Ask the Experts: Get Answers to Your Top Healthcare SEO Questions

– Before we jump into questions. We wanted to start with
an overview of SEO, and basically what all it entails, and some of the basic components for you that may be less familiar. So basically, search engine
optimization are tactics that you use to help your
website perform well in search. And there’s really usually
three key components to that. There are the technical elements of SEO, which focuses more on the
backside of your site. Those backend components
like the code or site speed. We then look at on-page signals, which is really heavily
to do with your content. And then last is off-page
signals, which is more related to link building, Google My
Business, those external factors. So with that we will dive
right into our questions. – All right, so the first
question we wanted to go over is, “If you’re limited on time, and you only have a little bit
of time to spend optimizing, what are the things that
you’d make the most impact?” I slaughtered the question there, sorry. So this is a pretty common
question around resources, and what you’re paying
for it, your capacity, and where to make things count. Personally, I think you
should focus initially on the tech SEO. So that goes into the first foundation that Lindsey talked about, which is doing things on
the code side of your site to make sure it’s ready to be indexed. So I like to think of it like if you’re having a dinner party. So technical SEO is things
like having a house, and having a table, and
having silverware and dishes. On-page SEO is the food that
you’re going to be serving, and then off-page SEO is
how you get the invites out to bring people over. So before you really order
food and invite people over you have to make sure they
have somewhere to sit, somewhere to eat, and that’s where that tech SEO comes in. So making sure that the important pages don’t have no indexes on them. Making sure you have
metadata for all your pages. Making sure that you have page titles, friendly URLs, all that stuff that goes into making
the page worth indexing, and then findable. – Agreed. – Okay, so another question we had was, “Does having an SSL certified
site help with SEO?” Short answer here is yes. For those of you that are
unfamiliar with what SSL means, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. And basically, it’s a global
standard security technology that decreases the risk
of sensitive information being stolen or tampered with. So in health care industry
that’s information around your PHI, credit cards,
passwords, things like that. Sites that are secure begin with HTTPS and sites that are not
begin with just HTTP. So why does that matter for SEO? Well, frankly, because Google said so. In 2015, Google stated
that their HTTPS ranking may actually serve as a tiebreaker
in terms of those ranking signals that Google evaluates when they look at different websites. So if your website is
equal to your competitors in terms of a lot of those
other ranking factors, things like page speed,
title tags, content, things like that. So if you’re neck and
neck with your competitor, if their site is secure and yours is not, your competitor is going
to rank ahead of you. Their blog actually, their Webmaster blog had also hinted at a fully secure web in the future. So they said, “As migrating
to HTTPS becomes much easier over time, they’re going to continue to work towards a completely secure web by default.” And then additionally, just from a user experience perspective, I know a lot of us use Chrome, and their browsers, especially Chrome and some others as well, where if a user goes to a non-secure site, they’re actually going
to throw up a warning, letting those users know
that it’s not a secure site. So much more likely to have
user bounce from there. – Yup, it’s certainly becoming more and more important over time. – And the warning they throw
up when it’s not secure is really bold and it basically says, “Don’t trust this site.” I mean, if it’s something
where you want people to give you any sort of information, Google is basically telling them not to. – Yup. – All right, our next question,
this one was actually, we’re lumping several
questions that we got together. So we did have multiple
questions that were related to this topic, so we’re
going to address all of that with just this one slide here. The question is, “How do
you find the most applicable keywords to target and what
tools do you recommend?” So I’m going to do a run
through of a really quick keyword search process and how that works. And some of the different
tools we like to use in order to do that. So the first step to finding
the most applicable keywords is really you just need to
gather a giant keyword list. And so the first step is going to be, I usually just open a spreadsheet and gather all the keywords
that you can think of. I like to look through
your competitor content. I like to see other sites
that are ranking well for those keywords that
are related to your topic. Even browsing sites like forums or Reddit are really great sources to see how people are talking about the different topics that you’re trying to write about. From there there’s also keyword tools. That can help you to
generate keyword ideas. Some of the most popular
are Google’s keyword finder. I like to use Moz Keyword Explorer because they have different
options for finding even broader ideas beyond just that keyword
that you are searching. SEMrush is another great tool. AnswerThePublic is a free website that you can use to find questions. And then there’s a
browser extension called Keywords Everywhere, which is also really great
for keyword research. So once you have that giant keyword list, we then want to narrow that list down, because obviously this giant keyword list is just a list of ideas. It doesn’t mean that this
is exactly what people are searching for and it doesn’t tell you how
often they’re searching for it. So you want to narrow it down
by volume to see what are the most popular variations
that people search for and then cut out those keywords that don’t have any searches. After that I like to evaluate difficulty. And this is the most
important step that I think a lot of people skip. And this is important,
especially in health care, because for certain types of keywords Google really prioritizes authority sites and that is going to be
extremely hard to rank for. So seeing who you’re competing
against in search results for some of those keywords. If it’s a lot of high authority sites like that .edu domains, .gov sites, web Mds, that is going to be extremely difficult. And so I would probably prioritize more of those local searches. Those tend to be a lot of provider terms, a lot of searches for local
