Marketing Your Practice in the Age of Siri

Intelligent Personal Assistants like Siri, Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Now are quickly becoming an essential part of everyday life for many people. It’s a means of quickly gathering information and answers to questions throughout the day.

However, voice search works differently than a typical search engine query that you would do on your desktop or laptop. Instead of a short phrase, the search queries are more conversational and often are in the form of a question.

Intelligent personal assistants also gather information from different sources than a search engine would. Search engines sometimes factor into the results, but they are also looking at a number of other services to provide the best possible answer.

Although your practice might rank for a particular phrase in Google, an intelligent personal assistant like Siri might return a different result when a patient is searching for a new doctor.

How do intelligent personal assistants get information, and what can you do to help your practice show up more frequently for these types of searches? Let’s take a look.

How Do Intelligent Personal Assistants Find and Produce Answers?

When we search on our own via search engines, most of us turn to Google or Bing. However, intelligent personal assistants get their information from a number of sources.

One of the most popular intelligent personal assistants, Siri, looks at several sources beyond search engines to gather relevant information. For information about restaurants and businesses, Siri might gather information from listing and review sites Yahoo Local, Yelp, and CitySearch, or booking sites like OpenTable and ReserveTravel.

For events and movies, Siri consults sources like Eventful, StubHub, Rotten Tomatoes, and MovieTickets. For factual information and search engine results, Siri gets information from Bing, Yahoo, and Wikipedia, among others. Wolfram Alpha, an engine that computes answers based on expert knowledge and algorithms, is also a commonly-used answer source for Siri.

Although many of us use Google when searching for answers on our own, Siri no longer uses Google as a source of information due to a partnership with Bing. As a Microsoft application, Cortana also uses Bing for search results, as does Alexa. So, even if your practice ranks well in Google, you may not show up in results from Siri if your practice doesn’t have as good of a presence in other sources, like Bing.

If your practice isn’t showing up in searches via Siri and other intelligent personal assistants, all is not lost. You can update your practice’s online marketing strategy to diversify traffic sources and attract more patients using intelligent personal assistants.

Updating Your Practice’s SEO Strategy for Conversational Search

Traditionally, online marketing has focused primarily on Google, because Google is by far the most popular search engine. However, the increased use of intelligent personal assistants means you need to cover all of your bases.

The main goal here is diversifying your traffic sources and giving patients every possible opportunity to find your practice. Overall, diversifying your traffic sources is a good strategy, because you aren’t relying on one source for the bulk of your traffic.

How do you update your SEO strategy for conversational search? Focus on these areas.

Create Conversational Content

When people use intelligent personal assistants to find answers, they search differently than they do when typing a query into a search engine. They often ask questions, and the phrasing tends to be more longform and conversational than a typed search query.

Consider this when writing the content for your website. What are some of the questions patients might ask about your practice? Consider the way your patients might speak about a procedure or condition. Try to work those phrases into your content.

List Your Practice on Review Sites and Other Relevant Listing Services

Intelligent personal assistants like Siri consult a number of sources outside of search engines. This is why it is important for your practice to have a presence on as many relevant sites as possible. Claim and update your listings on popular review sites, especially focusing on the ones used by Siri.

Patient reviews can also give your practice a boost, both in search engines and results from intelligent personal assistants. The more reviews you have, and the better your ranking, the more likely you are to show up favorably in the results.

Focus on Long-Tail Keywords

Similar to conversational search, people using intelligent personal assistants also tend to be more likely to search with long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific and, as the word implies, longer. So, rather than searching for the general phrase “arthritis,” a patient using Siri might say something like “arthritis treatment in New Orleans,” or “arthritis treatment near me.”

By focusing on these longer, more specific phrases in your content, you increase your chances of showing up in conversational search results.

It’s all about focusing on the different ways that patients might search for and learn about your practice. Doing this will help to evolve your SEO strategy and diversify your traffic sources, which in turn ensures that you are able to grab the attention of more patients that need your help.