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Are Manual Actions a Google Ranking Factor?

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Are Manual Actions a Google Ranking Factor?

A manual action can have a profound impact on a website’s appearance in Google.

It’s capable of demoting a website’s content in search results and removing content from the search index altogether.

Does that make manual actions a ranking factor?

No, not exactly.

A ranking factor is a signal Google uses to assess where and how a webpage should rank in search results.

These signals are picked up on through Google’s regular crawling of the web.

A manual action doesn’t fit that definition, because it’s something Google implements on its own.

It may be fair to say a manual action overrides all other ranking factors, as it can drop a website off the face of Google in an instant.

Google’s algorithms automatically filter out content that could cause problems in search results.

Every now and then, Google encounters an issue where it has to manually step in and take urgent action.

Here’s more about manual actions and how they impact search rankings.

The Claim: Manual Actions Are A Ranking Factor

Manual actions get lumped into the ranking factors category because the action refers to adjusting a website’s visibility in search results.

To be more specific, the action involves demoting or removing a site or specific pages from Google Search.

Calling a manual action a “ranking factor” is misleading as it creates the impression that it’s part of or at least considered by the algorithm, which it absolutely isn’t.

In fact, it’s the most serious penalty Google is able to issue to websites.

The next section has more details on the types of offenses that would cause Google to manually take action, which can help you avoid getting one of your own.

Manual Actions Are A Penalty, Not A Ranking Factor

Google has clear documentation on what manual actions are, how to know if your site has been impacted by one, and how to recover after one has been issued.

From the document:

“Google issues a manual action against a site when a human reviewer at Google has determined that pages on the site are not compliant with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. Most manual actions address attempts to manipulate our search index.”

In addition to taking action against sites for manipulative SEO tactics, Google reserves the right to remove content if required to by law.

This is all explained in detail in a video with former Googler Matt Cutts which is as relevant today as it was when first published in 2012.

Types Of Manual Actions

Here’s a list of violations that will result in Google applying a manual action.

  • Third-party spam: Site contains a significant amount of spam generated by third parties.
  • User-generated spam: Site contains spam submitted by visitors.
  • Structured data: Site is using structured data in a manipulative way.
  • Unnatural inbound links: There’s a pattern of artificially placed links pointing to a site.
  • Unnatural external links: There’s a pattern of artificially placed links pointing outward from a site.
  • Thin content: Site contains low-quality pages with little or no added value.
  • Cloaking & sneaky redirects: Site is showing different pages to users than are shown to Google, or redirecting users to a different page than Google saw.
  • Pure spam: Site is using aggressive spam techniques and/or other repeated or egregious violations of Google’s quality guidelines.
  • Cloaked images: Some of a site’s images may display differently in Google’s search results than when viewed on the site.
  • Hidden text & keyword stuffing: Some of a site’s pages may contain hidden text or keyword stuffing, which are techniques not allowed by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
  • AMP content mismatch: There is a difference in content between the AMP version and its canonical web page.
  • Sneaky mobile redirect: Some pages on a site redirect mobile device users to content not available to search engine crawlers.
  • News and Discover policies: Site has violated content policies for Google News and/or Discover.

How To Know If Your Site Is Impacted By A Manual Action

Unlike adjustments to search rankings that happen algorithmically, Google provides clear communication to websites when they’ve been hit with a manual action.

You may be notified in advance of the manual action getting implemented, as Google will sometimes offer an opportunity to correct the problem before issuing a penalty.

All this communication happens through Google Search Console, making it an essential SEO tool.

If and when a site is impacted by a manual action, Google will send a direct message via Search Console.

The message will have information about why the action was taken, which pages are impacted to what extent, and how to get back into Google’s good graces.

You can find more information about any manual actions against your site in the Search Console Manual Action report.

How To Recover From A Manual Action

It’s possible to recover from all manual actions, as long as the necessary steps are taken.

Google will never permanently deindex a site from its search results. Some penalties may be harder to recover from than others, but it can always be done.

Recovering from a manual action requires fixing all problems identified by Google on all offending pages. When problems are fixed, site owners have to submit a reconsideration request.

A reconsideration request is exactly what it sounds like – a request for Google to reconsider the penalty it issued against a site.

Google will review the request and reverse the manual action if it finds the issues have been resolved.

Note that a site’s rankings may not immediately go back to what they were, but nothing is holding the site back from moving up the SERPs again.

For more information about this process, see the chapter on reconsideration requests.

Manual Actions As A Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

Although a manual action results in pages or sites being ranked lower or omitted from search results, it is not technically a ranking factor.

A manual action is a Google penalty, it’s the most severe of penalties, and should be avoided at all costs.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal




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20 Confirmed Facts About YouTube’s Algorithm

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20 Confirmed Facts About YouTube's Algorithm

Instead of counting the number of clicks or views a video gets, YouTube’s algorithms focus on ensuring viewers are happy with what they watch.

This article examines how YouTube’s algorithms work to help users find videos they like and keep them watching for longer.

We’ll explain how YouTube selects videos for different parts of its site, such as the home page and the “up next” suggestions.

We’ll also discuss what makes some videos appear more than others and how YouTube matches videos to each person’s interests.