services or locations. And the bonus for those kind of searches is that they tend to be very
bottom of the funnel searches. So you’re going to get users
who are more likely to convert than those users who are looking more for high funnel conditions,
and signs and symptoms, those kinds of keywords. So that’s my long spiel
on keyword research and some of the different tools. I don’t know if you guys
have any other thoughts you’d like to share, please. – Yeah, I think when
you dive into keywords, it’s important to understand
where at in that funnel, that Lindsey talked about,
that you’re trying to target, because Google shifting more
towards that machine learning and AI and getting into
learning about user intent. That’s going to dictate the
way you write about it because they’re going to search
differently if they’re looking for somebody to perform that
sort of treatment now versus just doing research on what
that treatment entails. So putting that into your strategy when you start to look at these keywords is going to help a lot. – Another thing I just want
to recommend here quick is if you really want to
evaluate conversion potential for some of your keywords, the best way to do that
is to run a PPC campaign and use those keywords on Exact Match. And see exactly how well
those keywords convert. Run that campaign for a couple
of months to get enough data and then once you feel
that you have a good handle on what keywords convert the best, target those keywords for your SEO. And that is the best
way to really understand the full picture of what’s
going to drive revenue. – (Cole) Hey guys, I
had a question on that. So if somebody’s new to the, I don’t know, they’re just starting out
with the Keyword Explorer. I know you mentioned one of
the tools there was free, but are there others there that are free or maybe more beginner
friendly that someone could use from that list that
you mentioned, Lindsey? Or is there one that jumps
out more that’s more advanced? I mean, any insight there? – Yeah, so a lot that I mentioned
are actually paid tools. Moz is a paid tool. SEMrush is paid. Keyword finder, or Keyword Explorer Planner, sorry. Google Ads, that one is free, so that’s the first place
I would recommend going. There’s one called KWFinder. That let’s you perform
a handful of searches before it locks you down and
makes you do a paid search. I think you can perform a
handful everyday or something. Others, Google Search
Console is also a great one to look at existing keywords that are driving traffic to your site. It doesn’t really give
you additional ideas beyond how your content
is already performing, but it’s a great idea to
see where you’re at today and see where you maybe need
to branch off from there. – Keywords Everywhere is free too. I like that one a lot. You have a couple of
different options with it. If you go to a competitor
page that you think does a really good job with
that service line or topic, or whatever, you can right-click on it, after you add the extension,
and click analyze this page. And it will pull out every
single keyword on that page, give you volume estimates,
competition estimates. And then beyond that, if you do a Google search for something. So like geriatric surgery, you’re going to see it on the sidebar, that extension is going
to filter in a bunch of other keywords like,
“Hey, this is related, you might be interested in this keyword.” So when you’re doing that
compiling the list type of thing, Keywords Everywhere is
probably my favorite tool and it’s free. – All right, our next question. We got a couple of variations
of this question as well. “When writing about a
condition or treatment, is it better to have one
page with more content or to have multiple pages
with thinner content?” As you can probably guess,
it’s not a cut and dry answer. It really depends on the service line. So rather than focusing
on the number of pages, I think it’s important to
focus on types of intent someone would have if
they’re coming to that page. I think ideally you should be able to tell a pretty comprehensive story on one page rather than trying to chunk
it out into multiple pages. Unless you have a
strategy behind doing so. But there’s different ways you can fit a lot of that information onto your page with subheads and bulleted lists. And just making sure that
you’re writing for the user and their intent. If you think of different
conditions and treatments consider how much information
you would need for answering someone’s questions about cancer versus ear infections. There’s going to be a more
robust information on cancer that you’d want to probably
break out into more pages. So that’s where that keyword
research can come in, to see what searches users
are searching for most. Our content strategists look
at your organizational goals and user behavior to connect that related content across the site. – One thing I will say, is
if you are really wanting to target a specific keyword for SEO, you want to make sure that
keyword is going to be within your page title,
within your heading. And so that’s where, if it does make sense
to have multiple pages, it can be beneficial
from an SEO perspective to be able to target a lot
of those different topics with different pages, because
you can use that H1 space in that page title within each page to effectively target each keyword. So if it makes sense
from both a user-behavior and user-intent perspective,
and an SEO perspective, then I say break ‘them out. Otherwise one robust page can also serve a really good purpose. – All right, so along
the lines of the keyword, “What’s the right balance
between incorporating keywords in your content and keyword stuffing?” The general rule of thumb is
if you wouldn’t say those words in that order out loud to somebody, it’s probably not going to
work on the page either. Obviously, it’s a little
more in depth than that. But basically doing your keyword research, doing all the steps that Lindsey
talked about to make sure that it’s a really quality keyword, a really quality phrase, it’s matching the user intent
that you’re trying to target. It’s going to come out a lot
more conversational anyways, because that’s the way
people are searching now, is really conversationally. So this should happen naturally. Keyword stuffing is
gone for the most part. Some people still do. Google is really good about catching it. But as you read through your content, if it’s difficult to read through because it just doesn’t flow the way you would naturally read, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that you’re keyword stuffing. Yeah, it’s simple to me, but the balance between
the two would just be that if you feel you have to keyword stuff then you probably didn’t
do a lot of those steps on the queried research side. And you’re probably
