You really want Google to start showing your website for a particular search term. You just know that ranking at the top of that page will drive traffic to your site.
But traffic to your website doesn’t necessarily translate into scheduled appointments. That’s because there are real people who follow the search engine to your website. And what attracts a search robot might not be at all attractive to a human being.
That’s why they call it Search Engine Optimization and not Search Engine Writing.
As medical bloggers it is critically important that we write for the people who will read our articles. We need to
- research well
- write simply
- eliminate jargon
- let our voice shine through
- use meaningful images
- edit well, and
All of these things make for a great reader experience. Then, and only then, should we optimize for SEO. That means we take a piece that is well-written and tweak a few things to help the search engines understand what it is about. Then the search engines can show it in the right searches.
So what steps can you take to optimize your well-written piece?
Use your keywords in your title.
It’s more important to write a great headline that will catch attention than it is to include the keywords. But if you spend little time thinking about it, you can do both.
Use your keywords in the body of your text a couple of times.
After you’ve written your piece, you may find that the keywords naturally found their way in. If not, you should be able to go back through the piece and find a spot where it makes sense to add them. Be sure that you keep the natural flow of the writing, and don’t cram the piece full of your keywords. Two or three uses is plenty for a post under a thousand words.
Use your keywords in a subheading.
If you are using subheadings, you have a natural spot to add keywords. Search engines will see that these words are relatively important, and readers will be attracted to these headings as they skim your page.
Use your keywords in your meta description.
This is the short blurb that describes your article and shows up on search results. By default search engines pull the first couple of lines of your blog post, but you can write a custom meta description using your keywords as an anchor. This will help people who see your item in search results know exactly what they will get when they click on your link. Do it!
Use your keywords in the alt tags for your image.
Your image has tags that help search engines know what they are about. They also help people who are visually impaired understand what the image is. You can use these tags to describe the point of your article using your keywords.
There are lots of other little tweaks you can make to improve the on page Search Engine Optimization for each of your articles. But these steps are the basics, and more than most people bother with. If you consistently do these things, your blog will be valuable to your readers and understood by search engines.
If you don’t want to have to remember all this, use a WordPress Plugin to help. We use Yoast SEO. At the end of each of our blog posts, it helps us remember all these little steps. It also gives us a green light when we’ve done a good job with the our optimization. I’m not going to kid you – that green light is rewarding.
Oh yeah. It’s free.
But whether you choose to use a plugin or take the DIY approach to SEO, remember this: Write for your reader. Optimize for search engines.