By breaking this down, we hope to help marketers and YouTubers understand how to work better with YouTube’s system.

A summary of all facts is listed at the end.

Prioritizing Viewer Satisfaction

Early on, YouTube ranked videos based on watch time data, assuming longer view durations correlated with audience satisfaction.

However, they realized that total watch time alone was an incomplete measure, as viewers could still be left unsatisfied.

So, beginning in the early 2010s, YouTube prioritized viewer satisfaction metrics for ranking content across the site.

The algorithms consider signals like:

  • Survey responses directly asking viewers about their satisfaction with recommended videos.
  • Clicks on the “like,” “dislike,” or “not interested” buttons which indicate satisfaction.
  • Overall audience retention metrics like the percentage of videos viewed.
  • User behavior metrics, including what users have watched before (watch history) and what they watch after a video (watch next).

The recommendation algorithms continuously learn from user behavior patterns and explicit satisfaction inputs to identify the best videos to recommend.

How Videos Rank On The Homepage

The YouTube homepage curates and ranks a selection of videos a viewer will most likely watch.

The ranking factors include:

Performance Data

This covers metrics like click-through rates from impressions and average view duration. When shown on its homepages, YouTube uses these traditional viewer behavioral signals to gauge how compelling a video is for other viewers.

Personalized Relevance

Besides performance data, YouTube relies heavily on personalized relevance to customize the homepage feed for each viewer’s unique interests. This personalization is based on insights from their viewing history, subscriptions, and engagement patterns with specific topics or creators.

How YouTube Ranks Suggested Video Recommendations

The suggested videos column is designed to keep viewers engaged by identifying other videos relevant to what they’re currently watching and aligned with their interests.

The ranking factors include:

Video Co-Viewing

YouTube analyzes viewing patterns to understand which videos are frequently watched together or sequentially by the same audience segments. This allows them to recommend related content the viewer will likely watch next.

Topic/Category Matching

The algorithm looks for videos covering topics or categories similar to the video being watched currently to provide tightly relevant suggestions.

Personal Watch History

A viewer’s viewing patterns and history are a strong signal for suggesting videos they’ll likely want to watch again.

Channel Subscriptions

Videos from channels that viewers frequently watch and engage with are prioritized as suggestions to keep them connected to favored creators.

External Ranking Variables

YouTube has acknowledged the following external variables can impact video performance:

  • The overall popularity and competition level for different topics and content categories.
  • Shifting viewer behavior patterns and interest trends in what content they consume.
  • Seasonal effects can influence what types of videos people watch during different times of the year.

Being a small or emerging creator can also be a positive factor, as YouTube tries to get them discovered through recommendations.

The company says it closely monitors success rates for new creators and is working on further advancements like:

  • Leveraging advanced AI language models to better understand content topics and viewer interests.
  • Optimizing the discovery experience with improved layouts and content pathways to reduce “choice paralysis.”

Strategies For Creators

With viewer satisfaction as the overarching goal, this is how creators can maximize the potential of having their videos recommended:

  • Focus on creating content that drives high viewer satisfaction through strong audience retention, positive survey responses, likes/engagement, and low abandon rates.
  • Develop consistent series or sequel videos to increase chances of being suggested for related/sequence views.
  • Utilize playlists, end screens, and linked video prompts to connect your content for extended viewing sessions.
  • Explore creating content in newer formats, such as Shorts, live streams, or podcasts, that may align with changing viewer interests.
  • Monitor performance overall, specifically from your existing subscriber base as a baseline.
  • Don’t get discouraged by initial metrics. YouTube allows videos to continuously find relevant audience segments over time.
  • Pay attention to seasonality trends, competition, and evolving viewer interests, which can all impact recommendations.

In Summary – 20 Key Facts About YouTube’s Algorithm

  1. YouTube has multiple algorithms for different sections (homepage, suggested videos, search, etc.).
  2. The recommendation system powers the homepage and suggested video sections.
  3. The system pulls in videos that are relevant for each viewer.
  4. Maximizing viewer satisfaction is the top priority for rankings.
  5. YouTube uses survey responses, likes, dislikes, and “not interested” clicks to measure satisfaction.
  6. High audience retention percentages signal positive satisfaction.
  7. Homepage rankings combine performance data and personalized relevance.
  8. Performance is based on click-through rates and average view duration.
  9. Personalized relevance factors include watch history, interests, and subscriptions.
  10. Suggested videos prioritize content that is co-viewed by the same audiences.
  11. Videos from subscribed channels are prioritized for suggestions.
  12. Consistent series and sequential videos increase suggestions for related viewing.
  13. Playlists, end screens, and linked videos can extend viewing sessions.
  14. Creating engaging, satisfying content is the core strategy for recommendations.
  15. External factors like competition, trends, and seasonality impact recommendations.
  16. YouTube aims to help new/smaller creators get discovered through recommendations.
  17. AI language models are improving content understanding and personalization.
  18. YouTube optimizes the discovery experience to reduce “choice paralysis.”
  19. Videos can find audiences over time, even if initial metrics are discouraging.
  20. The algorithm focuses on delivering long-term, satisfying experiences for viewer retention.

