Healthcare SEO: Google Tips for May 2017

Healthcare SEO: Google Tips | Sequence Health Blog

A Look at the Latest Google Tips That Affect SEO for Hospitals and Medical Practices

We hope your hospital or medical practice is having a wonderful Spring! As we do each month, we have gathered the latest healthcare SEO Google tips that affect SEO hospitals and medical practices. And as always, the emphasis is on information for healthcare digital marketers that don’t monitor every event related to medical SEO.

Google Analytics Home and Google Data Studio

If your healthcare SEO strategy only looks at Website performance metrics on a limited basis—perhaps because you don’t have time or because you find analytics to be tedious and difficult—Google has recently upgraded and expanded two of its analytics tools that may encourage or enable you to use data to improve your medical SEO.

First, Google Analytics: Last month, Google published “The New Google Analytics Home: Know Your Data,” in which it announced a redesigned “Home” page intended to provide “an overview of key aspects of your business’ online presence.”

Second, Google Data Studio: In March, Google published “Data Studio now globally available,” in which it announced unlimited reports (instead of the previous limit of five) for its new “beta” analytics tool. This innovative tool collects data from multiple sources (e.g., your Website, Facebook page, YouTube page) and lets the user create customizable dashboards for presentations or reports.

The takeaway: It’s very easy to slip into “analysis paralysis” with Google Analytics—a testament to the depth and complexity of data it can provide. The simplified Google Analytics Home page’s simple dashboard may be a blessing for the aforementioned digital healthcare marketers that need quick and easy-to-digest information or for the more advanced medical SEO’er prone to unproductive analysis paralysis.

Likewise, the continued development of Google Data Studio may also be a blessing for digital healthcare marketers in either the “inexperienced or too busy” or “experienced over-thinker” camps of healthcare SEO. This is particularly true in the age of healthcare content marketing and healthcare social media marketing, which, like a hospital Website’s SEO, can be improved with performance data analysis.

New “How Google Search Works”

Search Engine recently published “Google Updates Their ‘How Search Works’ Site,” which links to a redesigned guide that may be of interest to anybody involved in SEO for hospitals, but particularly anybody new to healthcare SEO.

The takeaway: It could be argued that knowing how Google search works is worth knowing just for the intellectual curiosity about one of the most important technologies ever created and that affects virtually everybody’s lives. But for the novice digital healthcare marketer that wants to improve their medical SEO acumen, there may be tremendous advantage to having a better understanding of how search engines (especially Google’s) work.

Improved Granular Review in Google Local Listings

Search Engine also published “Google Adds More Granular Review Filtering In Local Listings” in which it explained that rather than “full star” ratings (e.g., four stars), Google now lets users filter with “half stars” (e.g., 4.5 stars).

However, what made this article so compelling was what one reader wrote in the comments:

“The main problem remains and that is that Google’s reviews are filled with fakes written either by marketers stuffing their client’s with raving reviews (or negatives for their competitors) or reviews written by the business owner themselves. This problem undermines the rating process as a whole and will only get worse before Google comes up with some sort of solution, if one exists…”

The takeaway: Call it what you want—cheating, unethical, “black hat”—there will always be people that want to game the system. Here, it’s with fake reviews…and yes, it does undermine the rating process.

However, it is arguable that the problem “will only get worse before Google comes up with some sort of solution.” The only certain “solution” would be to eliminate review filtering, which benefits nobody. Instead, a more appropriate suggestion would be to not engage in such practices to market your hospital online. Although there might be some short-term gains—especially if your hospital is in very competitive market and may rely upon comparatively higher ratings to attract new patients—eventually, the heightened expectations will result in negative reviews.

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.

Please contact us to learn more about how Sequence Health can partner with you to develop a custom healthcare search engine marketing solution.