How Can Healthcare Marketers Optimize for Natural Language Search?

Natural Language Search With iPhone Siri

Natural language search has been around for quite a while – ever use AskJeeves.com or WolframAlpha? But the shift from keyword-based search to natural language comprehension has gained much more attention since the release of virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri and mobile search applications such as Google Now in 2012.

Throughout 2013, other tech giants have made moves to accommodate the growing natural language search trend as well. In March, Facebook released their natural language search engine Graph Search. Then in August Google announced Hummingbird, their latest search algorithm update. Both Graph Search and Hummingbird aim to not only understand what the searcher is asking but provide accurate and relevant search results to them. With the announcement yesterday that Yahoo has acquired natural language processing technology SkyPhase (most likely to keep up with competitors), it’s time to discuss what exactly natural language search is all about.

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5 Social Media Trends that Will Change How Healthcare Marketers Approach Strategy in 2014

5 Social Media Trends for Healthcare Marketers

Ninety-three percent of marketers will be maintaining or increasing how much they are spending on social media advertising in 2014, according to a new report from eMarketer. But where should healthcare marketers be focusing their attentions to get the most bang for their buck, not to mention their valuable time?

Social media strategy in 2014 will shift focus away from increasing the number of likes/followers your brand has to engaging your target audience through organic interactions. Marketers will need to adapt quickly across many social media channels in order to incorporate micro-video, image-centric content and native advertising into the mix. And finally, if you haven’t built out your brand’s Google+ profile yet you are already behind.

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How the Google Stole Christmas

Google Stole Christmas

Twas the night ‘fore Thanksgiving and Mother logged on
To the Internet looking to shop until dawn.
Black Friday then Thursday then Wednesday too,
The deals kept on coming, so what could she do?
On Amazon, on eBay, on Overstock she yelled,
On Toys R Us, Best Buy and Zappos as well!
She maxed out one credit card, then pulled out one more,
She shopped ’til she fell asleep on the floor.

The Grinch name of Goo(gle) found the whole thing quite funny,
His internet business practically printed out money.
But the season was starting and competition was high,
More aggressive tactics he’d need to get by.
Email blasts, PPC, and SEO anew,
Door buster discounts and remarketing too!
What’s that? Never heard of it? What does it do,
Asked Marvin from marketing to the Grinch name of Goo.
Our customers come and our customers see,
And sometimes they buy, but sometimes they flee.
We cannot allow them to just get away,
We’ll follow them, track them and hunt them like prey.

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An Appeal for a Balanced Digital Promotion Strategy

WeighIndividuals devoted to organic search engine optimization (SEO) and those to paid search have butted heads for years. Each espouse a purist view on the acquisition of traffic that’s incompatible with the other. Does it need to be this way?

The Arguments

The SEO community argues that the power of the Internet comes from its ability to even the playing field for all involved. This philosophy to let the best content win allows small companies, even individuals, to have a voice equal to that of the largest firms. This democratized utopia has been tainted by the growing influence of paid advertising that directs naive consumers not to the best results, but to the sites able to pay the most.
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Ah Crap! Google Changed Something… Again!

panda-penguin

Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most widely-used analytics programs in the world. Although Google tends to make changes to most of their products and algorithms often, Google Analytics is a little different. It only gets fundamental changes maybe once per year … and even that might be pushing it. Granted, there are little updates here and there that happen, but generally the big ones don’t happen that often. This has been true, until recently.

There are a lot of people who want GA to focus only on what they want and need. A lot of people used to say that the user interface (UI) of their analytics product was terrible (my opinion is that it was OK, but could use some help in certain areas). They also noted that it was too hard to find things and that there was too much fluff data in the program. Knowing that they can’t please everyone, Google has started making changes where the most people are asking for them.

Within the last week or so, there has been two HUGE changes to Google Analytics. Both of which change the fundamentals of the program many of us had finally began to master. Both of these changes center on the UI of their product. This is fascinating to me. Not the fact that they made a change – the fact that they made two changes so close together. I want to go over each of these changes and share some of the things that I have observed.
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Google Giveth and Google Taketh Away

Not Provide in Analytics

There’s been a noticeable increase in the level of griping by SEOs about the way that Google has been treating them. The complaints are mostly focused on the rapid growth of (Not Provided) keywords from Google searches. While SEOs struggle with the changing tools available to them, what Google is trying to accomplish is much larger than frustrating the search optimization business – they intend to fundamentally change the way we approach our organic search strategies and I believe they’ll succeed.

