Since August 2018, Google has been paying closer attention to the websites of companies in industries that it considers to have a major influence on the future health, wealth and well-being of its customers.
Websites of companies in all areas of healthcare, including the websites of hospitals and private practices, have come under particular scrutiny, with some labelling this move by Google as the “medic update”.
Google is attempting to crack down against misinformation in these industries, and is trying to do this by only ranking websites that can demonstrate the veracity of their content and the credentials of the people behind it.
Google’s evaluation of this has come to be known as a website’s “Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness”, or its E-A-T for short.
Although all physiotherapy practices should have a high level of E-A-T due to the high barrier to entry and regulations in the industry, Google has a very specific way of measuring a website’s E-A-T. This means that physiotherapy practice websites that are not set up to satisfy what Google is looking for when measuring E-A-T may well suffer a loss of visibility, regardless of their legitimacy.
With this in mind, here is a quick guide on how to optimise your physiotherapy practice’s website for E-A-T.
1. Ensure all onsite content is up to date and credited to an appropriate author in the company.
Over the last few years, Google has invested heavily in its fact checking capabilities. One of the big reasons behind this is to discover which websites are publishing misinformation and make them less visible as a result.
When Google first started paying closer attention to medical websites, sites that endorsed alternative health and homeopathic treatments were penalised particularly hard.
This suggests that Google favours medical content that coheres with mainstream science.
While the content on a physiotherapy practice’s website is likely to cohere with mainstream science, an area where some practice’s websites fall foul of having incorrect content is with their older, forgotten-about posts.
Scientific knowledge can progress quickly, and the content on your practice’s website should be regularly updated to reflect that.
Google is looking specifically for the sources of any medical claims or information, as the search engine does not want to show medical claims with no scientific backing.
You can show the trustworthiness of any medical information on your site by both citing medical journals where appropriate, and having an author bio of a listed practitioner at the beginning or end of any article on your website.
The author bio might seem unnecessary, and therefore be overlooked by many practice owners, but it really does add an extra layer of authority to your content in the eyes of Google.
The author bio should either state the author’s credentials, or link back to a page that contains an author’s credentials.
2. Clearly display all the credentials of your staff.
One of Google’s main aims with “the medic update” is to consistently rank the websites of industry professionals over those of laypeople.
Google therefore looks for evidence of professional qualifications when evaluating the E-A-T of a practice’s website.
Professional qualifications, experience, and evidence of continued professional development should therefore be made clear for all your staff. This should ideally have a page dedicated to it, such as an “About Us” or “Meet the Team” page.
It is also well worth trying to get your practice listed on any industry associations or bodies to provide further evidence of your and your team’s credentials.
3. Clearly display all the credentials of your staff.
When evaluating the E-A-T of your practice’s website, Google looks at your site’s entire digital footprint as well as the content on the site itself.
One of the best ways to demonstrate expertise and authority is to get your practice or its staff featured on industry leading magazines. If the magazine is attached to professional organisations, academic institutions, or the public sector, then even better.
Popular websites in your industry that do not fall into the above categories are still worth getting on so long as they publish scientifically accurate information.
Always try to get a publication that you are featured in to link back to your website, to make it clear to search engines that the featured entity is indeed your practice. These links will also help with improving your search engine rankings more generally.
Author Bio: Jitendra Gidwani is the founder of copywriting agency RightlyWritten.