How the Google Medic Update Affects Dental Websites


Justin Bosco

President at Form+Function



February 5, 2019

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Everyone with a website is familiar, by now, with the intermittent huge changes Google makes to how it searches, ranks and recommends sites online. In the fall of 2018, one such big change was rolled out, and it’s one that disproportionately affects health, medical and wellness sites.

For dentists keeping an eye on how their website is performing online, it’s something you’ll need to know about. Most, if not all, dental practice sites are affected by the update, which is being called Google Medic, both for its area of effect and for its intent to fix some common search problems.

That intent seems to have been to strengthen visibility and ranking for sites that are higher in a few key areas related to trust. Google calls these factors EAT, for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. The sites most affected by the change fall into a category Google calls YMYL sites, for “Your money or your life”. These are sites that primarily have content dealing with either finances or health, where, for obvious reasons, authority and trust are even more important than usual.

If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the factors Google uses to assess the quality of web pages, the guidelines they use are online here. But we’ll try to give you what you really need to know in this post.

Medical practitioners are, of course, also interested in creating trust with their patients, both online and off. So, we’ve put together a few recommendations that should help dental practices show Google — and their patients — that they are a reliable and trustworthy source of information.

Google, and your patients, trust websites with authority.

Optimizing your website to reflect the Google Medic update will help patients find it more easily.

What You Can Do

Those three factors we mentioned earlier, expertise, authority and trustworthiness, can be signaled to Google in several ways. The general idea is to provide evidence online that shows professional reputation and credentials, verification of any health-related statements, and anything else that points to your site being a reliable and reputable source of information.

Keeping Up With Search Changes

While making these changes will help your practice’s website rate higher with Google after the 2018 Medic update, there’s a lot more to learn about online search, reviews, and marketing tactics to help your site’s overall presence. We cover even more ways to improve on your practice’s online visibility and search rankings in our in-depth guide to dental marketing, an overview of the most important things you can do to help your dental practice succeed online.


Justin Bosco

President at Form+Function


Justin is the President & Creative Director at Form+Function, where he helps clients look great and stand out on the web. When he's out of the office, he enjoys travel and hiking.