Updated: Feb 8
I can’t tell you the number of websites I’ve found for doctors, health coaches, and other health practitioners that have a blog with some serious issues.
I can tell that the writer has a passion for the topics. They have a deep knowledge of these topics. And they really want to help people to understand more about these topics. They want the readers to become empowered to make some positive changes in their lives.
But here’s the thing. They often aren’t taking into consideration how their audience reads online. And they aren’t taking advantage of certain SEO opportunities for their blog posts.
Real quick... SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization". It’s essentially how “findable” your posts are on search engines, like Google. When someone types in, “How to help low estrogen,” you want your post to be the one to show up, not the posts from 10 of your competitors.
These health professionals have put so much time and effort into their blogs, but nobody is reading them. So they start to write fewer and fewer posts. Eventually, they stop. Who writes blogs anymore, anyway?
Well, a lot of people. But to actually write blogs that people are going to find and want to read, there are a few common mistakes you’ll want to avoid.
5 Common Healthcare Blogging Mistakes
Short Blog Posts
Using Default Meta Descriptions
Mistake #1: Short Blog Posts
Yes, it’s true. Not many people read an entire blog post. I know I don’t usually… and I write these things for a living!
But there are certainly some benefits to longer blog posts.
Google prioritizes long blog posts (1500 words minimum).
Google prioritizes long blog posts because they want the links and web pages they recommend to their customers (the searchers) to provide the most amount of value possible. They want satisfied customers.
What makes a satisfied Google customer? One who finds the answer to their question from their very first click… which is likely the top-ranked search result.
What makes a blog post most likely to answer that question? One that is long. One that's comprehensive. One that doesn’t leave Google’s customer wanting more information from someone else.
Your one blog post has all the answers.
Provide different subheaders to break up the information. This allows the reader to scroll through the article until they come across the answer that they’re looking for.
When they read that section, they’ll also likely move on to read more of the article. Or they’re satisfied with their answer, and they’re officially a satisfied Google customer.
If you have a shorter blog post, your answer may miss the mark, or not quite answer what they were asking. They’d have to continue their search to find the answer they were looking for.
You become a trusted source. Someone who brings value. Someone they’ll return to in the future.
Tips for writing longer blog posts:
So, how do you make a blog post long, while not having the reader’s eyes glaze over with overwhelm?
A few ways to appeal to shorter attention spans with a longer blog post include: Using subheaders, bolding and italicizing important words and sentences, writing in short 2-3 sentence paragraphs, using numbered lists and bullets, and including images and infographics.
Mistake #2: Long Paragraphs
I see this mistake often with medical professionals specifically. In a world of scientific journals and long thesis papers, it can be difficult to change your mindset around paragraph length. But trust me, it’s important.
In addition to appealing to short attention spans, shorter paragraphs also make new information more palatable. Especially knowing that most readers will be using their phones to read your blog post. If a paragraph takes up their entire mobile screen, they’re likely to get overwhelmed and hit the back button.
Use approximately 2-3 sentences per paragraph. Test it out on your phone and see what you would think as a reader!
Mistake #3: Lacking Keywords
You can write the most brilliant and insightful article the world has ever seen… but if the world never sees it, it’s not going to help anyone.
You need to include keywords in strategic places of your blog post if you want Google to know what your article is about so that it can recommend it to searchers.
If you want some tips on finding what keywords you should even use for your post, check out this article: Quick Tips to Unlock the Magic of SEO Keywords. She also includes a really helpful video tutorial for some of the tools you can use.
Where should you include Keywords?
This is the main title that Google searchers see as they scroll through their options. It looks like this:
H1 aka Heading 1
This can either be a “subtitle”, if you’re also using the Title tag as the main title at the top of your blog post, or you can use the H1 as the main title at the top of your page.
H2s aka Heading 2
H2s (aka Heading 2’s) would be exactly what you expect - subheaders within your article
The default URL will often end with the title of your article. Unfortunately, this makes for a very long URL. Try shortening it to just a few words, but don’t omit those keywords!
For example, the title of one of my articles is “Stressed Out? 10 Signs You Have High Cortisol and Why”. The default URL would have been www.beckhamcopywriting.com/post/10-signs-you-have-high-cortisol-and-why
Instead, I manually set the URL for that article to be www.beckhamcopywriting.com/post/high-cortisol-signs
The Alt Text is attached to an image. It is not the same as the caption. The caption is what the readers see. The Alt Text is what Google sees.
