lovely, creative way. And if I click on a site with lots of words crammed into one long block of text and it’s not sized properly for my phone (which more and more people use for internet searches), I will leave. But if you have lots of clean white space surrounding that same text, which you’ve broken into manageable paragraphs, and your navigation is clear and easy to use, I may just hang around and eventually make an appointment.
The design of your website matters. It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars, but it should be attractive, easy to read, and easy to navigate.
So the short version of today’s post is this: make sure your website visitors have an excellent experience when they land on your site. From the quality of the content to the design of the page to the ease of navigation, every interaction your user has with your site either pushes them away or draws them further in. The search engines know this. Show them that you do, too.
Read Part 1 in the What You Need to Know About Medical SEO series here: What Exactly is Medical SEO?
Read Part 2 in the What You Need to Know About Medical SEO series here: What Search Engines Want From Your Medical Website?
Read Part 3 in the What You Need to Know About Medical SEO series here: Using Medical Keywords Wisely for Strong SEO