stuffing a lot of keywords that don’t have a lot of
value to them anyways. So just focus on the research part and then your content will
be easier to put together. – Yeah, ’cause I think we
recommend optimizing pages for one maybe two keywords. Much more than that it might be worthwhile breaking it out into several pages. – All right, “What are
your thoughts on using newer Google My Business
features like Q&As, Posts, and their impact on search results rank?” I think these are great features that Google has come out
with for business listings. The Q&A portion and then the Google Posts. I would say for business listings, you want to make sure that you
have a strong foundation first before you’re focusing
on these other features, as nice as they are. But making sure your listing is accurate with the name, address, phone number. The correct category, the correct hours, and that you have photos
on your listings as well. That’s one of the most
powerful local SEO strategies to improve your local search rankings. And for the Q&As and Posts, when people are interacting
with your listing that can increase you rankings naturally. The behavioral signals
of the click-through rate on your listings is a
ranking factor for Google. And another thing to keep in mind is that while your listing does
impact your site’s ranking, 63% of mobile searches nowadays are those zero-click searches, so users are really
looking at your listing to find the information they need. So they might not always be
clicking to your website, but making sure those
listings are accurate and as built out as possible
is really important. And then you can optimize even further with answering those questions
that users are asking and making sure that
you’re the source of truth for those questions. Anyone can go into your listing and answer a question
that a user is asking. So you want to be proactive in providing the right information. And if someone asks where
to park on your listing, you’d want to be the person to answer that rather than having some
random person answer. And then with Google Posts, I think Google has been
experimenting a lot, within the last year or so, with what they’re doing with Posts. I think it’s a great opportunity to use some of your priority locations and it gives the users
another call to action. And it provides a photo to them, so it can really catch
their eye on your listing. – Kind of related to the Q&As, one tactic I’ve seen some organizations do is rather than just relying
on users to submit questions, they will submit their own
questions and answer them. So making their own FAQ section
in their business listings. And sometimes that can
then outweigh and outrank, so to speak, some of the crazier questions that tend to pop up from people
who are submitting those. – Okay, yeah, this is the
one I feel like we get a lot with our clients. “How do you work with your providers to optimize your web content? Sometimes it feels like you’re speaking completely different languages. They talk in health terms
that you don’t really know and then you all talk
in digital terms they’ve probably never heard of.” So I think the best solution
here is really to do just that, is to work with the providers. Health literacy varies pretty
greatly between audiences, especially in areas, it doesn’t matter how
educated the area is, health literacy is something
that is completely different. You can somebody who’s got
very high education levels, but when they’re
confronted with an illness, or they’re scared or something like that, healthy literacy is a
very different animal. So I would recommend
working with those providers to explain that those
technical terms are not patient-friendly and asking
them to explain those terms with a larger audience in mind. If possible, even presenting them with some of that keyword research
to show the data that around what users in your area
are actually searching for. That can be extremely helpful, especially if you have those providers where they’re looking for
more data-driven decisions. And then also, you can hit
them with the statistic that only about 12% of the US adults are proficient in health literacy. And it should also be noted here that 11% of US adults
actually work in health care. So that’s a significant amount of people that are not exactly
health literacy proficient. I think it also might
help, on the flip side, for you all to explain why
you might need to address these larger audiences. So the providers probably
don’t really know or even maybe care much about what SEO is, so explaining it to them in
terms that they can appreciate. So if more users are able
to understand your content then they’re probably going
to feel more comfortable coming to you for care. Health care is strikingly
similar to retail. Consumerism is really tough when the understanding of the
product is really limited. So that definitely applies
to health care here as well. And I think that type of
logic can also be linked back to your overall business
or department objectives for a more compelling
argument to get everybody on the same page. – Well said. – All right, “How can we
make an average person feel more comfortable in their search?” I think this goes hand in hand with what Lauren just talked about with always write for the average user and make your content user focused. Pay attention to the health
literacy levels within your area and making sure your meeting
those needs of those users. And just remembering
that not everyone knows some of the medical terms
that we’re so used to using on a daily basis. So that’s where that
keyword research, again, can come in handy. And another way, I think, is
just making sure your providing a call to action on the page that you’re bringing the user to once they do find you in search. So that whatever page
they do happen to land on, you’re making it easy for
them to take the next step. And really feel like they don’t have to jump around your site, but
you’re leading the way for them. – Okay, our next question is, “Do you have any tips
for doing SEO at scale? We have more than 14,000 pages with constantly changing content.” So this is a really tricky question because SEO entails so much. And so if you have a
really large organization and a really large site
that is always changing, I think your first step is
really to get a handle on your internal processes and
creating an SEO governance plan. Before you jump into buying a tool or investing in a lot of SEO up front. You really need to understand
who all is touching your site, who all is writing content,
who’s going into your SMS and publishing pages or documents. Who is involved in the
back-end technical aspects that really have an impact on SEO. And then you need to
develop a governance plan. Otherwise, without that
