That changed when New York-based International Association of Healthcare Professionals launched its doctor search and bookings site FindaTopDoc. Visitors could read user generated doctor reviews, and book appointments with a range of specialists in their area. They could also contribute their own review right after their appointment using kiosks displayed in doctors offices that push the content directly to the doctor’s profile on the website.
The only problem? Very few people knew about the site.
So last year, the Association, which provides marketing and web exposure for member physicians, decided to create a rich library of medical content to complement the site and attract users. In order to gain traction for the site, and the doctors paying for exposure on it, FindaTopDoc needed to generate traffic. And content was the key.
The challenge: Driving traffic through content
To drive organic traffic to the site, FindaTopDoc started producing quality content that would rank high in search engine results for medical queries. "We wanted the site to become a cross between Zocdoc and WebMD," says Siobhan O’Grady, COO of FindaTopDoc.
O’Grady knew that content was essential to driving business growth, and that finding a system that could effectively manage a high volume of optimized content, along with specific editorial workflows and access permissions, was key. "We started with a very basic in-house solution consisting of various folders for organizing content, and we thought it would work," O’Grady says. "Then it started to get hairy."
One challenge she hadn’t anticipated was plagiarism, which can be a problem on sites with user generated content. O’Grady found that writers were submitting content that had been copied from other sites. "I was spending so much time copying and pasting copy to check it," she says. "We need to know that the content is unique and we won’t get penalized by Google for duplicate content."
O’Grady knew she needed a robust content management system that could address these issues, so she began to research what other content-based sites were using. She considered numerous content management systems, including WordPress, but found it wasn’t flexible enough to meet her needs.
"Then I found eZ Publish and because it was affiliated with some well-known digital implementations, I felt confident it could handle large amounts of content. I also wanted a system that allowed for customization. The most important thing for me was not to feel pigeonholed."Siobhan O’Grady, COO of FindaTopDoc
When she learned that eZ Publish could conform to her business needs, rather than the other way around, O’Grady was sold. "I just had to find a company that could do the website development."
Her most important criteria for a web development firm was working with people who understood her business model. She decided to work with eZ partner Mugo Web, based in Vancouver, Canada.
"After calls with Mugo, I could tell that they got our business model. And they had a demeanor that was easy to work with. I wanted to have an ongoing relationship with people I knew I could work with."
The solution: Fine-grained editorial controls and content matched to reader needs
O’Grady hired Mugo to build an eZ Publish site for FindaTopDoc that provides up-to-date and optimized health and medical news, evergreen content, and local doctor profiles and ratings. The site makes it easy for editors to ensure the content is useful and unique.
On the front end, FindaTopDoc is able to showcase a wide variety of content to readers—from articles on the latest medical news, to slideshows, videos, and a comprehensive reference library consisting of medical procedures, drugs and supplements, as well as diseases and conditions.
Every content page has two auto-generated components that are customized to readers’ locations and to the topic on the page:
- Doctor profiles: Visitors are able to learn about the specialists in their area, access user reviews, and contribute their own reviews. They can also directly request an appointment with a doctor.
- Related content: Additional articles on the same topic or related topics are auto-generated based on tags.
The site also auto generates landing pages based on categories and tags, and sharing tools allow visitors to share content with their social media channels.
On the back end, FindaTopDoc’s eZ Publish CMS supports a large group of external content creators with standard user roles and approvals workflows. "We developed a streamlined workflow," says O’Grady. "Everyone does their part, and the next step gets triggered to the next person. We use controls that don’t allow certain people to do certain things."
The system allows for fine-grained SEO controls and smart automated fallbacks to produce the kind of optimized user content that can drive discovery.
To address the issue of plagiarized content, Mugo integrated a plagiarism scanner right into the editorial workflow to monitor user generated content. "After the writer produces the content it goes through an API for a plagiarism check," O’Grady says. "Before the writer can send content to an editor, it has to go through the plagiarism checker and cannot exceed about 20% of duplicated copy. This has been instrumental in freeing up our time."
The result: Traffic growth and a great partnership
Since its relaunch this year, traffic to FindaTopDoc has increased. "We have been successful at building the system we wanted to build," says O’Grady. "We have a good user interface and some cool features."
O’Grady is now working to monetize the site with ads and sponsored content. She’s also experimenting with different page designs and a newsletter, and has added a symptoms library. "We’re adding something every couple of weeks," O’Grady says. "The system is customizable so we can evolve the site as new business ideas emerge."
O’Grady meets with Mugo every week to brainstorm ideas for the site. "We keep figuring out how to make things better and we have an environment that helps to produce new and exciting ideas," she says. "Mugo has been super responsive, and every time we have a problem, they fix it fast. They get things done."