Google issues hundreds of updates each year to keep its results as useful as possible to searchers. In 2020 alone, there were 4,500 of these “improvements” made to its search system.
That’s a lot to keep up with, but the good news is that there are usually only a handful of updates each year that can have a significant impact on the number of potential new clients that see your website in search results.
One important Google update that happened recently is being referred to as the Page Title Update. Yes, it has to do with the way the pages on your business’ website are titled and how Google is taking more control over those titles (if they’re not written well).
Those in charge of your website and its local SEO need to understand what is happening with this page title update, why, and make sure Google can easily determine what each page of your site is about. After all, potential clients are busy searching Google to find your specialty. So, your page titles must give them relevant information to their search, or Google will do it for you.
Even though some search engine optimization specialists are referring to this change as the Titlepocalypse, it is not the end of your website’s world! In this article, we break down what you need to know about this update and what action to take.
What Google’s New Update Means for Titles of Web Pages
Competition affects all small businesses and, in the midst of a pandemic, this is true now more than ever. As a healthcare professional, you must be involved to some degree in honing your branding and marketing plan to attract as many new patients as possible. If you don’t in this climate of competition and crisis, your practice may not survive. This requires understanding, at least in a basic way, of Google’s big updates that can affect those numbers and then how to adjust to them.
When someone is looking for an orthodontist, for example, they will enter words or phrases they believe will give a list of doctors in that field. Google’s job is to provide the closest results, with the page title and description, for websites that will connect searchers to local orthodontists. And, of course, you want your practice to be on that list.
Google’s latest update changes their system of generating titles of web pages, possibly including yours. Their goal is to provide the best list of titles possible, regardless of how the query is worded. The results will now be more reflective of the page content overall rather than simply based on keywords put in the website’s title. Google will take a harder look at the main headline on the page itself, the content placed on that page (like the orthodontist describing their practice), and the site’s level of E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust).
So, you or your webmaster may have noticed or will notice that some of your website’s page titles have changed. And you didn’t change them.
If that is the case, then Google determined that whatever your page had been titled as the meta page title didn’t clearly describe what was actually on the page. Or the titles may have been too long, used keywords indiscriminately, or used generic “boilerplate” text.
So, you can view this as intrusive or you can view it as Google fine-tuning things for you so you get the best results possible. Let’s look at what you can do to work in tandem towards that goal.
What the Page Title Update Means for Your Business’ Website
One consequence of this Titlepocalypse may be a drop in your site’s ranking on Google search results. Google rebuts this by saying the changes don’t affect ranking since they are display changes only. If searchers use keywords to find you, they will still find you and your ranking won’t suffer.
Yet, there have been reports of inaccurate titles inserted by Google or titles that don’t represent page contents. With businesses in the healthcare field, those kinds of errors (whether made by Google or by your own SEO efforts) can be more detrimental than in many other businesses. After all, you are responsible for the health of your patients. If they can’t find you quickly and accurately, time becomes the enemy to someone’s well-being.
An example is your urgent care/ER practice. Someone who is in immediate danger must get to you at the location shown on your website page with a title that gives them that information. If it’s wrong or not easily found, the situation can become life or death.
Most significant changes require time for the dust to settle and this one is no different. The best thing you can do is maintain all the best practices in SEO so there is no need for Google to rename your page titles. As a healthcare professional, you may not have the time to allocate towards doing that. Working with a professional digital marketing agency will ensure your page titles and the rest of your website is in top shape for Google’s “eyes”.
Overall This Is Good for Your Business
Here are some specific actions below that you can take (or continue to take) that will accommodate this latest update and still maximize traffic to your website.
Don’t assume that suddenly all your web pages are going to be changed by Google. They have stated that 80% or more of pages will stay just as they are with their original meta title tags. If a page is changed, focus first on how accurately the new title represents what is on that page. You may find the new title to be a better fit after all.
Hone your page titles by:
- Making sure every page has a title assigned to it.
- Writing concise titles that actually describe each page’s content accurately.
- Using specific titles for pages, not simply HOME, ABOUT, etc.
- Avoiding overuse of keywords (keyword stuffing).
- Avoiding the use of the same branding text as the title for every page.
- Allowing Google to crawl your pages so it gets the titles from you, not a secondary source that may unintentionally misrepresent your title.
These are all good practices your webmaster or marketing expert should be doing anyway. If followed, you will probably find a title change by Google to be infrequent. Google wants that as much as you do with the result that more patients find their way to you and the professional services you have to offer.
How to Get the Most Benefit from the Change
If this all sounds daunting and time-consuming, it can be. But you don’t have to do it alone, even if you don’t have a dedicated person for your website.
Here at My KPI, we always stay on top of all of the latest search engine updates and news. So, we know how to make sure your website will benefit from this page title update.
Our team specializes in optimizing the website of any healthcare business, making it easier for Google to quickly understand what each page of the site is about. If you are looking for someone who can help you drive new patients to your healthcare practice from your website, contact My KPI today!