Insight From Industry Experts

While putting together this article, I reached out to industry experts to ask about their take on YouTube’s algorithms and what’s currently working for them.

Greg Jarboe, the president and co-founder of SEO-PR and author of YouTube and Video Marketing, says:

“The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction. So, to optimize your videos for discovery, you should write optimized titles, tags, and descriptions. This has been true since July 2011, when the YouTube Creator Playbook became available to the public for the first time.

However, YouTube changed its algorithm in October 2012 – replacing ‘view count’ with ‘watch time.’ That’s why you need to go beyond optimizing your video’s metadata. You also need to keep viewers watching with a variety of techniques. For starters, you need to create a compelling opening to your videos and then use effective editing techniques to maintain and build interest through the video.

There are other ranking factors, of course, but these are the two most important ones. I’ve used these video SEO best practices to help the Travel Magazine channel increase from just 1,510 to 8.7 million views. And these video SEO techniques help the SonoSite channel grow from 99,529 views to 22.7 million views.

The biggest recent trend is the advent of YouTube Shorts, which is discoverable on the YouTube homepage (in the new Shorts shelf), as well as across other parts of the app. For more details, read “Can YouTube Shorts Be Monetized? Spoiler Alert: Some Already Are!

Brie E. Anderson, an SEO and digital marketing consultant, says:

“In my experience, there are a few things that are really critical when it comes to optimizing for YouTube, most of which won’t be much of a surprise. The first is obviously the keyword you choose to target. It’s really hard to beat out really large and high authority channels, much like it is on Google. That being said, using tools like TubeBuddy can help you get a sense of the keywords you can compete for.

Another big thing is focusing on the SERP for YouTube Search. Your thumbnail has to be attention-grabbing – this is honestly what we test the most and one of the most impactful tests we run. More times than not, you’re looking at a large face, and max four words. But the amount of contrast happening in the thumbnail and how well it explains the topic of the video is the main concern.

Also, adding the ‘chapters’ timestamps can be really helpful. YouTube actually shows these in the SERP, as mentioned in this article.

Lastly, providing your own .srt file with captions can really help YouTube understand what your video is about.

Aside from actual on-video optimizations, I usually encourage people to write blog posts and embed their videos or, at the very least, link to them. This just helps with indexing and building some authority. It also increases the chance that the video will help YOUR SITE rank (as opposed to YouTube).”

Sources: YouTube’s Creator Insider Channel (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), How YouTube Works

More resources: 


Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

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7 Strategies From Medical SEO Pros

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7 Strategies From Medical SEO Pros

Healthcare SEO is the secret to helping your organization reach more patients and clients.

SEO can help you rank for useful keywords, connect with patients in your local area, and share helpful information and advice with thousands of people.

To write this guide to medical SEO, we interviewed five experienced healthcare SEOs and content creators. We asked them to share their best advice for helping healthcare businesses grow through effective, ethical SEO:

The core principles of SEO are the same for every type of company. You need to create high-quality content, earn backlinks, and make sure your site is free of technical problems.

But healthcare SEO has some unique challenges:

  • Popular keywords are dominated by huge international brands.
  • Many healthcare companies only serve a particular local area.
  • Google expects medical content to be reviewed by healthcare experts.
  • There can be strict rules and regulations governing how medical information is shared.
  • Healthcare companies often need to market simultaneously to patients, businesses, and clinicians.

In this article, we’ll show you how to solve these problems: from building .gov backlinks to medically reviewing your content.

Content creation is a core part of healthcare marketing, but most medical topics are what Google calls YMYL topics—Your Money or Your Life.

For any topic that “could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people”, Google tries to prioritize content that demonstrates obvious expertise, experience, authority, and trust (also known as EEAT).

In practice, that means that most top-ranking medical content is reviewed by medical experts. Here are some of the top results from the SERP (search engine results page) for osteoarthritis treatments.

Healthline lists the author bios and medical reviewers for each article:

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Cleveland Clinic includes a “medically reviewed” badge, and links to a list of editorial standards:

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WebMD highlights each post’s medical reviewer:

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And The Mayo Clinic links to their huge list of medical editors:

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Medical review is so common across health-related SERPs that Caitlin adopted a simple rule for her content creation process: get every article medically reviewed—even a topic like drinking water to lose weight.

If creating hundreds of articles and subjecting them to rigorous medical review sounds complicated, well… it can be. Here’s how the experts handle it:

Create content with non-experts

You might think that all medical content needs to be written by medical experts, but after talking to our experts, most articles were created by writers with no medical qualifications—or even generated with AI.

For many medical topics, it’s easy to find objective, accurate information. Add in a few interviews with healthcare professionals—as Sarah asks her team of freelance writers to do—and properly cite medical references, and non-experts can write decent SEO content.

For more research-heavy or cutting-edge topics, it’s necessary to do deeper research and work with specialized medical writers. Here’s how Caitlin tackled this process, dividing her content into two “buckets”:

  • Common knowledge topics (~70% of all articles): for topics with lots of existing information, Caitlin worked with the content marketing agency Verblio. In a similar vein, Geoff uses AI to write straightforward first drafts.
  • Cutting-edge topics (~30% of all articles): for topics that required heavy research (like the impact of CBD oil on anxiety), Caitlin worked with a specialized medical writer from the agency Writing Studio. When writing about ozempic, Sarah sought feedback from four separate professionals.

