Making Friends with Google’s Algorithm for your Health-Provider Website

From 2018 to 2019, Google made significant changes in its algorithm that affect health-provider websites. As is reported in John Week’s column on the subject, some alternative and integrative websites were hit pretty hard by the new rules. To help you with your practice’s marketing efforts, we’ve compiled some digital media tips to help you work within these changes:

  1. First, how did this happen? Google has an index called the Search Quality Guidelines, which is a 150-word bible of sorts for Google’s Search Quality Evaluators. Who are these people? They are contracted website raters who replicate Google queries and rate the quality of the page that is in the top results list.
  2. Okay, so what determines the quality of the page? Raters establish the quality based on the purpose of the page and/or the website. Does your website fit the purpose of the search? Based on the answer the website will be ranked on a sliding scale of the lowest, low, medium, high, and highest. For instance, was the page created:

 

  • To share information about a specific topic,
  • Be a form of entertainment,
  • As a place to express opinions,
  • For multimedia videos, podcasts,
  • Be a platform for personal information,
  • Or does it sell products or services?

3. Websites deemed as pages that “could potentially impact the future happiness, health, or financial stability of users” as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) pages have a higher level of scrutiny than others. This includes websites that offer medical, nutrition and health advice.

4. Health websites are evaluated for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT). This means that the information should come from “people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation.” And, keep these rules in mind when creating content:

  • Write high-quality, well researched and sourced blogs. Bad content is worse than none at all.
  • Make sure you source your work (just like school) with links that work to the referenced page.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. Rankers will downgrade pages if they see errors. Use the software Grammarly if you need help.
  • Make sure your pages are easy to read and that the font sizes are large enough, Google recommends 16px minimum.
  • Hire a professional writer and SEO expert if you need content support. It will help patients find you online to build trust and lasting relationships.