Summary: Taking a proactive approach to SEO mitigation coupled with empathetic UX can increase your Google rankings and during a relaunch.
Yes, search engine optimization (SEO) is about increasing website rankings. However, when done properly, it’s also about building an ecosystem of trust that creates a more empathetic experience for the end user—especially in healthcare. Learn how Google serves trustworthy search results to users in need and how you can incorporate SEO best practices into a website redesign.
Top three criteria for a trustworthy site
Google’s goal is to build trust with users, providing the most accurate answers to their questions as quickly as possible. In healthcare, where users are searching for potentially life-saving information, building trust isn’t just good for conversions. It’s the ethical thing to do. There are three major factors Google takes into account:
Keywords: Is your site’s language optimized to actual user searches? If not, you have room to raise your ranking.
Page speed: How fast do your pages load (desktop and mobile)? Loading times of three seconds or more can make your site less trustworthy in Google’s eyes.
Backlink profile: How many other sites are linking to yours? It isn’t just about quantity. Google loves to see quality backlinks from credible sources (think .edu, .gov, and .org sites).
Four website redesign tips: Avoiding a drop in your SEO ranking
Any SEO strategy should optimize keywords, page speed, and backlinks. During a website redesign, it’s even more important to plan ahead and focus on a holistic approach to SEO. Changes in URLs and navigation paths confuse Google, resulting in SEO dips that can take three to six months to rebound. For a health system, that’s three to six months of missed traffic that can reduce the quality of care accessible to users.
These tips can help you mitigate the rankings-related risks of a redesign:
Transfer SEO equity. Identify your highest-ranking pages and make sure there are one-to-one custom redirects to the same pages of your new site.
Use schema markup. This is code that tells Google relevant information about your site (location, operating hours, FAQs, blogs, etc.) to create enhanced listings that are more helpful to the end user.
Eliminate dead ends. Create a custom 404 page that links back to high-ranking pages of the new site.
Target long-tail keywords. Key phrases of more than two words have less competition in rankings but provide higher-value traffic since the users typing them have a very specific need.
Using these tactics, Reason One helped Lee Health, Florida’s largest nonprofit healthcare system, not only protect its ranking but also increase organic traffic by 10% post-launch.
The bottom line
Healthcare providers have a responsibility to take a holistic SEO approach. When users are searching for “cardiology specialist” or “emergency surgery,” the stakes are high. Your SEO rankings should be too. Google knows how to get users in need of medical care the most relevant information from the most trusted sources. Ultimately, SEO is about fostering trust. The more you understand how to build it, the higher your ranking will be.
This article was originally published in Greystone's Grey Matters.