Digital marketing consultant Adam Hampson and marketing content executive Lottie Staples explain how periodically changing and rewriting website content positively benefits your SEO
Competing in an already competitive marketplace is not always straightforward, and appeasing a search engine’s constant algorithm updates can mean rethinking your digital marketing strategy. Because search engine giants like Google set the play by addressing how and why they’re going to rank websites in their search results, it’s very important that we cater our content to what they’re asking of us.
Since 2011, Google has continued to update its algorithms to favour what it deems to be ‘quality content’, which is content that resonates most with the person doing the searching and is not reliant on keywords.1 In this article, we are going to explain how you can change your website content so that you may be featured higher in the search engine results, encouraging increased clicks and enquiries.
Google has defined what it deems to be ‘quality content’ as pages made for human users, not for search engines, with relevant information to the search query rather than insider tricks into improving search engine ranks.3 What this essentially means is that Google wants your website to provide answers, knowledge, and guidance on your unique selling points to the many people that are scouring the internet for such. This is ‘quality content’.
As a result, your website should be indulging your users in relevant information to do with treatments, services, products and devices. Google is clever and links synonyms together – if you search for ‘dermal filler’, for example, it will also show you results that use the phrases ‘hyaluronic acid’, ‘dermal filler’, and even ‘biodegradable’. It recognises the relationship between a certain keyword and its other related phrases, so you don’t need to fill your content with the phrase ‘dermal filler’ and compromise your communication to index for this term.
The way we search has changed dramatically, so naturally search engines are reconvening and adapting to this and Google’s recent update changed the way it interprets search queries.4 Instead of searching phrases or propositions like ‘dermal filler safety’, which was our previous relationship to searching, we increasingly search with questions like ‘are dermal fillers safe?’. Therefore, the websites that answer this question are shown in the search results. These colloquial questions are an increasingly growing aspect of searching. This could be because of the growth of voice search and personal assistants like Siri that search for answers on our behalf. Quality content is aimed at making sure your clinic is catering and valuable to human readers, not search engines. Your website should be figuratively (and sometimes literally) aiming to answer your traffic’s questions.
By customising your website, blog posts, and pages to the patients or clients you’re trying to attract, search engines will invariably begin to note the value in your site. Writing content that is human-first improves your website’s usability, meaning it is simple to navigate and divulges the right information without deception. Because Google is always striving to provide a great user experience, your clinic needs to be too!
Quality content might seem subjective and therefore ambiguous, but it isn’t as difficult to cater to as it may seem. For example, a regularly maintained blog with relevant posts form new and quality content, both of which Google and search engines value greatly, will get you ahead of those who are not ticking these boxes. Put yourself in your patients’ shoes and consider what concerns, questions, or uncertainties they may have. Consider the most common questions you’re asked as a practitioner – does it hurt? Are there side effects? Is it safe? Where does this treat? These are all questions you can answer in your written website content to spoon-feed Google the answers it needs.
Updating your current content to boost your SEO begins predominantly with identifying what you’re already doing well and what could do with some improvement. For example, a cluttered or confusing home page is difficult to navigate for users, leading to them potentially spend less time on your website and increasing your bounce rate, which is the percentage of website visitors who leave the site after viewing only one page.5 Search engines are very receptive to these kinds of behaviours and will penalise your website in the form of not ranking it in their search results. Strategic, clear, and effective design is always the most visually pleasing and the easiest to navigate.6 Redesigning or reconfiguring certain problematic pages will positively impact your SEO efforts because you’re making your site more engaging and accessible to your traffic and, by extension, search engines. Updating or rewriting your current content is always an easy step to take in boosting your organic SEO. Frequently asked questions regarding that page’s treatment and rewriting the main body text is a page update that keeps this information fresh and accessible, which search engines recognise as a step in the right direction of quality content. Consider the questions you commonly encounter at consultations and answer them on your page – does this hurt? How long will my results last? Will it look natural? Recognisably rewriting a page or adding an extra section or two shows search engines that you are actively trying to engage with and answer the questions of your users.
