Google Core Updates and How They May Affect Healthcare Websites

February 03, 2022

While there are several different search engines that patients may use to visit your website, most people center SEO changes around Google. According to StatCounter, Google currently holds 92.05% of the world’s search engine market share and accounted for 76% of desktop searches and 86% of mobile searches in 2019. Periodically, Google releases a core update, which can turn internet users on their heads as marketers, business owners, and searchers alike learn to accommodate the new changes. As a medical provider, here is what you need to know about Google core updates and how they can affect your healthcare website’s medical SEO.

What is a Google core update?

Google is consistently making minor changes to improve how it determines rankings on the search engine results page, most of which are minor and go unnoticed. However, when a major modification is made to the algorithm, it is labeled a “core update.” Google often gives users several months of notice before coming out with an update, offering developers and SEO experts the opportunity to get ahead and make changes before it goes live.

How often do core updates happen?

On average, Google releases a core update every two to three months. However, this varies. The last 2020 update took over six months before being implemented, while in the early 2000s, major changes were rolling out almost every month.

What kind of SEO changes are made?

While Google does not always distribute in-depth details on what is covered in each update, these changes cover a broad range of factors.

One of Google’s main focuses in the last two years has been to address EAT Guidelines, or how it penalizes sites that do not display “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.”  Algorithm refinements have also enhanced BERT language processing technology, which was released in October of 2019. This AI system drastically improved how Google recognized human speech patterns, refining the search engine’s comprehension of long-tail keywords.

How can Google core updates affect medical practices?

The aftermath of a Google core update can affect various industries differently. For instance, SEO ranking in healthcare experienced a major change in 2020. BERT’s effect was widespread, affecting approximately 10% of websites. In the medical field, this optimization made Google more effective at directing patients to applicable resources to answer health-related questions and favoring pages with high-quality and relevant content.

The 2018 “Medic” update affected 41.5% of healthcare websites and changed how Google determines a medical website to display credibility and expertise. The December 2020 core update benefited the rankings of many websites that focus on health, health conditions, and nutrition and science. However, sites in the natural and alternative medicine category saw a worse impact, with an overall decrease of 23.5% for SEO visibility.

Rank higher on Google

Recent Google core updates place a strong emphasis on high-quality content that is relative to what people are searching for. While it can be tempting to seek out seemingly easy fixes to better your practice’s medical SEO, improving your content is a more effective way to boost rankings and increase trust once patients end up on your page. Our Doctor Genius team can help you create a responsive website with readable, helpful content. Call us at 877-477-2311 to get started.

Doctor Genius, located at 16800 Aston Street, Suite 270, Irvine, CA 92606, provides a range of services for practice success. We seek to meet our clients’ needs by providing a variety of marketing, SEO, practice optimization tools, and coaching to transform the healthcare experience. Though we work to provide the most accurate information, the content found on this website is solely intended for entertainment purposes. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is entirely correct. You may not use the information on this site to cure, prevent, or diagnose a perceived medical issue. If you have healthcare-related needs, please speak directly to a healthcare professional. Never self-perform medical treatments discussed on this website. All images displayed are also for entertainment purposes only, and personal experiences may differ. Please note that the business tactics mentioned on this site might not be applicable to your industry or practice.