How to Make Semantic Search Work for Your Medical Practice

May 11, 2014
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Go to Google and enter a query phrased as a question. You may see something new. Wherever it can, Google is using what it calls Direct Answers to give answers right on the search page to many surfer questions. This is part of Google’s new semantic search, and it’s changing the way that surfers interact with your content.Search Engine Medical Practice Marketing

Go to Google and enter a query phrased as a question. You may see something new. Wherever it can, Google is using what it calls Direct Answers to give answers right on the search page to many surfer questions. This is part of Google’s new semantic search, and it’s changing the way that surfers interact with your content.Search Engine Medical Practice Marketing

Simple Answers Aren’t Enough

Many people who take to Google to search will be able to have their basic queries answered without ever visiting your or any other page. And, the questions that Google answers directly may get even more detailed. When SearchEngineLand asked Google representatives what was in the future for Direct Answers, the reply was “we’re always experimenting with different types of answers, but we don’t have more details to share at this point.”

While answering surfers’ medical questions is a good start, just providing simple answers to questions is not enough. Don’t just provide a simple definition of a medical term; create blog posts that discuss living with a condition, treatment options or other factors that would interest readers. To get eyes on your content and bring a chance of a conversion, it takes more depth.

Make Them Curious Enough to Click

Compelling content on your pages is imperative. But, before your prospects can read it, they need to get to your site. Google’s standard search engine result display still shows the title and a short description of your page that is usually taken from the meta description. Leverage these important elements of your content to make surfers more likely to visit your site.

First, it’s important for titles to be both keyword-oriented and enticing to readers. Don’t just title your page “Skin Cancer Symptoms.” Instead, use a helpful title such as “Identifying Four Common Skin Cancer Symptoms.” Then, follow up with a description that tells a little about what the reader can find on the page. Readers will know that you are giving a detailed guide they can use to determine what may be going on with them and whether they should seek medical help. Basic SEO practices like ensuring quick loading times, optimizing across platforms and creating detailed and up to date sitemaps, of course, still apply.

Local Optimization Helps

One new OneBox feature that can be a boon to local doctors offices is the local search results box. Google returns a set of 10 local results when people perform searches for local businesses. Make sure that your pages are optimized for local search so that you turn up in these results.

The key to continued relevance is to adapt to the changing search environment. By adjusting your content strategies to better meet the needs of your potential clients, you can continue to get valuable search engine traffic.