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The Healthcare Search Landscape in 2019: SEO, Content Marketing, & More

  1. Rand Fishkin | Founder & CEO Healthcare Search & SEO in 2019 The forces changing search, searchers, and search engine optimization (with a focus on the health vertical)
  3. 5 Crucial Topics in Healthcare SEO 2: Voice search & voice answers: hype vs. reality 1: How Google’s future changes what works in SEO 3: Amazon and product search 4: Why 1% of content works, and 99% falls flat 5: When & how to use ads vs. organic
  4. Google’s Future
  5. Here’s Why That Should Scare Web Creators…
  6. Google Needs Growth, & It’s Not Coming From New Searchers (at least in developed countries) - 5,000,000,000 10,000,000,000 15,000,000,000 20,000,000,000 25,000,000,000 30,000,000,000 35,000,000,000 40,000,000,000 U.S. Searches by Month (web browsers only) Google Desktop Google Images Desktop Google Mobile Google Images Mobile
  7. So, What’s Google Doing to Get Growth?
  8. Solving Searchers Faster to Create More Search Addiction
  9. They Do This Through Web Result Replacements…
  10. Content Scraping that Precludes a Click-Through
  11. Giving Their Own Properties Preferential Treatment
  12. And More Telepathic, Direct-to-the-Answer Results.
  13. In Ads, the Focus is a Little Different… #1: Larger numbers of more subtle ads #2: More kinds of ads
  14. Google’s Desktop CTRs March 2018 (US): Paid: 6.1% Organic: 65.3% Zero Click Searches: 34.7% *Note:Sumsaregreaterthan100%assomesearchersclickmultipleresultsperquery
  15. Google’s Mobile CTRs September 2018 (US): *Note:Sumsaregreaterthan100%assomesearchersclickmultipleresultsperquery Paid: 9.5% Organic: 38.4% Zero Click Searches: 61.6%
  16. How Do These Changes Affect Searcher Behavior? 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% 80.0% Desktop Organic CTR, Paid CTR, and Zero Click Searches (2016-2019) Desktop Organic Clickthroughs Desktop Paid Clicks Desktop Zero Clicks Desktop Zero-Click Searches Up ~12% in 3 Years
  17. On Mobile, Those Effects Are Magnified 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% Mobile Organic CTR, Paid CTR, and Zero-Click Searches (2016-2019) Mobile Clickthroughs Mobile Paid Clicks Mobile Zero Clicks Mobile Zero-Click Searches Up ~20% in 3 Years
  18. Google’s 2019 ABCs: Biasing Visibility & Clicks to Paid Results Answering Queries in SERPs & Sending Out Less Traffic Competing Directly with Publishers (and ranking their own properties ahead of anyone else’s)
  19. How Can Marketers React?
  20. Control Your Brand with On-SERP SEO ID sites that rank in your space, & build profiles on them Claim Your Panels Leverage the Rich Snippets Google Offers
  21. When KWs Show Aggregated Answers, Influence the Publishers Below to Get Listed To Get Into These… Get Mentioned + Listed In These
  22. Double Down on Branded Demand Creation
  23. e.g. Elvie’s #FreeTheFeed campaign got Londoners searching and sharing to create brand awareness (and bias future searches/clicks)
  24. If Other Sites Can Rank, But You Can’t (Yet); Use Barnacle SEO Every one of these sites enables user-submitted or guest editorial contributions
  25. Shift SEO-Focused Content to KWs Google Is Less Likely to Cannibalize ViaAhrefs 40%+ of all searches get <100 searches per month. The long tail is still a gold mine for SEO.
