Many large healthcare systems in the U.S. are comprised of multiple hospitals, several of which may seem to only differ in name. When faced with a group of facilities that have a lot in common, the temptation to develop a set of content for one location and then duplicate it across all others is understandable. Unfortunately, this practice is not acceptable in the eyes of a search engine.
Whether individual hospital information is housed under a health system’s main site or featured on separate domains, duplicate copy makes it hard for search engines to determine which pages are most relevant to a searcher’s query. This confusion can lead to a loss in rankings and organic traffic or even account for a poor user experience.
While there isn’t necessarily a quick fix for this issue, there are several details to explore and pieces of information to gather that can be used to help differentiate between hospitals that seem identical. When it comes time to draft new copy or rework existing pages for a health system, consider incorporating some of the suggestions below to avoid duplicate hospital content.
Even if all of the facilities within a healthcare system offer the same service lines and types of care, it is still possible for individual locations to excel at or have distinguishing characteristics of certain specialties. For example, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, one of 14 hospitals within Minnesota’s Allina Health System, stands out by ranking nationally in five adult specialties according to U.S. News’ Best Hospitals for 2015-16. Sharing an accolade such as this is a great way to make distinctions in online content among related hospitals and their services.
But national recognition is not the only way to showcase how facilities’ services are unique or high-performing. Here are some questions to consider for each individual hospital when beginning the task of writing for multiple locations:
- Have any departments or programs earned a regional award? If so, when were they earned?
- Who are the physicians, nurses, technicians and other staff members in each department? Are any of these team members considered top performers in their specialties?
- Are there any offered treatments and procedures that are not available at other locations?
- Are there any types of advanced technology are not accessible at other locations?
- Are any innovative treatments or procedures being pioneered or used?
- Which procedures/conditions are performed/treated most often?
- What are the statistics and outcomes associated with the hospital’s main service lines?
In addition to facts, digital healthcare marketers can differentiate web copy across facilities by adding in patient testimonials. Short statements about “oncology nurses who were caring and compassionate,” or “a minimally-invasive heart procedure that enabled a speedy recovery” can make a difference in the long run. Excerpts used from HIPAA compliant patient stories will not only set apart a hospital’s content from its sister sites, but will also make it more relatable to users.
If possible, staff members should be called upon to communicate their thoughts and experiences as well. Whether it’s an orthopedic surgeon sharing his passion for sports medicine or a neonatologist explaining the importance of an on-site NICU, these quotes can help to further eradicate duplicate content.
Outside the scope of regular text, images can provide prominent, visual distinctions among hospitals on the web. In addition to changing up page copy for each hospital in a healthcare system, try incorporating:
- A map showing the hospital’s location
- Images featuring the facility’s exterior and interior
- Headshots of individual staff members
- A group picture of staff members
- Award logos
- Images of technology found on-site (i.e. an open MRI machine)
Whether it is possible to use all or some of the above suggestions, putting in the time to differentiate a health system’s hospital content is key to supporting SEO as well as the needs of patients. Even a small differentiator can make a big difference when it comes to healthcare content and marketing.