In today’s healthcare marketing podcast we have the privileged of interviewing Stephen Merrigan of Merrigan media. Stephen has a track record for success when it comes to marketing online.
Through a combination of marketing and copy writing for advertisements and sales, Stephen Merrigan understands how to target the right customers and make your product or service appealing to them.
Though multifaceted in the field of marketing, Stephen has become a true expert in relates to developing an online marketing strategy that ties in perfectly around your product or service. With his online expertise, you can rest easily with the knowledge that your website is going to generate interest with eye-catching copy that your future customers are going to want to read.
The link mentioned in this Podcast interview on Search Engine Optimization is:
Listen to the Podcast Interview with Stephen Merrigan
Healthcare Marketing Podcast Interview on Search Engine Optimization Transcript
Caitlin: It is my pleasure to welcome Stephen we’re so happy to have you on the show today.
Stephen: Thank you that it’s a pleasure to be here, thank you. For having me, great.
Caitlin: Well, to get things off. Tell us a little bit about your background in digital marketing.
Stephen: Yeah, I started back in the early ‘2000s now, I guess it would have been as an affiliate marketer, back then, if you had any kind of search marketing, no matter how rudimentary, it was like printing money. Affiliate marketing, basically is arrangements with other companies who give you a commission based on the sales that you send them.
And so, I would create ads and develop search marketing strategy and send business leads and the profit I made was much greater than what I spent on the ad, so it was just invest a little to make a lot. Unfortunately, as more marketers learned about this, it became a lot more competitive, and then not only competitive, the search engine themselves had to come up with basically rules. More rules to sort of govern this to make sure there was no scanning to say the least. And by the time 2008 rolled around the margins were so then it just wasn’t economically viable any longer, but I had already amassed all this expertise and experience. I decided to start using that to consult businesses who there was no commission. They get 100% of the profits so that paying from my time.
C: Great, great. I found that a lot. I interview viewing different agency owners that if you’re one of those businesses that’s been around for a while, really, it was learning kind of as you go to start and then creating something that you can replicate over and over again, for clients.
So your business focuses on inbound and search marketing. Can you describe how this differs from content marketing or digital marketing in general?
S: Yeah, in general, in digital marketing, sort of encapsulates all marketing through digital media, as a whole. Whereas, I don’t know if you’re familiar, like back before digital marketing, we had this concept of paid, owned, and earned media and it still applies in digital marketing. There’s paid media, which is sort of your CPC ads, then earned media which is your Facebook shares or people blogging about you, and then your own media, which may be your website.
So what we have is we have what I focus in the search marketing is more of paid and owned, media
I pay for… As I send it to your own media, your website. Whereas content marketing is more focused on earned media, using own media but focus on earning that which in turn is actually comes back the search marketing as sort of a tool that earned media and how it creates the owned media reinforces your SEO, right?
C: So do you recommend if somebody’s working with you do you recommend that they’re also doing content marketing as well?
Can your solution really be stand alone?
S: No, it can’t be stand-alone.
The things that I do that sort of prepare the website for SEO, but content marketing is also a big piece of that and search engine optimization. The SEO guy works very closely with the content marketers. The content markers going do what they need to do to get earned media. It doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have some SEO applications in mind, some key words and things that work together, but they’re there two distinct expertise.
C: What current trends are you seeing for health centers with search marketing in 2019 or in general?
S: Yeah, so in the last few years is a big thing as millennials, right? And they’re very savvy, and they are just, they’re getting all their information from search from their phone, quick. And so what you’re seeing is a lot of these health centers and especially the Mayo clinic, and others, you’ll see they are focused on making sure that the answer is readily available in the search results.
Millennials don’t want to dig through a lot of information, they want the answer quick, and then they’re going to move on, because they’re busy, they’re going to move on to the next task.
C: One thing that we’ve seen work well because we focus a lot on the content, marketing side, but what we’ve seen really well, going along with that, is answering that question in the first couple of sentences and then providing that keyword of fluff, content after you answer the question, in order to have a maximum benefit for us for search engine optimization.
The trick to SEO is to answer the question in the first couple of sentences then write the rest of your blog.
But you’re providing people what they want immediately.
And then Stephen are there any tactics that were expected to perform well or have a lot of high but failed to take hold in 2018?
S: Yeah, honestly I don’t subscribe to any hype. After two decades and early doing this, you learned there’s a right way and there’s no other way.
There’s really no shortcuts in doing this. The trick is always been the same. It’s creating engaging usable media that provides what the users want and it’s always been that way and always will be that way, right?
Search engines, they’re a business too… And no matter, no matter how you share your media, Facebook, anything they have a business model and their business model also needs to be profitable and if they’re providing people with bad solutions or bad search results, then their business models failing and people are going to stop using them. So if you stick with that in the back of your mind that these are businesses as well, and their model depends on people getting the information they want, then you can never see yourself wrong.
