Yes, search engines have changed. And many medical and healthcare sites lag, which creates an opportunity for all you early adopters.

In the good old days, we typed in a word and received millions of hits. Then the geeky ones whittled down results using Google hacks, and our good friends the Booleans – AND, OR, NOT. In 2013, Google switched to semantic search and the Panda update, the scourge of SEOs everywhere.

The new semantic search works more like natural language by creating context. This also comes in handy when you’re bossing Siri around. Let’s consider the command, “Find Pizza.” Because we know the context: it’s dinner time, and your search history tells Google that you stop for pizza in all the towns you visit. We can be fairly certain you’re looking for a pizza joint near your present location, and not pizza ingredients, pizza ovens or pizza in Bucharest. So, Google will return the name of the closest pizzeria. Consumers are happy to get precise information. And most marketers are happy to give it to them. But how?

How Your Site can Welcome Semantic Search

The good news is that while you can’t control the contexts Google sets up, you can control how search engines view your site.

The way you do that is through microdata. You can communicate: here are the procedures we perform in thoracic surgery, the doctors who perform them, and an image of our state-of-the-art bypass machine. And, all this information might appear in search and increase your click-thru. We’ll tell you more about Schema.org and microdata in future issues.