Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for RMTs

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Keywords and Other Written Content

Written content refers to all the text on your website. Text is usually found in several places on a website, making up the bulk of the webpages’ content, comments on articles you post, and captions for images and video. Although most of the text on your site will be written by you or your staff, it’s possible to have text from third parties as well, such as comments from visitors. You should have the ability to moderate text from other sources.

The text on your site may also be translated by online services like Google Translate, so it’s possible for visitors who don’t speak your native language to still access the content you write.

Keywords

Keywords are single words or short phrases, usually of no more than 2-3 words. They represent a concise summary of the topic, subject, or focus that is being discussed on a particular webpage. They are not necessarily highlighted or otherwise separated from the rest of the text on a webpage. You might think of keywords as “terms someone might have searched for on Google” that you believe would match their search to your webpage’s content.

As an example, you might have created a webpage or blog post about different types of headaches, and how massage can help alleviate the symptoms. In this case, some keywords that relate to your content might be “headaches”, “headache treatment”, “headache massage”, etc. You don’t need to include those words in any special way… they’re just included like any other text you include on the page.

Keywords are used very, very heavily by search engines. In fact, every time you do a Google search, you are entering keywords that Google scours the internet for, and shows you a list of results that relate to those keywords. It looks for the presence of keywords in a few different ways:

How often the keyword appears in the content of a webpage / website is obviously very important. If you’re looking for information on ‘headaches’, you’re probably looking for a webpage that mentions the word “headaches” or “headache” at least a couple of times, and Google recognizes this.

If the keyword phrase is more than 1 word, how close those words are to one another makes a difference too. For instance, if someone searched for “headache treatments”, then priority goes to pages who have the words “headache” and “treatment” beside each other, rather than pages who have the two words located a paragraph apart.

Google will often include results that are similar to what the user entered, such as alternate spellings for the keywords, accounting for common spelling mistakes, searching for common synonyms, and including results with plurals automatically. For example, if a user searches for “headache”, pages that have the word “headaches” will also be ranked.

When writing your content and considering how to use keywords effectively, there are some items to consider that will help improve your SEO ranking easily.

  • More isn’t always better. If you fill your entire webpage with just the keyword or keywords, Google will recognize that you’re trying to manipulate the system, and will very likely mark your page as spam.
  • That being said, make you do actually include the keyword itself on the page at least a couple of times. Although there isn’t a magic formula you can use to figure out keyword concentration, usually once or twice per paragraph will suffice to let Google know that this page is about the correct topic.
  • Most website building services like WordPress allow you to customize the URLs for all of your web pages. You should try to include the keyword in the URL whenever possible.
  • Including the keyword in the page title, as well as in any paragraph headers, will also help.
  • Avoid being too repetitive – use synonyms and laymen’s terms for the keywords you pick. It will make your writing more interesting, and also cast a wider net of potential keyword ‘hits’ by using variations.
  • Make sure to use keywords near the top of the page, preferably in the first sentence or two.

So now that you have an idea of how and where to inject keywords into your content, how do you figure out what keywords to use?

  • The keywords should be related to the page’s topic. If you had to sum up a particular page’s topic using the short statement “this page is about (blank)”, whatever (blank) is would be your primary keyword.
  • Ask yourself “what terms would I use to search for information on this topic”? Anatomical and medical specifics are OK… some people are familiar with those terms, or have discussed the issue with their doctors, etc.
  • Also consider “what terms would my laymen clients use to search for information this topic?” Think of how you interact with your clients, and the type of language you use to communicate with them effectively.
  • Finally, do a search for those terms using Google. What terms are competing websites using? What about medical advice sites, or specialty sites? See how the sites that come up near the top of the list use their keywords.

Remember, you don’t have do anything special with the list of keywords you come up with – just make sure they found along with the rest of the text on your webpage.

Other Written Content

Although keywords are obviously important, the rest of the content on your site can be optimized to help improve your SEO ranking too.

It is usually best, if you’re hoping to appeal to the general public, to use simple language and laymen’s terms. It’s ok to include anatomical language, but be sure to fully explain what you’re talking about in terms that clients can understand. Google considers reading level when ranking websites, and compares the reading level of the searcher’s terms against the reading level of your webpage’s content.

Content with a higher word count is better than content with a smaller word count. There’s no magic number to use when trying to decide how long to make your articles, but a minimum of 500 words is usually pretty safe. If your webpages only contain a handful of words each, there isn’t enough content for Google to consider your webpage a valuable resource. You don’t have to write an essay on every page, but try to include enough content so that someone arriving on your webpage can actually learn something valuable by reading it.

