How to Perform SEO for Medical Websites Since the Medic Update

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This past year it got harder to do SEO, especially for medical, financial and technical websites. Google is only looking to rank authority websites that have a high level of trust in these niches.  In August 2018 one of the major Google updates was named the Medic Update because it seemed to affect more medical websites than others.

The truth is that update made it harder for all websites to rank.  But more so if you have a website in the medical niche. There are many on-page factors as well as off-page factors that take into account for the Google algorithm. Below we will take a look at the important aspects to focus on to help with your online marketing.

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Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness

The Google Quality Rater Guidelines has over 100 mentions of E-A-T which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness.  The premise behind this is Google wants to show high-quality website for issues that will affect either your money or your life.

Imagine performing a Google search for a medical condition and getting some article written by an article writer that has no experience or expertise at all on the subject.  Would you trust advice from a stranger with no medical training? Probably not. Google’s algorithm has changed to help show content written by experts.

How to Show Expertise

If you want to give your medical content a chance to rank you better find experts to help write your content.  A good idea is to hire an industry expert to help write your content. I know this sounds expensive but if you want your advice to be taken seriously by the search engines this is a must.

Some medical websites have hired doctors to review content and make corrections is needed.  Once this is done they change the author bio to add something denoting the content has been reviewed by a doctor.  

An important aspect is not to just state it was written or reviewed by a doctor but to actually provide the expert in the bio.  This is similar to an author bio where you would list the expert and link back to their website or social media profiles.

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Link Building

No link is created equal. Similar to how content from an industry expert will rank higher the same can be said for links.  We break this down into two categories here.

Links from an authoritative author.  You will notice that links from a known industry expert will carry more weight than links from an unknown author.

A good strategy is to seek out these authors and create relationships with them. Relationships are the currency of the web. People that know you are more than likely to link to your content than a stranger. It also helps if you create good content that adds value to their readers.

Links from an authority website. Like known authors websites that are authorities within your industry carry lots of weight. What makes an authority website?  Websites that constantly rank high in Google for information related to your industry. They usually put out content on a regular basis and have industry experts that write for them.

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Don’t Forget Local

Never neglect local SEO when it comes to your marketing efforts.  Local SEO can help drive massive amounts of traffic and provide important trust signals to the search engines.  

GMB

The most important local SEO tip is to create a Google My Business Listing.  These listings are important as they show Google you have a real business address.  All the listings have to be verified by email or phone to ensure quality. It also allows customers to leave you reviews which help Google determine trustworthiness.

NAP

Another important aspect of local SEO is business citations.  Citations are listings in the major business directories. It is of critical importance that the information is consistent across these listing. Your Name, Address, and Phone Number should all be the same.  There are services like Yext and BrightLocal that will help your website get citations in the major publications.

Reviews

Having other people provide feedback about your business is a ranking factor in the major search engines. This is especially true in the Google local 3-pack. Not only just the sheer quantity of reviews but the quality of the reviews as well. Most websites that rank in the Google local 3-pack have an average rating of 4 to 4.5 stars.

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Final Thoughts

If your medical website is having a hard time ranking you should look at how others would view your website. Does it provide articles by expert authors? Does it get exposure from industry experts?  If not you have your work cut out for you. It’s not impossible to overcome these challenges but they will require some work.

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