Lure Creative is a full-service marketing company in Kansas City. We help healthcare companies Get Found & Be Known. In our adventures, we’ve found that many doctors and healthcare practice owners have questions about marketing, marketing budgets, and just what it takes to grow their business in this digital/online world. We have answers! So we decided to try to answer some of those questions in an ongoing series of blog posts. Part 10 of our Healthcare Marketing Questions Answered series focuses on a common question:
What Does Google Want from Your Healthcare Website?
Ahh, Google – the god of the internet. The sultan of search. The omnipotent overlord of algorithms. No matter what you call it, Google is the search engine to please if you want your website found online. As of June 2021, a whopping 92.6% of all search queries conducted across all search engine providers are done through Google. So that leaves everyone with a website wondering – What does Google want in a website? What can we do to rank higher and get more visitors?
At Lure Creative, we get it. We eat, sleep, and breathe websites, search engine optimization, and online marketing. We help small businesses grow by staying on top of what Google wants. When it comes to websites, Google’s goal is to help people find what they are looking for. It helps to remember that anything you do to make your website more user friendly and helpful will help your rankings.
Here are three of the most important factors Google looks for when determining your healthcare website’s ranking.
1. High Quality Content
Content is a factor Google looks at closely. Google has laid out specific guidelines to assess your website so it meets their standards. Here’s what they want:
The E-A-T standard stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. After the infamous Medic Update in August of 2018, Google made it known that this concept was the new standard of its Search Quality Rater guidelines and they have used it to evaluate the overall quality of a web page ever since. E-A-T helps determine whether a website and its individual pages are credible sources of information about a specific subject that provide real value for users. We break it down here:
Google looks for original information, reporting, research, and analysis. Don’t worry. You don’t have to have a PHD on the topic. Google says, “ If it seems as if the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an “expert” on the topic, we will value this “everyday expertise” and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having “formal” education or training in the field.”
Is the site a recognized authority on its topic? Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious knowledge? Articles should be genuinely informative, helpful, or educational, such as the kind you would see printed in a magazine or book. Articles that are too short, unsubstantial or lacking in helpful information are not valued by Google as they do not build trust.
If it looks like content is created by guessing what might rank well in search engines and stuffing keywords in a fluff article, Google will see through it. It does not like duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations. It’s okay to have two articles about the same topic, with similar keywords, but they must be different articles. Any attempt to simply switch out keywords in a similar article is frowned upon by Google. Topics must be of genuine interest to the readers.
Adding quality content on a regular basis is the way to help your healthcare website rank higher. Posting great blogs is an easy way to add content without having to worry about designing a new page every time.
2. Healthcare Website Design with Great User Experience
Remember that Google’s overarching goal is to help visitors find what they are looking for. Because of that, Google has added website performance as a core metric for how they reward websites in their SERPs (search engine results page). How do they know about your healthcare website? They collect analytics and browser data and look at everything from bounce rates, to average pages visited, to average time on site. They use those stats to determine which sites are providing a great experience for the user and which ones aren’t. If your site is designed with the user (prospective patient) in mind, they will stay longer, visit more pages and get more out of it. The way visitors interact with your site will heavily influence your ability to rank well.
3. Social Media
There’s been a big debate over the last few years about how much social media affects organic rankings. There is a high correlation between top-ranked sites and social media engagement. Google looks for signs that your website adds meaningful discussions to the internet and social media is a powerful tool to show real proof that people are consuming and sharing your content and your brand. Going forward, social media indicators will play a very significant – and maybe even primary – role in determining content quality. If you don’t have any social media presence, it’s time to get one and post good content on a regular basis.
There’s No Outsmarting Google
Google is here to stay. If you want your healthcare website to rank higher and be found by prospective patients, you have to play by the rules of the game. To sum it all up, even though you’re trying to please a machine, build everything with humans in mind – your website, your content, your brand, your social presence, etc. Google will reward your efforts.
If you think it’s time to take a smarter approach to marketing your practice, medical group, or hospital online, give us a call. We can help with website design, SEO, social media and much more. Pretty much, any kind of digital healthcare marketing you need, we can help with. Feel free to contact us at Lure Creative. We’d like to be your marketing partner and help you Get Found and Be Known.