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

Can you believe we’re this far through 2018!? Even though we’re getting to a late point in the year, it’s never too late to focus on your online presence. While it’s certainly great to be reactive to any issues you may be experiencing currently, this is a perfect time to be proactive for the upcoming year. Focus on setting your goals and looking back on your 2018 experiences to develop a plan for 2019 and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Because Google is consistently making updates, here is your August 2018 rundown and what can help you keep your online presence afloat!

Health and Medical sites were impacted by a recent algorithm update. 

Even though Google is practically ubiquitous at this point, they still do a fantastic job of keeping their algorithm updates quiet. In fact, if you’re not looking out for them like we do, there’s a chance that you’ll never know what hit you until it’s new late. While Google did say there was going to be an algorithm update previously, online marketers were unaware of who it would target. After some research, the August 1st update looks to have impacted health and medical websites along with a few others. 

Google Logo

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

If you’re confident in your site’s content, and are consistently monitoring things like your Google Search Console account, you should be fine. However, if you haven’t taken a look at your site in a while, now is the perfect time. While Google hasn’t released what the actual penalties were, if any, they are stating that building strong content is a way to combat any possible changes made to your site’s ranking. This update seems to have been more of a benefit to those that were doing well with their site by building strong pages of content and watching all facets of SEO. In a nutshell, this means you should absolutely be taking advantage of opportunities to enhance your content and monitor your SEO campaigns consistently. 

Google Posts are added to the local pack for specific branded queries. 

Google Posts have recently become a hot ticket item in the land of social engagement. The posts allow you to actively promote via your Google My Business profile without creating any sort of paid ad. The only issue was that Google Posts were only seen when someone searched for your specific business or name, or clicked into a Google My Business profile specifically. Now, Google is slowly rolling out the idea of placing them into the local packs of Google My Business for specific branded key terms. 

 

What does this mean for your healthcare website?

If you’re a large healthcare group, this could be a large benefit. You can now create posts that perhaps will show up in the local pack for people to see without clicking on your profile directly. While this may not be a huge help for smaller practices at the moment, it’s certainly a good sign of what’s to come. If I were a betting man, I would assume that Google plans to roll this out for not only branded terms (i.e, your business name), but also specific key terms (i.e, symptoms, types of practices, etc.). If you’re actively developing posts, keeping a strong GMB profile, and claiming all of your physicians or locations, you’ll create a strong presence. Once you have that dominating presence, these posts will just help get the word out quicker for you and your practice!

Make sure you’re using 301 redirects for your HTTPS site. 

It may sound like we’re speaking a different language now, but this is something you may need an expert for. Google, who has always been somewhat standoffish about the use of 301s, is now stating that this is the proper redirect to use when implementing a secure certificate. 

 

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

First off, make sure that you have a secure certificate! We’ve said it time and time again, but HTTP is no longer your friend. If you haven’t made the move yet, now is your time to do so. If you have, but didn’t think it all the way through, have someone take a look at your site’s indexing. If there are still pages out there that haven’t been converted, or if no redirects have been placed, you may have users being led to non-secure pages, or pages that no longer exist. In doing so, you could lose potential patients and cause your bounce rate to skyrocket in no time. Not to mention, consistency is key in the online realm, so you’ll want your entire site to be HTTPS. 

Bonus: Facebook makes a move towards recommendations over reviews. 

Sound the alarm; reviews are dead! Actually, we’re completely kidding. Reviews are still an integral part of your online presence. However, just like Google, Facebook is consistently making algorithm updates and testing out new solutions. While they were looking at adding to the review features of business pages, it seems they’ve taken a bit of a turn and are now pushing recommendations over personal reviews. 

What does this mean for your healthcare website? 

Again, if you don’t have a Facebook, you should get one fast. If you do, pay attention to it! Facebook will slowly make changes and send out emails confirming their updates. If you don’t look at them you may be shocked at the changes. However, if you look at the alerts, you can adjust your marketing plans to fit these changes and ultimately benefit from it. Recommendations, unlike reviews, will be a simple “yes” or “no” answer. In the realm of healthcare, this is actually beneficial as it doesn’t pose any HIPAA compliance issues. However, it’s up to you (or your marketer) to monitor the weight of “yes” and “no” responses to ensure you’re building a strong, positive reputation. 

Get your marketing plan in shape!

Just because summer is nearing a close doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be focused on getting your practice’s marketing in shape. Give us a call or contact us online today to learn about the updates you’ve just read and dozens more. We’ll happily help you get to where you need to be and ensure that you’re practice stays afloat regardless of any changes.