By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Technical SEO mistakes can throttle the effectiveness of your healthcare website and its visibility on Google. What’s more, technical missteps can often invisibly impair the health of your entire website, not just a few pages.
Over the years, we’ve conducted hundreds if not thousands of technical SEO audits and in-depth analyses. We’ve observed many commonalities among healthcare websites, and today we’ll be sharing seven of the most common SEO mistakes we see.
Understanding these mistakes will help you address these problems and put out severe website fires.
To get a better sense of what’s going on behind the scenes of healthcare websites today, I spoke to our Senior SEO specialist Naghmeh Jafarzadeh.
Naghmeh performs our in-depth website audits for enterprise-level healthcare businesses and multilocation practices.
Here, she outlines the most common blunders in order of importance.
Common Technical SEO Mistakes in Order of Priority
According to Naghmeh, there are seven common technical SEO issues found on healthcare websites.
Issue 1: Lack of Site Architecture
How is the content on your website organized? Can people quickly find what they need? Optimizing a website for organic search starts with good site architecture – the way information is organized on a site.
Many healthcare sites lack proper site architecture. People and search engines should navigate your site easily, which includes the flow of buttons and links. Without this foundational step, your website can’t achieve maximum organic results.
Issue 2: Missing Key Landing Pages
Once a website audit is conducted, and it’s clear that the site lacks proper architecture, we often find that the site is also missing important landing pages. According to Naghmeh, it’s not uncommon for major healthcare brands to have missing pages, including location pages, service pages, and about us pages.
From a user experience (UX) and SEO perspective, missing these key pages can harm your SEO and business growth. A proper technical SEO audit can identify these key missing pages and provide suggestions on what you need on your site.
We recommend that all healthcare industry websites include (at a minimum):
- A homepage
- Service pages to describe services, treatments, and programs.
- Location pages (if applicable)
- A Blog
- Contact Us
- About Us page: On this page, you can profile doctors and staff and feature your company values and mission statement.
Issue 3: Lack of Supporting Content for Main Topics
Another common SEO issue in healthcare marketing is thin content. Thin content often refers to content that offers little or no value for your patients or target audience. In this case, we often see a lack of supporting pages for a website’s main topics.
With your site organized and your key pages created, the next focus should be to develop supporting content for your site’s main topics. For example, if you are a specialty practice, you might need blog posts or child landing pages that explore the treatment options offered at your practice. With enough of the right content on your site, search engines can examine and hopefully reward your site’s authority, relevance, and trust.
Issue 4: Over-optimizing Blog and Website
While lack of content can hurt your SEO, so can too much of it. Over-optimizing your blog or website can mean many things, including keyword stuffing and link spamming. Today, over-optimization also includes using non-relevant words on your site and using one too many H1s on a page.
But in healthcare websites, Naghmeh often finds websites with multiple pages on the same topic. This means more than one page is trying to rank for the same set of keywords or keyword phrases. When this happens, you harm your site’s ability to rank in Google.
Issue 5: URL Structure Problems
Technical SEO covers nearly every aspect of a site, including the URL structure of a page. Just like other SEO elements, the URL structure must be user-friendly for both people and search engines. According to Naghmeh, she often finds many URL issues. One of the most common? When deeper pages on a website lose a path to the parent page.
Issue 6: Site Performance (Page Speed)
Patients and search engines want and reward fast websites. However, many healthcare sites have slow page speeds. This means that the content on the page loads slowly. Unfortunately, slow page speeds can negatively affect the patient experience and SEO.
Today, page speed is a Google algorithm factor. A faster page speed can help your site rank higher in search engines, increase conversions and reduce bounce rates.
Curious to find your website page speed? Google has a handy tool for that.
Issue 7: Medical Related Schema Markup
Finally, one of the most common technical SEO issues with healthcare sites is the lack of health and medical schema or structured data markup.
What is schema? Schema markup is a piece of snippet added to HTML code to improve the way search engines read your webpages. According to Schema.org, schema is available for “both consumer- and professionally-targeted health and medical web content.”
“Proper schema allows search engines to return more informative results,” says Naghmeh. “It also helps populate rich snippets, carousel results and the knowledge graph.”
“Schema markup is not a ranking factor. However, rich snippets have shown to attract users’ attention, increase click-through rates, decrease bounces, and potentially improve rankings from metrics around engagement.”
With these most common issues out in the open, how does your site compare with the competition? If you are looking for some expert help, we invite you to contact us for an exploratory discussion. Creating a solid foundation will help you optimize your site and set it up for success.