Source expert medical reviewers

The SEOs I interviewed sourced their medical reviewers in two different ways:

  • In-house experts: Sarah at Hinge Health had content reviewed by “in-house, member-facing employees”, a mixture of physical therapists, medical reviewers and clinical reviewers depending on the topic.
  • Freelancers: Without the luxury of in-house experts, Caitlin built a network of freelance doctors on Upwork. These were generally fully licensed doctors and medical professionals, half from within the United States and half from other countries.

In all cases, Caitlin notes, it’s important to ask your medical reviewers to check their indemnity insurance. In most countries, clinicians are accountable to medical regulators. Once they put their byline on an article, they are responsible for the advice it offers.

Review for medical accuracy

Medical reviewers should vet your content for accuracy and suggest edits where needed. That often means:

  • Flagging errors and misinformation (like incorrect medical terminology).
  • Adding extra context and information (like extra details about symptoms or treatments).
  • Softening language (avoiding phrases like “best treatment” or “guaranteed to work”).

Caitlin’s workflow looks like this:

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Learn more about Caitlin’s process in our article, 7 Content Automations used by Real Content Pros.

Publish with clear author and reviewer attribution

It’s crucial to make the medical review as obvious to readers and search engines as possible. Here’s a great example from Caitlin’s previous company, HealthMatch:

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And another from Sarah’s company, Hinge Health:

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These examples highlight three best practices:

  • Include a clear, obvious reviewer bio on every article, including their photograph, name, qualifications, and even their area of medical speciality.
  • Link to a dedicated reviewer page, showing the author’s credentials and past experience, and linking to other relevant bylines on the web.
  • Use relevant schema data for the authors and reviewers (but more on that later).

Everyone I interviewed shared the same core challenge: medical SEO is dominated by a handful of internationally recognized brands, like Cleveland Clinic, Healthline, WebMD, NHS, and Mayo Clinic.

With strong link profiles and brand recognition, these companies generally dominate most healthcare SERPs.

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A 92 DR score means these companies can be very difficult to compete against in the search results.

To work around this constraint, everyone I interviewed chose to focus on low-competition long-tail keywords, before gradually targeting more competitive terms as they started to see results.

You can find these terms easily with Ahrefs. To start, here’s a short-tail keyword, headache, with 121,000 monthly searches and a “Super hard” keyword difficulty:

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A top-three ranking would be out of reach for most companies, but we can use the Related terms report in Keywords Explorer to find less competitive variations that might be worth targeting.

Here, we’ve set the keyword difficulty to a maximum of 40, and surfaced 976 keywords:

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To stand an even better chance of ranking, we can also filter our results with the Lowest DR filter. In the screenshot below, we’ve limited our search solely to keywords that already have low DR websites (in this case,

In other words, these are all keywords a fledgling website would have an excellent chance of ranking for:

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The topic cluster framework is a way to organize and link between related articles on a website. It makes it easy for both visitors and search engines to easily navigate between related content—other relevant articles are only a single click away.

Caitlin explained that healthcare is “natively suited” to the topic clustering technique. Every medical condition generally has a similar set of patient questions associated with it, making it easy to use similar content templates for many different medical conditions.

Geoff shared a framework he commonly uses with his healthcare clients. For most medical conditions, you can usually group your content into three topic clusters: pre-intervention, intra-intervention, and post-intervention:

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Pre-intervention

These are questions people ask before treatment or surgery:

  • Diagnosis: do I need a hip replacement
  • Treatment options: which method of hip replacement is the best?
  • Cost: how much does a hip replacement cost
  • Images: hip replacement surgery pictures
  • Outcomes: how long does a hip replacement last

Intra-intervention

These are questions people ask about the treatment or surgery itself:

  • Anesthesia: are you awake during hip replacement surgery
  • Duration: how long does hip replacement surgery take

Post-intervention

These are questions people ask after having treatment:

  • Recovery period: how long to recover from hip replacement
  • Anxieties: what are the symptoms of nerve damage after hip replacement
  • “Can I do X”: how long after hip replacement can you drive

You can use Ahrefs to research these topic clusters.

Start by entering a medical condition or topic into Keywords Explorer. Click the Matching terms report to see similar keywords, and then Questions to find related keywords in the form of, you guessed it, questions:

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Here, we’re looking at hip replacement.

With this process, we’ve already found 5,163 keywords relating to hip replacements, like how long does a hip replacement last and how long after hip replacement can i tie my shoes:

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You can click Clusters by Parent Topic to group these keywords together into clusters, groups of keywords that can likely be targeted by the same article. Now we’ve refined our list of potential articles from 5,000 down to 270:

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Backlinks are a core component of effective SEO—and that remains true in healthcare SEO.

If the idea of doing “shady” outreach for a healthcare company gives you shivers, don’t worry: healthcare companies have unique strengths that make it relatively easy to build great backlinks.

Many healthcare companies have strong relationships with government bodies, charitable organizations, and educational institutions, making it possible to earn links from high-DR .gov and .edu domains.

