At this modern age, irrespective of the service you provide, patients tend to visit your practice only after ‘Googling’ you first. And if your site isn’t showing in their searches, it merely indicates that the search engine deems your website to be irrelevant and unhelpful. Once a search engine comes to such verdict, the end result would be- loss in organic traffic and footfall. Hence your practice must follow some new SEO strategies, to prevent the outcomes mentioned above.
However, in the SEO world, it is easy to achieve short-term goals through well-planned SEO strategies. You can purchase backlinks, stuff your content with keywords, customize your URL, and much more. But, Google doesn’t list your site for such short-term strategies, and your patients don’t want them either. Hence, to come under the good graces of Google, you should first root-out corrupt SEO practices from your health site and then optimize it accordingly. Avoiding corrupt SEO practices not only increases your organic traffic, but it will also contribute to better user experience.
Here are some common bad SEO practices for you to avoid.
Not being up to date with algorithms
Google is on an ‘update’ spree. It’s updating its algorithm continuously, thereby changing the way it displays the result. Each day some new updates about specific SEO feature is rolled out. If you are ignorant of these changes, it will severely affect your ranking.
For example, in March 2019 Google rolled out a core update, commonly known as ‘March 2019 Core Update”. It caused an upheaval in the global search results. This core update had some significant impacts on health sites globally. Many health sites paid the price of being ignorant by losing web traffic in a matter of a few days.
Image source: Searchmetrics.com
Not optimizing the site for voice search
20% of all mobile communications are voice searches.
With voice assistance software penetrating every day-to-day device of your patients’, it is essential to optimize your site for voice searches. Not optimizing your website according to your patient’s voice searches will not put you on the radar of their searches. Voice searches are disrupting the industry so much so that by the end of 2019, they will dominate the SEO field and those who don’t capitalize this trend will be left behind.
In this ‘dot net’ era, we all know that content rules every industry. Hence it’s essential to plan your site content according to Google’s search quality guidelines. Google algorithms like Panda, Hummingbird, RankBrain and Fred, look for
- Duplicate Content
- Dry Content
- Thin content
- Hard to read content blocks
- Keyword heavy content and ranks your page accordingly.
Also in the same juncture, we would like to point out another myth that revolves around content SEO
“You need a lot of content to rank better.”
Which is not true! Using different types of content, you could get higher rankings.
Unworthy site has proven this data wrong. It has become one of the fastest-growing content sites on the web. It has also given sites like Huffington Post and Buzz Feed a run for their money. And guess what they use very little content per page.
For example: Take a look on their hateful graffiti page.
Without 1000+ words, they were able to rank second on “hateful graffiti” search.
They were able to achieve this by using different types of content like podcasts, quizzes, videos etc.
Ignoring off-site SEO strategies
One of the most common myths about SEO is that we should only concentrate on on-site SEO attributes like keywords, Alt text etc. To achieve better results, you need to focus on other Off-site attributes like Backlinks, Social Signals, and Brand Mentions etc. These factors determine your place in search results. How?
Google evaluates each site based on a score called EAT. (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness). It determines how Google ranks your website based on both your Off-site and On-site performance. This EAT score is calculated based on the following checklist
- Checks for links and mentions on authoritative sites
- Tests for Unlinked mentions
- Checks for link spamming (through Google Penguin update)
- Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles and other credible sources of information
Un-optimized schema placements
Sometimes the content about your practice can lose Google’s attention. To prevent it, you should have this information placed under a unique code called schema markup. By structuring your data this way, you describe the vocabulary for your site which Google understands. Adequately structured data on your website can enhance your appearance in the search result. For example
While creating a blog section for your healthcare, you can use the Article object as part of your schema. By adding Article object, your site gets displayed will appear like
However, you should follow the necessary guidelines to gain the above result.
Not securing your site using HTTPS
To ensure credibility and data security, Google favours only those sites that are trustworthy, secure and certified. As a result, Google now uses HTTPS as a ranking signal. This is mainly because such sites promise encryption over user data, thereby adding another level of security for its users. When your users feel secure with your website, Google ranks you better. .
Not optimizing your site at the foundational level
At times you might get poor SEO rankings for the most fundamental reasons like
- Misplacing your page headers
- Using un-customized metadata
- Using heavy codes in your site and much more
Tweaking the factors that occur at the foundational level of your website can rank you better. Here is a checklist to help you achieve the same
- Ensure that you have an auto-generated site map.
- Add understandable and straightforward page headers
- Add alt tags to your images
- Use only lightweight codes
- Use friendly and customizable URLs
- Use customizable metadata
Not optimizing the site for mobile users
40% of users who visit your site are mobile users.
Many are aware of these statistics. But what does it mean to you as a health care brand? What you have to do about it? This, many don’t understand. When you have 40% of your users as mobile users, you are supposed to invest more on how your site performs on a mobile device. These users expect fast connectivity on the go, which means that your site must perform well with data on-the-go. Using mobile-friendly content ensures the same.
Slow loading sites
Faster sites mean better user experience and a better rating. The reason is quite simple. If your site takes time to load, the user will approach other practice’s websites for their queries. This Google understands, and accordingly, it ranks.
Poor/ Nil Social Media Presence
While social media doesn’t impact SEO directly, it can, however, influence it considerably. Social media’s connection with SEO ranking is a bit complicated. While it doesn’t influence SEO results directly, social media influences SEO by enhancing other factors that affect your practice’s SEO. Social media presence comes in handy for
- Providing more visibility for your content.
- Enhance Link building
- Getting your site free traffic
- Promoting your blogs, articles and other content.
- Enhancing your brand identity.
These factors affect your SEO ranking considerably. Not investing in social media will simply put you away from these factors.
Priya Swaminathan is a zealous Content Writer placed at Wolftain and loves to write articles that address solutions to a persistent problem with adequate facts to strengthen them. As a vagabond traveler with a poetic soul, she loves to explore the world with a wit that offers her own variety of comic relief.