Recent updates to Google’s algorithm have placed special emphasis on sites related to health and wellness. The stakes are high if you’re a healthcare practitioner seeking to rank your website. If you’re an alternative healthcare professional, an energy healer, or a holistic medicine doctor, you’ll need to assert your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in your niche. Don’t be intimidated, as with all things SEO, it’s wise to take a strategic mindset in order to improve your chance of organically ranking over time.
Let’s take a look at how to do this by breaking down the types of signals that Google bots might look for to understand if you’re 1) an expert, 2) an authority, 3) a trustworthy source of information.
1. Expertise Signals
First, we’ll deal with the recognition of Expertise Signals. These occur when the author of the website content can be considered an “expert” on the subject matter.
A. Authorship and Credentials
Healthcare topics should be written or verified by accredited, qualified experts to be rated high in search results. Articles or websites which don’t show clear authorship, or fail to demonstrate lack of credentials are going to suffer in their ranking ability.
One way to instantly help your ranking is to make sure all your online healthcare articles have simple bylines clearly indicating the author’s name. In your byline be sure to mention your credentials and/or proud achievements within your field.
B. Expert Written and/or Expert Reviewed Content
If you feel like you might not have impressive enough credentials, that’s ok. Consider having your work vetted and reviewed by experts. This step could enable Google to treat this as a reliable piece of information.
Another option is to narrow your field of expertise into a very small niche and position yourself as a Subject Matter Expert (SME). Include plenty of original and useful content which includes highly specific advice about specialties you’re most familiar with. This shows you have the requisite experience to speak intelligently and accurately about the topic at hand, even when that topic is quite focused.
2. Authority Signals:
Google scrutinizes your brand, your website, and your content to see if it is expertly written and if the authoritative content is readily available. The following are important signals that google bots will read as markers of authority.
Backlinks are the internet’s equivalent to offline word-of-mouth referrals. Google sees the actions of sharing links and referring to links as endorsements of quality, trust, and authority. In return, the search algorithm rewards your webpage with better visibility.
In general, the more links pointing to your website, the more authoritative your website appears to be. However, not all backlinks are created equal. Some backlinks make a small impact, and others produce much bigger results. For example, a backlink from a small, unknown website is not going to have as much of an impact than a mention on a relevant and highly authoritative website will have.
To attract hiqh-quality backlinks focus on writing original and valuable content. This process will allow you to steadily establish yourself in the Google algorithms as the go-to-expert on those topics.
B. Content Backed by Scientific Consensus
Along with backlinks, you can link out to credible, highly authoritative sources of information. For instance, outbound links to a research study or academic journal, are particularly helpful in improving search rankings. Especially if those sources are .gov, .org, or .edu websites.
Unfortunately for alternative and holistic health practitioners, natural health sites have gotten in trouble with google in the past for making claims that were not well supported by mainstream scientific evidence. This is largely because it is in the very nature of these websites to go against conventional health consensus.
But the following tips tips from SEO expert, Marie Haynes, should help your natural health site can stay out of trouble with Google ranking factors and put it’s best foot forward.:
- Ensure the article is written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well. Write well-developed content at length. Avoid writing anything that is thin and shallow.
- Ensure your article provides original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis? Don’t regurgitate your info.
- Ensure your writing describes both sides of a story when a potentially controversial topic is involved.
- Write a disclaimer on your website. Inform readers that your health advice and recommendations are not intended to constitute medical advice or to be a substitute for medical advice.
3. Trustworthiness Signals
The idea of trust is to foster a sense of safety and security. By providing trustworthiness signals you reduce the doubts of site visitors who must decide whether to use a site’s information or service.
Here are some ways to promote a site’s trustworthiness:
A. Be Available
- Users are easily able to contact a human about your business. The Contact Us page should have a current phone number, email, and physical address.
- Humanize your brand. Showcase high-resolution photos of the owner and/or staff. People respond to people, not faceless brand logos.
B. Be Transparent
- Have genuine, honest client reviews. Not only do these showcase the quality of your service, but they also signal to Google that your site and service is trustworthy and valuable. Fundamentally, any reputable businesses must be able to meet the needs of their clients, and this is shown through positive client reviews.
- Address any online complaints about your products or services before too much negativity is attached to the brand. If Google senses a bad reputation, the site’s ranking is most likely going to drop.
C. Be Consistent
- Consistent posting builds trust. The more content you produce, the more search queries your content can rank for. Hubspot reports that companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.