Marketing Healthcare to Women: Google Search Joins with Mayo Clinic

February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to deliver health information through search in a totally new way to provide more information on symptoms and treatment.  This change, which began on February 10, will certainly set a new bar for how Americans seek information and medical facilities respond.  But it may also pose a challenge for marketers.

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.46.10Rather than relying on information resulting from a regular search, Google has taken the position that health information needs to be presented in a different and more reliable way.  Mayo Clinic has partnered with Google to review all the information provided.  Now, when a consumer does a search, they will see an expanded box next to their Google search on desktop and more detailed information on the Google app.

And while this new search box will provide useful information, the change certainly impacts content and search strategy for marketers.  The addition of this information box to the search results may likely mean a reduction in clicks to the websites in the SERPs.  The person searching may not perceive a need to go to the website with specific information.  For instance, if a person needs information on heart attack warning signs, they may never go to a local hospital site, only relying on the Google box of information.  Video may be a strong tool in getting around the knowledge graph.  Currently videos are not included in the knowledge graph.   A 2011 study by AimClear demonstrated that video can receive as much as 41 percent more clicks in organic search over text results.

According to Google,  “the box will be filled with enhanced information culled from throughout the web, verified by multiple physicians and, finally, signed off by doctors from Mayo. Altogether, an average of 11.1 physicians have inspected and approved the information Google will now present.”

The information may include special illustrations, symptoms and treatments.  Google is beginning with 400 medical conditions which will inform about 10% of current health searches.

This initiative is huge in Google.  Here are some of the reasons why Google has made this change:

1.  One in every 20 searches on Google is about health information.

2.  Three-quarters of all health inquiries start with a search engine, according to Pew Research.

3.  The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors for health professionals.

4.  35% of US adult say that they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they have or someone else has.

5.  One in five internet users have consulted online reviews and/or rankings of healthcare providers/treatments.

6.  31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.

The technology that Google is using is part of the Knowledge Graph which links searches to connected information.  Now, you currently see this technology at work when you see the box of information to the right of a search results displayed for a celebrity or famous personality.

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