Does Your Website Size Matter?
In the melee of sweeping reform in America’s health care, let us now turn our attention to a question of gargantuan importance: Is a bigger website necessarily a better website?
Okay, so it’s not the core issue driving the great forces of change engulfing private medical practices these days. But in the fog of modern health care upheaval, it is nonetheless a question of under-rated proportions.
Here’s why: For prospective patients of specialty medical practices, almost all roads lead through those practices’ websites. Yes, for the typical specialty practice, many or most new patients come with some sort of referral involvement from primary care physicians.
Yet PCP involvement in new-patient referrals is shrinking rather dramatically, concludes the latest research finding from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Where to find the Internet crowds
For a look at the growing role played by non-physicians in patient decisions, Pew did extensive telephone polling of 3,001 adults. In a February 28, 2011, report of its findings (http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/P2PHealthcare.aspx ), Pew says:
- Seventy percent of American adults say they received information, care or support from a health professional.
- Fifty-four percent say they turned to friends and family.
- Twenty percent say they turned to others with the same health condition.
From these tidbits, Pew concludes, “This report shows how people’s networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the crucible of rare disease.”
Where do such disease sufferers find peers? Primarily on the Internet, at websites with a focus on patient community building such as MyLifeline.org, and CancerNetwork.com and the ubiquitous WebMD.com, with more than 100 disease groups (communities).
The numbers on these sites are impressive. Each has a Google Page Rank of 5 or higher and an Alexa Ranking below 200,000, putting them in the 99 percentile of all websites on the Internet in terms of popularity. (Look for more on these two rankings in future blog postings.)
More cogently, none of these sites is a pipsqueak. MyLifeline.org is the smallest, at about 1,000 pages. CancerNetwork.com boasts more than 35,000 pages, and WebMD.com comes in at a staggering 2.5 million pages.
Medical authority: who’s got it?
Size matters for health websites for essentially the same reason: people want authorative information in one place.
This is why MedMarketLink’s top mission is to earn the trust of patients. Patients look for information first and doctors second.
Consequently, we publish large, encyclopedic websites for private medical practices, because what better way to begin earning trust than by giving away something for free?
Of course, merely padding the number of pages on medical practice’s site doesn’t accomplish anything by itself. What does make all the difference, however, is offering a cornucopia of rich and meaningful information.
It’s the same as a big department store with lots of quality merchandise to browse and buy. Which is going to draw bigger crowds, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus or Gladys’ Psychedelic Geriatric Shoe Boutique?
Stocking the information warehouse
Search engines reward the department-store equivalent on the web when there’s plenty of merchandise inside. It’s simply due to the fact that more information merchandise constitutes a bigger draw to higher numbers of information seekers and subsequently a bigger target for search engines.
With more pages each devoted to a single topic, you’ll attract more health information foragers, just as a department store can solicit more customers looking for coffee makers and men’s socks.
Don’t take our word for it. Here’s how one SEO firm views it:
Size only matters when used properly. Empty pages with no authority are of no help to SEO.
What is important to size and search is creating as many quality authoritative pages as possible. Some of the keys to building page authority are:
1) Building quality inbound links
2) Creating effective internal pathways to your pages
3) Providing quality unique content on each important page of your website
What is building quality inbound links all about? It’s about providing thorough, useful and easy-to-understand information that other websites want to link to. Website size is about quantity of information. That’s half the ingredients in success. The other half is about the quality of the quantity.