Is Google censoring holistic health practitioners?
“We live in a free country”, I thought to myself as I read about sites like Dr. Mercola seeing a decrease in being found from Google search results after Google’s June 2019 update.
As reported by Telapost.com, an SEO content and marketing company:
“The June 2019 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update impacted the rankings of websites in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages. Several aspects of the algorithm were changed which caused some sites to gain visibility and others to lose visibility.
Generally speaking, sites negatively impacted will see a drop in rankings for many or all of important keywords or key phrases which they used to rank well for … The June 2019 Google Broad Core Algorithm Update impacted sites across the web, however, I am personally seeing the most impact on News and Health sites.”
In the past, Google search results were based on the number of people who clicked on it. As Dr. Mercola explained it in a blog article he wrote on the change in Google traffic he’s noticed, in the past If you clicked on an a website link of a blog article he wrote, then that article would move up in rankings compared to another article that was close in popularity of clicks. But now Google is manually lowering the rankings of sites they consider not desirable, including based on Wikipedia’s assessment of the site or author and on human “quality” raters.
After their June 19 algorithm update, Google is relying more on human “quality” raters. Google instructs raters that the lowest ratings should go to a “YMYL page with inaccurate potentially dangerous medical advice.” YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.” Google says,
“We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low-quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
Note Dr. Mercola and Dr. Axe’s sites below showing as having lost visibility after the June 2019 update:
Dr. Mercola has observed a significant decrease in Google search related traffic. and so has New York-based holistic health expert Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD, Naturalnews.com, and GreenMedInfo website since the recent Google updates this summer (see the screenshots of graphs on each of their blog articles describing their observations).
Dr. Axe’s site no longer ranks highly on page 1 of Google for search terms like “Keto Diet”. In fact Sistrix, a resource for SEO industry news and trends discussed their observations shortly after the change in algorithm and a month later commented on Dr. Mercola’s site and its implications.
Here’s an article from GreenMedInfo about the manipulation of search suggestions observed (including screenshots).
Barry Brownstein, professor emeritus of economics and leadership at the University of Baltimore writes about the topic of what Google has been doing recently on Google is Burying Alternative Health Sites to Protect People from “Dangerous” Medical Advice.
Update Nov 2019: Google Whistleblower Zach Vorhies Speaks Out
(analysis by Dr. Mercola)
What does this mean for you? Should you stop writing blog articles? Should you not rely on getting found online for bringing in patients?
This is just a reminder that it is helpful to have other marketing approaches that don’t depend on the internet. The internet is wonderful for reach and can still bring in patients, but if you have all your eggs in one basket, what will you do when your site loses traffic overnight? (for various reasons–it doesn’t have to be health articles/content-driven traffic related). It helps to have another in-person marketing approach so that you are in more control.
For example, one tried and true effective way of reaching more people at once and get seen as a go-to practitioner so people come to you is speaking (and it will always be around even if something happens to the internet).
How My Clients Are Getting 10, 15, Even 26 New Patients From Just 1 Talk/Mo.
Educate people about what you know and fill up your schedule with patients without having to spend a lot of time and energy marketing (nor money advertising).
What are the best ways to get the phone ringing now? It’s different for everyone.
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