Despina shared the example of HammondCare, an Australian aged care provider. A quick look at their backlink profile reveals 33 referring .gov domains:

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They’ve also snagged 24 referring .edu domains:

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Looking at their backlink profile as a whole, we can identify several easy-to-replicate strategies suitable for all types of healthcare companies:

As Despina pointed out, most healthcare providers are already sitting on a small goldmine of interesting research and accomplishments. Link building can be as simple as asking: what have we already done that we can use to get links?

Many healthcare organizations are local businesses with bricks-and-mortar premises. The process of attracting interest in a specific area is known as local SEO (and we have a full guide here: Local SEO: The Complete Guide).

There are three local SEO strategies that are particularly crucial for healthcare companies: optimizing your Google My Business profile, building NAP citations in healthcare directories, and building local landing pages.

Optimize your Google My Business profile

Most local searches include a “map pack”, a collection of top local business listings in your area. To stand a chance of appearing in these results, you’ll need to claim and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile.

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Once you’ve claimed your profile (head to https://www.google.com/business/ and click “Manage now”), you’ll need to fill out as much relevant information as possible:

  • Business or practice name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Business type (the more specific, the better: orthopedic surgeon is better than surgeon or doctor)
  • Hours of operation
  • Medical services offered
  • Photos of your practice and team

Depending on the nature of your healthcare organization, there may be other types of information you can share. Here’s the GMB profile for The Royal London Hospital, complete with hospital-specific profile information, like number of beds and parent organization:

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For a detailed walkthrough of setting up your GMB profile, read our guide: How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing in 30 Minutes.

Be careful when asking for reviews

Earning and responding to reviews is a key part of managing your Google My Business Profile… but there’s a catch for healthcare companies.

In many countries, there are strict rules and regulations dictating how healthcare providers can (or cannot) solicit reviews from patients.

So before you hand out a hundred feedback leaflets to your patients, read up on laws and regulations (like HIPPA) in your location.

Build NAP citations and submit your company to healthcare directories

NAP citations refer to mentions of your organization on relevant third-party websites (including your organization’s name, address, and phone number—hence NAP).

These citations create more ways for potential customers to find you, and they can help improve your site’s overall search performance.

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As a starting point, get your healthcare company listed with the main data aggregators (sites that provide business listings to popular directories), like Data Axle, Localeze, and Foursquare.

It’s also worth getting listed on other popular websites like Apple Maps, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing Places, and Facebook.

Geoff shared some of the UK-specific medical directories he sees most often in local healthcare search results (in many cases, these directories have international versions too):

You can learn more about building NAP citations in our guide: How to Build Local Citations (Complete Guide).

Tip

You can use the Link Intersect report in Ahrefs to quickly find relevant medical directories. Enter the homepages for similar healthcare organizations and hit “Show link opportunities.” You’ll see a list of websites that link to some—or all—of these competitors.

Here I’ve run the report using three private hospitals from my local area:

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Based on this result, I’d immediately try to secure a link from the CQC (the UK’s independent healthcare regulator) and Doctify (a review and feedback platform specifically for the healthcare industry).

Create locations and services pages

Despina recommends that most healthcare organizations create location landing pages: web pages that tell visitors (and Google) where your business operates.

Here’s an example from my local sports physiotherapy clinic. For each of the major locations they serve, they’ve created a dedicated website page.

Here’s one focused on the town of Aylesbury, helping them to rank for keywords like “physiotherapy aylesbury”:

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To create great location pages, Despina shares her advice:

  • Use a localized URL structure, like website.com/service/location.
  • Localize your page’s title tags and page header, like Aylesbury Sport Physiotherapy | Elite Sports Expertise.
  • Include sign-up buttons and contact forms near the start of the page (“above the fold”).
  • Showcase social proof, reviews and images.
  • Link between your location pages to help visitors find the best location for their needs (and improve your chances of ranking for location-specific keywords).
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Read Despina’s deep-dive into location landing pages: Location Landing Pages: 6 Crucial Elements Of Local Visibility.

Schema markup is a type of code that allows search engines to better understand the contents of your page. Schema markup can sometimes make your page eligible for rich results, which can help you earn more clicks from search.

Schema markup is particularly important for local businesses. After searching for family practice physician near me, the top spot in the search results is taken up by a local pack SERP feature:

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One of the top results is using Physician schema markup—a specific schema type designed to tell Google that the author is a doctor:

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Here’s the top result for private hospital near me using another type of medical schema markup, Hospital:

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Schema.org also lists a few other medical-specific schema types, like MedicalCondition (for information about specific medical conditions), Drug (for information about a medical drug), and MedicalWebPage (for webpages about specific medical topics).

Here’s the NHS using the MedicalWebPage schema on their #2 ranking article about hip replacement:

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(Although the #1 ranking article from Johns Hopkins doesn’t use any schema—so although it’s useful, using relevant medical schema is obviously not essential for good search performance.)

The healthcare industry has largely relied on self-regulation to prevent the spread of inaccurate content and misinformation, but this is changing.

We’ve already covered Google’s increasing emphasis on EEAT in search content. In a similar vein, Virginia shared that YouTube (also owned by Google) has started to verify content from medical professionals:

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Medical video content with a “From a licensed doctor in the UK” banner.

