How to Optimize Content for SEO to Rank Higher

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Today’s trusted healthcare sites feature up-to-date, accurate information. 

They also boast SEO-optimized content. 

To stay ahead of your competitors in organic search results and reach the right target audience, you must regularly update your content for SEO. 

In this blog, I share how to do this in five steps. 

First, let’s define content optimization. 

What Is Content Optimization?

Content optimization is improving a website or web page so that it’s easily found and understood by search engines and people. 

This process can apply to everything from building a better, clean site architecture to updating web pages with optimized title tags, meta description tags, headings, and body content that reflects what people are searching for.

As with all aspects of SEO, content shouldn’t be “optimized” just for the search engine algorithms. Google demands a people-first approach to content optimization and can easily spot manipulating or black-hat SEO techniques. 

Here are five ethical steps to update your content for SEO to rank higher, attract more healthcare consumers, and grow your business.

5 Steps to Optimizing Your Content for SEO

Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO strategy. It tells what words and phrases people are typing into the search engines. It tells you valuable information about their worries and priorities. This research can inform your content strategy, allowing you to craft extremely relevant content that healthcare consumers want and need.

Here’s how to do it right

  • Brainstorm possible search topics and questions
    Begin with a list of queries you think your audience would search for. Your website should have pages for all your products, services, treatments, etc.
  • Use a high-quality research tool (paid or free)
    Tools like Ubersuggest, AHREFS, SEMRush, and Surfer SEO can help gauge search volume and identify closely related terms.
  • Choose keyword targets
    Review all keyword options and take note of their search volume. Choose terms well within your area of expertise and have a reasonable keyword difficulty for your domain authority (e.g., one primary keyword and three to five secondary keywords).
  • Ensure topics and content matches the search intent of the keywords you’re targeting

    Here are three main types of search intent and what they mean

    • Commercial: Commercial intent keywords and phrases are those typed into search engines by healthcare consumers looking to purchase products and services or educate themselves before making a purchase decision. 
    • Informational: Informational intent keywords and phrases are often posed as questions, using words like who, what, where, when, why, and how. These are used when a user wants to learn something.
    • Navigational: Navigational intent keywords and phrases are those types in the search bar when people are looking for a specific website. (e.g., Facebook, Healthcare Success, etc.)
  • Avoid keyword cannibalization
    Google wants you to have one page per topic. Ensure your site's existing content optimization on web pages, blog posts, and articles aren't already ranking for the same search query.

Step 2: Analyze Your Competitors 

A comprehensive competitor analysis identifies competitors in your industry and their digital marketing strategies. You can use this research to determine your business's strengths and weaknesses (relative to each competitor).

Here is how to get started

  • Run a search query for a primary keyword
    Once your keyword research is complete and you’ve identified a primary keyword target, review competitive search results on page one of Google.
  • Read, study, and analyze competitor content
    Here are a few things to consider
    • Business names, products, and services
    • Sales tactics and results
    • Word count, topics, visual elements, etc.

It’s essential to analyze competitor content with the intent of surpassing them in search—not joining them. To do this, we recommend using the 10x method, which means creating content that is ten times better than the next piece of available content—so your content can outrank it.

Step 3: Create Your Content Outline

This step involves creating a detailed overview or outline of the topic and subtopics your web page, blog, or article will include. This outline requires looking at competing content in Google and other search engines and ensuring your outline addresses competitive questions and long-tail keywords. 

Here are a few things you can do to create an outline to draw out the best, most competitive search engine optimization content.

  • Use your keyword research and competitive analysis as a guide for topics to discuss in your content
  • Layout your headings (H1, H2s, H3s, etc.)
  • Logically structure your content and ensure you provide answers to user questions in the order they would mostly likely ask

Step 4: Update and Write Your SEO Content

Here is how to optimize content for search engines and get more high-intent visitors

  • Optimize your title and meta description tags with your keyword targets.
  • Incorporate your keywords into your title (H1) and the rest of your headings as they fit naturally.
  • Incorporate your keywords and semantically-related words and phrases into your body copy naturally. 
  • Write more copy if needed to satisfy what people need to know or learn on that particular page 
  • Showcase your E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authority, and Trust)
  • Ensure top-notch quality by correcting grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Be sure to link only to trustworthy sources (websites that provide thorough, evidence-based content that supports your topics)
  • Keep “readability” in mind and avoid using bigger words than necessary. The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends all patient content be written at the sixth-grade reading level. You can check your reading level with tools like Microsoft Word, the Flesch-Kincaid reading ease test, and SEMRush)
  • Consider using SEO content optimization tools like Clearscope, FRASE, and Surfer SEO to ensure you’re delivering relevant, helpful content that meets the needs of your audience.

Step 5: Incorporate Technical SEO

Last but certainly not least, enhance the technical aspects of your site to improve page rank. 

Here are eleven technical content optimization tips for laying a strong foundation for high-ranking content and more organic traffic to your website.

  1. Ensure your site has a logical structure related to categories and subcategories.
  2. Create and optimize your XML sitemap.
  3. Ensure your web pages, blogs, and articles load quickly and are fully functional on desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.
  4. Confirm your website is compliant with Google’s Core Web Vitals guidelines
    (e.g., large images, videos, and heavy use of JavaScript can negatively impact page load speed).
  5. Optimize your internal linking strategy and use in-text links to point toward related content.
  6. Include your target keyword or phrase in the main image Alt text. 
  7. Use canonical URLs to avoid duplicate content issues.
  8. Keep URLs concise, and be sure to include your target keyword.
  9. Install an SSL certificate for your website.
  10. Check and correct any crawl errors in the Google Search Console.
  11. Find and correct broken links.

Leverage these SEO content optimization tips to help your business build a strong healthcare content marketing strategy, boost search engine page rank, attract more high-intent audiences, move them through the sales funnel, and improve sales and revenue.

If your content isn’t working hard enough for you and you’d like a free SEO checkup, contact Healthcare Success today. We’ll comprehensively examine how SEO content optimization best practices can elevate your digital marketing strategy and grow your business.

Our healthcare SEO agency can help with website content optimization for search engine algorithms, so you can reach more high-quality leads and turn them into profits.

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