There’s three things that you should understand about your searchers on the Internet:
#1.They are impatient! They will not waste time wading through pages and pages of results after their first query. They want the best results in the shortest amount of time.
#2. Generally they don’t go beyond the first page of the SERP. They would much rather refine their search than go through more pages of less relevant results.
#3. They search for content in three different ways:
Your searcher is expecting only one result and their query has a very specific and targeted intent. They’ve visited your website before or they know that your organization exists. And so they go straight to your website by entering the url e.g. ‘bmsi.org’ or they Google the term ‘baltimore medical system’.
Here your searcher is doing some kind of research (e.g. for high-blood pressure treatment) and is not sure exactly what they will find. Their query might produce articles, drug information, images, video clips, and a variety of other content. Your searcher may or may not find all this content relevant but will still wade through some of it as he tries to determine what he needs.
Your searcher is looking for some kind of interaction on the Internet. He may want to buy a book, join a discussion forum, or find directions to your facility. In this case the searcher is looking for a very specific kind of interaction and is willing to take the time to explore different sites until he finds it.
How search engines respond
In all three cases, the searcher has an idea of what he is looking for and he has some expectation of the kind of content that will satisfy him.
On the other side of the equation is the search engine (Google), whose goal is to find the most relevant content for your searcher’s query. Search engines understand that people want the latest news and the most recent content.
As they set out to determine the most relevant content for a person’s query, they analyze and measure the updating activity on websites across the Internet! The more frequently a website is updated, the more often the search engine checks back to see what’s new.
Sites such as Yahoo!Health and WebMD are analyzed continuously because they’re updated constantly. Hence the frequency of attention from search engines reduces as website content remains static. To the search engine this is a sign that the site is irrelevant – like an old abandoned house.
In this list of the Top 15 Most Popular Healthcare Websites – Feb 2012, notice that every site on the list is updated daily.
How you should respond
This is really good news for you as a healthcare marketer because your searchers are telling you what they want. They want you to:
- update your website often;
- create engaging content that is relevant and interesting to them
Your job is to engage your audience with every piece of content that you produce and to do so consistently.
All this creates the need to develop a content marketing strategy that attracts and retains the people that you want to reach (or the people that are looking for you online). With your content strategy you should be able to pre-empt the queries that your searchers have and to create content around those search terms. In other words, you need to create engagement and relevance.
Over to you: Are searchers finding your content online? If so, how are you creating engagement and relevance through your content?