C: That’s a great perspective to have there. Stick with what works, stick with providing that valuable content and it most likely it will work out.
S: Yeah, yeah, no tricks, and need it, just do what’s right, eventually it’ll work out.
C: Great, great, and then what are the top three things that a health or wellness center should be doing online to see return from their digital marketing efforts?
S: Yeah, I talk three things that I look for right away and I look to optimize, if there’s any issues is your site hierarchy. And that’s basically the way the site is built and organized, to how the information is organized on your website from page, which is using your tax properly H2 tag, etcetera, to how your menu is organized and the menu would be organized by the URLS and making sure you’re using proper subdirectories and lining everything up in a organized method. 2 – Site speed is also critical slow website, especially with millennials you’re going to get a high bounce rate.
C: Well, especially with mobile viewing increasing, there might not be a good connection or if something like that. And so it’s really, really important to have the site streamlined and load quickly.
S: Yes, yeah, it will kill your SEO efforts, your all your organic efforts if it’s slow and it will also increase your bounce rate and kill your paid efforts. So, it’s not critical.
C: Now, let’s talk about that just for a little bit. We’ve seen a lot of our clients, they want to have their site visually appealing, and everything, and so they send over the highest quality photos that they can find. What techniques do you have for anyone who’s just updating, let’s say, a WordPress website for their practice or something updating a blog post, what advice do you have for people to shrink those image sizes or to make sure that that page low time is fast?
S: Yeah, so I’m not the dev expert, but I do provide information to them through my tools that I get. So what I see a lot is there’s a way to compress images and especially in WordPress there are plug-ins for compressing the images and site speed. So I would talk to your dev look at… Have him look into those plugins. The number one thing you can start with is just go to Google Site Speed, you can just Google… Google Site Speed, and it will check the speed on your website in both desktop and mobile, and it will provide you with literally a list of things you can do to speed up your site.
So easy absolutely free – that’s the first thing I do.
C: That’s great advice there. And then I think you had one other thing, one other top tip, as well.
S: Yeah, and I think I look at is the site copy – the content. and is it engaging what happens is for organic search especially if someone comes to your site and the search result and they don’t find that content engaging, and they leave Google and other search engines will see that as a signal that, ‘Hey, that web page was not interesting for that person who use that search term’ and it will just demote you. So you have to make sure you’re not just put in keyword stuff content. It actually has to be engaging and keep people on the site and engage them for a certain amount of time, so that when someone uses that search term, and they do make it to your site as you start getting some ranking, that they stick to it.
Then you keep that ranking. Sometimes you look in Google Analytics and you’ll see that a huge spike an organic traffic for a day, and you’ll wonder what happened there, it’s that you’ve got some rank and it didn’t stick and then you lost it.
So that is a huge, huge thing that we look for was making that website sticky.
C: Yes, absolutely, and something that we’ve seen work really, well is let’s say it is a blog post that you’ve written put links to other blogs in there, put links other resources in there, try and get somebody to stay on the site as long as you can.
S: Well, even if you get someone to leave the site, what happens is that they took action on that site. It goes from being a bounce to a non-bounce.
Huge benefit. Even if you’re taking it to another site to get more info, it’s better than them leaving your site.
C: Yes, what great insight that is definitely perfect. And then, what’s the top strategy that should be followed but often, marketing teams get wrong?
S: Yeah, they’re all top strategy, right?
But the one thing that people miss out on is we’re always focused on links, blogs, the content, sharing social paid ads, and what most companies just forget about is the website itself and how it is built, the site hierarchy. t is so crucial that the data is organized in a, in a way that search engines can read it. And what you have is you have a lot of developers that are they’re really smart, they’re really keen, but they may not have any formal education in it, and they can build beautiful websites, they’re very artistic, but the foundation isn’t behind that website to set it up for success.
So the number one thing that I look at as I mentioned a minute ago is the site hierarchy. How it’s built and if search engines can read it.
Great, and is there any way to check your website if you’re getting worried that maybe yours isn’t structured properly?
Yeah, HTML5 O-Liner is a free tool
C: Oh great, so I will put that link in the description. So if you’re listening today, please go to that description if you are curious or wondering about your site hierarchy and if everything is working as well as it could be for you?
S: Yeah, it’s HTML 5 O-liner, it’s absolutely free, and very basic. If you forget the url Google it and it’ll come up, but the URL is G-S-N-E-D-D-E-R-S, I have absolutely no idea what that means.
HTML 5 dot org for outline right, I will be sure everybody gets that link.
I’m sending it through to you right now, just to be sure, it’s a in the fall because I know that’s kind of a weird URL.