Adding new content also satisfies search engines’ needs for well-maintained and semi-routinely updated websites. When seeking to add new and relevant pages, splitting one ‘umbrella’ page into two more specific pages is something we personally have found to be effective. For example, botulinum toxin (or anti-wrinkle treatments as they should be called in marketing) and hyperhidrosis attract two different types of patients. While they both use the same product, separating them into two different pages positively impacts your SEO because you’re doubling the number of treatment-specific keywords and indicators, while also providing unique information on each, rather than lumping them together onto one toxin page. Splitting these kinds of treatments or services into two pages where relevant, provides information and answers to two different searches, therefore benefitting your SEO, while marginally widening the traffic you relate to. Provide information on separate treatments on dedicated pages and watch specific enquiries increase.
A regularly maintained blog boosts your SEO, but what is also important is fresh content and quality content. Your traffic’s relationship to searching has changed to become more question-centred, as aforementioned, and a blog post is a great place to house the answers to these questions without changing your main treatment pages too much beyond their function. Provide the necessary information for a sale or conversion on your treatment or service pages and go into more colloquial detail in your blog posts. Pages are informational and should aim to convert, whereas blog posts should aim to communicate and soften the edges of the information a little more. A page may list what a certain treatment achieves for your skin, for example, and a blog post on the same treatment may go into more detail about the how, why, and aftercare of the treatment process. Adding new blog posts complete with text formatting, images, and easy readability keeps a reader’s interest and therefore the interest of a search engine. Even just one well-written blog post per month is a good SEO kick-start. There is no real number on how many blog posts you can provide, but adding too many may lead to accidental repetition, which Google penalises as duplicate content.7 Finding a balance between fresh subject matters and frequency is something unique to your clinic, but also needs to be given some strategic content thought.
Google has referenced in its Quality Guidelines that you should ‘avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings’,8 meaning that your content needs to be true to what you’re optimising. Using certain popular keywords purely for their reputation of good click-throughs without following up with information pertaining to them is now punishable in the court of search engines. Clinics have previously used terms such as ‘lip fillers’, because they’re popular, in their keyword strategy and meta data without actually delivering any information on lip fillers on most of their pages. This is a good example of what Google will be cracking down on, because if the page you’re trying to boost by including a popular term in the meta data doesn’t relate to this term, Google will actually rank you lower than those adhering to their content guidelines. It’s no longer wholly acceptable to just use industry buzz words and reap the rewards,9 meaning you can’t boost a lesser-searched-for treatment by bolstering your content with more popular but irrelevant treatment keywords. Search engines are placing their value in relevancy, information, and honesty to deliver the best user experience to their searchers, which is what your clinic should be trying to emulate.
Changing and updating your website content, whether you are redesigning your pages or rewriting them, will benefit your SEO efforts greatly. Ensuring your website caters to the people behind the search queries, is easy to navigate, and presents informative content, forces search engines into recognising you as a provider of quality content. With careful maintenance, you could climb the search engine ranks and be rewarded with more enquiries, conversions, and appointments from curious new patients and clients.
1. Google Support, ‘How Search works’, <https://www.google.com/search/howsearchworks/>
2. Eric Enge, Stephen Spencer, Jessie Stricchiola, The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization, 3rd edition, 2015, O’Reilly Media.
3. Google Support, Webmaster Guidelines, <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en#3>
4. Crazy Egg, How Search Is Changing: 4 Ways To Stay Ahead in SEO, <https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/changes-in-seo/>
5. Tricky Enough, 7 Web Design Mistakes That Can Cause A High Bounce Rate, <https://www.trickyenough.com/web-design-mistakes/>
6. Crazy Egg, 7 Reasons Your Bounce Rate Is High, <https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/reasons-bounce-rate-is-high/>
7. Google Support, Duplicate content, <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66359?hl=en>
8. Google Support, Webmaster Guidelines, <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en#3>
9. Google Support, Irrelevant keywords, <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66358?hl=en>