Do you know that an average potential patient needs to interact with an online medical business at least five to seven times before choosing their medical services? In 2022, with your competition and stakes pushed high, it’s critical that your medical content reaches them as much as possible.
But there’s a strong possibility your internal linking strategy on your medical website isn’t being managed as it should, especially if you have a website full of SEO-optimized medical content and it’s not getting the traffic it should. If all of these problems feel familiar to you, you may want to create pillar pages on your medical website.
Pillar pages are web pages that have the biggest impact on your search engine rankings, and if created properly, will probably generate the most traffic and exposure for your medical services. This is why learning what pillar pages are, how they benefit your medical SEO, and how to create them can help you give your SEO, internal linking structure, and ultimately, your medical website the boost it needs.
A pillar page is a web page that has a wide array of content on a broad subject that links to your topic cluster pages. A topic cluster is a group of articles or blogs on related subjects that provide highly accurate and engaging content on that subject. For example, if you offer dental services as part of your healthcare practice, your pillar page on your medical website would have all your blog posts and articles related to dental content (topic cluster) linked to that page.
Creating pillar pages or topic clusters can help you organize your medical website’s content into clusters using internal linking, then provide a single main page that links to all the pages within the cluster (the pillar page). By developing an in-depth pillar page that covers many facets of a certain topic, you can increase engagement and traffic rates and build your subject authority with patients and search engines which ultimately boost your medical SEO.
Here are some ways creating pillar pages improves your medical SEO:
Topic clusters enhance the structure of your medical website, which is part of technical SEO optimization that makes it easier for Google and other search engines to crawl and index your website. Google will find, index, and rank your pages more quickly the easier it is to crawl your website.
A topic cluster also makes your website easier to navigate for potential patients who are looking for information on certain medical services and procedures. When you have pages that are related and can all be found using the same search term, it’s more efficient to group them together.
As a result, when someone searches for “cosmetic dental procedures”, for example, they can find all the information they require in one location. By enhancing your user experience, you keep more patients on your website, which gives Google’s algorithm more chances to rank it higher.
Pillar pages serve as primary hubs for specific topics and are designed to target broad keywords, which have intense competition on SERPs. Since pillar pages feature long-form content that covers target keywords and links out to additional pages that cover its other relevant keywords, it makes it easier for your website to rank for competitive keywords. Pillar pages also get the most patient traffic, backlinks, and SEO strength when they rank well.
Here are the steps to create structured pillar pages on your healthcare website to improve your SEO:
1. Pick a Topic to Rank for
Having a clear understanding of the primary subject you want to rank for is the first step in building a successful pillar page. If you offer several medical services, you can make your primary medical service or procedure your core topic. You can also create more than one pillar page if you want to rank for several different topics. However, it’s crucial to concentrate on just one thing at a time, as doing otherwise may confuse your patient audience and undermine your efforts.
2. Add It to a Keyword Research Tool
When you have a general idea of the primary keyword for your pillar page, enter it into a keyword research tool. This allows you to discover which keyword variations have the most searches over a specific period, as well as how competitive each search term is. Doing so will help you create a proper strategy for the content for your cluster pages.
3. Start Creating Medical Content
Once you have the keywords for your pillar and cluster pages, start creating high-quality medical content. For cluster pages that are designed to provide information to your patients, consider keeping them long-form (1000-1200), with a small section promoting your medical services and a CTA at the end. Make your pillar page longer and more comprehensive than your cluster pages to convince Google that you’re deserving of being ranked first for it.
4. Take Care of On-Page Optimization
It’s essential to take care of your on-page SEO for each of your pillar pages and cluster pages since they are both targeting specific medical keywords. Make sure to use the target keywords in your article’s title, headings, body, meta descriptions, picture alt-tags, etc. When you optimize medical content, make sure to not over-optimize it by keyword stuffing and keep the tone and the content engaging and “human” for the patients.
5. Develop Your Internal Linking Structure
When you’ve finished writing your pillar and cluster pages, create an internal linking structure to the cluster pages that expand on the topic of the pillar page. You can also do a site search to see if it already has content on that topic and link those pages to your pillar page. You can also repurpose old content topics that are relevant to the pillar page’s keyword and link them to it. When developing your internal linking structure, ensure that the cluster and pillar pages all link to each other and do not redirect to pages that are irrelevant to that topic on your medical website.
Once you have everything set, promote your pillar pages with paid ads or social media posts. It’s not easy for doctors to build their online authority and reputation with so much competition constantly popping up. With a strong pillar page providing proof that you’re the best source of information and credibility online, you can boost your SEO, exposure, conversion rates, and build on expanding your online medical practice.