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SEO 14 min read October 16, 2020

How To Prepare Healthcare Sites For Google's Page Experience Update

How To Create An Efficient Advertising Banner
Josh Bruce
Jeannie Hill
Typically, Google is quiet and secretive about how its search rankings work and what changes after an algorithm update. The May 2020 announcement of its upcoming Page Experience Update is unusual and signals its significance. While some aspects are unknown, just how it relates to healthcare sites, and the exact timing of the rollout, SEOs and marketers have both reason and resources to prepare now.
Because of the recent E-A-T update and how current machine learning algorithms have impacted YMYL sites, many in the industry take up stealth and research work to determine how to come out more competitive and/or save their page rankings from plummeting. To show up fast when needed, healthcare websites should ensure that the user experience on both desktop and mobile is well-optimized and functions great.

We've examined what the Google guidelines say to help healthcare sites know how to create, structure, and publish content that will align with the rigors of the Google Page Experience, E-A-T, and YMYL updates. First, let's answer some foundation questions so that this conversation can flow.
1
What does the acronym E-A- T stand for?

The EAT acronym stands for "Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness" and is a means to sort low-quality content from trusted and more useful content.
2
What does YMYL represent?

YMYL stands for "Your Money or Your Life".
3
What is Page Experience about in Google Search Results?

"Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value. It includes Core Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. It also includes existing Search signals: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines."
What the coming Page Experience means to YMYL and healthcare sites
A significant percentage of websites in the health, fitness, medical, and eCommerce niche host content rich with answers to questions that people regularly search for. The Google Medic Update is meant to sort out too general, shallow, outdated, or incorrect information. It also evaluates the established trust factor of both the article's author and the domain the content piece is published on. The coming new page experience algorithm will most likely build on this.

Identifying and cataloging exceptional and trusted E-A-T content is of top importance. Every search engine wants to ensure that people will be led to reliable, accurate, relevant content that offers an excellent page experience. Our current pandemic underscores this need like little else that most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Patients need the right answers, and often, they need them fast.

With health and eCommerce business websites playing a huge role in our health, wellness, and lifestyle choices, this content is often assessed more thoroughly. If your business falls in this niche, it is being scored and cataloged by YMNL terms. Therefore, to gain more search traffic and authority, it is critical to stay apprised of the Medic Algorithm impact and any further related algorithmic updates.
There is a huge effort underfoot to promote patient safety and protect people from misinformation.

GoogleBot can now better gauge the E-A-T of medical content – author's names with Dr. prefixes, links from medical sources, useful medical datasets, images, charts, etc. These types of trust signals are cataloged and then quickly matched to search queries so Google can better align content to meet the searcher's intent.
How to recover from Google Medic if negatively impacted
Google Medic is one of the most impactful updates in recent years. When a site has been affected, it is best to quickly follow the next steps to ensure that you recover and maintain your search rankings and web traffic. Its effects are still felt on numerous websites that are still struggling with how to rebound. Here are some essential steps that would help you recover from the update.
Create and publish quality content
Quality and evergreen content that is unique and relevant to health-related search queries can command high traffic on almost any type of website in the medical niche. Having quality content opens more doors than just winning new business and developing relationships with your audience. When these articles cover high-demand topics and offer a great page experience, connections with various websites and businesses that may form key partnerships can help you grow.

Quality content means including enough information and details to be considered a comprehensive piece that offers value. Often, to be a topic authority, longer content gets more traffic. Avoid leaving your readers with more questions and needing to go somewhere else to find those related answers. Also, publishing many articles that show a depth of expertise on various related subtopics is proof of authority and builds trust.
The updated Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines state that: "High E-A-T medical advice should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. High E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis."
Tips For Creating Quality Content
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Quote authority healthcare sites and add "Doctor approved content"
Invest more in early content research and cite sources from other trusted healthcare websites to make your content more trustworthy and authoritative. Consider a quality research paper; it will reference world-known experts on the topic; you may want to include national and local experts if you are a one-location or serve healthcare patients in one state or city.

