How Google’s Latest Announcements Impact Your Website | November 2020

Practis Blog

The world around us moves quickly, and Google is no different. During a time where there’s a lot of focus on other items, it’s important to remain diligent on knowing what’s happening in the digital space and how it may impact your business. While there have been tons of various rollouts and announcements from Google, here are a few that we have deemed important!

Prepare for the Page Experience Update

We put this first because it’s absolutely the most important as we have indicated a few times before. Google confirmed recently that the Page Experience Update is set to launch within a year. More specifically, May of 2021 seems to be the definitive date. Typically, we’re never fully aware of the exact specifics of a Google rollout, but in this case we do know that Google will continue using a series of signals that will determine whether or not a page’s user experience is good. From there, Google will begin testing a more visual way for a marketer (and normal user) to see a page’s health within the actual search results. This seems to be very similar to the visual element for showing a secure website within Google Chrome, but more geared towards overall search results. Google has indicated that these features will start getting tested soon, so it’s somewhat likely that you’ll begin seeing some new items in your search engine result pages (SERPs) as you navigate through them.

What Does This Mean for Your Healthcare Website?

Just as it is inside of your practice, user (or patient) experience should be top of mind when thinking about your website. One thing we consistently recommend is to ask your patients how they feel about your website. Although it may seem like an odd question to ask to someone who is receiving medical care in your facility, it will actually provide you with valuable insight. Beyond that, focus on Google’s recommendations to make sure your website is checking all of the boxes as it should. It’s best not to be reactive here and wait until May to fix your website, as you could lose valuable rankings during that time. Instead, use the next month or so to fully audit your site and come up with a game plan, or contact Practis to have us give you some pointers!

Keep Your Google My Business Accounts Secure

GMB and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly, or whatever other combination you prefer. If you haven’t been focusing on your GMB accounts, you might be in for a rude awakening when you do decide to check them out. Although this has been a problem for years, it seems that issues with GMBs being hijacked or edited without approval are on the rise. There are a situations that seem to be common including:

  • Phishing : This is when someone will try to claim your GMB profile by simply requesting access. Then, Google will send an email to the current owner stating that someone is trying to take over the listing. While you should be able to detect this quickly and deny the request, some people are having difficulty determining if the request is legitimate and are actually granting access and losing their control.
  • False Edits : The easiest and most common issue is when someone will push an edit to a GMB profile that is false. For example, someone could go to your GMB profile and claim that it is permanently closed. If this happens enough times, Google will honor that and potentially mark your location as closed. If you are unaware or do not check your GMB often, you may not see that and it may lead to patients thinking your location is shut down.
  • Duplicates : This is a newer phenomenon, but some people are flagging locations as duplicates even though they are not. When this happens, Google states that you should most likely delete and reverify the business. However, in doing that you may find that you are granted control of another business and not yours, putting the ownership of your listing at risk.

What Does This Mean for Your Healthcare Website?

In simple terms, keep a close eye on your GMB. A lot of people think that once it’s claimed it’ll stay that way forever, and that’s unfortunately not the case at all. GMB requires constant attention, whether that be to update hours, photos, and services, or to just make sure it’s not being messed with. In addition, GMB can provide you with some valuable marketing statistics, so it’s a good thing to keep an eye on over time.

BERT Is Alive and Well

This one is a little bit older, but BERT, a search algorithm update from 2019, is still making some powerful moves. In fact, they just (sort of) confirmed that DeepRank and BERT are the same thing, which means that it was a very important internal rollout for Google overall. BERT truly aims to make sure that Google understands things with a human element rather than just reading for bots, which is both a big win and a big task for marketers. While it’s something that will help the user experience, and has already done so, it’s also something that requires a lot of consistent work on website content.

What Does This Mean for Your Healthcare Website?

Content should be readable and not stuffed. We cannot reiterate this enough. If you read your website and it sounds like it’s written for a robot or just sounds clunky when you read it out loud, then it’s time for a change. With Google understanding how to index more human style content, you should follow suit. When looking at your site for a possible update for Page Experience, keep content in mind.

As always, we’re constantly following Google’s latest trends and looking for ways to make our partners stand out among the competition. Should you have any questions on any of the above, or want to discuss how you can get ahead of the pack, contact Practis today!