You may have heard about the recent Google Medic Update?
If you are wondering if this is a genuine and real update and whether you may be impacted, the answer is most definitely YES.
I monitor a variety of metrics for practices across the country, including visibility in search results, average position for a range of search terms/phrases, likely traffic from those search positions and where the practice ranks specifically.
The following image shows what many dental practices are seeing (assuming they monitor what’s going on with their website!)
As you can see, visibility, average position, traffic and overall search results pretty much fell off a cliff at the beginning of August, but why?
Why has the update been implemented?
Google doesn’t always let us know when they change their algorithm, but in this case they did:
The update seems to focus primarily around CONTENT, specifically the trust, expertise and author credentials of any content.
The update has been rolled out across all search categories, not just the medical category however, due to the nature of our dental industry we seem to have been hit fairly hard.
What can you do about the update?
Because the update is about proving the trust, expertise and credentials of any author on your website these are definitely areas to focus on.
I’ve been saying this for years, increasing trust is a key part of dental marketing it’s only now that it seems to be working into the world of search optimisation. Usually Google is ahead of me but in this instance it seems I’m about 10 years ahead of what Google is saying!
- Having structured data on your site around your testimonials. This structured data will tell Google that the content on your site is a testimonial.
- If you have a WordPress blog, implement a plug-in which pulls in your Google reviews and displays them on your website.
- Include multiple reviews and patient testimonials, particularly via videos linked to your YouTube channel.
Expertise and author credentials
This is one of the largest areas where I think we can make an impact. The latest Google update seems to have affected medical sites because Google has no way of knowing who has written the content.
To all intents and purposes any content on your website could be written by someone with zero dental knowledge. If you are handing out useful, free and relevant dental health advice on your website (which you should be) then you need to demonstrate to Google who the author is and what the credentials are.
With the research I’ve done around this update this seems to be one of the biggest reasons that medical sites have been impacted.
How to demonstrate your credentials
On WordPress blogs there is a users section.
If you open this then you will see a user profile. So long as your WordPress template supports it, if you completed the biographical information within your profile then your blog will include this information at the end of each post.
if your WordPress blog doesn’t support showing authors on each post, then you may wish to install a WordPress author plug-in.
How to tell Google who the author is of your blog
- Register your site with Google Webmaster tools
- Under the “search appearance” section you will see “data highlighter”, Click on ‘start highlighting’
You can then paste in the location of your blog.
You then simply begin highlighting sections of the page, webmaster tools will then ask you what this is. Go throughout the post telling it what the title is, they published, category and importantly who the author is.
Inbound link building to your profile page
Okay, so let’s assume you’ve done that… Who’s to say you aren’t lying?
The next stage is to reach out to other bloggers, dental websites and related websites… Write articles for them, give them those articles and ask them to link back to your author profile.
Google will then see the author profile on your website and also notice all of these other articles you’ve written around the Internet all linking back to your author profile.
The more you do this more you will demonstrate to Google that you are a trusted author with expertise and credentials.
Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix for this algorithmic update. It’s about being on top of your marketing in general, demonstrating trust, expertise and your credentials in everything you do… If you do this then your search optimisation will follow suit.