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How Google’s Latest Announcements Impact Your Website | November 2018

With November comes the beginning of the holiday season. One can expect to smell turkey and pumpkin, see twinkling lights all around, and be given the gift of a few Google updates. While some of these updates might make the “i’m thankful for…” list at your dinner table, others might be just as appealing as a lump of coal.

Though we know it’s a busy time of year, here are some important changes or announcements that you should be aware of for the sake of your business!

Google’s call recording is not confirmed as HIPAA compliant. 

In our last monthly recap we explained how Google would begin to record phone call conversions on ads, raising quite a red flag for those who are trying to maintain HIPAA compliance. Although there wasn’t an outright statement from Google, they have placed a disclaimer within their system stating the following: 

HIPAA Disclaimer. Unless otherwise specified in writing by Google, Google does not intend use of the Communication Features to create obligations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as amended (“HIPAA”), and makes no representations that the Communication Features satisfy HIPAA requirements. You, and any third party that you are advertising on behalf of, are solely responsible for any applicable compliance with HIPAA. Accordingly:

  • If you are (or become) a Covered Entity or Business Associate under HIPAA or are advertising on behalf of a third party that is (or becomes) a Covered Entity or Business Associate under HIPAA, and you wish to proceed with use of Communication Features, you should not accept these Supplemental Terms. Instead, please reach out to your Google account representative or Google support to request exclusion from monitoring and recording of Communications.
  • By accepting these Supplemental Terms, you warrant that (a) you are not a Covered Entity or Business Associate under HIPAA, (b) you are not advertising on behalf of a third party that is a Covered Entity or Business Associate under HIPAA, and (c) you will not use the Communication Features for any purpose or in any manner involving Protected Health Information.

Google Logo

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

In a nutshell, if you’re running Ads via Google you need to be very cautious about what you accept. If you are doing this without the watchful eye of a marketing expert, you may want to seek guidance directly from Google. If you are working with a marketing expert, make sure that they have checked this feature, or simply make sure that you’re working with someone who is fully versed in HIPAA compliance. There are already a great deal of restrictions surrounding Ads for healthcare, and this is just another instance of having to do a bit more research to make sure your campaigns are successful–and compliant!

GMB is now offering more up-to-date insights and and improved app.

GMB, or Google My Business, is one of the most important parts of your online marketing strategy and is poised to continue to be one of the strongest factors in patient acquisition in the upcoming year. “Near me” searches, the rise of AI, and the convenience factor all propel GMB to the top of the list of necessary items to monitor for your online marketing campaigns. Now, Google is offering nearly real-time insights, allowing marketers to view what happens when users find their GMB profile. In addition, they’ve completely updated the app, allowing for an easier user experience when managing your properties. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

If you’re not monitoring GMB, you absolutely should be. Google has been pushing updates to GMB for a while now, and most of the recent ones have been wildly helpful for marketers. Even if you don’t use the features now, there’s a chance that they could become helpful as you push any sort of updates to your website. On the flip side, if you haven’t claimed your GMB profiles for both your practice location and all of your physicians, you may be falling behind. Google is making these updates to prove the importance of the application and, as we know, when Google speaks up it’s always good to listen!

PageSpeed Insights gets a major makeover. 

Nearly any article about the upcoming SEO trends for 2019 will tell you that Page Speed is going to be one of the top factors when determining if you have developed a strong web presence. Not only are you attempting to please your user, but you’re also pleasing Google in the process, and you can’t go wrong with that. With the new layout, Google is pushing for people to heavily analyze the issues that come from the scan beyond the typical base numbers. If you have a developer or development team working with you, this is a perfect opportunity to have them research what might make your site perform better. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

If you haven’t already, be sure to make Page Speed one of the absolute first things you check each and every month. Adding and adjusting things on your site can cause speed changes, and something as simple as a few additional seconds of load time can be detrimental to your site’s performance. With mobile first indexing having hit a majority of sites, maintaining speed is going to continue to keep your rankings in check allowing for more patient acquisition. If you’re not responsive, or you have neglected your page speed, you might find that your site isn’t and won’t perform well. 

Bonus: Reviews will continue to maintain their dominance.   

Over 74 percent of local businesses have at least one review on the internet. Even though that’s more than 3/4 of the local businesses out there, we still find practices that don’t even have one review. Or, maybe they do have one review, but it’s a pretty terrible one. The reality of it is that people are going to rely on word of mouth to make their decisions. But, people don’t crave human interaction like they did before, and thus rely on review sources to be their avenue for word of mouth. If you’re not paying attention to your reviews, or you think that what you’ve got currently is going to be okay, you’re most likely going to end up falling below a competitor or two–and that’s not where you want to be. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

Google has stated before that review count and score are factored into their local ranking algorithm, but one may not always find a direct correlation between the two. However, it’s safe to say that a practice with a five star average will perform better than one with a two star average. Although it may not be directly associated with the algorithm, better reviews typically mean more business. More business means more website traffic. More website traffic means a higher ranking. So, mathematically speaking, better reviews can really equal better rankings. 

Stay on top of the most recent updates with Practis!

Google doesn’t stop, and neither do we. In both the healthcare and digital space, you can quickly get left behind, but we’re not going to let that happen to you. Contact us today to learn more about our uniquely designed online marketing programs that will help you get ranking, generating leads, and staying ahead of the competition in no time!