They promote this content more heavily through their “Health shelf” feature. Here’s the YouTube results page for asthma, prominently highlighting videos “From health sources”:

1721037368 519 7 Strategies From Medical SEO Pros1721037368 519 7 Strategies From Medical SEO Pros

As YouTube explains, to be eligible for these enriched search features (and likely earn more clicks and views), content needs to be from “credible health sources”. These sources are vetted in different ways:

“Vetting mechanisms include accreditation, academic journal indexing and government accountability rules.”

Virginia recommends healthcare companies apply for PIF TICK certification. Created by the Patient Information Forum, the PIF TICK is the only independently assessed standard for both print and digital healthcare content creators.

While it won’t guarantee improved rankings through either Google Search or YouTube search, it seems like a smart proactive move given Google’s increased emphasis on EEAT content in healthcare.

Final thoughts

Healthcare SEO is competitive and involves solving unique challenges, like medical review of content, competing with industry giants, and staying compliant with tons of regulations.

This guide should arm you with everything you need to connect with patients and clients and grow your healthcare business—while making the world a little smarter (and healthier) in the process.

Want to ask a question? Connect with me on LinkedIn or X.



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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

Are you certain that the content you’re publishing on your website is 100% original?

Steering clear of plagiarism is a top priority for content creators, educators, businesses, and others in order to maintain credibility and avoid legal issues – among other things.

While Copyscape has long been one of the most well-known and popular options for plagiarism checking, the range of available tools has expanded significantly, with various features designed to meet people’s unique needs.

In this article, we will cover the basics of plagiarism – what it is, why you should check for it, how to check, and what to do if someone plagiarizes your content – before highlighting some of the top alternatives to Copyscape, helping you keep your content unique and valuable.

What Is Plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s work, whether words or ideas, and present it as your own without proper attribution.

Plagiarism can range from directly copying someone’s work to closely paraphrasing something without acknowledging the source. Sometimes, it’s purposeful, while other times, the perpetrator might not even realize they’re doing it.

Regardless of intent, plagiarism is a widespread problem that is difficult to combat – but the first step is detecting it.

Why It’s Important To Check For Plagiarism

The consequences of plagiarism can be severe – you can lose credibility, harm your reputation, and even face legal repercussions.

Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to check for (and avoid) plagiarism:

  • Prevent legal problems. Engaging in plagiarism or copyright infringement can expose you to a range of potential legal issues.
  • Maintain your reputation. Trust is vital. But why should audiences trust you if you’re stealing somebody else’s work? Checking for plagiarism is crucial to preserving your reputation and trust with your audience or customers.
  • Preserve your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines are actively trying to crack down on plagiarism and will penalize any plagiarized content. This can hurt your website’s ranking and visibility.

How You Can Check For Plagiarism

There are a handful of different ways to check for plagiarism, including:

  • Manual checks. This is precisely what it sounds like: manually reviewing content for plagiarism by cross-checking text using search engines and academic databases. If you’re examining a small chunk of text, this can work, but it can get unwieldy fast.
  • Use alerts. It’s possible to create your own plagiarism checker by setting up Google Alerts. Simply enter your content into the search query field and let Google know how frequently you want it to alert you of copied content. While not a totally accurate or complete method, it can be effective at times.
  • Monitoring services. You can use existing tools that help flag unauthorized use of your content. They do so by scanning the internet and leveraging algorithms to detect plagiarized content.
  • Online plagiarism checker tools. Software and tools designed specifically to analyze content and run a comprehensive check for plagiarism.

While checking text for direct plagiarism is one thing, identifying paraphrased content or ideas is much more complicated.

And while we will highlight many useful tools in this article, it’s worth remembering that no tool is perfect.

With the sheer amount of content available and more being produced and published every second, it’s nearly impossible to complete a full check. Hence, why plagiarism is an ongoing issue.

What To Do If Someone Plagiarized Your Content

So, what do you do if you discover that somebody else has plagiarized your content? Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Collect evidence. Take screenshots, make notes, and save any URLs as proof of the offense.
  • Contact the perpetrator. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes, plagiarism can be an innocent mistake. No matter the situation, we recommend contacting the offending party and requesting that they either remove your content or label it with the proper attribution.
  • File a complaint. If that doesn’t work, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown complaint, which will send notice to the service provider (e.g., Google or web hosting companies) to remove the content or face legal liability.
  • Seek legal advice. If the case is particularly egregious, or the above steps fail, you can consider speaking with a legal professional.

Top 11 Plagiarism-Checking Alternative Tools To Copyscape

1. Grammarly

Screenshot from Grammarly.com, June 2024

While most people know Grammarly for its spelling and grammar check capabilities, it also offers a useful plagiarism checker tool.

Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker will compare your text (up to 10,000 characters) against academic databases and billions of webpages, then give you an immediate report that lets you know whether it found any plagiarized content.

As a helpful bonus, it will also flag if it finds problems with grammar, spelling, punctuation, conciseness, readability, word choice, or other writing issues.

If you want to take it a step further, Grammarly offers a Premium version of the tool with more advanced capabilities. The paid version will highlight specific sentences of concern, include source information, give you deeper writing feedback, and even allocate your text an “overall originality score.”

