5 Myths of Content and SEO

Steven Franklin, Product Marketing Manager

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If you want healthcare consumers to easily find your organization when searching online, content is king. Sharing unique, fresh, and useful content is key for good search engine rankings. However, there are some pervasive myths about custom content. What’s true and what’s not? Read on to find out.

Myth #1: There’s a duplicate-content penalty

For public-facing healthcare websites, there is the risk of presenting duplicate (or very similar) health education content. Many organizations license content from a content vendor, and that content may appear on multiple websites.

So, is there a penalty from Google if your website and another website have the same content? The simple answer is no, there is not a penalty. Google has stated that there is no overt penalty for duplicate content on your website. When duplicate content is found on multiple websites, Google’s algorithm decides which content to rank better. If your site is seen as more relevant, helpful, and popular overall, you will be ranked ahead of other websites with the same (or very similar) content.

You can help ensure your site ranks above those with similar content by building your domain authority. This means Google sees your domain as a respected and trusted source of information and will rank your site higher when in doubt.

Some ways to build domain authority include:

  1. Ensuring your technical on-page SEO is correct.
  2. Continually providing helpful and relevant content for users.
  3. Focusing on improving off-page SEO ranking factors, such as improving your backlink profile and site authority.
  4. Ensuring relevancy by tailoring your site to the populations you serve.

Myth #2: All content must be written 100% from scratch to rank well in search engines

Content can be effective even if it is not 100% uniquely written. The most important question is: What value are you adding with your unique content?

Content with unique value answers a specific question or meets a user’s need better than other sources on the web. You can create unique value in your pages by providing additional information about a topic, suggesting information on related topics, or helping a user solve a problem in a new way.

For example, let’s look at a page for type 2 diabetes. You can provide general information about the condition, but you can also provide resources to local support groups, information about getting treated, and options to schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist. If you’re creative in the value you add, you can combine your unique content with syndicated blocks of content that may be used in other places on the web and still rank well in Google.

The big question remains: How much does one piece of content need to differ from another to be considered unique? While there is not a definitive answer, some tests suggest that content on a page should be at least 50% “original.” But there’s no magic number. Google uses a wide range of inputs to rank pages, and percentage of uniqueness is only a small factor. Rather than focusing on percentage of uniqueness, focus on the ways your content can add value for users and meet their needs in unique ways.

Read more about crafting a blended content strategy for your content marketing efforts.

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Myth #3: Content alone is enough to rank well in search engines

Creating high-quality content is not enough to rank in search engines. A comprehensive SEO strategy involves multiple elements, such as technical optimization, link building, and user experience. Ignoring these aspects while relying solely on content will yield poor search engine rankings.

A comprehensive search engine optimization strategy means demonstrating that your website and your pages not only have relevant content, but also that they meet three criteria: relevance, expertise, and authority.

Relevance factors

  • Keyword usage. Search engines use the keywords on a page and the text accompanying the keywords to understand page relevance. Keywords that align with the content and that are determined to be a good fit for the search term will rank higher.
  • The content. Content that best answers the search query is more relevant and will rank higher.
  • Internal linking structure. Your internal links can pass relevance. For example, if you have a main hub page around strokes, linking to a sub-page about the signs and symptoms of a stroke will pass relevance.

Expertise factors

  • Quality of content. Search engines like Google are smart enough to understand the overall quality of your content. Content should be well written, deep, and contain necessary supporting information.
  • Industry expertise. If your organization is an established expert in the field you provide content for, you should have higher expertise in the eyes of search engines. For example, a car dealership with a website that mainly focuses on selling cars will not be perceived as having expertise if they also write about health education, even if the health content is technically accurate and well-written.

Authority factors

  • Page rank. Page rank is an algorithm that ranks the strength of pages on your site. The higher the score in page rank, the higher the authority of individual pages. Having a large number of pages with high individual page ranks across your domain helps establish authority.
  • Backlink profile. Lots of backlinks indicate strong website authority. The more relevant links to your site from related and credible sources, the higher your website’s authority.

Myth #4: You don’t need a content syndication strategy

Syndicated content and duplicate content are not the same thing.

If you’re focused on embedding lots of content that’s already available in other locations online, you need to have a content syndication strategy. A solid content syndication strategy ensures you get the most from the content you’re republishing while not compromising your site’s reputation in the eyes of Google.

What is syndicated content?

Simply put, content syndication means republishing the same piece of content on more than one website. If you purchase health education content from a vendor like Healthwise and use that content on your website, you are publishing syndicated content.

Content syndication gives you the best of both worlds: sharing relevant health education information with readers, while ensuring Google understands the sources of the content.

A proper syndicated content strategy will:

  1. Make it obvious the content is syndicated by referencing the source. Syndicated content shouldn’t be treated as if your organization wrote it.
  2. Add links inside syndicated content that lead to your unique content. Syndicated content may pass value and improve the rankings of the pages you link to.
  3. Ensure pages that contain syndicated content are technically optimized for search engines, with titles, links, and inclusion in your sitemap.
  4. Consider adding additional unique information to pages with syndicated content to make the content your own, while still clearly citing the syndicated content’s source. An example might be a unique call to action or other marketing copy to support your organization.

Myth #5: Your content should never be updated

Once you hit publish on high-quality useful content, you may think the job is done. Healthcare and health education content should be consistently reviewed and updated to remain accurate, helpful, and easily understood.

Content should be updated when:

  • Medical recommendations change. Medicine changes, and it’s important to make sure your website content reflects the latest and greatest information. You can either manually monitor content and make changes, or leverage a solution from a vendor like Healthwise that automatically updates content as needed.
  • You can better meet your user’s needs. As a healthcare organization, this might mean updating your recommended service locations or adding helpful related content. Improved content always justifies an update.
  • There is new terminology. Along with changing medical recommendations, a change in medical terminology might necessitate a change in content. Don’t hesitate to include new related terms that are helpful to your user.

Interested in partnering for your content? Contact us today to see how Healthwise® Compass can provide high-quality health education that complements your content strategy.