Algorithms are getting smarter at finding the patterns that mean a real and respected physician is behind the content piece. This may also be a business identified in the health sector (by showing ties with national healthcare systems, authoritative accrediting bodies such as The Food and Drug Law Institute, HIPAA, the CDC, the AACD fellowship, and so on.

Even someone within a medical practice who is writing can seek a doctor to read, edit, and approve any content pieces before publishing. This will show that the author has an attentiveness for detail and intent to offer correct and verified content. Along with the author bio, add, "This article was edited and approved for accurateness by Dr. ____________."
Include factual content and trusted case studies
A content piece that falls under YMYL can gain immediate trust with search engines by including factual content. The National Institute of Health, Minnesota's Mayo Clinic, many educational, scholarly, and government sites consistently publish certain medical case studies. Long before they are published, they are carefully curated and checked for accuracy and to meet a real need.

FactCheck schema markup alerts search engines of factual and sourced content. You will need to provide the author's name/title/image, where the article was published, date of publication, article title, the publisher's logo, and other key details to validate your markup. The author should add their opinion and reason for referencing the fact so that the article flows for the reader.

This helps build entity relationships with influencers, professors, government agencies with regulatory or oversight, and well-established topic experts. Here is a helpful list of United States Federal Healthcare Agencies.
Update old content and make it more valuable
Along with providing more detailed content, it is also worth looking into past content and giving it a much-needed update. We have been updating some of our older content in the past few months, which has helped us gain even more traffic. Existing content doesn't have to remain stagnant if it was written months or years ago. Updating may mean adding a new entry, recent statistics and data, a patient review, or even re-arranging paragraphs to accommodate current facts and events.

News articles are another matter and best left if unchanged to ensure journalistic professionalism. They reflect what happened at the time of publication.
How-to articles, FAQ pages, and topic expansions can use fresh information that coincides with healthcare's latest happenings, needs, and regulations. They can improve their potential reach to attract more readers. When using semantic search and expanded content, each piece may rank for more high-traffic keywords to help you rank higher in SERPs.
How To Get More Value From Your Existing Content: Repurposing Guide
Add supportive owned media assets
Image search is improving and more widely used today. You can help your content get found and consumed more by your target audience by adding rich media. Many people prefer learning something by viewing video content over written content.

Create your own images that strongly relate to your topic and show support. Images can trigger emotions that patients identify with and help move someone to take action and call for a healthcare appointment. Charts can support documentation and statistics. Infographics are ideal for summarizing a content piece with imagery.
Structure your content with Healthcare Schema Entities
Google, Bing, and other leading search engines, continuously test and tweak algorithms to improve the quality of the SERPs. The Medic Update signaled the on-going need to scale ranking signals for health sites. The documentation for many health and medical schema markup types exists on schema.org. Include MedicalWebPage schema, MedicalDevice, ImagingTest, Hospital, MedicalStudy schema types if they fit or find what does. Structured data helps search engines understand your content, which makes it more useful.
Check your analytics to identify drastic traffic drops and gain insights
We have successfully tracked much of the impact of the Google Medic Update using Google Data Studio, Google Search Console Insights, and Google Analytics, along with other tools. Monitor your web traffic in real-time and track your wins from your newly implemented SEO strategies and content for making better decisions going forward.

Landing pages also represent important content that could be better optimized for organic search and paid search improvements. AMP landing pages are fast and can offer all elements needed along each step in the buyer's journey.

Landing pages should include patient reviews, comprehensive information, and compelling calls-to-action that help a potential patient or buyer make informed decisions. Understand what is behind ranking ups and downs will lead to more conversions and polished communications.

AI tools and platforms like Serpstat are in place to help businesses grow. Search marketers rely on data reports that inform SEO's of rankings changes and the strengths of clients' competitors and weaknesses that provide exciting opportunities.

You need to know how your customers are adapting to new realities and challenges. Serpstat can help you with the uptake of digital channels and patient relationship nurturing. Behavioral analytics and personalization can help lagging healthcare businesses recover and take a commanding brand presence.
If you follow the above steps, regaining your traffic, winning more featured snippets, reclaiming lost revenue, and patient bookings from your web presence is not only possible but probable.

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