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How Google Decides Who Makes It to First Page Results

77 percent of patients use search engines before scheduling an appointment (Google & Compete). Search engines help you market your practice.

Not all practices use techniques to improve their search engine visibility. They're missing out on potential revenue and practice growth.

Read on to learn how Google works in the background to decide what sites make it to the first page. And get more views and revenue.

Search Engines and Algorithms Explained

The first step is to understand how search engines work. Search engines allow you to use keywords to search the internet.

Google has programs called 'web crawlers.' They are always running on Google's computer and scour through billions of web pages. With the information they find, they create an enormous index of web page content.

Google has to determine which results are the best ones for each user. To do this, it uses programs called search algorithms. Search algorithms use hundreds of factors to determine which results are most relevant.

These factors may include:

• domain age
• server location
• page load speeds
• date and quality of content updates

When you type a keyword into Google, it searches this index and helps you find the best results.

Search engines present these ranked websites on a search engine results page (SERP). You have seen this page before. The familiar list of search results after you search for a keyword on a search engine.

How Search Algorithms Affect Your Practice

Search engines change their algorithms hundreds of times a year. They do this to fight black hat, ‘cheating’ search tactics. And to improve users' search-engine experience.

Most of these algorithm changes are minor. But search engines occasionally roll out major updates. These can affect SERP rankings in significant ways.

One example is Google's Hummingbird update. This update placed greater importance on whole search queries rather than individual keywords. Hummingbird affected 90 percent of all searches. It was the most comprehensive update to Google's search algorithm since 2001.

Tracking algorithm changes ensures that your website continues to rank well. One of the best ways to stay ahead is to optimize your website for search engines. Then measure and track your success.

Below are some best practices to help improve your website's rankings:

• Include a sitemap
• Build good quality inbound and outbound links
• Update your website often with quality keyword-rich content
• Make sure your website is fast to load and optimized for mobile devices

If this sounds like a lot of work, well, it can be. Outsourcing this work might be your best option. Make sure to choose a marketing agency that specializes in healthcare practices. If you have any questions or want to learn more about how Online Podiatry can help your practice, call us today. We'd be glad to help.
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