plan, often you’ll find that as you are making forward progress in SEO, things are getting messed up
faster than you can fix it. So you really need to
get a governance plan and get everyone internally
on the same page, so you’re able to make forward progress once you do have that plan in place. It can be really helpful if
you’re a large organization to have an SEO point person on your team who is that bridge between
these different areas and can oversee all of
these different touch points that people have with your site. And as far as that governance plan, it can really be as simple as
a checklist that people use whenever people are publishing
new content on your site. It might include items
like a formula for writing page titles for your organization, or instructions on when
to implement redirects. Or even specifics about your SMS and different components
that can affect SEO if people are unfamiliar
with certain components. For example, there’s often a checkbox in the back end of your SMS that will prevent a page from
being indexed and searched. So if you have people publishing content that don’t really know
what that impact is, that can be a severe impact. So having that guidance
and governance plan, and checklist in place, can really help. After that, I would probably start by implementing some kind of tool or process to regularly crawl your site, so you can get that
technical foundation in place and stay on top of that. Because as Tim was saying earlier, that technical foundation is
like the dinner party example where if you don’t have that house or that dinner table in place, you can’t really have
that dinner party at all. So getting your technical foundation, regularly crawling your site,
checking for those issues, and staying on top of (echo), no index tags, redirect issues. And then really, as the third step, I would recommend conducting
an audit of your site to really create that road map and long term strategy for your team. So this is where pulling in an
agency can be really helpful to conduct that audit of your site. Having someone to have
those outside viewpoints that has a lot of experience can be helpful in crafting that road map and knowing what is going to
really make the most impact and help you long term. So when you’re making that road map, I would really recommend focusing on things that are going
to offer the most value with the least amount of effort required. And so prioritizing it that way and also considering
your organizational goals and their marketing strategy as well. So that’s my spiel (laughs). – And for something of that size, how often do you think we should recommend they do crawl their site for
some of that technical stuff? – So I usually recommend
about every week if you can. If you can set up alerts. You can get a weekly email
that is a run down of different issues that may have come up. It really depends though on how often you’re changing your site, if you’re making updates every week. Otherwise you could maybe push
it back to a monthly update or a monthly crawl. It really just depends on how often you’re changing your site. – Makes sense. – One of the things with
constantly changing content, it’s easy to do the SEO, if you’re constantly making those changes. If you do some of the other
stuff that’s been talked about like the keyword research you do. Some of that legwork up front,
before you put on the site, you’re doing SEO at scale that way. And then the other benefit, with constantly changing your content is Google crawls sites that change a lot and get a lot of traffic
more frequently than sites that don’t change a lot and
don’t get a lot of traffic. So New York Times, for example,
CNN, those big news sites, they get crawled multiple
times in a minute. Google’s constantly,
(mumbles) lives on their site to see the most recent,
up-to-date information. That’s why when you do a Google search and you get those news results? They’re minutes old because they’re getting
crawled frequently. So you’re going to probably
get crawled a lot too if you have that many pages
that are constantly changing. So your SEO initiatives will take hold a lot quicker as well. All right, “Is schema markup effective in moving search results?” So really briefly what schema is, I like to think of it like the old Rolodex where you would have a bunch
of information about a person on a card and then you would
just hole punch those cards. So each of the pages on your site can have some sort of mark up that
basically tells Google what that page is, what the type of information
they are trying to convey is, and how to read or organize
and index that information. So it’s just putting it
on the back end in a way that Google can understand. So alone, if you just do schema, and that’s the only
SEO tactic that you do, it’s probably not going to
move the needle a whole lot. But as part of a bigger strategy,
it’s a really good tactic because it’s going to have a lot of impact on the way things are distributed. If you have ratings from
reviews on your providers, schema is the way that you pull that into the Google search results. So if you see search results
that have stars on them, organically, that’s
how that is being done. So having that incorporated
within your larger SEO strategy is really important. And then beyond that, as far as anything local, pulling into some of
those rich data fields, things like that, that are
getting more and more prevalent, schema is a really effective
way to do that as well. So it’s definitely worth it and as long as it’s part
of a bigger strategy. – And I think long-term schema is something that will become
more and more important. I know Google has, is continually pushing websites to adapt schema and creating more and more features. And I really see schema mark up today as yet being in its infancy. I think over time it’s going to become even more and more of
a necessary component. So getting a handle on it
now can be really beneficial and pay off even more so in the future. Okay, next question here is, “Do you feel business listing services are worth investing in
after you’ve claimed and optimized the top
five or so properties?” So my answer here is, yes, it’s
always going to be valuable. I would say, once you have
those first top five or so claimed and optimized, your strategy is shifting a little bit more from user experience to more of an SEO benefit. The more that you have your
name, address, and phone number, or also known as a citation, present on more and more sites, the more authority your website
is going to have over time. And also the more links
you’re going to acquire from those outside directory sites. So a part of that overall
external SEO strategy. But you would be surprised, even beyond claiming those top five, how many organizations