C: Perfect, I got it here. A cool wonderful, great, Steven. I want to learn more about your business. You started Merrigan media, you focus on search engine marketing. Tell us a little bit about your services, your company you’ve alluded to some of the things that you do, but let’s see if we can understand it a little bit more.
S: Yeah, I sort of start with grass root plans from building the inbound marketing strategy, full and down marketing strategy that we’ll discuss in a minute. How I can’t do all of it but building to the overall in-bound marketing strategy, looking at the website, making sure with the foundations or solid, working on SEO keyword research, paid advertising, taking that all together, and then I start working with outsourcing, and working with other teams of content marketing website development, social media marketing, etcetera, I pull them all in together, with what I have from my clients to build it in a great integrated marketing strategy across all those segments. Pay media earned media.
C: And what type of clients do you focus on mostly?
S: Yeah, I get clients from every vertical a lot lately have been startups actually they’re basically, they got their funding, they have some history of success maybe they have a new product and they need the folding down, they need to make sure that their investment is going right, they have that exposure first, they understand it’s not going to be direct response from the beginning. Some of this is a high-ticket price. Some of the SAAS has stuff, it’s $10’s of thousands a year, right?
So, it inbound is very, very important how to lead, nurture, once they learn of your product, keeping it back on line. So when a year from now when the tenders come to… And they need to make that big purchase decision we are there.
C: Awesome, that’s great, that’s great. So let’s see, lastly, are there any search engine marketing strategies that you’re currently testing that you don’t think other agencies are really implementing for their clients?
S: I’m not testing anything, but there is something that other agencies are missing out on huge clients are missing out on it and it’s structured snippets and it is literally a gold mine or a business.
And I’ve been doing this for a few years since they started and we’ve had huge success. Now the markets send it out a little bit, but there are not enough people use in structure snippets. And what structure snippets are it’s like when we talk about millennial’s, when they search a question and the answer comes right up in the search results, right?
That is because a website has structured snippets, it’s a little bit of coding on the page that will trigger it, so it will come up in that search result. Not near enough people are doing this and it’s literally Google just handing you a golden ticket. Well right now and a couple of years when everyone’s doing it, it won’t be any longer but your website could have a rank of 20th, but if you have a structure of snippet for a question that no one else has, you’ll still get that top spot.
So, if you answer that question, and no one else does, even though your rank is so low, you’ll have that position and if they click to learn more than your website link will be there, above all else, and if, when people click on that link, the site is actually engaging, like we talked about earlier, then that will help the overall SEO increase.
C: Yeah, and structured snippets. They have been out for a few years and you’re absolutely right, you might implement them every once in a while, but not on every side or not on every page. And so that is something that’s very easy once you know what you’re doing, it can be very easy or your web developer can do it. Just to make sure that you’re getting that extra boost. It has been kind of a slow, slow implementation process. You’re right. It’s a gold mine, but not many people are doing it, they’re not.
S: I still have clients every day someone contacts me, and they have no idea what I’m talking about, and they’ve been trying to market their business for years. And this is, like you said, it has been over a few years and it’s me. First thing I do help structure snippets… You’ve got a blog, you’re putting a answers in that blog and we need to make sure it’s on those pages.
C: Absolutely, what great insight, thank you then. Is there anything else I should have asked? But I didn’t?
S: I don’t think so. I like to keep a little bit to myself 🙂
C: Well, perfect, thank you so much for joining us today. Stephen a pleasure learning some of your expertise and hearing about the site hierarchy, Google Site Speed, making sure your website copies all lit up to date where it should be, and then also that link. So we’ll be sure to put that link into a the description of this podcast as well because that is very important to make sure, that you’re checking out,
S: absolutely, and don’t forget about the Google Site Speed, it’s a free tool, and also critical to you use and I’ll send you the link to repetition.
C: Well, wonderful, thank you again, Stephen, I appreciate you being on!
So again, that was Stephen Merrigan with Merrigan media and it was such a pleasure to have him on the show today. If you take a look in the description of this podcast episode, there are two links in there that you should be sure to look mark on your browser, and at least share with your web developer and if your practice has on the first is that HTML5 site hierarchy tool. And then the second one was the Google Site Speed.
So both of those will give you insights into if there is room for improvement with your website and then additionally ask about those site snippets, the page snippets if you do a Google search for some sort of treatment or ailment typically WebMB or another notable website and company will show up there, but you can also show up there with a page snippet, as well.
So, thank you again to Steven. I’m Caitlin McDonald this is the Social Speak Network podcast:
We are on iTunes and PodBean. If you found this episode to be educational and helpful for your marketing, I urge you to subscribe. Thanks so much and I’ll see you on the next podcast episode.