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Healthcare Social Media and SEO: Making the Connection

Love it or hate it, Search Engine Optimization is still at the heart of what makes Inbound Internet Marketing work. But as in just about everything in the digital world, what works and does not work is always evolving with SEO.

SEO is a constantly developing area; still essential to your online marketing and design strategy, but always requiring new skills and techniques to make it work.  A recent post at Silicon Cloud emphasized how what are often called “black hat” techniques are being filtered out by Google.

In 2012, we are witnessing the SEO landscape morphing once again. The era of link buying, swapping and general black hat techniques seems to finally be coming to an end (thankfully!) and search engines like Google are looking to human contributions to help rank their search results. Social media has a huge role to play in the SEO revolution. The line of thinking is that if a company or brand has social media profiles and presence, this can contribute to their SEO quality as well as their website, and if used effectively can enforce their legitimacy and so qualifies them for a higher ranking in search.
Link stuffing and content farming are a thing of the past. Google and Bing algorithms are smarter than ever before, and are capable of picking out keyword stuffing techniques and false content farms. Any sites associated with this kind of behavior will wind up way down in terms of organic search rankings.

Google Panda 2, the update for it’s search algorithms, has a big focus on the quality and freshness of content, rather than it’s quantity. It’s not of huge importance anymore to have hundreds of pages on your website.

SEO is Still Vital

This doesn’t mean that SEO isn’t still necessary but rather that web designers and bloggers must renew their focus on the basics of good SEO and renew their efforts in Social Media. Some of the basics you need to focus on include:

  • Ensure that you’ve done your keyword research.
  • Use unique and customized SEO keywords and descriptions for each page and page title.
  • Use keywords in header tags.
  • Create a directory and page naming structure that is descriptive rather than dynamic.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Write content for human readers.
  • Don’t ignore images and Alt Text attributes.
  • Review for javascript menus and links.
  • Change graphical menus to text.

Make the Social Media / SEO Connection

Now consider again the preceding quote from Silicon Cloud, “Social media has a huge role to play in the SEO revolution”. Keywords are one piece of the puzzle when it comes to successful SEO. Backlinks are another critical component and that’s where social media comes into play in a major way. Social media builds links in an organic, non black-hat way. In fact, robust Facebook and Twitter activity often produce more results than the best link building campaigns.

When your web site or blog gets a high volume of social shares, search engines equate that with four things:

  • Your site is fresh
  • Your site is active
  • Your site generates conversation
  • You are invested in your audience

A high volume of social media shares indicate that a significant share of Internet users are finding what they are looking for on your site and sharing links to that information with others.

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About Tim
Tim George is a regularly contributing author to the MDWebPro blog. Tim is passionate about web marketing for MDs expecially the latest trends and results in social media, SEO and inbound marketing. For more, please follow @MDWebPro on Twitter

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