Cost

  • Free version available with limited plagiarism detection as well as basic grammar, spelling, etc. checks.
  • Premium Grammarly membership starts at $12/month and includes advanced plagiarism detection.

2. Plagiarisma

Screenshot of Plagiarisma homepage showing a text box for URL input, file upload options, and various supported languages icons. The page includes detailed information about the tool and highlights its effectiveness.Screenshot from Plagiarisma.net, June 2024

If you’re looking for a plagiarism checker that works in several languages, look no further than Plagiarisma. It supports 190+ languages and offers both free and paid versions.

Users can enter text into Plagiarisma in a variety of ways, including uploading documents, entering URLs, or pasting text directly into the tool. Once you’ve shared your copy, it will check it against sources like books, websites (you can choose between Google and Bing as your search engine of choice), and academic papers.

With the free version, users can run plagiarism checks up to three times in one day. You can also upgrade to a Premium membership for access to more features, including a Synonymizer (which helps you leverage synonyms to recreate sentences), a Similarity Checker (which compares documents for similarity), and unlimited access to plagiarism checks.

Cost

  • Free version with up to three plagiarism checks per day.
  • Premium membership starts at $5/month and offers unlimited plagiarism checks and more advanced features.

3. ProWritingAid

1720970763 998 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from ProWritingAid.com, June 2024

Similar to Grammarly, ProWritingAid is an AI-powered writing assistant tool that analyzes your copy and suggests areas for improvement. It also offers a helpful plagiarism checker – and while there is no free version, it’s still reasonably affordable.

According to ProWritingAid, its plagiarism detection tool can compare your text (up to 2,000 words) against billions of sources, both online and offline, including databases, periodicals, and websites.

It will flag directly copied content and give similarity percentages to show areas needing improved paraphrasing or citation.

You can use ProWritingAid’s online editing tool to conduct your check or leverage its Microsoft Word Add-In.

Unlike some other tools, you pay for ProWritingAid based on the number of checks you want to conduct versus a monthly or yearly subscription – so that is worth noting, and might be a benefit if you only have a specific number of documents you need to look at.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • Pricing starts at $10 for 10 checks, $40 for 100 checks, $120 for 500 checks, and $200 for 1,000 checks.

4. Plagiarism Checker

Screenshot of Plagiarism Checker tool showing a text box to insert text, options to check plagiarism via URL, and buttons for grammar checking, paraphrasing, and various other settings.Screenshot from Plagiarism-Checker.me, June 2024

Plagiarism Checker is a fairly straightforward plagiarism detection tool that’s both free and easy to use. If you need a quick and simple option, this is worth checking out.

It boasts a simple user interface and allows users to insert their text directly into the web-based editor, share a URL, or upload a document. You can even denote a URL you want it to exclude, which is a helpful feature if there are particular pages on your site that you want to ignore for now.

Plagiarism Checker scans your text against blogs, websites, and academic papers to detect plagiarism, which it delivers as a percentage. It’s compatible with Mac, Windows, and Android, and supports multiple file formats, including .rtf, .pdf., .docx, .odt, and txt.

Note that there is a limit of 1,000 words per check. The tool also includes a grammar checker and word counter, and you can download the reports it gives you.

Cost

5. CopyGator

Screenshot of CopyGator website explaining how it helps monitor and track content feeds.Screenshot from CopyGator.com, June 2024

CopyGator is a free service designed to help bloggers and content creators monitor and detect duplicate versions of their content on other blogs or websites.

It works by monitoring your website’s RSS feed to see whether content has been republished elsewhere – and automatically notifying you if it finds plagiarism or quotations.

There are two different options for using CopyGator:

  • Image badge: By copying and pasting some code into your site, you can add a CopyGator image badge to your blog that will monitor your feeds for you. When you want to run a check, simply click the badge. If it turns red, CopyGator has detected plagiarized versions of your content.
  • RSS feed: Your other option is to input an RSS feed directly into CopyGator’s tool and ask it to watch the feed. It will create your own custom overview page where you can get updates.

Cost

6. PlagScan

1720970763 752 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from PlagScan.com, June 2024

PlagScan is quite a robust plagiarism detection tool most commonly used by academic institutions and professional writers. One thing to note upfront: There is no free version of this tool.

PlagScan compares your text to a massive database of websites, academic resources, and journals to find plagiarism and compiles a report to help you understand the results.

You’ll receive a PlagLevel score, which summarizes the level of duplicate text found within a document, as well as colored highlighting for possible plagiarism:

  • Red for direct matches.
  • Blue for potentially altered copy.
  • Green for correctly cited text.

With PlagScan, you get a list of sources that match your document to help you with proper citation. You can also compare two documents side-by-side to find similarities. It works with most file types, and your data is protected.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • PlagScan uses a prepaid pricing model based on the number of words/pages. Pricing starts at $6.5 for 6,000 words/24 pages.

7. Copyleaks

Screenshot of the CopyLeaks Plagiarism Detector homepage, displaying highlighted text sections within an example showing potential plagiarized content. Various partner logos are visible below the displayed text.Screenshot from Copyleaks.com, June 2024

Copyleaks is a more sophisticated plagiarism detection tool than many of the options used on this list, making it a popular choice for businesses, educational institutions, and individuals around the world.

