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Medical Marketing Strategy – You can’t improve on what you can’t measure

Last December I ran a quick report on the top 169 plastic surgery websites from our Who’s the best in plastic surgery SEO report.  Below is a quote from my research and findings:

I took the data from our who’s the best report for the top site in each market. After removing duplicates I had a list of 169 of the best plastic surgery sites as determined by Google. I then checked each site for total number of pages. What I found is that the average plastic surgery site from the list of 169 top sites had 409 pages. Now I don’t have historical data to determine if these sites are growing in size and regularly adding content but I have a pretty good hunch they are.

The purpose of my study was to prove that content assists in rankings when that content is strategically and optimally added to a site — More on that later.

Today I did another quick test to prove my findings after Google’s latest updates. In the screenshot below you can see the current search results page for the phrase ‘plastic surgery houston’ and the corresponding number of pages on each site in the search results.

Now even if we remove the 81,900 page anomaly, the top 4 sites still average 335 pages each. In my research last year of the top 169 sites, I only considered the site ranking in the top position. I would imagine that if I ran the same report down through the remainder of the search results, we would see a steady decline in the number of pages on a site as sites are buried further and further down in the results.

The idea that a site with more pages outranks a site with fewer pages makes perfect sense considering how Google determines the relevance of a page to a search phrase. You see Google is tasked with the chore of determining topic, context, authority, and trust for every page on the internet. Three of the main on-page signals Google uses to determine the topic of a page are the:

  1. Page Title
  2. Page URL
  3. Page Header

Now each page on a site has only 1 title, 1 url, and 1 main page header.  The rest of the content and images on the page can only support the topic which was already determined in these 3 signals.  So it makes perfect sense that a site with 5 times as many pages, has 5 times as many opportunities to target more phrases.

Ranking for more phrases falls right in line with

providing a better user experience one page can’t possibly be as relevant for hundreds of search phrases as hundreds of individual and unique pages can be relevant for those same phrases.

targeting the long-tail of search as search users continue to type in longer and longer search phrases into the search engines.  Google tells us that nearly 20% of search queries each day have never been searched for before.  We see these same trends in our site analytics as thousands of visits come from phrases that each send only 1 visitor.

Two key metrics we measure in our Insights SEO tool are:

  • URLs Receiving Entrances via Search
  • Non-paid Keywords Sending Search Visits

As you continue to publish targeted content, you will see these metrics steadily increase over time.  In essence they become the driving force behind total visits from search.

So what does it mean to strategically publish targeted content? Knowing that Google is tasked with the chore of determining what topic your pages and site are about, the strategic publisher needs to keep track of what topics the site is already strong in and what topics the site is weak in.

The screenshot below presents a summary of the idea.  Basically for the hundreds or thousands of search phrases you are trying to target, you want to determine:

  • Does our site already rank for this phrase?
  • Do we already have content targeting this phrase?
  • What is the search volume for this phrase?

In our case we grade pages A – F to determine how well we are already targeting the phrase (well we don’t but our Insights software does this for us :).  We can then quickly see which phrases we are weak on (grade < C) and which phrases we are not ranking for already.  This provides immediate insight into which phrases should be used in our new content.

Ours isn’t the only software platform out there for running these reports.  We happen to believe ours is the best   but I’m sure others think the same about theirs.  The take away is that with availability of data and reporting today, there is no excuse for not coming fully equipped when pulling together your marketing strategy.  Our favorite saying is, “you can’t improve on what you can’t measure” and there has never been more opportunity to measure than there is today.

Well organized and strategic content is still king in the search engine optimization world and the social media world.  Knowing that sites with more content consistently outrank sites with less content, the only item left for your inbound marketing plan is to determine your strategy for producing, publishing, and measuring content on your site.

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About Marc
Marc Ohmann is president of Digital Solutions, Inc in Minneapolis. Digital Solutions is the company behind the MDWebPro blog and tool set. Marc was a computer science and engineering student at the University of Minnesota in 1999 when he started Digital Solutions. Marc, now a husband and father of 3, greatly enjoys the clients and creativity he is involved in each day through Digital Solutions. Follow Marc on Twitter @marcohmann and @MDWebPro and also on Google Plus

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