What Is SEO?
You've heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and you know it has something to do with making your website more visible. But what exactly does it mean? Here's the skinny in plain terms:
A search engine is like the index at the back of a text book. A book's index tells you on which pages of the book a particular word can be found ('metabolism' for instance). Likewise, a search engine tells you on what websites that keyword can be found. Try it! I just searched for the keyword 'metabolism' on Google--the most commonly used search engine--and it gave me 36,700,000 results in 0.22 seconds.
Whew, that was fast! But who has time to visit 36 million sites? Not me, that's for sure! But I do have time to visit a few. And since Wikipedia's Metabolism page is at the top of that list, that's where I'll be looking first. And that's the point.
Content Is King
If you want optimal search engine results for your website (think page one of the search results), the single most important action you can take is to provide quality content. Wikipedia's Metabolism page does exactly what it says on the bottle. It has a lot of information on Metabolism: definitions, descriptions, variations, related topics, you name it. If it's metabolism info you want, it's a good bet that this is the place to start. Which is why Google awards it the coveted top spot.
But search engines consider many other factors too before ranking a site. One of these is links.
A Vote For You Is A Vote For Progress!
As far as search engines are concerned, a link to your site is a vote for your site.
Let me explain.
Suppose you just read this (totally imaginary) mind-blowing article on metabolism at Dr. Phil's website. It is the best article on metabolism you ever read. You shed 10 lbs just reading it, it's that good. You have to tell everyone you ever met about this article right away! So, you sign in to Twitter or Facebook or your blog, and you write a little blurb about this article, inviting every person you ever met (all 1,000,000 of your best friends) to read it, and because you are thoughtful and considerate, you include a link.
Half of your friends don't bother to read the article because, let's face it, you were never that close. But the other half million do. They follow your link to the site and they all agree that this is, hands down, the best article on metabolism ever. They all post links to the article too, on their own websites and blogs, saying how spectacular it is. A half million links are now pointing to Dr. Phil's metabolism article. Guess what a search engine is going to see? That's right, a half million votes for Dr. Phil. Suddenly, his article is ranked number three when people search for the keyword 'metabolism', and Dr. Phil is pondering a run for The White House.
But is Dr. Phil a well-known metabolism guru? Nope. Did he promise everyone who linked to his article a new car? No again. Instead, he wrote the best darned imaginary article ever on metabolism. He provided quality content so good that you and a half million of your closest friends linked to it unasked! For free! Voluntarily!
Nice work if you can get it, right? So where do you get quality content?
This Little Light Of Mine, I'm Gonna Let It Shine
Are you a secret Shakespeare or hidden Hemingway? Stop hiding your light under a bushel! Why not write your own unique content? Share your years of medical wisdom and expertise. Just remember this important tip: Keep your articles simple, clear and informative. Describe the conditions you treat, their causes and symptoms, and the treatment options you specialize in. Offer health tips and links to additional resources. Describe the health initiatives you've led in your community. Your unique content gives search engines an excellent reason to rank you higher!
Let Us Do The Heavy Lifting
But dammit, Jim! (I hear you exclaim) I'm a doctor not a journalist! I don't have time to write articles!
No problem. One of the many benefits of being part of the Healthcommunities network of doctors is access to our extensive library of excellent specialty-specific health and wellness articles. A quick and stress-free way to provide reliable, trustworthy patient education information to the people you serve.
Or consider combining Healthcommunities physician-reviewed medical articles with your own unique community-related content. Remember, your audience is made up of regular people with health questions. Like you and me, they go online looking for answers. They live right in your neighborhood so why not make your website their local health information hub? If your site is useful, interesting, and easy to read, people will read it. Show them you care and they'll thank you for it by giving you their trust and their business.
Bottom line? If you want to improve your search engine rank, the first step is to provide quality content. Search engines love it. Patients love it. Everybody's happy!
Want more SEO help and advice? Call Healthcommunities at 1.888.950.0808. We've been helping doctors achieve first-page listings in Google and other top search engines for over a decade using our own proprietary SEO techniques.
Want more tips from Healthcommunities on creating and enhancing your medical website? Check out our archive of web design articles.
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