Prescription for SEO

There is an active interest in searching for health and medical content online. The number of searches and visits to health-related sites is well into the hundreds of millions with WebMD’s network of sites reaching an average of 86 million visitors per month. According to a current Pew Research Center project, 72% of internet users looked online for health information within the last year (2013) and 77% of those same users began their exploration on a search engine. Currently, this trend is likely to grow and spike as health reform continues to spur conversations online and as older generations search the internet more frequently. This data and turbulent online environment are both signals that a strategic search optimization plan is becoming an increasingly vital marketing tool for the health and medical industry.

No matter what opinion you stand by, health reform is one of the most outspoken topics online, from news articles to social media, personal blogs and forums. Internet users are seeking fresh content as well as authoritative information. Competitors will be working hard to own keywords and queries related to the health exchange, especially on a state and local level. After analyzing and comparing your rankings, you may notice that the search volume for keywords you’d like to rank for is extremely high. However, it is important to remember that competition is exceptionally aggressive. Along with producing timely and accurate content on a regular basis, it would be valuable to discern some long-tail keywords to focus on. Since we are talking about health care, some ideas to start with are specific ailments or relevant questions that are receiving a lot of searches but are in striking distance. For more on keyword research, Moz is a great resource.

It is also important keep varied user demographics in mind for SEO efforts. Search, mobile search and social media have been focused primarily on younger internet users in the past. Yet SEO and digital marketing efforts that exclude or ignore senior generations are becoming a serious mistake. The personas of internet users are already changing and multiplying- even social media platforms are seeing their average demographic rapidly maturing each year. Termed ‘silver surfers,’ these users are increasingly tech-savvy and what some consider more valuable than any other demographic. According to Gartner Fellow David Furlonger, “The younger market has only linear growth potential and decreasing purchasing power, while the silver surfers offer exponential growth opportunities and growing purchasing potential.” Since health and medical concerns significantly affect these silver surfers, SEO should not be downplayed due to a more mature age group.

Keeping a constant pulse on SEO and actively assessing ranking results, linking opportunities, and competition could produce short- and long-term successes for health care or medical businesses. With interest in health and medical related topics peaking and a valuable, evolving audience actively searching online, SEO greatly increases exposure and trust with potential clients.

Samantha Barnes is the SEO and Content Manager at Flying Cork.