The Alt Text explains to Google what the image is about. It can also be used to explain an image for the visually impaired.
It is all entered on the back end, but is an easy additional opportunity to include keywords.
For example, in that same article, I have an image of a man that looks fatigued. Instead of the alt text being something like, "Man with head in his hands", the alt text for that image could be something like, “Man tired but wired from high cortisol.”
Sprinkled Throughout Your Article
Obviously, you want to include keywords as much as your article will naturally allow. I like to keep a list of my target keywords at the top of the page when I’m writing. That way I know if I’m writing a phrase that could easily be replaced with one of the keyword phrases.
No need to overdo it, but at the same time, you don’t want to miss out on opportunities within the body of your article as well.
Mistake #4: Inconsistent Blogs
Consistent blogs help with your Google ranking. Google likes to see blogs that are up to date. It wants to make sure it’s sending its customers to websites that are active, that provide current and relevant information, and that will continue to provide value.
Best practices for blog consistency are a minimum of every other week, but every week is more ideal. If you already have your desired ranking on Google, you may get away with backing off on your blogs for a while. But eventually, Google will notice.
Mistake #5: Using the Default Meta Descriptions
The meta description is what searchers on Google see just underneath the URL and Title Tag. It’s typically a short summary or description of what the user will see on the page if they decide to click on the link.
If you don’t manually enter one, the default meta description is just the first few sentences of your article. But the first few sentences may not effectively summarize what the user will learn if they read the entire article.
Use this space wisely to “sell” your article. It’s yet another opportunity to say, “Pick me! Click on me, not the next guy!” Bonus points for including keywords in your meta description, as these will be bolded on the search page and make your article seem more enticing.
5 Bonus Strategies to Boost Your SEO for Blog Posts
Allow Keywords to Guide Your Blog Topics
Link to Previous Content
Link to Reputable Pages and Sources
Keep Images Small
Backlinks are when other people link to your post from their own website. They may encourage their readers to check out your helpful blog about a certain topic.
Either way, if other websites that rank well on Google link to your website, your ranking on Google is likely to improve. Why? Because Google already trusts this other website as a valuable source of information for its customers.
If this website links to, and therefore recommends, your site, Google sees this as an indicator that you are a valuable source of information as well.
For a few quick tips and ideas on how to do this, check out Simply Search Marketing’s article The Best Link Building Tips for Healthcare.
2. Allow Keywords to Guide Your Blog Topics
You may think you know what people want to read about. But how do you really know? Keyword research. Tools like Google Ads and Ubersuggest can help you to figure out how many people per month are searching for specific topics.
As an example, I wanted to write an article about how to cure eczema naturally. I wanted to focus on curing the cause, not just masking the symptoms. As it turns out, people don’t care about how to cure eczema naturally! They want the lotions, the home remedies, and the pharmaceuticals.
This may still be a good article to write one day, as there are people in the world that want and need this information. I could find a way to get more creative with my keywords. But at the time, there was another topic I was considering that had way better monthly search rates and had a pretty low competitive score… so I went with that one instead.
3. Link to Your Previous Content
Within your new article, whenever appropriate, provide links to your previous content or to your services. I often find myself writing things like, “If you want to know more about XYZ, check out this article.”
Linking to previous content helps to improve engagement, increases the amount of time they’re on your website (which is also important for SEO), and encourages them to check out more pages on your website (also important for SEO).
Just make sure these links are set to open in a new tab, so they still have the opportunity to finish the current article if they click on one of those links!
4. Link to Reputable Pages and Sources
Don’t be afraid to link away from your website! Yep, I said it. Linking to content you trust and to websites that Google sees as “reputable” will help build up your own trust and credibility.
Same as with linking to your own pages, make sure these links are set to open in a new tab. That way, they don’t completely click off of your website. And they see you as someone that recommends amazing new content.
5. Keep Images Small
Loading speed matters for SEO. And images are one of the things that can really slow down a page’s loading speed. Keep images small. Most people are reading your blog from their phones anyway. Images are an aid, not the main content.
If you’re looking for some help figuring all of this SEO stuff out, I’d love to help! Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with me on LinkedIn, or schedule a time to chat.