Recent surveys show that one-third of all adults in the United States use the internet to diagnose medical conditions. Not wanting to be left behind, Google recently released its own symptom checker for online searchers.
This can be a blessing and a curse for healthcare providers. On one hand, the internet helps patients to be more educated about their own care. On the other hand, amateur research can sometimes lead folks to bad conclusions.
For healthcare providers, it is essential to take advantage of healthcare SEO to connect more patients with their practice. Let’s take a closer look at Google’s symptom checker will impact your SEO strategy.
What is Google’s Symptom Checker?
Sites like WebMD and MayoClinic have long made it easy for internet users to check their symptoms. While these have been useful tools, users often had difficulty narrowing down their symptoms to the most likely condition.
For instance, a symptom like stomach pain can have a lot of different causes. In most cases, it’s caused by something benign, like eating something that didn’t agree with you. But in rare cases, the condition can be something much more serious, like peritoneal mesothelioma cancer.
The purpose of Google’s symptom checker is to quickly present users with conditions that are the likely cause of their symptoms. Users can then click on each condition, and learn more information about specific risk factors. The symptom checker also indicates whether the symptoms warrant a visit to the doctor’s office.
How Can Symptom Checker Help Healthcare Providers?
On the surface, Google’s symptom checker seems to present a difficulty for healthcare SEO. The purpose of this algorithm is to provide better filtering of information related to specific symptoms. This ultimately makes it harder for pages to rank high in search engine results on these topics.
But symptom checker also offers unique opportunities for healthcare providers. One of these opportunities is to create content that will appear in one of Google’s knowledge graphs.
A knowledge graph is a type of callout box that appears on a search engine results page, and provides answers to specific questions that searchers are often looking for. So how can you develop content that might appear in one of these graphs?
Start by considering what symptoms patients might search for that are relevant to your practice. For instance, if you are part of an OB-GYN practice, potential patients may commonly search things like “Is it normal to bleed during pregnancy?” or “Why do I have such bad cramps on my period?”
To optimize your practice’s page, include articles that provide straight-forward answers to these questions. Addressing these issues will make it more likely that a patient will find your site, and choose to make an appointment with one of your physicians.
Take Advantage of Healthcare SEO
With the right strategy, your practice can take advantage of Google’s symptom checker to take your healthcare SEO strategy to the next level.
If you would like to learn more about how SEO can impact your healthcare practice, contact us. We will keep you up to date on all matters SEO-related.