Google’s Expanded Health Conditions Knowledge Graph – What Does it Mean for SEO?

We’ve done it. You have done it. So have a lot of other people we all know.

What is it?

Searched for information about a health condition online. As of February 2015, Google made it easier to find this type of information with a knowledge graph containing details for more than 400 medical conditions. And in early September, they more than doubled the number of conditions and enhanced the visual appearance of the health conditions knowledge graph, and added a downloadable PDF with the information. So now, when you search for a common condition such as “asthma”, you will see a page that looks like this:

Health Conditions Knowledge Graph

 

I’m sure you’re thinking, “This is great – I get information about the condition, including symptoms and treatments. I don’t see any problems.” The problem is what if you are a hospital or medical facility with an asthma treatment program, and you have just spent time optimizing your web pages to rank in one of the top positions for the term?  Now you are not only competing with health information sites such as WebMD as well as other hospitals, but you need to drag the searcher’s attention away from the bold visual.

All is not hopeless with this development. There are opportunities for hospitals and health care providers, including:

  • Users that will scroll past the knowledge graph to organic results are likely to be more qualified leads. Students and casual browsers who are simply looking for definitions and general information will have no need to look further. Patients and families truly looking for care for a condition will be seeking additional information.
  • Long-tail queries are (at least for now) not displaying the knowledge graph. So although phrases such as “exercise induced asthma” and “pediatric asthma” have less search volume than the broad term “asthma”, organic search results have better visibility and thus better click-throughs.

Beyond this, the question that remains for hospitals and healthcare providers is whether there is any benefit for them in maintaining pages on their site about medical conditions. For users that are seeking care for a condition, there is still value in gaining a ranking position in that space as the knowledge graph does not provide direction for treatment. Bottom line – perhaps there is a silver lining in the knowledge graph in allowing hospitals to do what they do best, provide treatment.

What Does it Take to Become a Great SEO? 4 Must-Have Traits

Hulk Breaking Out: 09/10/06By Sam Coren

When I first started networking with other SEOs, I found out that there are quite a few different paths that lead people to this line of work. One reason for this is that there is very little by means of formalized, structured SEO education out there. Although it seems that in the past couple years, judging by all the wonderful Facebook ads I get, that some colleges have begun offering courses in digital strategy including SEO / PPC. However, within the SEO community, we have our hesitations about learning SEO in an academic environment.

Some of my colleagues at Charles River Interactive ventured into SEO consulting after tenures as webmasters, paid search planners, and various in-house marketing positions. We often talk about what types of experience, skills, and mindsets it takes to really succeed in this role. While the different types of experience leading up to someone becoming an SEO vary significantly, there are common traits that all great SEOs seem to have, regardless of where they came from.

So without further ado, here’s what we’ve come up with as the 4 universal “make-or-break” traits that you need to become a great SEO:

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