According to Copyleaks, it uses “advanced AI” to detect instances of plagiarism across over 100 languages, including paraphrasing, plagiarism in programming code, and even AI-generated plagiarism. Each scan checks content against 60 trillion websites, more than 16,000 journals, over 1 million internal documents, and 20+ code data repositories.

The tool has a very user-friendly interface, allowing you to choose from different types of files you might want to scan – text, documents, code, URLs, etc. You can also use the “compare” option to compare two documents or URLs to each other.

Another handy feature within Copyleaks is the ability to schedule recurring scans so that it will automatically check for duplicate content on a regular basis. It also offers easy and flexible API integration,

Cost

  • Free trial available.
  • Paid plans start at $8.99/month for up to 1,200 credits (equal to 300,000 words). For $13.99/month, you’ll get access to both the plagiarism detection and AI content detection tools in one.

8. Plagium

Screenshot of Plagium's plagiarism detection interface, featuring options for quick search, deep search, and file search with pricing details below. Screenshot from Plagium.com, June 2024

Plagium is a good choice if you’re looking for an easy and cost-effective plagiarism checker. It uses a simple web-based text box and offers both “quick search” and “Deep Search” functions, the latter of which is basically a term for a closer check and the ability to scan large documents.

A quick search is free and allows up to 500 characters – though the website appears to indicate that the number of quick searches is capped. In order to use the Deep Search feature, you’ll need to create an account – and these searches start at $0.08/page using Plagium’s credits system.

As a member, you’re able to upload different types of documents – such as PDFs – and Plagium also integrates with Google Drive and offers a Google Docs Add-on.

Cost

  • Free quick search up to 500 characters.
  • Paid plans start at $9.99/month for over 143,000 characters, with options for prepaid plans if that is more your speed.

9. Dupli Checker

1720970763 634 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from DupliChecker.com, June 2024

Need a free, easy-to-use plagiarism checker that’s available in up to seven languages and accepts a variety of file formats? Dupli Checker could be for you.

Dupli Checker’s simple interface makes it easy to scan your documents for plagiarism. You can paste directly into the website or upload files from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Like other tools in this list, you can also share a URL you’d like the tool to check, and up to five URLs you want it to exclude.

The tool promises 100% privacy – meaning it doesn’t save any of your documents – and summarizes your results in a report that highlights duplicate copy, gives you a percentage rating, and offers more features like grammar issues.

Cost

  • Free version with up to 1,000 words per search.
  • Paid plans start at $10/month for increased searches, higher word limits, and other advanced features.

10. Quetext

1720970763 386 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from quetext.com, June 2024

Quetext has become a popular plagiarism detection tool, and for good reason. It’s dependable and user-friendly, with some handy little features to help you spot plagiarism in your documents.

How does it work? You just enter your text into the web-based browser box and click “Check for plagiarism.” Quetext then uses its DeepSearch™ Technology (a machine-learning algorithm) to scan your text against billions of internet sources and spot plagiarism.

It provides you with a report that includes a plagiarism score and both exact matches and near matches to other existing text.

It highlights the latter using its ColorGrade™ feedback feature, which uses different colors to highlight exact match copy vs. “fuzzy” matches (or close matches) – a valuable tool for spotting plagiarism that might have otherwise flown under the radar.

It also offers a “Cite Source” feature, which helps you produce citations across Chicago, MLA, and APA formats.

Cost

  • Free version available, which includes up to 500 words, a website citation generator, and a citation assistant.
  • Paid tiers start at $8.80/month, which includes 100,000 words per month and a range of other advanced features.

11. PlagTracker

1720970763 220 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from Plagtracker.com, June 2024

PlagTracker is an online, web-based plagiarism detector that bills itself as “the most accurate plagiarism checking service.” The tool lists students, teachers, publishers, and site owners as its intended users, and it checks text against over 14 billion webpages and “more than 20 million academic works.”

Using PlagTracker is pretty straightforward. Users upload a document into the tool, which scans it and then returns a detailed report that shows what percentage of their document is plagiarized and highlights specific sections with sources.

It supports multiple languages –English, German, French, Romanian, Spanish, and Italian – making it a versatile tool. PlagTracker has a 5,000-word limit for free users, though you can pay for a Premium membership for unlimited access.

Cost

  • Free version is available with a 5,000-word limit.
  • Premium subscription starts at $7.49/month for unlimited volume and other advanced features.

The Best Plagiarism Detection Tools On The Market

And there you have it: Copyscape is by no means the only option for plagiarism detection tools.

Those listed above are great alternatives that cater to a wide range of use cases, whether you’re looking for a cheap and easy solution or an all-in-one AI-powered writing assistant.

If you’re a content creator of any kind, you must produce work that’s original and unique – and these tools can help you do just that.

However, always remember that these tools are far from perfect; you should have other checks and balances in place to ensure the quality of your work.

Avoiding plagiarism will protect your credibility and reputation and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. Not to mention, it’ll keep you out of trouble.

More resources: 


Featured Image: VectorMine/Shutterstock

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