(Not Provided)

About two years ago, Google started to slowly shut off our ability as website managers to see what searches brought visitors to our sites. Google decided to hide the keywords used by anyone using the search engine through an encrypted (https) connection and clicking an organic (non-paid) result – primarily those logged into Google when doing a search.

Their argument was that this is a privacy issue. Google explained that they should protect the browsing habits of anyone using an encrypted search. These users wanted greater privacy – that’s WHY they used an encrypted page, after all. Functionally, this meant anyone logged into Google for any reason including Gmail, Google Voice, YouTube or Google Analytics would now have their keyword searches hidden from destination websites.

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Google+ Is Not An Optional Component of Your Digital Strategy

google-plus

Ahhh… Google+, the social media property that we all explored eagerly, and then ignored. Neither as convenient as Twitter, nor as familiar as Facebook… for a good long while, nobody really knew how to use it for business.

But that has changed. And if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to dust off your Google+ account and do some work.

This is because Google has decided to make Google+ the lynchpin for several of their endeavors. Many new features from Google require it:
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Google Authorship Is Coming (Whether You Want It Or Not)

Image of a keyboard with a News key

If you’re trying to weigh whether or not you want to implement Google Authorship as part of your digital strategy and marketing, your role as decision-maker is becoming less and less relevant.

On Monday Google announced they have partnered with WordPress.com, TypePad, About.com and other platforms and sites to implement what they call, Google+ Sign-In.
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The Guide to Google Publisher

The Secret to SEO: User Experience

secrets-to-seo

If you’ve worked with any of the awesome writers or strategists here at Geonetric, you’ve probably heard them advocating for the best user experience possible. Whether you’re looking at reshaping a single page of content, a complete information architecture overhaul or a new site design – be sure to keep the user central to your decision-making process.

User experience matters in so many ways, but more recently, Google has focused on the quality of a page in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). While it’s not really a brand new idea in the world of SEO, it’s worth revisiting.
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It’s Time to Start Using ‘nofollow’ Links in Your Press Releases

I’ve been tweeting a fair bit lately about Google’s recent change to their Quality Guidelines regarding link schemes and the consequences for backlinks in press releases. Put simply, if part of your SEO strategy is building backlinks by spamming the world with press releases pointing back to your Web properties, it’s time to stop that and start investing in building quality content instead. If you use press releases as a tool to get your message out, you can continue doing this…but all the links in press releases that point back to your site should use the nofollow attribute.
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The Google Authorship FAQ

We’re at a point in time where Google is giving us unprecedented control over how our properties are listed in their search results. Based on the questions I’ve been getting, it’s something many health care organizations are currently trying to figure out.

One important way organizations can enhance how their content is listed on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) is by implementing Google Authorship in their content.

Because it’s a popular topic and something that can help draw attention to your pages in search results (possibly even more so than buying ads), I’ve assembled a convenient FAQ that answers some of the most common questions I’ve heard.
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VitalSite 6.7 is Here!

Last week our engineering team released VitalSite 6.7. It contains a slew of new features, fixes and enhancements focused on helping consumers find your site and the content within it. This release includes enhancement to site search, schema.org support, and a range of tools for webmasters.

Site Search Enhancements and Schema.org Support

Screen shot of VitalSite's module search showing provider directory
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Keeping Your Eye on VitalSite Search Metrics

woman with binoculours

Search is the means by which people find the content they’re looking for. When it comes to a healthcare site, this might be a consumer looking for a doctor who specializes in their condition(s), a mom looking for the nearest urgent care clinic for her son’s earache, or a patient looking for the login page to the portal to renew a prescription.

While we typically look at search to assess how visitors find our site from big search providers (such as Google), understanding how visitors are using VitalSite’s built-in search engine is important too. Keep in mind, search doesn’t end at your doorstep! Understanding how your site visitors use VitalSite search can help inform decisions on where and how to tweak your site to respond to visitor needs and behavior by:
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