The New Google Search Console is Here
As with so many things related to Google and healthcare SEO, this announcement may be a bit binary. It’s likely that you either already are aware of the Google Search Console (which has been around for more than a decade with various names, including “Google Webmaster Central” and “Google Webmaster Tools) and use it, or you don’t.
If you are in the first camp, then you should be excited about the new features shared about the Console at the Google Webmaster Central blog. If you are in the latter, you will also likely find it exciting, not only because this free product “includes more than two dozen reports and tools covering AMP [Accelerated Mobile Pages], structured data, and live testing tools, all designed to help improve your site’s performance on Google Search,” but for a very important new report: Index Coverage.
The other exciting and potentially related feature is better organizational workflow support. As Google explains, “multiple people are typically involved in implementing, diagnosing, and fixing issues,” which is why it is “introducing sharing functionality that allows you to pick-up an action item and share it with other people in your group.”
If you know what search engine indexing is, then there’s no need to explain its importance to your hospital Website SEO.
If you don’t know what indexing is, here’s a simple explanation: It’s the process of a search engine discovering (known as “crawling”) the contents of your Website (which is learned from a “site map”). Have you ever heard the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?” Well, there’s no debate about indexing: If your hospital Website is not indexed, the search engines won’t crawl it, and nobody can search for it.
Thus, the Index Coverage report is a very convenient tool to discover which of your hospital Website pages are (or more importantly, aren’t) being indexed—and what you can probably do to quickly fix problems.
For that matter, the Console’s improved workflow capabilities should be beneficial no matter how experienced you are with the Console. For instance, if you handle your organization’s healthcare SEO and find an indexing problem but don’t know how to get a sitemap generated or submitted to search engines, you can now task this to the appropriate IT person/people.
Google AdWords Express Rolls Out New “Goals”
No matter whether your monthly healthcare PPC budgets are in the hundreds or the ten of thousands, demonstrating ROI (return-on-investment) is always crucial to ensuring the ongoing support for this type of digital healthcare marketing tactic. One of the best ways to achieve that is to be able to report “conversions,” which can now be measured as “goals” for Google AdWords Express users.
In that context, this more likely is of interest to the healthcare PPC marketing with smaller campaigns—either in terms of budgets or ad volumes. That is because AdWords Express is Google’s comparatively leaner PPC tool that is “aimed to make it easy to set up ads on Google,” as compared to its more complex, full-scale AdWords service.
AdWords Express now makes it possible to easily get performance metrics for goals that include:
• Calls to Your Business
• Visits to Your Storefront
• Actions Taken on Your Website
For more casual or smaller-scale healthcare PPC marketers, being able to track these goals can be very useful not only for your own edification about how well your campaigns are performing, but also to others in your organization involved with its marketing.
For instance, hospital PPC ads that lead visitors to your hospital’s Website may earn you a “point” for your efforts, but getting visitors to your Website is only half the battle. The bigger goal for your organization should be to strategically drive those visitors to another conversion/goal/call-to-action, which you may improve by sharing your PPC goal metrics with whomever develops your hospital Website marketing objectives.
Furthermore, more actively engaging with your healthcare PPC metrics may encourage you to expand the scope of your campaigns—including budgets and volumes (which may further inspire you to explore the potential of using the full-scale AdWords service).
As Sequence Health’s Associate Director of Search Engine Marketing, Susan Gullion is one of our most knowledgeable resources for enhancing our healthcare clients’ search engine marketing strategies with SEO, PPC and social media.
Sequence Health is a cloud-based technology and services company that improves profitability and patient outcomes for hospitals and practices through end-to-end patient engagement solutions backed by clinical and non-clinical teams. Its HIPAA-compliant, SaaS platform improves care team workflows, automates patient communication and tracks patient progress to optimize the patient journey. Since 2004, leading healthcare providers have trusted Sequence Health to help acquire, manage and engage patients through complex episodes of care.