Having trouble keeping patients engaged on your hospital’s website? How about getting your web content to rank well in search results? The problem could be how your website is structured.
A confusing layout or poorly organized content on your website can be enough to drive potential patients away and negatively impact your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings, which affect how visible your hospital is in search results.
Here are 3 common website structure issues your hospital should avoid, as well as how you can solve these problems if they already exist.
Buried Pages & Non-User-Friendly Navigation
Having informative content on your hospital website is extremely important—not only for healthcare SEO purposes, but also for the sake of potential patients visiting your site and looking for answers. Unfortunately, no matter how great your content is, it’s useless if your online visitors can’t easily navigate your website.
Buried pages are pages that require a high number of clicks before the user can actually get to the page. This is a common occurrence for healthcare organizations, which tend to have numerous departments and service lines they want to feature on their websites.
The fix is twofold:
Don’t necessarily structure your website’s content in a way that “mirrors” the structure of your healthcare organization. Your website layout should prioritize the most important and informative pieces of content in a way that is engaging and helpful to your online visitors.
Use internal linking to direct users to the most important and relevant information easily and succinctly. When you do this, you give your site visitors a clear path to the information they’re looking for so they don’t have to dig for the pages they want.
Healthcare organizations tend to have a lot of departments that overlap in services, which can lead to redundancy on their websites. For example, a surgical unit and a cardiovascular unit may both want to show content that focuses on cardiovascular surgery.
The problem here is you’re filtering users who are looking for the same information to two different places. From a healthcare SEO perspective, this dilutes the topical authority you are able to build through your page traffic. (Topical authority refers to your hospital proving itself to online users and Google as a leading authority on the topic online.)
Additionally, Google will likely not show both pages in related search results, as the search engine prefers to give users as many relevant results from as many different sources as possible. This means it is more likely that one of these pages will be filtered out of search results.
Have a shared piece of content for these topics, which both departments or units can link to as their own. Send all that traffic to one place and build up the topical authority for the one page. Ultimately, that single page will be stronger than the two separate pages would ever be individually, giving your organization’s content greater visibility in the search results.
“Dead Weight” Content
Over time, hospital websites tend to compile a massive amount of content from blogs, news articles, press releases, events, etc. While continuing to add content is a demonstration of your website’s relevancy, freshness, and authority, it can also mean amassing a large amount of stale content, or “dead weight.” A good benchmark for determining dead weight is to analyze the traffic for your content over the past year. Pages that have not generated any new traffic in a year should be re-evaluated.
One of the most common examples of dead weight pages is a non-evergreen blog or article. The blog about an event your women’s health clinic hosted 5 years and 4 months ago is no longer relevant, and it’s not getting any new traffic. That wouldn’t be such a major issue, except your website may also contain hundreds of other blogs for the numerous other events that every department in your organization has held over the last 6 years.
Most of those are now pieces of content that are no longer relevant and no longer generating new traffic. This can hurt your hospital search rankings because Google sees websites with a higher portion of stagnant pages as a negative sign. The more pages you have that are driving new traffic, the better your website appear to Google, and the better your site will rank.
It’s important to note that the solution will largely depend on the page itself—there is no one singular way to manage dead weight pages. There are, however, a few good practices to consider:
- Regularly monitor the traffic going to the pages on your site and trim non-evergreen content where possible. Also, when producing new content, try to prioritize an evergreen strategy to ensure that even a blog post about an event you hosted today can still be helpful and relevant tomorrow.
- Revamp and reoptimize pages that should be generating more traffic. Strengthen the quality of the content to make them more useful to readers and give your online visitors better user experiences.
- Merge any dead weight pages that do contain helpful information with relevant pages that are currently generating traffic.
If you plan on improving the structure of your hospital website, it’s critical that you leave this to a qualified professional, as mistakes in the cleanup process can lead to even more detrimental issues. At Scorpion, we have healthcare digital marketing experts who can assist you with everything from redesigning your website and giving it a new layout to producing high-quality content and improving up your SEO.