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

Another month, another series of fantastic Google updates that may impact your site. As always, it’s up to you (or your fantastic marketing company) to stay on top of these and either maximize or minimize the impact on your overall online marketing. Here’s a quick rundown of what you should absolutely know from the past few weeks!

The need for speed is real. 

The name of the game for Google is speed, and if you’re sitting on a non-responsive or old site, you might be falling behind. As of July 9th, Google has stated that their Speed Update (previously dealing with desktop searches only) will now become a ranking factor for mobile searches. Because of the recent split of mobile and desktop ranking, this means that there is another element to getting your site ranking on a phone, and a number of elements that can cause “speed” bumps.

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What does this mean for your healthcare website?

Although this update was said to only affect the slowest of sites (meaning if you have been working on your site and keeping it updated it should be fine), it brings up the point of just how Google determines something as speedy or not. There are a number of tools you can use to diagnose your website, but it’s not something you can do just one time. In fact, you should be checking these metrics at least each and every month. Doing something as simple as adding a new picture or video to your site could potentially cause your page speed to drop, which could affect your current rankings. As we know, if you lose any real estate on the first page of Google, you risk losing out to your competitor. The best course of action is to ensure that you are consistently monitoring not only your desktop presence, but, almost more importantly, your mobile presence. 

Google’s stepping up their inspection. 

Recently, Google added a new tool to their search console in the form of a URL inspector. Although there has previously been the ability to inspect the entire site for any errors, this new tool allows you to see exactly how Google indexed and crawled a specific URL in the site. This allows for a more accurate look at how a page may or may not be performing, and a quicker solution for something that may be indexing improperly. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

In a nutshell, this is just one more additional way for you to make sure your site is firing on all cylinders! While the old inspection method is just fine and should still be used, this is a way for you to understand just how Google likes and digests your content and pages. If you’re a large practice, or one that has a lot of specialties, chances are you’re going to have a great deal of pages. It’s crucial to understand exactly how these pages are performing so that you can build on them. 

GMB profiles CAN be affected by rogue updates. 

While this isn’t necessarily a recent update, it’s of the utmost important to your overall online presence. GMB, or Google My Business, can be one of the first results that a new or potential patient sees on the SERP. Because these listings are able to be manipulated by anyone (yes, Google will accept an update even if it’s wrong), you may be showing false information to users. Because Google doesn’t always give updates about these changes, you may not even see it until someone brings it to your attention. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

Honestly, this might just be one of the more important things that you take from this article: MONITOR YOUR GMB LISTING. If you’re not actively looking at this listing (or multiple listings) on a weekly basis, you’re probably missing some key details. As mentioned above, Google may accept an update that is completely wrong, even down to changing your address. Because your GMB listing can generate more than five times the traffic of your website, you could be negatively impacting a great deal of people. The only way to resolve this is continuously logging into your GMB account and making sure to resolve or dispute the changes that Google may be making. In fact, you’re going to want to update your hours, descriptions, and photos regularly, so this is just good housekeeping. The last thing you want someone to see is that your physician’s name is claimed as a landscaper under the Google categories. We predict that wouldn’t sit well with a potential patient!

Because Google makes these updates regularly, we want to keep you as informed as possible. However, keeping you informed doesn’t always resolve the issues, so give us a call at (704) 887-5300 or contact us online to keep your presence strong!