Google has recently announced a new search update that will make it easier for users to find high-quality, relevant content. But what does this mean for marketing within the healthcare space?
Helpful vs Unhelpful Content
The new update, which is due to roll out within the next few weeks, focuses on improving the rankings of original, quality content. It will not prioritise unoriginal and low-quality content and will penalise content that has just been created to rank highly rather than providing value for users. It will also refine a system that makes it much easier for users to find helpful product reviews to support them in making informed decisions when purchasing a new item.
It almost goes without saying that your marketing strategy should focus on providing your audience with high-quality, helpful, and valuable content. But what does unhelpful content look like?
In healthcare, there is a lot of unhelpful content clogging up search engines. Here are some tips on what it looks like and how to avoid it:
- Inaccurate content – it is vital to get your facts right on your web pages and blog posts when discussing health and well-being. Content that has not been properly researched and contains potentially harmful misinformation is misleading to your audience and can damage your authority and cause you to be penalised by Google.
- Irrelevant content – posting blogs or having web pages that are not relevant to your industry is a key example of unhelpful content. For example, if you specialise primarily in mental health, your content would be unhelpful to your audience if you suddenly started posting beauty advice. Google suggests checking to see if your audience would find your content helpful when visiting your site – if the answer might be no, it could be time for an update.
- Keyword stuffing – search engines use keywords to rank content, but too much of a good thing can affect your rankings. Excessive use of keywords causes content to read poorly, making it unhelpful to users and meaning it is less likely to be read. Google will pay attention to the page’s high bounce rates, and when it realises it is keyword stuffed, it will penalise you.
On the other hand, good content has its own defining characteristics:
- Readability – your audience has to be able to read your content to find it useful. Making healthcare information readable and easily digestible for your audience is the first step in creating helpful content, so if you are in a niche filled with technicalities and jargon, consider making some guides to break down complex topics.
- Relevance – good content on high authority sites is always relevant to their niche. Don’t fall into the trap of writing about trends just for traffic unless it is closely related to what you do. Instead, focus on evergreen content that will be relevant for a long time to come and will be helpful to your audience in the future.
- In-depth research – Google advises content creators to check whether their content will answer their audience’s questions and provide a good knowledge base. If they have to search again for better information, this could be a marker of unhelpful content. Instead, focus on quality over quantity – disregard the word count (it’s a myth that Google prefers a specific word count) and provide a piece of content that will genuinely help your audience.
Updating old content on your website can help bolster your rankings and prune out irrelevant pieces on your site or in your niche. Fix spelling mistakes, remove old information, or remove posts that don’t work anymore, you’ll see an improvement in your rankings.
When updating old content:
- Check for any broken links that you can remove or replace
- Optimise your call to action
- Check for fresh keywords that you can include to target more traffic (but don’t stuff them)
- Delete any posts that can’t be recycled
Google likes fresh content, so updates boost your pages and demonstrate that you’re providing useful content to your audience by ensuring your information is up to date.
Creating Helpful Content in the Healthcare Space
Since the Covid-19 pandemic rocked the world, people are more focused on their physical and mental health than ever. People want to take care of themselves and have turned to search engines to find services that are right for them.
Here are a few ideas for quality content that will be helpful to your audience:
- Provide insight on a myth – the healthcare space is full of myths ripe for debunking. Dig into your area of expertise, find a myth to disprove, and provide insight on something others may have overlooked.
- Create a series – healthcare is not a topic that can be covered in just one blog post. Even narrowing it down to a specific condition can provide enough content for weeks, so why not turn it into a series to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more?
- Get factual – there is a lot of false information about physical and mental health on the internet. Put together a factual, well-referenced piece and give your audience a go-to resource to dispel any misconceptions they may have.
- Put together a guide – a guide to a particular topic, such as certain types of mental health conditions or how to manage certain symptoms, is a helpful resource that your audience will return to repeatedly.
It takes time to build an in-depth bank of helpful content for your healthcare brand, but doing so comes with a host of benefits. Good content breeds good results, and the more helpful your content is for your audience, the more they will engage with your brand and business.