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What Does Google’s Latest Update Mean for Medical and Dental Sites in 2019?

In March 2019, Google rolled out a new core algorithm update. Like with previous updates, health, wellness and medical sites and YMYL pages were some of the most affected by these changes. Let's see what this could mean for your practice's website.

What Is a YMYL page?

The acronym YMYL stands for Your Money Your Life. This means that any page with content that affects one's health, happiness, safety or financial stability is considered YMYL, according to Google. Why is Google cracking down on these pages? Bad information on these topics could hurt people, which is most likely why so many of Google's more recent updates have affected pages in this category.

Based on research from the SEO community (because Google does not release what changes were made), here are a few things that were impacted:

User Experience

Higher page load speeds were rewarded and sites that were over-optimized for keywords were "forgiven" if the user experience was good and there was great content on the page.

Popups and Overlays

Popups and overlays can hurt user experience, so sites that had too many of these were penalized. In addition, websites designed with large drop-down menus that blocked the rest of the page were negatively affected.

Poor Content

In the past, publishers could easily hire cheap writers to throw together some poorly written content and still be rewarded for having said content. The new update reduced traffic to those sites and rewarded sites with higher-quality content.

Fresh and Consistent Content

Regularly publishing new, quality content helped sites maintain traffic levels or in some cases increase them with this update.

What's Next?

So, if your site or pages on your site could be considered YMYL, what should you do? Let's start with another acronym: EAT. One way YMYL pages are rated is based on the acronym EAT, which stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness.

Expertise: Is the author an expert in this field?

  • Publish content on a consistent basis that establishes you as an expert in your field
  • Write about your certifications, accomplishments and degrees on your home page and use any logos to correspond with the organizations

Authority: Is the author a recognized authority on the subject matter?

  • Being an expert is about what you know, having authority means you have influence in your field
  • Mention conferences and speaking engagements and quotes from people you have done work for on your home page

Trustworthiness: Is the info found on this page accurate?

  • No errors or incorrect info in your content
  • Include case studies in some of your content where it is relevant to back up your work

What Else to Do?

In addition to the EAT acronym above, here are a few other tips to help make sure your site stays successful after these updates:

Build brand trust

  1. Create long-term user relationships with more direct traffic requiring less organic traffic.
  2. Try out different title tags to entice users to choose your link over the competing results.

Meet the Quality Rater Guidelines from Google

  1. Check the guidelines out here: https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/us/en/insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf

Meet the users' needs

  1. Provide answers to the questions they are asking.
  2. Meet user expectations.

Create new content and update old content

  1. Write new blog posts consistently.
  2. Revise and update older blog posts as the information and content becomes outdated.

Ensure your site is/has:

  1. A valid SSL
  2. No 404 errors
  3. Mobile-friendly
  4. Fast load time/responsive
  5. Easy to navigate and understand for users and search bots alike

After looking through these recommendations, your brain may feel like it's in overdrive. You're likely trying to run a busy practice and the last thing you have time to deal with is website updates and damage control from updates. This is one reason why our clients love us so much!

Because we stay up to date on all the latest trends and updates in the industry, our clients can rest assured we are constantly making the changes necessary to ensure their success! If you would like to talk more with us about how we can help you and your practice, give us a call today at 214-654-9180 or email us at helpme@dogstarmedia.com

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Dog Star Media is a marketing and media company based in Dallas, Texas. We specialize in social media, search engine optimization, web design, video production and marketing. Contact us and find out how we can help your business.

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