still get phone calls and feedback from patients saying, that “I found this random phone number, it’s the wrong phone number,
I tried to contact you.” And it can be on these
random directory sites and people still tend to find them. So the more that you can branch
out and really invest time in optimizing those other
directory sites, it can pay off. The other aspect is, if you look at the local search ecosystem, there’s a really great graphic
out there by Whitespark. I suggest looking that up. You can see how often a lot
of these directory sites are connected to each other and they actually feed
data to other sites. So it can actually pay
off in the long term if you are investing
time in these other sites like Foursquare, for example. You’re going to have that pay off because it is going to feed
those other websites as well. So I would say, I would consider it if you
really want that SEO benefit, if you have patient feedback still, even after you’ve optimized
those top five sites, that you’re still
getting those phone calls that patients are struggling. And another big factor could be if you have undertaken
a name change recently or in the past 10 years even that data is still going
to be lingering out there and floating around. And I would especially consider
it if you have other names for your locations out there. – One other thing, I don’t
know if anybody caught it, Kelly briefly mentioned
it on another GMP slide, but 63% of all Google
searches are zero-click or no-click searches. That means that the
user’s question or intent or what they’re looking for was solved on the search result page and they didn’t have to leave Google. And a huge chunk of that
is Google My Business. So it’s not that Google
My Business should be a part of your strategy, maybe you should dedicate
some time or resources. It’s to a point now, and will
increasingly be in the future, where it needs to be a general strategy. It’s huge, it’s local, it’s massive. Google is doing everything
in their power to make people stay on the search engine
and not go to your website. And so if you don’t have the strategy, you’re missing out on 63% of searches. That’s a huge percentage. And you pull that out into
revenue, you can’t ignore it. – All right, next question was, “With a name change to your
health care organization, what key things should you be aware of and do, or not do, as it relates to SEO?” There’s a lot of things to consider when you’re going through a name change with your organization, obviously. I think with SEO, the one with the biggest
immediate impact is ensuring that you have the correct
redirect set up on your site for all of your relevant pages. If you’re not transferring
that link equity then you’re basically
starting over from scratch with your new domain. Another thing you want
to do is inform Google and Bing about your domain
change and your name change through Search Console
and Bing Webmaster Tools. And then submit your new site map to them so they’re able to crawl your site. Focus on your metadata, your page titles and meta descriptions
that are on your site to make sure that you’re
incorporating that your new name in referencing that. And then, as Lindsey touched
on that off-page SEO, make sure that you’re
changing your brand name and URL in your descriptions across all those external sites. Like Google My Business, and even your social media platforms, making sure that those are all
changed with the correct URL. I would say those are the top
things you should consider. – If you’re setting up
redirects correctly, if people are searching for
your old name, your new site should come up just because Google will
make that correlation. But it doesn’t hurt to
run a page search campaign for some time just to get
people used to the idea of your new name as they’re searching. That can be a beneficial add-on as well. – If I’m correctly on redirects, so there’s lots of different
ways to do redirects. There’s 301s, 302s, 307s. 301s are the only ones that are permanent. So that’s you telling Google
and the other robots out there that this page forever
lives at this new URL. It’s never going to go
back to the other one. 302s, 307s, those are temporary, so you’re saying it’s forwarded for now but eventually I’m going to come back. So the impact of doing that incorrectly could be what Lindsey
said, where your new page doesn’t get that equity to
show up in the search engines. And then beyond that, when people go to that page
that is being redirected, so the old name, you’re not passing along the
authority from that traffic. It’ll only put about half at
most over to the new page, whereas a 301, the permanent redirect, will shift usually around
97 to 99% of that equity, which adds up. – (Cole) So you guys
mentioned on that slide, Bing, and I realized, been
talking’ a lot about Google, and don’t forget about my
boys and girls at Bing. What do you have for updates
on numbers as far as, how is search traffic split
between Google and Bing? Do you have updated numbers? Are more people using Bing
now compared to in the past or is it still pretty far behind? How does it compare to Google? – Everybody is still
pretty far behind Google. Their market share is pretty huge. And a lot of the tactics
carry over across them, so even though we say Google
it works across the board. You don’t have to do
a whole lot different. Bing hasn’t really gained any
market share recently overall. At least not a shift worth mentioning. That other Badoo, or whatever that one is, that Badoo search engine has actually made the biggest shift. Still nowhere that
Google’s concerned about. – Which Badoo is a Chinese search engine so we probably won’t need to
worry about that too much. – Yes. But to answer your question,
Google still rocks it. Will continue to. – Yup. – Okay, everybody’s favorite question. “What strategies do
you recommend regarding SEO for voice discovery?” So I think when it comes down to it, if you’re employing the
strategies that you would for normal search engine discovery, it’s also going to help in
terms of voice discovery. A lot of the issue here is that we don’t currently have
the data around voice search to really be optimizing much
further than we already do for your search engine result pages. The data just doesn’t exist yet. However, following the strategy where you’re optimizing for the user, is always going to help with rankings. And I think that’s especially
true for voice discovery. Your voice devices don’t
care about your organization, they care about their end user. So you just want to make sure that you’re always optimizing for them. That said, if I were to give a strategy, I would definitely say focus
on those local listings. Many of the voice devices
end up pulling from the business listing information. So the Google, Bing, Yelp,
