Date posted: 08 November 2017
Links, content and RankBrain. These are the three most important factors for getting your web pages to rank in Google. If you want physicians and patients to find your content online, this is what you need to be optimising for.
In this post, we’ll take a candid look at what Google RankBrain is and what you can do, in five easy(ish) steps, to help drive more organic search traffic to your corporate, brand and therapy area websites.
Google RankBrain: what is it, and why should healthcare marketers care?
What | RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that helps process search results. It’s part of Google’s overall search algorithm, Hummingbird: a computer program that sorts through billions of webpages to find the most relevant results for a search.
How | I’ll assume that you have only a high-level interest in how RankBrain actually work, so I’ll share this quote from Google’s Gary Illyes,
RankBrain leverages the historical performance of essentially, or nearly, identical queries, to see what worked and what didn’t, and then leverages that information to adjust and improve the delivered results for the current query
In short, RankBrain takes complex, multi-word queries, and helps interpret/translate their meaning to find the best pages for the searcher.
Why | RankBrain helps Google process rare and one-of-a-kind queries, including the kinds of searches that are likely to pop-up in healthcare.
For example, a parent may investigate a child’s symptoms associated with a rare disease that leads to an earlier, more timely diagnosis, or a physician could research the management of little-known side effects that leads to enhanced patient care and outcomes.
Whatever the scenario, the value of optimising webpages for healthcare queries is obvious.
What should healthcare marketers do about it?
Nothing. You can’t optimize for RankBrain. Pah!
OK, perhap more helpfully, here’s what you should consider when creating web content you want to rank well in Google Search Results Pages (SERPs):
- Put audience needs first
Google’s ranking signals include, click-through rates (CTR), bounce rates (BR) and time on site. These signals (plus a few others) tell Google about the value of your content to the searcher. As such, the more people click on your search result, the lower its bounce rate and the higher their time on site, the better. So put your audience needs first and you won’t go far wrong.
- Optimise for clicks
One way to do this, is to create irresistible snippets to drastically improve your click through rates. To be featured, create content that answers searchers’ specific questions and provide in-depth answers to doctor and patient queries.
- End it
You want your site to be the last place your audience goes to find information. Why? This tells Google that they found what they wanted on your site. To do this, comprehensively address the needs of your audience. See a theme emerging here?
- Big is beautiful
Larger sites rank better. I’m sorry, that’s just life. Therefore, if SEO is a big part of your digital marketing strategy then it’ll be important to invest in the development of lots of valuable, high quality content that comprehensively addresses audience needs.
- On-page ranking factors
From keywords to content, and on-page dressing, we’ve got you covered. Check-out our previous guides for more details on these.
In summary, none of this is really rocket science. Google cares about the needs of the audience more than yours. Using a bunch of different ranking signals, it will preferentially promote pages that best address searcher needs. As such, if you want doctors and patients to find your content, put their needs first by creating and optimising awesome content that addresses their search queries. Easy right?!