On September 23, 2016, Google began rolling out their newest Penguin update after nearly two years. While the initial percentage of sites affected by this update has yet to be calculated, healthcare companies, hospitals and medical practices are already seeing major and minor changes in their current online state.
What is Penguin?
First released in 2012, Penguin is Google’s system to catch spam on sites that may go unseen by their normal filters. If your site was assessed a penalty, you or your SEO guru would be responsible for correcting the issues. The problem was that even if you corrected the errors within a day, you would have to wait for the next filter cycle to run in order to have the penalty removed–that’s if you made the correct changes.
Using the Update to Your Website’s Advantage
With this recent update, Google now crawls for these errors in real-time, meaning no more constant refreshing and checking to see if your site is clear. Google will now remove any penalties assessed (pending you have properly corrected everything) after they re-crawl and index your page. Long story short, if you’re hit with a Google issue, we can now get you back on track faster, and with less time to have your rankings affected.
How Can I Protect My Practice’s Website?
With Penguin now in real-time, there will also be no future announcements about updates or changes, but that doesn’t meant you can’t stay safe:
Keep It Clean
As Google and marketers have said for years, the easiest ways to prevent issues are to have an “amazing, compelling website,” keep your content fresh and updated, and don’t use spammy links. From your brand name down to your external links, keep it clean or you’ll be at risk.
Granular Penalties and Easy Fixes
It’s almost as though Google is giving us a free pass by adjusting ranking based on penalties rather than penalizing the whole site, but that’s no reason to let things sit. Fixing your errors quickly and ethically will allow your site to stay strong in organic ranking and protect it from future Google rollouts.
Have Someone in Your SEO Corner
The biggest piece of advice here is to have someone in your corner that will keep your online presence up to date. Don’t rely on out-of-date practices, and don’t get too specific on one focus of SEO. With 200 ranking signals from Google, chances are there’s always something to do!
Contact us today to find out more about Google’s updates and let us help you and your healthcare organization stay protected!