Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by David Evans, OD, PhD, MBA, chief executive officer, Ceatus Media Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a multi-faceted endeavor that, when carried out properly, addresses a wide array of online factors. The goal of SEO is to make your website and other aspects of your online footprint appear to be the best online resources for specific topics relating to eye care that consumers search for on Google.
Over the last three or four years, SEO has become very technical. Website code, load times, mobile versus desktop, index bloat, Google MyBusiness claiming and maintenance, citations, reviews, and social media have all become very important factors. However, one thing has remained constant since the inception of Google: the importance of unique and compelling content.
So, the answer seems to be just keep adding content to your website—right? Unfortunately, no. The reason this strategy is ill-advised is because there are two types of content: long-term, or evergreen, content, such as your procedure pages; and short-term, or current, content such as your blog posts. The type and placement of your content greatly affects its impact.
Google’s ranking algorithm favors sites that have unique and freshly updated content. This poses a bit of a challenge in eye care because the details of procedures don’t change every month. Of course, any time surgical technology is significantly updated or improved, your procedure content should be updated on your website, but that might occur only once a year.
In general, the same content that was important a few months ago for topics like LASIK or PRK is still relevant today. Fortunately, Google recognizes that evergreen content, such as procedure information, is—and is intended to be—relevant for long periods of time. Therefore, the occasional update or addition of new information is more than sufficient to ensure this content is still valued. However, this doesn’t answer the question of, “How do you keep your content fresh?”
The answer is blogging. Blog content is intended to be current, and keeping it “fresh” means new posts on timely topics at regular intervals. Your website is the best place to add this new and unique content. Not only will this refinement make your website appear “newer” and boost your rankings when Google crawls your site, it will also make your content more engaging to potential patients. Keep in mind, though, that your blog needs to be different from your website’s procedure content.
A lot of practices make the mistake of trying to “repurpose” content, that is, double- or triple-using the same content by placing it on their website, blog, and social media. This is a big mistake because Google and the other search engines do not “see” this content as fresh or unique. The best blog content is timely, seasonal, general education, or newsworthy.
An article about the best procedures for Valentine’s Day or about health care news related to your specialty goes a long way toward making your site a unique resource in the eyes of Google. And, if written properly, the content will engage with prospective patients and keep them on your site longer, which helps SEO, rankings, and conversion.
The bottom line: Content is king for SEO, conversion, and it’s what attracts users to your site.