those types of platforms. So my advice would be to create, claim, and optimize those local
listings as much as possible. – Anything to add Tim? (panel laugh) – Yeah, I agree with
everything Lauren said. I don’t think voice is
there as a thing yet. I think, it’s dramatically misrepresented and mixed in with voice assistance, which is a very different thing. When, as my daughter
asks Alexa all the time, “Is it going to rain tomorrow?” That sort of information is not
useful for the SEO spectrum, at least not in health care. But when they pull these
studies to talk about how big voice searches, they
include that sort of data. And it skews the data. There’s a couple of really
nice surveys out there that they’ve done around voice and there’s questions within that survey that are really specific to voice search. And if you look at just those and rule out all the voice assistance, voice search is actually
down, year over year. So less people are using it
than they were last year. That’s not to say it’s not
going to blow up at some point, but there’s a lot bigger
things that are going to have, are right now around SEO that you can do and that I would recommend focusing on. And a lot of those like
Lauren talked about, local listings, schema, trying to get into
those featured snippets, and those knowledge
panels, things like that, are going to be the same
stuff that plays in the voice. So once that does get
here, if it ever gets here, you’ll naturally be ready. – Okay, next question is, “Should you track search
engine rankings of specific keywords using
third party tools?” This is one that we have several
differing perspectives on. You’ll actually find that
a lot in the SEO space, is the answers aren’t always cut and dry. It’s not just black and white. There’s a lot of gray. There’s a lot of different
approaches to achieving things. So you may hear several
different perspectives today, but I’ll give mine first. So tracking rankings can be
beneficial to help gauge the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. But I really strongly feel
that if keyword rankings is the only metric that
you’re using to gauge success, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. And that’s because I
consider keyword rankings to be a vanity metric. Meaning that, it looks good, it makes you feel good to see
yourself ranking up there, but at the end of the day, is it really driving your
organization revenue? And that’s what’s hard
about measuring success only using rankings, is that the gap between
ranking for a keyword and getting revenue is so wide. So that’s why, let’s say
you’re ranking number one for Crohn’s dizzy symptoms. But is that keyword actually
driving traffic to your site and does that traffic actually converting and bringing you revenue? So that’s why when I am
undertaking an SEO strategy, I really like to look a step lower and look at organic traffic and look at conversions
from that organic traffic. Because ultimately, that is what’s going to bring you success. So that’s my soap box, feel free to share. – Yeah, I, go ahead. – Yeah, I mean, I would
just add on to that. I think if you’re looking at one metric, and have that be your only
metric in any situation, whether that’s rankings or anything else, I think that’s definitely
doing yourself a disservice. It’s always good to take things
into context with the rest of those other key metrics
and to look at as well. – I think it’s one piece
of a very larger puzzle that you should look at when
you’re measuring success. And like Lindsey mentioned, what’s actually getting
conversions on your site? Is it because your ranking first or is it because of your key words, or there’s a lot of different factors. – Yeah, if you start a
question with “Should I track?” I don’t know, I don’t
have to read the rest, my answer’s always yes. I just love data, I love having all of it, but totally on the same
page as everybody else here. If that’s the only thing
you’re focusing on, you’re not going to have
real success with that. You’re not going to be able to turn that into something actionable. And I think that’s, I agree on the surface
it’s a vanity metric. And by definition, vanity
metrics aren’t actionable, and so why pay attention to ‘them. The one thing I will say, why I like to track queried rankings, as part of a different
strategy not by itself, is because there’s documented differences and click-through rates between the 10th position
and the first position. There’s a huge difference in
how much volume and traffic you’re really going to get
based on positions on the page. So if we assume that
your website is perfect, your conversion funnels
are in working order, you don’t have constraints,
your contents really good, everything else on the
page is really great, being in the fourth position
and the first position, can be a difference in
revenue in the millions. Theoretically. So I think it’s important, but yeah, if it’s the only thing you’re looking at, you’re not going to
get anything out of it. – The thing I also struggle
with as far as rankings is, when you’re tapping a single keyword, you’re really trying to distill all these thousands of
way that people search, into one single keyword. And rankings are going to
vary so much by a user’s specific location, their
browsing history, their device. And so it’s really hard to say, I am ranking number one
for this one keyword when people may not search
for primary care provider in that specific way every time. It might be family doctor near me or where is my nearest
family practitioner. So, it’s actually, if you are going to focus
on tracking rankings, sometimes it’s best to do so across a wide variety of similar keywords, and looking at those rankings
as a whole and as a group. That can give you a
sense of where you’re at as far as your whole service line. Then again, as far as proving
success for your organization, I do like to also tie in those
lower funnel metrics as well. – (Cole) So you guys are doing great, very proud of all of you. I did just want to mention, I think we’re just about ten
minutes out from the hour, so if anyone out there has questions that we haven’t addressed yet, feel free to put those
into the questions box in GoToWebinar. And we’ll play a little priority game and give any of the live viewers priority. We do have about, I think there were five
or six more questions that were submitted ahead of time that we can cover in the meantime if no one else has questions. But I did just want to
throw that out there before the time gets away from us. We will keep moving on. – All right so, as Lindsey
mentioned the funnel before and targeting there, speaking of funnels, “With limited time, is it better to create new sources of organic traffic or improve the conversion funnel
