Just a few years ago, knowing where and how people were looking for healthcare information was enough to create a content marketing strategy.
The biggest goal was to find what keywords they used to find content. The traditional keyword research worked fine, and you could get in the top 10 Google results by doing that.
Things have changed quite a bit.
Having a basic understanding of how people are looking for health information and doing conventional keyword research isn’t enough in 2020. In fact, the healthcare industry is a perfect example of very nuanced searches that have a real-world effect on people.
To create a successful healthcare content strategy, you need to do accomplish two principal goals:
- make your content reliable and easy-to-understand
- understand and optimize content for “search intent.”
In this article, you’ll find out how to create a content strategy that meets these goals.
By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know how to do effective search engine marketing and create quality healthcare content.
Goal #1: Make Reliable and Reader-Friendly Content
Health content is a very unique type. As a content creator, you need to understand how to make it simple and useful while also ensuring that you’re giving reliable advice. People’s health and well-being might be on the line here.
1.1. Consult Healthcare Professionals
Why would someone search for health information online?
Quite often, it’s to make an informed decision about how to care about their health.
If they use unreliable information, there’s a chance they could hurt themselves or give bad advice to others. In other words, if you don’t do your homework, someone might end up making bad choices.
That’s why getting a healthcare professional to verify and approve your content is essential. If you don’t have a medical degree, start with using high-quality medical information for the research on resources like the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s database of studies.
Getting a review from a healthcare professional would be the next step. After that, you can publish your content.
1.2. Simple Language is Critical
Whether you’re an independent content creator, a business, or a healthcare institution, you must write content in plain language. This applies to any topic, content type, or level of the reader’s knowledge.
There are two major reasons for this:
- your content will be read by people who lack medical knowledge, not healthcare professionals
- the goal of your content is to communicate something quickly, which is impossible with complex vocabulary.
That’s why you should try to convert the complex language of medical journals and articles into something an average reader can understand.
Here’s a little exercise.
Let’s suppose you need to simplify this sentence:
“The blood glucose level done at home is a common method to monitor control of type 2 diabetes. It is the duty of a primary care physician, and, in some cases, an endocrinologist, to define testing frequency and target objectives.”
While it sounds good to healthcare professionals, many people would not want to read it. It’s unnecessarily complicated, so they’ll look for advice elsewhere.
Here’s how you can simplify it.
“You need to test your blood sugar with a special device to control your condition at home. Your physician or endocrinologist will advise how often you need to do it.”
Sounds much simpler, agree? Chances are good that most of your readers will prefer this version, too.
Goal #2: Optimize Content for Search Intent
The best health content in the world will have a pretty low chance to get very high in Google if it lacks optimization for search intent.
In this section, I’m going to teach you how to optimize your healthcare content to give it the best chance of ranking high.
2.1. Understand Search Intent
Search intent is the primary goal of the user when typing a query into Google. It’s the holy grail of online search that’s becoming the biggest challenge for content producers.
There are three types of search intent:
- informational. The purpose of the user is to learn new knowledge, so informational queries often start with “how to…”
- navigational. The goal here is to find a specific web site or page
- transactional. These are eCommerce-related queries that people use to find and buy products and services.
Although the essence of search intent sounds pretty simple, getting it right is much harder in reality.
Here’s a demonstration of how to optimize for search intent.
Let’s say that 10,000 people are searching for “how to manage type 2 diabetes.”
Previously, one could limit content optimization by including these keywords.
But it’s not how they do it now.
Let’s take a moment and think. What is their real intent behind this query?
Here are some possible options:
- get tips on type 2 diabetes management at home
- get recommendations on diabetes-friendly foods
- find tips on helping type 2 diabetes patients cope with the disease’s toll on mental health
- must-have items to have to manage type 2 diabetes (supplies, etc.)
- get tips on type 2 diabetes management for research-related purposes.
So, 2,000 people out of those 10,000 could be using the first intent option, 1,500 the second one, and so on. The list of search intents is likely to be much longer, too.
So, who’s your target reader for this “how to manage type 2 diabetes” article? What are their goals? How do they want your content to help them?
If you can’t give clear and focused answers to these questions, you’ll end up writing content that lacks focus, therefore, value to the reader.
In other words, you’ll be wasting your time.
How to avoid that?
Let’s start by Googling “how to manage type 2 diabetes.” Here’s what we get.
As you can see, there is information about symptoms, treatment, cases, research on managing the disease, medications, lifestyle, and other things.
Simply put, it’s a collection of content that’s way too broad.
But now we know that all these results represent a separate search intent.
Your goal is to make sure that every content piece you create answers only one intent. This strategy will help to make your articles super focused and full of value for readers.
2.2. Optimize for Search Intent
To achieve this goal, you need to have a clear process in place. Here’s how it might look:
- conduct search intent keyword optimization. Find keywords that are relevant only to the search intent of the reader. For example, if you’re writing about diet to control type 2 diabetes, you can use keywords like “diabetes food ideas” and “healthy recipes for diabetes type 2,” but avoid “how to monitor type 2 diabetes” because it relates to checking blood sugar levels.
- turn keyword phrases in headings and subheadings. Make a list of the search intent-optimized keyword phrases and think which ones are suitable to use to create an outline for an article. Options like “healthy recipes for diabetes type 2” and “vegan recipes for diabetics,” for example, could serve to write sections. Besides, structuring your content this way helps Google with crawling it easier
- optimize the title and description tags. This is another great way to show Google that your content is perfect to answer the user’s search intent. To get the title tag right, make it as close to the original search intent as possible. As for the description tag, mention other intent-matching keywords you found during keyword research.
For example, “type 2 diabetes” is an intent-matching keyword phrase that must be included in the description tag in case the search intent is to find “the differences between diabetic types.”
Adding “type 1 diabetes” is also necessary to hint Google which types of the disease are compared in the content piece.
By optimizing your reviewed, high-quality content for search intent, you have the best chance to find it ranking in Google’s top 10 sooner than you think.
Creating a Successful Healthcare Content Marketing Strategy: The Final Word
To give your content the best chance to rank high, you need to ensure its reliability, quality, and optimization. Now you know how to do it, so ensure that your content marketing strategy clearly outlines how to reach these quality goals.
My advice is to have a dedicated person to conduct search intent optimization and provide content producers with a list of keywords to use. Also, don’t forget to find a reliable healthcare professional to review your content for accuracy and quality.
Sure, planning and implementing such a strategy seems like a lot of work. It is. However, that’s what it takes to create that both Google and its users will love.