How voice search can change hospital marketing tactics

Get ahead of competition by optimizing keywords for voice command search

Have you ever given someone a gift partially because you wanted to use it yourself?

Just me?

Picture it: Christmas 2015. I generally consider myself a great gift giver, but I was stuck thinking of something  for my husband. So I landed on Amazon’s homepage, and there it was, the answer to my gift giving problem:

voice command search Amazon echo

The mysterious object above is the Amazon Echo. (Before I continue I should add that this is not an endorsement for Amazon. Stay with me; I’ll get to the point soon.) The Echo, named Alexa, is a wifi-enabled speaker and voice command service that is slowly but surely taking over my home. In the morning at my house you’ll hear “Alexa, what’s the weather?” and “Alexa, tell me the news.” “Alexa” has become part of the family. Which is sad to admit, but true.

Which gets me to my point. Voice command services, such as Alexa are changing how we search, and that’s impacting the ever-changing world of SEO.

Research shows that question phrases are increasing year-over-year, and natural language searches are helping yield better search results. So what does this mean? Hospital marketers need to start paying attention to this trend. With more players entering the voice search/mobile assistant game, we need to consider how our SEO and PPC buys will be affected. This could have huge potential when marketing your hospital locally, as voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than a text search. Healthcare marketers need to consider the who, what, and where that will direct “Where is the nearest E.R.?” or “Who is the best cardiologist in Upstate New York?”

When setting up keywords for a blog post or Ad Words, experiment with longer keyword phrases. Instead of just “female OBGYN Albany, NY” try something like “female OBGYN near Albany, New York.” Questions should be considered too, ”Where can I get bariatric surgery in New York City?” Building these phrases and descriptive keywords into the content of your website pages will aid in directing voice searches to your site.

SEO has always been a changing landscape. Hospital marketers should take a minute to think about their search patterns and what you see other people doing. Do you visit a city and find yourself asking Siri to direct you to the nearest pharmacy for the migraine you’ve had since arriving? Voice search is here to stay. Speaking of…

“Alexa, add ibuprofen to my shopping list.”