for high traffic content?” So whether you’re trying limit or not, my answer to this is probably
going to be the same. I think focusing on
those conversion funnels and removing as many
constraints as possible. I won’t say removing all constraints, ’cause the second you remove one
another one’s going to pop up. But getting that funnel
as fine tuned as possible should always be the priority. It doesn’t matter if you throw a thousand or a million people into it, if they get to step three
of your funnel and fall out, the sheer volume becomes irrelevant. So I would focus always on getting those funnels working well and getting that conversion rate up. And then as you get that conversion rate up to a point where you
think it’s successful and you’re happy with it, which I guess should probably be 100%, then start focusing on getting
more traffic into that. So I think it goes back to
the same dinner party thing. Make sure the house is
ready to have people over before you start bringing
a bunch of people over. – Agreed. – (Cole) So we’re going to
put you guys on the spot here. Someone submitted a
question, and is wondering, how good are you at thinking on your feet. They are wondering, “Is there a good word to
replace multidisciplinary?” – Hmmm. – No (panel laughs). – Well. Not that I can think of
off the top of my head. – I’d recommend doing some
keyword research around that. (panel laughs) – And pulling up – Yes, synonyms. – One of the tools when you’re
looking at stuff like that, ’cause we run into it with,
to we use immediate care, urgent care, walk-in
clinic, things like that. Google Trends lets you go
down to your specific area, put in two different search terms, and they’ll show you
the people in your area, what they’re more prone to use. So if you have multidisciplinary and a couple other synonyms in mind, run ‘them through that and
then let the data show you. I’m a big fan of data-driven decisions, so take the guess work out of it and let the people decide for you. And if it turns out that multidisciplinary is the preferred way to reference
multidisciplinary things, then leave it be. No need to fix what’s not broken. – (Cole) We had another question, someone is wondering about, “Is it good practice to include
the city a service is in, in the HTML title? So for example, service
line in Kansas City and then the name of your hospital.” – Yes, absolutely. – Yup, the way you read it is pretty much the formula I would use. – Yeah, Google wants to
know where you’re located so that it can serve relevant
results to those local users. So if you aren’t indicating
where your services are offered geographically, your less likely to rank in those specific geographic regions for
people searching there. – On the flip side of
that, if you do have a page where you’re just talking
about a service line and you’re not actually offering
any treatment or service, basically there is no
location tied to that page. Don’t force one. Just don’t have one there. – And if you’re struggling with the length of your page title, you
can always use pipes as opposed to the word in. – Yup. – All right. “Is there any SEO advantage to how you display a phone number?” Short answer is no, there
really isn’t an SEO advantage, but some things to keep in
mind are user experience. How users are used to
seeing phone numbers. And there can be some
accessibility implications if you try to be creative or
wonky with your phone numbers. So sometimes using the periods
depending on what device someone may be using from
an accessibility standpoint. It could be read 123, 400, 56, so on and so forth. So it’s safer to stick with how we’re used to seeing phone numbers. And Google does have a recommended format, which uses the parenthesis
for the area code, which is how they structure their numbers on Google My Business. – “How do you measure success
for undertaking a website improvement project to
correct spelling mistakes, broken links, and on-page SEO?” So this question gets
dramatically more important as it goes through. So things like spelling mistakes, I would definitely go
through and correct those, if for nothing else, just to make sure that
users view you as competent. And then as Google really
cracks down on the E-A-T stuff, which is expertise, authoritativeness,
and trustworthiness, things like that will likely contribute. So I would fix those, but you’re probably not going
to see the needle move at all. That’s just a user
experience kind of thing. The broken links and linking. So linking across your site, internally, I still think it’s massively underrated. There’s tons of data out
there that show huge increases in traffic and conversions and
all those important metrics, just based on adding some in-links and cross linking across the site. So I would say fixing those broken links should always be a priority. If one, for the user experience, you don’t want to send
people to a 404 page, but two because of just
the SEO benefit they offer. That should be really evident. So find out where that broken link was and then the page it
was supposed to lead to. And then just measure that
bridge after you fix it and start seeing the traffic flow through. So that is measurable and you can really gauge
that pretty easily. On-page SEO is really similar. So whatever page that
you’re doing efforts on, so this might be where
tracking those keywords can be a handy metric to
see if you’ve increased going from not ranking
for something specific to ranking for it. Or going from the 10th
page to the first page. That might help prove the
success of those initiatives, as part of proving it. But other than you can just
look at volume of traffic for those pages, organic
mainly, if it’s SEO. You can look at those funnels that you have set up
on that page, your CTA. I think more important than
getting the volume of traffic, it’s getting high quality traffic. So less of the number
of page views went up and the number of users went up, moreover, the conversion rate went up
or the bounce rate went down. Pretty much anything that
has the word rate in it, measure the fluctuations in those. – I like to use Google Search Console, specifically to look at initial on-page SEO efforts. Usually, the first thing I’ll see is an immediate increase in impressions, and then that should
be shortly followed by an increase in clicks to your site. If you see an increase in impressions, but not necessarily clicks, then you know that maybe you’re
ranking for more keywords, but you’re not yet driving traffic. So you want to make further updates to help get that increase of traffic. And then if you are tracking
things on your actual page like phone number clicks or downloads, I like to report on that
as well just to show that we’re sending new traffic
to this page for a reason. – We’ve got three more,
should we try to go through? – Yup.
