Here at Ayima, we’ve been helping essential product or service clients adjust their content to the new search behaviours we’ve seen since the beginning of the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Now more than ever, it has become crucial for health organisations to provide COVID-19 related information and make it visible to users.
Following Google’s recent blog post: “Helping health organisations make COVID-19 information more accessible”, we’ve created this simple step-by-step implementation guide to make sure your site can be found by those who need it.
The first steps of the process include gathering information and data about your site, so you can have an overview of your current performance.
1. Start by looking at the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
- Perform a few queries in search engines using the terms you are hoping to rank for
- Get a feel for who’s ranking, and what type of content is offered
- Make sure your website can be viewed on both desktop and mobile using Google mobile-friendliness test tool.
2. What does your site performance look like?
Using Google Search Console, start by looking at how many clicks and impressions your website is getting for queries containing “covid” or “coronavirus”.
- See how the number of impressions compares to the number of clicks
- Do all the terms you would like to capture appear in the list?
- Look at how you are ranking for these queries.
- What does the CTR look like?
3. What are the trends?
- Take a look at Google trends.
- What terms are most popular in your country, what kind of content or information are people looking for?
- Based on all this information, you should now have a pretty good idea of what your site position currently looks like on the web.
With these findings, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Is your site visible in SERPs?
- Does it appear for all the terms you are trying to rank for?
- Are you getting as many clicks and impressions as you could?
- Does your current content answer users’ queries?
- Does your on-page content answer users’ search comprehensively and clearly?
- Is it made clear to search engines your content is about COVID-19? Is it reflected in your page title and meta description?
4. Optimize your content
If you answered no to at least one of the previous questions, this part of the guide will help improve the online availability and accessibility of your health organisation website.
The Page Title is an important signal for Google, it tells search engines as well as users, what a page is about.
Make sure your page titles are unique and reflect what content is on your pages. If you create or amend the content of your page to reflect the current situation with the COVID-19 crisis, this should be clear in the Page Title.
Using the same logic, Meta Descriptions play an important role of informing users about the content of your page in SERPs.
The Meta Description you provide might not always be used by Google, but if it is deemed to give the best description possible, it will be shown in the results page. It can also have a great impact on click-through-rate.
Create or update your content to match the user queries in order to help your site rank higher.
- Update content: after the first phase of gathering insights, you can start improving your existing content to target the terms you are not showing for. Use the information you discovered to target users’ queries. For example, if your content article is about how to identify coronavirus symptoms but your content doesn’t rank for related queries such as “is being tired a symptom of coronavirus” or “can you have coronavirus without a fever,” consider rewriting some parts of your article. These terms could be included by creating a question/answer format.
- Create content: with the help of Google Trends, and using your own data, you can identify which terms are worth targeting to create new content around COVID-19 topics. For example, if relevant to your organisation, you could gather all the health guidelines issued by the government to stay safe, create a reusable homemade face mask guide or even write a brief article about the measures you’ve taken during the pandemic. You can read more on expanding your content marketing strategy with keyword data here.
Top tip: During the content optimization phase, be mindful of keyword stuffing. Only place keywords where it makes sense, and don’t add keywords for the sake of adding keywords. Your content needs to be natural and easy to read.
5. Add Schema markup to your content
Schema markup allows Google to extract and present information in SERPs. It gives an opportunity to rank above the first organic result in a search answer box.
For example, once content has been updated or created, add structured data to your page, including all the required properties. This allows Google to understand the content on your page.
Two Structured Data systems can be used to implement Schema markup, whether you choose JSON-LD or Microdata they are both are supported by Google. Google, however, recommends using JSON-LD whenever possible and John Mueller confirmed that it is Google’s preferred structured data.
JSON-LD is a scripting language you can use to communicate this important information to search engines. Because scripts can be templated within a website it makes it easy to add, update, and remove.
Microdata is a semantic mark-up designed to communicate similar elements than JSON-LD. The difference is that it is embedded within the HTML of the website.
In the above example, we can see how the mark up of ‘How-to’ pages with structured data would be implemented.
- JSON-LD on the left, with structured data in the head
- Microdata on the right, with structured data in the body
This type of markup can be used for a wide variety of websites and can be added to articles or various areas of the website. If your content is Q&As, FAQs, ‘How-tos’ or numbered steps, you should consider including structured data to your page. You can see the full list here of all the types of content you can add schema markup to.
Google recently introduced information on structured data for COVID-19 announcements to allow organisations affected by the Coronavirus outbreak to publish urgent updates. This particular markup can be used to communicate to the public about quarantine guidelines, closure notices, travel restrictions etc.
You can see an example below of how a Special Announcement for a pharmacy with revised hours would look like with JSON-LD on the left and Microdata on the right.
This structured data tool can help you generate JSON-LD markup, like in the example above.
We hope you found this guide useful. If you’d like further help improving your website accessibility and visibility for COVID-19 information, and for all digital marketing services at this time, Ayima has teams of specialists who would love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.