Try to keep the tone of your writing conversational. If you try to write too formally, it may come across as stiff, and not very engaging. When writing your website copy, imagine you’re having a conversation with a client or customer. Read the copy out loud, or to a friend, and see how it sounds off the page. If it sounds too stuffy, or too personal, play around with it a bit more until you’re comfortable.

Plan your content in advance before you start to write. Start by picking a topic, then making a bullet point list of all the items you want to mention about the topic. Figure out how you to intend to wrap up the article ahead of time.

Try to hook your readers in the first few sentences. Many people won’t bother reading the content of a page if their interest isn’t peaked in the first few seconds. “Bounced” visitors, or people who visit a webpage and leave in a short period of time, have a negative impact on your SEO ranking, so it’s worth the time to think about how interest your readers early on. A common hook is to ask your readers a rhetoric question: “Are you tired of needing to pop a pill whenever a headache comes on?” Another common hook involves establishing your authority in the subject early on in the page’s content. This helps build confidence with readers, and differentiates you from other random internet writers: “In my practice, headaches are one of the conditions I treat most often…”.

Make sure to provide details in the content you write. If you’re writing an article on headaches, don’t just mention that massage may help… go into some detail about the types of headaches, common causes, some helpful home care tips, etc.

When you’re wrapping up a content page, try to make the conclusion short. Instead of just summarizing the content of the article, encourage reader engagement – ask their opinions, encourage them to leave comments, suggest they leave other home care solutions that have worked for them, etc.

Before you publish your new or updated content, make sure you check for the obvious spelling and grammar errors, typos, and other easy to miss mistakes. Re-read the final draft out loud before you publish it, and listen to the ‘flow’ of the writing. Does it make sense? Does it assume the reader has background knowledge in a particular topic? Is it all in the same verb tense?

So now that you have an idea of a few SEO-friendly strategies for written content, we should talk a bit about blogs.

Blogs and SEO

We’ve already covered how written content will make up the bulk of your website. Most website building tools are designed to include multiple components, including a blog. Blogs are easy to use tools for posting new content to your website. Luckily, they are also AWESOME for SEO purposes for a number of reasons.

At their core, blogs are topical journals, with each article (or “blog post”) organized into categories. In the case of a massage therapy clinic’s website, the topic would most likely be massage and health care related, but you might choose to talk about other topics as well. You might have a category for home care, another for impairments, another for research, and so on. Unlike the other components of your website, blogs are intended to be updated regularly. Although you can go long periods without adding new posts, blogs are more effective if new content is added in regular intervals.

There are several reasons to include a blog on your website.

  • Google considers how often a site is updated, and how recent its current content is, when ranking websites. A blog that is regularly updated is ideal for this.
  • Blogs have built in ‘engagement’ features, like share buttons, social media integration, and comments.
  • Because blog posts are organized into categories, blogs make it easier for search engines like Google to find multiple, related pages of content on your site.

In addition to the built-in features of a Blog, there are some blogging strategies to follow to help improve your SEO ranking.

URLs are the www addresses of a web page. Most blogging platforms let you create custom URLs for all new blog posts. It’s very helpful for SEO if you include keywords in the URL: “www.exampleclinic.com/massage-for-headaches/”.

Try to create at least 1 blog post each week. Remember that Google factors in how ‘fresh’ the content on a site is, so continually adding new blog posts keeps your website in the “new and frequently updated” category.

Encourage your visitors to engage with your posts. Ask for comments on blog posts, include social media share buttons, run contests that revolve around responding to content, and so on.

Each blog post will get its own title – make sure that a keyword appears in the title.

In terms of “what to write about”, homecare solutions (with a plug on how massage can help) are great for SEO purposes. This will help attract people who are searching for keywords like “headache remedies” or “stress relief techniques”. It’s also a chance to showcase your knowledge, without too much of a pushy sales approach. You could offer to write a ‘guest post’ for other local health care provider’s websites, local newspapers, etc. People love getting free content, and it gives you a chance to include a link back to your own site. If you’re having trouble thinking about what to write, check out the competition. Do a Google search for other massage or health care blogs, and check out the types of topics they are writing about. Pay special attention to the way that the top ranked sites word their articles, how long their posts are, and what topics they are writing about to get a feel for what works well.

Continue onto page 3 for information about images and videos.

About Bryan Quesnelle

I lead a double life as a registered massage therapist and a web developer in Kitchener, Ontario. When I'm not treating patients or developing products for ClinicWise, I'm usually building websites for other businesses and organizations.