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

It’s common knowledge in the marketing world that Google routinely makes updates that can both positively and negatively affect one’s online presence. More now than ever, it’s important to stay on top of these updates to ensure that your website and listings are taken care of so that you can benefit from the changes you need to and avoid any penalties. Recently, Google released three large updates that will have some impact on your presence, but exactly how do they affect your site?

HTTPS is becoming more necessary. 

Last year, we told you about Google’s upcoming changes regarding how they would be showing HTTPS, and alluded to the fact that there would be more coming. Well, as of last week, Google has released more information about their intent with HTTPS. Beginning July 2018, Google Chrome, a widely-used browser, will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.” This is one of the next steps that Google is taking to make HTTPS the default for websites. 

Google Updates for Healthcare

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

The short answer is that this is a direction you’re going to have to take very soon. While initially the goal was to get all sites that accepted information such as credit card numbers and user data secured, the ultimate goal is to make the entire web a secure place. If you’re the odd man out, especially in the healthcare space, you risk losing a great deal of traffic to your competition. Along with your Practis Forms, which are always HIPAA compliant, your website should be designed with the user in mind. Would you want to search for information about your health on a “not secure” site? 

Errors are now easier to spot with the right tools. 

A few weeks ago, Google teased the idea of a new Google Search Console and released it a number of individuals. As of this week, the rollout has hit all sites. Google Search Console is a tool used by marketers to find errors, check indexing, and optimize the visibility of websites. By attaching it to a website, one can easily dive in and track what issues a site may be having in addition to how people may be finding them. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

First things first, if you’re not using Google Search Console, you are missing a crucial piece of insurance for your overall online presence. If your patients go to your site and hit ten broken links, chances are they’re going to have a sour taste int their mouths. It’s important that Search Console is staying installed and updated on your site at all times to ensure there are no glaring issues. Now, the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is something that many people were probably thinking when this release happened. However, this is just another way that Google is proving that it is, indeed, listening to users. The new interface will allow for marketers to no longer see duplicate errors, which allows for a quicker resolution time. 

If your site isn’t first, it’s last. 

Okay, that might not be totally true, but in the realm of page speed it’s pretty close. Google’s latest page speed update will go live in July 2018, which is just a few months away. In this update, those who are supplying a truly slow experience to users will be affected, and could drastically drop in their mobile ranking. Keep in mind, mobile and desktop ranking are two separate algorithms now!

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

Do you have a mobile phone? If you answered yes, then you are most likely reading this article from said phone. In fact, the amount of users who primarily use their phone for online searching and viewing is increasing drastically year over year. If your mobile site is slow, you’re going to have a bad user experience. If you have a bad user experience, not only will you miss out on potential patients, but you’ll also lose that ranking that you may have worked so hard for. If you have a website, focus on page speed and make sure your developers have taken a full look at what you can do to put the figurative rubber to the road and out race the competition!

If you have a website, it’s important to treat it like a direct extension of your business and not just something that needs to be pretty. Make sure that you are taking a close look at updates such as these and keeping yourself informed and your site up-to-date. Or, you can contact a digital marketing company like Practis to help you out! Give us a call at (704) 887-5300 today to learn more about our products and services!