  26. 500-30,000+ searches/month, and hyper-competitive ViaKeywordExplorer
  27. But scroll down, and the long tail still looks mighty attractive ViaKeywordExplorer
  28. Use CTR % Estimates in Your KW Research This metric uses clicksteam data to estimate the % of searchers who’ll click on the standard, non-paid, organic SERPs
  29. Amazon & Product Search
  30. Is Anyone Else Taking Google’s Market Share? - 10,000,000,000 20,000,000,000 30,000,000,000 40,000,000,000 50,000,000,000 60,000,000,000 Desktop Share of Searches by Month Google Google Images Google Maps YouTube Bing Yahoo Facebook Amazon Twitter Pinterest DuckDuckGo AOL Ask Wikipedia ViaJumpshot’sclickstream panelof10mm+devicesintheUS,browser dataonly(noapps)
  31. - 500,000,000 1,000,000,000 1,500,000,000 2,000,000,000 2,500,000,000 Search Volumes by Month Under 2.5B Bing Yahoo Facebook Amazon Twitter Pinterest DuckDuckGo AOL Ask Wikipedia - 50,000,000 100,000,000 150,000,000 200,000,000 250,000,000 300,000,000 350,000,000 Search Volumes by Month Under 350M Twitter Pinterest DuckDuckGo AOL Ask Wikipedia ViaJumpshot’sclickstream panelof10mm+devicesintheUS,browser dataonly(noapps)
  32. Amazon’s Searched ~1/30th as Much as Google, But… 50,000 500,000 5,000,000 50,000 500,000 5,000,000 GOOGLESEARCHES AMAZON SEARCHES Search Volumes for Top 1K Branded and Nonbranded Amazon Keywords on Google and Amazon (2018) Nonbranded Terms Branded Terms Nonbranded Avg Branded Avg nintendo switch laptop headphones kindle ps4 bluetooth headphones prime video external hard drive paper towels iPhone 7 case cbd oil water bottle iPhone charger food lingerie dog iPhone adidas aa batteries roku mens socks monitor christmas audible sheets
  33. [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] - 1,000,000 2,000,000 3,000,000 4,000,000 5,000,000 TotalSearchVolume 50/50 100% Google / 0% Amazon 100% Amazon / 0% Google E.G. iPhone-Related Searches on Google vs. Amazon
  34. [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] [CELLRANGE] - 1,000,000 2,000,000 3,000,000 4,000,000 TotalSearchVolume 50/50 100% Google / 0% Amazon 100% Amazon / 0% Google Health Searches Happen on Google. Generic CPG Searches on Amazon.
  35. What About Search on Instagram? - 5,000,000 10,000,000 15,000,000 20,000,000 25,000,000 Instagram Hashtag Clicks by Month (Desktop) IG’s grown ~2.5X on desktop (at a time when desktop overall shrank). Still <0.1% of Google’s desktop search volume.
  36. Voice Search Hype vs. Reality
  37. Voice Search & Mobile Apps Are Probably Cannibalizing Some Queries ViaPerficientDigital’s2019Surveyof1,719people
  38. Does Voice Search Change Anything? Not Really.
  39. Do Voice Answers Change Anything? Yes! “That is called the Achilles Tendon.”
  40. ViaHigherVisibility’s2018Surveyof 2,017SmartphoneOwners Unfortunately, we don’t yet have real data, just surveys (which, historically, are poor representations of how people actually behave).
  41. Why Most Content Fails
  42. For 15 Years, Content Marketing Worked Great Like This…
  43. Content Flywheel 2001-2016 KW Research + Industry Intuition Publish Content Promote via Social Channels Push to email + RSS subscribers Earn Links + Amplification Grow social, email, RSS, & WoM channels Grow Authority & Brand Recognition Earn Search & Referral Traffic Rank Higher, Get More Traffic
  44. But, in 2019, Four Forces Work Against This Model #2 Demands for monetization and growth have pushed tech monopolies to become publishers’competitors #1 Search Engine & Social NetworkAlgorithms Have Become Winner Take Most Platforms #3 Amplifiers are overwhelmed by requests and more skeptical than ever before #4 Traffic quantity correlates less & less with conversions
  45. How Can Marketers React?
  46. Successful Content Targets Topics that Resonate with Amplifiers, Not Just Customers What Your Customers Care About What Influential Publications & People Your Customers Listen To Care About Topics with high potential reach
  47. The Most Visited Piece the NYT Ever Published? Dialect Quiz Map via NY Times Grabs you fast, then demands engagement Plays to the psychological desire for categorizing oneself & others Creates a viral loop (through sharing & seeing friends’ answers)
  48. Content as Product This interactive piece from Typeform isn’t just “good content;” it delivers: Unique value Reference-worthiness A view into Typeform’s competitive advantage Rise of the Conversational UI via Typeform
  49. Content → Email Subscriber → Conversion “A visitor who reaches us via search is 1/19th as likely to subscribe as one who comes in from a newsletter; a reader coming in from Facebook is 1/12th; and a reader coming in from Twitter is 1/6th.” -Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief Via Wired
