If you’re a plastic surgeon or cosmetic medical professional, and you want to build organic traffic to your website, you need content. But you also want content that attracts interested, qualified patient leads. Just adding content alone is not going to do this for you.
To attract quality traffic, you need to create quality content.
And for that, you need a content strategy.
Defining a content strategy for your website is a foundational component of search engine optimization (SEO) — and once the foundation is built and it’s solid, the rest can follow and work far more effectively.
So let’s look at how to build a content strategy.
Sounds obvious, but this is more than simply learning who you’re trying to target. You need to know what their problems are, how they’re talking about them, and what they’re looking for in order to solve those problems.
In copywriting, there’s a technique that goes:
“Always enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.”
By doing so, your copy will connect with your audience, it will resonate more effectively with them, and it will have greater chances of being successful.
In SEO, it’s no different. You need to create content that aligns with your patient’s query and continues the conversation that’s already going on in their mind. In other words, it matches the search intent as well as the user intent.
By doing keyword research, the goal is not to find keywords to stuff your content with. It’s to understand your patient’s thinking that went on when conducting their search so you can create valuable content that’s relevant to them.
During the first phase, a large part of the process will be to uncover topics (not search terms) your market is interested in and wants to know more about. While doing so, you will notice recurring themes, also called parent topics or umbrella topics, that various subtopics fall neatly under.
These are topical clusters.
The old SEO methodology was breaking a website into well-defined, isolated categories, often referred to as a “silo content architecture.” It still works today. But now that Google is becoming better at understanding context and not just content, a more effective technique is the hub-and-spoke architecture.
It’s where pieces of content are interconnected through similar themes, ideas, or goals. Think of it as giving them labels instead of filing them under folders, like some email services for example.
The hub-and-spoke model centers around a single piece of high-value content, or “pillar content,” that covers a topic comprehensively and from which expanded content, subtopics, supporting content pieces, etc are developed.
In my 30 years of being a marketing consultant with a large focus on cosmetic professionals and plastic surgeons, I’ve found that there are usually five major areas of content: Parts, Problems, Procedures, People, and Products.
The first three are the most common while the other two are optional and depend on the situation. They are:
- Parts: the body parts you treat (e.g., skin, face, breasts, hair, chin, forehead, stomach, legs, buttocks, nose, etc).
- Problems: the conditions you treat (e.g., psoriasis, drooping skin, sagging breasts, hair loss, rosacea, wrinkles, vitiligo, etc).
- Procedures: the treatments you offer (e.g., hair transplants, tummy tucks, breast augmentation, injections, liposuction, laser resurfacing, etc).
- People: the doctors and team members, including nurses, aesthetic professionals, and support staff (usually for larger clinics).
- Products: the products you sell (e.g., makeup and lotions, postsurgical compression garments, supplements, etc).
An effective website will appeal to all of these, but the first three (or at least the first two) will become the centerpieces around which the rest of the content will be built. And they will connect with one another strategically for context.
For example, you might have a page on wrinkles and the various treatments for this condition. Each treatment mentioned is linked to its respective procedure page. Similarly, each procedure page might have a list of the various conditions this procedure treats.
This interconnection is part of the hub-and-spoke model.
One of my dermatologist clients had a website with content discussing the various procedures she offered. When I restructured and refined her content, and added a new navigation menu for all the conditions she treated, too, her organic traffic and leads nearly tripled.
Once you’ve defined your content architecture, next is to develop your pillar pieces or hubs, if you will.
It’s too easy to write unfocused, self-serving content when you don’t have a strategy. But having one will keep you from straying. This is where your research will come in handy, too. Knowing your market and how they search will give you a clear idea of who the content is for and why they should care.
I’ve met plenty of doctors who wrote their own content and their websites were unorganized, unclear, or untargeted. Either they were writing all over the place or their content sounded like boring academic papers written for their peers — or to make themselves look clever.
Your clients are your patients, not your peers.
So create content around the conversation that’s going on in your patient’s mind. A patient who just started conducting some research may be interested in understanding their condition (i.e., “problems”). Those who are more aware may be looking into options for treating their condition (i.e., “procedures”).
That’s the key to conducting research. You want to understand what they’re looking for and why. So focus on providing valuable content that’s relevant and continues their internal conversation — and the journey they’re on.
Choose high-volume, relevant keywords from your original research as your pillar topics. You can use complimentary keywords for developing additional content, either on the same page or later on.
In fact, you don’t want to force-feed keywords into your content. Include them if they naturally fit, but the goal is the make the content valuable to the reader. If you do and you stay on topic, you will likely include, without knowing, related or similar keywords, anyway.
Variations, synonyms, and closely related keywords (often called “latent semantic indexing” or LSI keywords) will provide search engines with a good understanding of the content and its context — without having to stuff keywords that will corrupt your content and ultimately diminish its value.
Keyword stuffing will work against you. Guaranteed.
Supporting content pieces are the spokes — subtopics that add value and depth to the main topic. Once you’ve defined your pillar content, you might have a list of related topics that expand on or support parts of the main one.
For example, say you offer tummy tucks and one hub piece is the procedure itself. Another hub piece might be the condition (i.e., sagging belly skin) or the body part (i.e., stomach, lower abdomen).
But spoke content might be blog posts discussing how to get rid of loose skin following a pregnancy or significant weightloss; what are some of the most common concerns about the procedure; how to select a tummy tuck doctor; what kinds of questions to ask when considering a tummy tuck; etc.
Your subtopics will delve into a question, concern, or issue that your patient is looking into, and hopefully, it will provide value and something authoritative that will lead them to investigate further and take the next step.
But invariably, it will contain related topical keywords, perhaps long-tail keywords that are less popular but far more relevant to your target audience.
When I specifically create a content strategy for my clients, I create a list of pillar content topics and what they should be about or contain, along with a list of initial spoke content (such as three to eight articles). I also prepare an editorial calendar for content pieces to be delivered over time.
Of course, it’s important to link all the content together. Aside from the navigation menu, doing so within the content will provide three major benefits:
- To create content relationships and add context;
- To increase dwell times and lower bounce rates;
- To boost signals through anchor texts within links.
The hub-and-spoke content strategy helps to organize the relationship between pieces of content. Think of Wikipedia with its plethora of links to interconnected content pieces linked in specific, strategic parts of the article.
Similarly, interlinking articles together adds weight to your content by teaching the reader either the entirety of a particular topic, or the depth of one or more of its parts. So add links between content pieces where it makes sense.
Also, when you subsequently promote your content (e.g., sharing it, posting it on social media, advertising it) or amplify it (e.g., repurposing it, extracting pieces from it, publishing in other formats), these internal links will also do double-duty, creating additional SEO signals.
So there you have it.
This is only a high-level look.
Ultimately, creating a content strategy is not about developing content that will be picked up by Google. It’s about providing value to your users at whatever point in their journey they happen to be, and subsequently helping them continue that journey on your site.