Recently, we have been getting a lot of questions from dentists and medical professionals about website ranking and Google’s new algorithm called “Hummingbird,” which is said to affect more than 90% of all web searches.
This new algorithm update was deployed only last September. The last time Google made such major change was in 2001. While its predecessor, Caffeine, implemented in 2010, helped Google gather better information, Hummingbird is designed to provide better answers to more complex questions that users ask when searching online.
Optimizing Dental and Medical Websites
The search engine optimization of dental and medical websites is focused on localized search, which involves few keywords or what is referred to as “short-tail search queries”. This gives dental and medical websites the best opportunity to appear in searches where a potential patient is looking for a dentist or medical professional in their area. At Solution21, we seek to optimize dental and medical websites with a specific location and specialization with our SEO and marketing strategies.
How different is Hummingbird?
As oppose to shorter keywords, Hummingbird focuses on giving better results for users who enter what is known as “long-tail search queries”. This is also called semantic searches, because it’s a lot more similar to the natural way we speak. Google predicts that over time, users will be inclined to search for what they want, rather than for keywords. For example, instead of someone searching for, “Dentists in Irvine”, the Hummingbird algorithm will target searches like, “How can I get rid of coffee stains on my teeth?” Ultimately, the goal of Hummingbird is to bring relevant results to each search query.
What Hummingbird Means to Dentists, Doctors and Medical Professionals?
As most dental and medical websites focus on short keywords, Hummingbird does not have much of an initial impact on the type of searches that potential patients make online. However, as search becomes more semantic in nature, your practice website must adapt to provide the answers to more complex questions that potential patients are asking through conversational searches. So if you have been diligent with your SEO, you don’t really have to worry about anything and just continue providing high quality content.
Blog and Original Content to Feed the Hummingbird
Blog posts are the most efficient platform to feed the Hummingbird algorithm because it is designed to answer very specific questions your patients might be asking. “When do I take my son for his first dental visit?” “What’s the best toothpaste for someone with sensitive gum?” “How do I know if I need an implant?” These questions can only be answered if your dental or medical website is equipped with a blog. Indeed, Hummingbird algorithm is going to favor websites that provide those answers. However, it must be emphasized that the blog must sit in the same server as the website and connected to your domain name for the Hummingbird to favor your site in search queries. Solution21 has been a proponent of dental and medical blogging and we help set-up and manage our clients’ blog sites
Why Do I Need to Adapt to These Changes?
As dentists, doctors and medical professionals, it’s easy to dismiss Google’s new algorithm as immaterial. Afterall, there’s paid advertisement to help websites stay on top. But the fact is consumer behavior online continue to change, so we have to keep working at making the content of your practice website relevant and visible to your potential patients.
Together, we must see Hummingbird as a way to rise above the clutter. This update will help weed out the unfit sites and reward performing sites with the opportunity to separate from the competition.
Solution21 offers a host of services to help dentists, doctors, and medical professionals build original and unique content that appeals to and reaches their potential patients. Contact a Solution21 web specialist at 888-423-9235 or email to find out more!
About the Author. Sid Marashi is VP of Operations and Sales at Solution21– a leading U.S.-based dental and medical web design and digital marketing company. With over 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and operations, Sid has worked for software industry giants such as Microsoft and Computer Associates.