  50. VS. Visitor Email Subscriber Conversion ~2% ~10% Visitor Conversion ~0.2%
  51. Visitor Conversion + Visitor Email Subscriber Conversion ~0.2% ~2% ~10% These are additive, not competitive!
  52. But Rand, How Do I Rank My Pages in Google?
  53. 8 Broad Areas of Google’s Ranking Algorithm (for classic, ten-blue-links style results): Links Authority of Host Domain Query Satisfaction User Experience Personalization Technical & Crawl KeywordsContent
  54. Does the text match what Google’s ML systems calculate to be relevant, high-quality, & a match for the searcher’s intent? Content
  55. Editorially-given, anchor-text-rich, followed links from high quality sources still matter to Google (esp. in competitive results) Links Via Link Explorer
  56. If Google sees high rates of pogo-sticking or other signals that your page/site isn’t solving search queries, they’ll likely rank you lower Query Satisfaction Via WB Friday
  57. Using the searcher’s keywords intelligently on your page still matters for rankings (and for CTR in the results) Keywords e.g. Ring failed to rank until they changed their page title to include “video doorbell”
  58. Domains accrue signals of quality & value. Powerful domains may give the pages they host a boost in ranking ability. Authority of Host Domain
  59. Google wants to see sites provide an easy-to- use, intuitive experience on every device, at every speed, without impediment. User Experience
  60. Speed & accessibility to crawlers still matters, and Google still doesn’t handle non-text, or non-HTML-link accessible pages well. Technical & Crawl
  61. The geography, device, search history, and timing of a searcher’s query can all change Google’s results significantly. Personalization
  62. Different Result Types Have Other Ranking Inputs
  63. Ads vs. Organic
  64. The Late Adopters Are Finally Crossing the Digital Marketing Chasm Via Geoffrey Moore These players have lots of $$$, entrenched brands, & are used to overpaying for untrackable advertising
  65. Venture Dollars Are Also Flooding Ad Markets Via PWC/MoneyTree
  66. Investment Dollars Aren’t Seeking Profits… Just Growth Via Statista
  67. Ad Bids in Many Sectors Go Far Above What’s Profitable
  68. Thus, Ad Costs Go Up, While ROI Trends Down Via BusinessInsider
  69. And Ad Tracking Getting Much Harder Which Will Reinforce Large Quantities of “Dumb Money” > More Trackable Advertising The concept of a 90-day look back window is a wrap. Retargeting beyond 7 days is dead. Effectively, for a sales cycle of any realistic length, the whole concept of attribution outside of last click is over. Via iPullRank
  70. Hence, Influencer Marketing Is GettingALot ofAttention ViaGoogleTrends
  71. And That’s Even Harder to Track Via Linqia
  72. Accountability is a Massive Issue Via TheDrum “I do campaigns for brands on a weekly basis and less than half ever come back for metrics; less than 50% ever want to know what’s happened. That makes me think it’s PRs playing a numbers game and once a campaign has gone no one is really interested.”
  73. How Should Marketers React?
  74. The Most FollowedAccount(s) that Match a Keyword Search Traditional Influencer Marketing Seeks Out: The Most-ReachableAccount(s) that Match a Keyword Search OR But That’s Not Really What We Want…
  75. Targeting on Audience Size > Audience Match 4mm followers Followed by 19% of profiles that frequently talk about “supercars”
  76. What You Really Want: People & Publications YourAudience Engages With Most Small overall following, but reaches exactly who we want to reach!
  77. First: Organic + Brand; Then: Ads + CRO If you’re not yet known, liked, & trusted, ad ROI sucks.
  78. Via Wordstream New to a market? This happens. Known & loved? Welcome to Profitville.
  79. How to Win at Digital Advertising in 2019 Step 2: Earn brand exposure through organic, social, content, SEO, events, & targeted brand marketing Step 3: Get >1 organic visit (or a social engagement) Step 4: Pay to advertise where your audience engages to those who already know+like you Step 1: Interview, survey, or use profile data to discover where your audiences engage (and with whom/what)
  80. Rand Fishkin | Founder & CEO Thank You!

Editor's Notes

  1. Discussion Lead: Stephen
  2. Discussion Lead: Stephen