By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
The Internet has become healthcare’s front door. And your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and medical content had better be first class because Google is shuffling the results deck.
Google took notice of the big connection between online searches and health, and you’ll soon find medical content in Knowledge Graph enhanced search results. (If the label’s not familiar, you’ve probably seen Google’s Knowledge Graph present a carousel of search results at the top of page.)
On average, Google processes more than 40,000 search queries of all sorts every second…and one in 20 Google searches are health-related. What’s more, nearly everyone searches. More than 80 percent of Internet users have searched online for health info. And often via a mobile device.
The number of users searching, plus the number of health, medical, hospital and similar category searches is collectively mind-numbing. Working with the Mayo Clinic and other medical professionals, the Knowledge Graph overlay is intended to improve the quality of health-related search content.
Keeping up with Google’s quest for quality info…
Google isn’t the only search engine of course, but they are the dominant player. They never reveal much about themselves, but here’s what they had to say:
“So…when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more.
“For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.” [Google Official Blog]
Be prepared for changes…
In its early years, Google Search did not discriminate much, and results were results by the millions. More recently however, Google has recognized that quality, not just quantity, makes a significant difference to the user. This is particularly true when presenting health and wellness information. (Previously the user was likely to find, as one observer called it, a “sewer of health misinformation.”)
The Knowledge Graph rollout begins with over 400 health topics, with more to come. Here are some of the things that are likely to impact you:
More than ever, quality content counts. Google appears to be increasingly determined to sort the information wheat from the chaff. Ultimately, every page on every website needs to be an authoritative resource of quality content. In a sense, you’re competing with Google’s team of doctors who “carefully compile, curate and review this information.”
Patients are increasingly educated. The Internet launched the age of the informed and empowered patient/consumer. What’s important to note is that Knowledge Graph intends to push the bar even higher…and hopefully, with less misinformation. Google distinguishes between medical “information” and medical “advice,” and encourages users to “always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.”
Think Mobile. Mobile. Mobile. Significantly, Google’s examples are seen in a mobile format, recognizing that users increasingly use smartphones and other mobile devices for immediate, on-the-go searches. The message is that mobile search is a primary user access path.
You’ll do better with professional help. SEO has always been a complicated, and sometimes delicate, process. Google Knowledge Graph is yet another overlay in the formula for gaining and maintaining online visibility. We have several Internet and SEO professionals onboard at Healthcare Success because keeping up with Google and SEO is a challenging, full-time assignment. Let us know if we can help with your Internet marketing.