This is the fourth post in the series What You Need to Know About Medical SEO.
Alright! You’ve read about keywords and you’ve done your research. You know the keywords your audience of patients and potential patients will be searching for. You want to use these keywords on your medical website. Let’s dig into the nuts and bolts of how to do this.
Create Great Content
The first step is always to write your content without your keyword in mind. Write your content with your reader in mind. Seriously, you are writing content for people, not search engines. If you do a great job of that, the search will follow. Please, trust me on this. The internet is filled with so much junk content, don’t contribute to that by writing a stilted piece that’s trying too hard to fit around a keyword. Nobody wants to read it. If search engines direct anyone to it, they will simply bounce off your page.
Add Keywords Smoothly and Seamlessly
Once you’ve written your sparkly, delightful content, you can think about how your keywords will fit in. Read through your text and find a couple of spots where you can substitute your keyword in and keep the flow of the text. Not too many. Yoast, widely accepted as the SEO experts, recommends a density of no more than 0.5 to 2.5 percent. If you use keywords on your medical website once for every 100-200 words you are in good shape. Any more than that and you risk A) the readability of your content, and B) the wrath of the search engines.
Keywords in Your Page Title
Use your keywords in the title of your page. Search engines look at titles as an indicator of what the page is about. So tell them. Believe me, I love a clever title with a double-meaning, and sometimes I can’t resist using one. But putting the keyword that tells search engines and readers what your page is about right in the title? That’s going to do you a lot more good in the long run.
Use Keywords in Your Subheads
You can use subheads in your piece to break it up visually, making it easier for your reader to scan. If you do this, which I recommend, be sure you don’t just bold the subhead. Actually use a heading tag – <h1>, <h2>,<h3>, etc. This alerts the search engines to the important content inside the tags.
Use Keywords in Images
With every image you use on a webpage, you have the ability ot use <alt> tags. These tags provide “alternative text” which is read by screen readers the visually impaired use. If you don’t provide <alt> text, it will get filled in with the image title which is probably “img4373.jpg” which is annoying and unhelpful. But if you fill it in with relevant content, you help your visually impaired reader and search engines understand the meaning and relevance of the image you’ve chosen. Don’t skip this step!
Use Keywords in Your Page URL
If you’ve managed your settings well, your page url will include your title. Let’s say your page title is Lifestyle Changes to Beat Diabetes. Your url should look like this: http://mywebsite.com/lifestyle-changes-beat-diabetes. If your settings don’t do that automatically for you, then you need to go in and manually edit it.
Use Keywords in the Meta Description
This is an important one because it matters to search engines and to readers. The meta description is the little blurb that shows up under the page title. Here is a screenshot of the search engine results page for the keywords “medical blog series.”
Notice that the first two entries have a bunch of truncated sentences right under the title, making them hard to understand. Notice that the number three entry – the New York Times Well Blog, and the number four entry, for this post right here on Coffee Break Medical Marketing, have nice, complete descriptive sentences that tell you what to expect if you click through? And notice how the Coffee Break entry even has the search term “medical blog series” in bold? That’s really helpful for someone who is searching for a blog series. If they are looking for one to read, they might click on the NYT post. If they want to create one, they will click on mine. Use the meta description well, and it can really help searchers understand what you have to offer.
Take a Shortcut When You Use Keywords on Your Medical Website
Okay. That’s a lot to remember every time you add a page or write a new blog post for your website. But lucky for us, there is an easy way to make sure this gets done with every piece of web content you create. The Yoast SEO plug-in is a free WordPress plug-in that adds a checklist to your page editor. It rates your content with a red, yellow or green light. If you aren’t green, it gives you a list of items you can change to improve your SEO. It’s really handy. Bliss and I use it regularly, on this site and on all our client sites as well.
That’s it. There are lots of advanced things you can do to improve your SEO. But for most people writing great content with the smart use of keywords can make a signficant difference. Give it a try!
Read Part 1 in the What You Need to Know About Medical SEO here: What Exactly is Medical SEO?
Read Part 2 in the What You Need to Know About Medical SEO here: What Search Engines Want From Your Medical Website?
Read Part 3 in the What You Need to Know About Medical SEO here: Using Medical Keywords Wisely for Strong SEO
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