The Internet’s reach and it’s ability to point consumers towards products that they are likely to be interested in is extremely sophisticated and in fact, unprecedented. Search engines have the ability to sift through content, determine what it is about, and then offer it up to individuals based on the words that these people use in their queries, which sites they visit, where they live, and so forth. The process is not perfect, nor is it straightforward since search engines can’t actually ‘read’ anything. Additionally, because there is so much potentially relevant data, search engines have to have other ways of deciding relevancy.
As of October 2013, Google determines relevance using an algorithm that considers dozens of criteria. Most other search engines employ similar methodologies. Some of the criteria that search engines equate with relevance are:
- Website popularity…is this a site that see a lot of traffic?
- Website age…is this a site that’s been around awhile?
- Website size…is this a site that has a lot of content?
- ‘Freshness’ of content…search engines like websites with content that is regularly updated
- Website citation…is this a site that is referenced a lot by others as demonstrated by those that hyperlink their sites to this one?
- Social Media interest…is the content of this site often shared?
- Content…does it appear to the search engine that this content is relevant to the consumer’s interests?
- Keyword phrases…Does it appear to the search engine that your content is about what you say it about
- Headings…do subject headings indicate that there is a sizeable amount of information, relevant to the query, contained in your content?
Practices interested in boosting the success of their online marketing can use the above list to their advantage in the following ways:
Since search engines like websites with fresh content, convert your website to a WordPress site. If you haven’t worked on a WordPress site before, you’ll find that they are as easy to update as a Word file. Their intuitive layout and the ease with which pages can be added, subtracted, or changed, means that practices can have immediate, personal control over their content without waiting for their website administrator to get around to things. It also means that they can steadily build on the site’s longevity and size with regular systematic posts (as outlined in your marketing plan). This kind of writing schedule assures that your content will be continually growing and evolving in size, the very things that search engines are looking for.
Website Citation and Social Media Sharing:
Search engines are drawn to content that others appear to find interesting. Consequently, imbue your online marketing with material that is likely to be referenced and shared. If you write a blog on vaccines, try adding in a helpful table that includes the vaccine name, a description of how it is administered, a description of the disease it prevents, and any risk assessments that determine if a patient should get one. If you’re writing about kittens, perhaps a list of some of the postures they are likely to take if they are in pain, they are sick, or are playing would be interesting to readers. Having charts like these imbedded in your blog entices readers to link to them when writing their own online content, an action that improves your practice’s search rankings.
Photograph children and pets at your practice, preferably the two combined. Both subjects are widely shared online. Additionally, giving your blog posts honest, but enticing titles, or associating your posts with captivating, original photos increases the likelihood that people will read and share your online posts.
Lastly, make sure you understand how to cross post all blog content to your social media sites. Many practice owners believe that the secret to increased online visibility consists of regular posts to social media sites. This is only half true. For the best online visibility, practices must both post to social media sites and link back to their website, a tactic that encourages the viewer to click through the posts on social Media to the blog post itself which should live on the practice’s website.
As mentioned before, all search engines can’t read content for themselves, instead, they rely on a series of data points that help them determine how online content might be relevant to online users. Fortunately, many search engines give us tools to help convey to them what our online content is about and why it, above other content, might be more relevant. Understanding how to employ these tools is fast becoming essential knowledge to anyone that posts online with the hopes of attracting readership. Articles on how to use these tools abound. For a complete listing of these resources and a more in depth description of how they are used, please go to our website’s resource page.
Feeling exhilarated? No? You should be. A whole wave of young doctors, technicians and client care representatives are poised to be the next members of your team. Blog writing, social media and online presence are second nature to them. Understand how the Internet is working hard to give your voice reach. Come to thoroughly understand the message you want your clients to hear, then structure your team member’s time and your own practice’s online publishing schedule to regularly get that message out. We’re living in an age when one woman’s voice can out distance that of the biggest corporations, provided that message is relevant to the listener’s interests and is broadcast online. You don’t have to write the music, but you at least have to invite the band.