After initially researching symptoms or a potential diagnosis, patients and caregivers will begin to scout out their options for the best care and treatment available. During this stage of the Digital Patient Journey, they’ll turn to the web to research who’s best suited to help them.

Research from Decision Resources Group and Manhattan Research shows:

  • 1 in 5 patients use online resources to find a doctor
  • 2 in 5 patients use online resources to decide on the best treatment/medication regimen

This is your opportunity as a healthcare marketer to showcase your ability meet their specific needs and your expertise.

The Internet is cluttered with disorganized content that can confuse and overwhelm patients and caregivers, to say the least. Pillar pages can add structure to your website and even better, value to your visitors.

A pillar page is what unites individual topics featured on your website. Depending on your company, you might categorize by therapeutic area of expertise, product category, clinical research stage or service line.

Building informative pillar pages

The days of focusing your online digital content around a single keyword like, “Diagnostic Center” are long gone. Users are continually becoming more conversational in the way they search for information online. This shift requires marketers to use “topic clusters” instead of general keywords. Think of topic clusters as those long-tail keywords that are very specific.

Pillar pages are at the heart of this strategy from a content perspective. These pages broadly cover topics in which you specialize. As a team, choose the broad topics you want to rank for in the SERPs. These can (and should) be based on the therapeutic area of expertise, product category, clinical research stage or service line.

Build out a long-format content web page that introduces and addresses nearly every question a person could have about that general topic. You may already have an eBook that could be repurposed into a pillar page.

Unlike an eBook or White Paper, pillar pages shouldn’t be gated with a CTA or form. A “freemium” model allows your content to be crawled and indexed by search engines more easily. This makes your pillar page that’s jam-packed with valuable information more accessible to users searching for solutions.

Support pillar pages with cluster content

Once you’ve established pillar pages for each of your core topics, regularly publish content that supports each sub-topic and keyword. In a way, the pillar page acts as an “umbrella” for related sub-topic blog posts and other high value content

For instance, if you specialize in diagnostic care, you may want to have a pillar page addressing the broad subject of Diabetes. This page would inform patients and caregivers about the common types of diabetes, how to live with diabetes, and other similar high-level content. Then, your team can publish blog posts that specifically focus on the hundreds of diabetes subtopic keyword variations.

For example, underneath that Diabetes pillar page umbrella, would be posts like, “Am I at Risk for Prediabetes? How to Know for Sure,” and “Top Three Mobile Apps for Managing Diabetes.”

By adding well-placed hyperlinks into pillar pages and blog posts, you create a comprehensive and well-organized structure for your digital content. Web visitors will easily navigate your site and content, finding nearly every piece of information they need at this stage of their Digital Patient Journey.

If your team chooses to take a more holistic approach to SEO that mirrors the natural search patterns of patients, your site will be more easily found, more engaging and, most importantly, more helpful.