Do you trust what you read on the internet? If you're looking for advice about oral health or general health online, you want to be sure that the recommendations you're getting come from a reliable source. Your dental practice's own website needs to give this same assurance to its readers.
Recent changes made by Google are penalising dental industry websites that are considered untrustworthy. If this happens to your website, your pages could drop far down the search results, harming your business and your reputation.
One way to prove your authority to Google and to your patients is to make sure all content you publish is written or reviewed by a qualified dental practitioner.
Making sure your website content is accurate and verified by an industry professional is important for several reasons – appealing to patients, search engines and advertising regulators.
Content written or reviewed by a dental professional has more value than content written by a non-expert. Even if the information they contain is the same, the by-line or approval of a dentist is a seal of trust. This content is more likely to be clicked on and shared.
Google aims to provide users with the most relevant and reliable results for their search queries. Recent changes to the search engine mean it now strongly favours websites that are seen as authoritative, especially for certain types of queries.
While this update has affected websites across many industries, the greatest impact has been on what Google calls YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages, which includes the healthcare industries. This is content that "could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users," where the risks from following false or misleading information can be greater.
The recent white paper How Google Fights Disinformation confirmed that Google holds this type of sensitive content to a stricter standard than most:
“For these “YMYL” pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”
Writers who are not experts in the dental field are more likely to make mistakes. As well as making your dental clinic look unprofessional, misinformation could also get you in trouble with industry regulators such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which aims to protects the public from false or misleading advertising claims.
Making sure all the information on your website is correct can help you avoid being penalised and having to pay expensive fines.
Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EAT) are important ranking factors for dental websites that affect how your pages perform on Google and other search engines. Here are some ways to improve your EAT score and avoid being penalised.
You can show that your dental content was written or reviewed by a professional by including their name on the page.
If the author is a dental professional, this should be explained in the page's byline. As well as giving their name, include some relevant background details of their qualifications and experience. You should also link to the dentist's profile so that readers (and Google) can confirm their identity and credentials.
If the content was written by someone else and reviewed by a professional before publishing, this should also be made clear.
Google doesn't just examine individual pages when evaluating your authority and expertise. The search engine also takes stock of your website as a whole, checking for certain information that can make you appear more or less trustworthy. Their latest guidelines explain:
“We expect most websites to have some information about who (e.g., what individual, company, business, foundation, etc.) is responsible for the website and who created the [content], as well as some contact information.”
That's why it's essential to make sure your website has an about page and contact page, ideally including information about the dentist or other professional who wrote or reviewed the content.
When evaluating your website, Google also checks for other websites that contain your contact information, such as business directories.
Adding your listing to reputable directories can help to build authority and drive traffic to your website, but it's vital to make sure the details are consistent. If you change your clinic's name, phone number or other details at any time, this information should be updated across the board.
If you need a new website or content for your dental clinic, talk to the experts. Quantum has 15 years' experience in dental marketing, working with hundreds of practices across Australia and overseas. We'll bring our knowledge and expertise to make sure your dental website performs and convert website visitors into new patients.
Contact our team today to find out how we can help you.