When we began helping hospitals develop websites more than a dozen years ago, content was just something that had to get done. It was written at the last minute. Copy and pasted as-is from brochures. Developed by a summer intern without a lot of thought.
Fortunately, this is changing. Healthcare organizations are realizing content is one of the most important assets on a website. Here are a few reasons why:
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine rankings and search traffic are probably a top goal for you. You want to be found, and Google is the gatekeeper. Google lets us know what drives its hundreds of algorithm changes. At the top of its list is content quality. Google wants original content that’s well written and presented in a readable fashion without many ads. Google also likes content other people like. It tracks links and other “social cues” such as how many people share it on Twitter. Bottom line: Poor content doesn’t get shared.
Content needs to be more than well written and factually accurate. It also needs to be interesting. In our permission-based world, you need to earn your way onto consumers’ radars. Your content should provide information people want in a way that encourages them to share it through social media. Or better yet, your content should be so interesting and reliable that consumers want to follow it directly.
Site Visitor Needs
When someone arrives at your site, they want information from you. They’re looking for education about disease, assistance with making decisions and information that sells them on your organization and services. Good content helps them make those decisions, while bad content just might encourage them to go elsewhere – like to your competitor’s site.
Well-constructed content reinforces the visitor’s decision to come to the site, grabs their attention and leads them to engage with the site further or to take an action. Remember that the goal isn’t to get visitors TO your site but to get them to USE your services and become a patient!
So much of what we do in marketing is gone in an instant if you don’t keep feeding it. That PPC campaign may be great, but if you stop putting money behind it, the benefit goes away. Social media can be effective, but that post from today drops off the radar in the blink of an eye.
Website content on the other hand is an investment with a long shelf-life. Creating a great piece of content delivers SEO benefits and value to visitors for years to come.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in interactive site capabilities, calls to action, videos and campaigns. There’s a lot of fun stuff we do online. Whereas writing thousands of pages of content is not exciting. It’s hard work. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored!
The content on your website is a foundation – the bedrock on which great experiences happen. Organizations that launch creative campaigns without a solid foundation of content to back it up often don’t see the value they expected. There’s no substitute for having solid content on your site. Once you have that in place you can do great things!
I hope this gives you some insight into why great content matters. To learn about how to get great content and use it effectively, watch our webinar – The Content Conundrum.