– Yes, let’s do it fast. – Okay, so, “How can SEO strategies differ in the service industry as opposed to the retail industry?” And actually, more and
more, health care patients are not that different
from your retail consumers. So I really see more similarities
here than differences. With more of their own dollars at risk, consumers are way more careful in terms about making their health care choices. They evaluate things like
cost, access, quality. Just like they do when they’re deciding on retail purchases as well. So this actually has
the potential to impact about 61% of all health care spending. So good to see where
these things can match up and address those concerns appropriately. The patient journey in general
is pretty similar to retail. So people are in a moment where
they’re needing health care. They do their research,
they book their appointment, similar to selecting a store or vendor. They receive the care or
they make their purchase and then they’re looking for aftercare. So that post-care experience or they’re in retail terms,
they were using the product. So from health care, I think it’s important to reach users at each one of those
stages, or micro-moments, as Google would probably
like to call them. So not only when they’re in
the need and research phase, but during all of those
points during their journey. And I think that probably
the best strategy to target those micro-moments is
optimizing for local searches. So 63% of local searches
are actually people that are undecided on a provider, and a 1/3 of the mobile searches
are related to a location. So I think those are two
very strong areas to capture those users in different need stages. – All right, “Around the beginning of May, Google dropped hundreds
of pages out of the index. What changed?” So things constantly change within Google. Google says that their algorithm updates once every nine minutes. I think it’s a lot faster than that, but that just goes to show that their algorithm
is updating constantly. So that means that things
can come in and out of the rankings or show or not show. They’re moving towards that page diversity where every domain, which
includes subdomains, can only have page show for a query. So if you have a lot of pages showing up that are related to a query,
that’s going to go away. So that thing’s always happening. But I think what this
is mostly referring to was actually a bug back in May. Tool Search Console on Google
had a glitch in the mainframe and a lot of stuff disappeared, but really soon after it came back. So I’d be curious for
whomever asked this question, if they’ve checked back since then and seen that things have come back. They made a lot of updates in June to try to prevent that
from happening again. But when they do these big core updates, things like that can happen. Usually, if there’s a huge dramatic shift. The one thing to keep in mind, is when Google does
these algorithm changes, your not going to see a
giant shift immediately. At least not very often. The Medic update did it too. And when you do see something
really dramatic overnight, chances are it’s a bug on their end. Or the algorithm update didn’t
go the way they wanted it to. And they’re going to go back and fix that like they did with the
Medic update last year. They did with this bug in May. So just hang tight for a couple days and see if it comes back. But I’m guessing the pages
you’re talking about here are back now. – Final question. – Last question. “What changes or trends
do you see for the next one to two years for health care SEO? What should we be preparing for now?” I think we all probably
have different things that we’d focus on or say, but I think, one big
thing is that user intent, it’s such a buzz word now, and we’ve reiterated that
writing user-focused content. Thinking of the search engine
versus an answer engine and it’s a shift of what we’re
seeing for Google especially. They’re really trying to
answer the user’s questions or intent on their search
engine results page. So with those no-click
searches increasing, I think it’s even more
important to optimize your SEO to answer those users’ questions, so that you have the opportunity
to be pulled into those knowledge panels or feature snippets and meet that search intent
right on the search engine. – And because of that I
really that investing time and dollars into Google
My Business is going to be more and more important. Unfortunately, we’re seeing
that Google My Business might get a lot more competitive. There’s a lot of signs that
(clears throat), excuse me, it might become more of
a pay-to-play platform. Google’s been sending
surveys to users about “Would you pay for
these certain features?” So it’s going to be more important, but unfortunately, it might
become more costly as well. – I think accessibility is
going to be really huge as well. We’re actually talking about
this next month in our webinar. But we’re seeing more
and more lawsuits pop up and I think when it
comes to accessibility. So even from just a legal standpoint, making sure that your site is accessible is going to be super important. But then also from an SEO standpoint, an accessible site is
actually great for SEO. So there’s clear and concise page titles, alt text for your
images, structured pages. All of those things come
into play with screen readers and other accessibility issues. But also is really,
really helpful for SEO. – I also think all of those
things are really important. I think AI, which encompasses a lot of
what they were talking about, and I was like, it’s the
easy way out with my answer. AI is growing a lot in
the world, in general, just getting bigger all across industries, but I think it’s really taking
hold right now with SEO. So you might refer to
it as machine learning or the way Google algorithms go. I was at a conference
with somebody from Google who said that their machine
learning has gotten so evolved that there aren’t humans
at Google who actually know what every algorithm update pertains to. So there’s little tweaks being done, constantly, on Google’s end, and there’s not a real person
that knows what just happened. The machine did it by itself. So maybe turnover is coming,
maybe SEO gets easier. I like to think it’s the latter and it just makes SEO easier. But yeah, I think AI is going to be huge. Google’s going to know
what you’re going to search before you’re done searching. Before you start searching. And we’re going to have
to be able to optimize for the search before the search. – Great.

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