Explore essential strategies for healthcare marketers to thrive in the age of Google’s Generative AI Search Experience.
The introduction of Google’s Generative AI Search Experience (GSE) is set to revolutionize the digital marketing landscape for healthcare organizations. It is building on the capabilities of AI in healthcare to provide more detailed and customized search experiences tailored to individual needs.
With the increase in AI usage, natural language processing, and knowledge graphs, digital marketers need to be more proactive in harnessing strategies that position us at the forefront of these evolving technologies. For health system and hospital marketers, these changes emphasize the growing importance of semantic search and optimizing content to offer robust information to people inquiring about medical conditions and services.
As Google works to keep its audience captive by offering complete answers to complex questions, your website must be the destination for the long-form, deep expertise, and engagement that Google cannot offer. It’s also worth noting that Google asserts that it will wait to provide information using generative AI on risky topics including YMYL content (Your Money Your Life). That list includes highly sensitive medical topics. The following are seven key strategies that can empower healthcare digital marketers to excel in the ecosystem of AI in the healthcare industry.
Create Health Content that Defies an Easy Answer
Google’s generative AI response is designed to pull the answers to users’ specific and complex questions directly from your content. It seamlessly infuses it with information from various other sources to create a comprehensive response, eliminating the need for users to leave the platform at all. This could mean fewer organic clicks to the websites listed organically below Google’s generative AI search response.
Being prominently listed as a source with a hyperlink in Google’s generative search results is still advantageous for increasing organic clicks. To maximize your impact in this digital landscape, you should focus on producing content that demands more than just a brief response. Your advantage lies in catering to audiences such as patients, physicians, and job seekers who rely on your platform for transactional and in-depth information on complex medical conditions and treatments.
This kind of complex information cannot be adequately distilled into a Google search result—even a lengthy Generative AI result. Ultimately, when users want information on visiting your providers, working at your hospital, or getting involved in any capacity, they will need to get the whole picture of what you offer. Develop robust content to address these needs that visitors can only get from your website.
Adhere to E-E-A-T Guidelines
Google assesses the quality of websites based on Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). Given the sensitive nature of the healthcare field, these guidelines are paramount.
The content that is likely to be most affected by GSE is your top-of-funnel content, such as blog posts or articles. This content is often less specific to your brand, and more focused on addressing specific queries. The optimal strategy here is to follow E-E-A-T guidelines, a practice that should ideally already be integrated into your content strategy.
Develop Comprehensive Clinician Profiles and Service Line Content
Detailed profiles of your physicians, nurses, and other key staff AND rich content for service lines (centers/departments and the programs within them) are critical in showcasing your organization’s expertise and capabilities. This is your brand differentiator, and where your E-E-A-T can shine.
Service line content should cover all aspects of your care offerings including treatments, programs, services, conditions, procedures, and specialties. Striking a balance between thoroughness and conciseness is key. Be sure to optimize physician and staff profiles by establishing internal links to related programs, services, conditions, etc., that will improve the AI’s understanding of your organization.
Seize the Opportunity with Featured Snippets and PAA
Google’s featured snippets and People Also Ask (PAA) provide direct answers to user queries within the search results, occupying prime real estate at the top of the search engine results page. By optimizing your content to provide concise, readable, and direct answers to the featured snippet and PAA questions, particularly in areas related to healthcare conditions, treatments, or blog content, you can significantly increase your visibility and boost your chances of connecting with potential patients.
Master Structured Data
The effectiveness of AI in comprehending content relies heavily on structured data. Through the integration of a robust structured data markup adhering to Schema.org, you provide Google’s AI with the required tools for a comprehensive understanding of your offerings. This data includes details about your facility, medical professionals, medical conditions, treatments, and services. The more clearly the AI understands your content, the more precisely it can present it to potential patients, as well as other key audiences, in search results.
Utilize FAQ Sections
The healthcare industry naturally invites many questions. By implementing FAQ schemas in your code, the in-depth answers to common questions on your site can be easily understood by Google. While the importance of schema in FAQs may have diminished for other types of websites, Google continues to prioritize it for the healthcare industry. FAQ sections can be added to your global website, clinician profile pages, across priority service line pages, conditions, and treatments, and even blog posts. This approach not only informs your audience but gives Google more content to feature in its generative search results and snippets, thus increasing your visibility.
Encourage User-Generated Content and Reviews
With Google’s Generative AI Search, user-generated content such as reviews and testimonials will be pivotal in boosting your online presence. The AI will actively evaluate these reviews and generate results based on positive user experiences. Consequently, encouraging satisfied patients to share their experiences or responding to patients who had negative experiences can notably enhance your local search visibility.
As search engines evolve to become more personalized, the content that ranks well will need to reflect a deep understanding of users and their intent. Hospitals that effectively showcase their knowledge and expertise through structured and easy-to-understand ways will benefit most from advancements in AI and natural language processing.
By focusing on these seven crucial areas, healthcare marketers can gain greater visibility in search and build brand authority, ultimately resulting in more informed patients and better health outcomes. The future of search is here, and it is AI-driven. Is your health system ready to meet patients where they search?
Written with support from Lindsey Neugut
Meg Shanley is the Senior Vice President of Experience at Primacy, a leading full-service digital experience agency, crafting pivotal, purposeful brand experiences that maximize customer lifetime value. With over 15 years of experience, Meg brings a seasoned expertise to user experience, information architecture and content strategy. Alongside a team of tenured experts spanning branding, experience design, marketing, data analysis, and technology, Primacy is committed to delivering outstanding results in the healthcare industry. Lindsey is a content strategist with a focus on SEO at Primacy.