Gaming Google’s search algorithms may be tempting, but the risk of incurring severe penalties is too great. Instead, medical marketers should focus on producing high-quality, relevant content.
In the Internet’s vast stores of content, it can sometimes feel impossible to secure a spot on the first search engine results page (SERP), much less that coveted top spot. Therefore, in this competitive landscape, many medical marketers are tempted to seek out loopholes or shortcuts in search engine algorithms.
Unfortunately, Google and its competitors tend to see right through these tricks — and dole out penalties accordingly, dinging sites that employ outdated or unethical SEO tactics. Bouncing back after getting on Google’s bad side can be immensely challenging, and medical marketers would be wise to avoid the risk.
Here’s how to steer clear of loopholes and build a sustainable approach to SEO.
The Consequences of Gaming Google
Google frequently comes up with new algorithm updates, but they all tend to have the same goal: providing the user with high-quality content that’s relevant to their inquiry. Thus, each new algorithm is more and more likely to penalize sites that aren’t helping searchers find the information they need — and Google’s employees may also manually penalize a website if they notice it’s up to no good.
Keyword stuffing, purchasing backlinks, linking to low-quality sites, and other such practices can all ultimately result in unreliable and unreadable content — the opposite of what Google wants, which also happens to be the opposite of what readers want. Healthcare websites that are too focused on gaming Google’s algorithm updates sacrifice their UX, scaring off potential patients. Instead, medical marketers can avoid plummeting in the search rankings and alienating users by writing readable, relevant content.
Boost Search Ranking, Sustainably
Luckily, medical marketers don’t have to rely on black hat SEO to top the search rankings and win over potential patients. The ingredients for soaring to the top of SERPs are simple, and they all focus on providing the reader with useful information and a seamless UX.
Start by creating in-depth, reliable, and informative content. This is especially important for medical marketers, as healthcare-related websites fall under what Google calls “YMYL” pages — “Your Money or Your Life” pages. These sites are subject to harsh scrutiny, so it’s vital that their information is accurate and helpful.
Second, focus on your backlink strategy. Backlinks are a leading criteria that helps Google determine a website’s authority in its space. Once you’ve built out a library of great content, consider launching a link-building initiative to boost your rankings.
Finally, ensure your content is catching Google’s attention on the backend by checking that your website code is free of errors. Mistakes or gaps in your code could prevent Google from effectively crawling your site, causing your top-notch content to be overlooked.
Overall, offering your site’s visitors a great user experience and helpful information is a far more effective and sustainable approach to reaching the top of SERPs than any black hat SEO tactics. Focus on the end user — potential patients who are looking for expert, accessible care — and the search rankings are sure to follow.