The next time you search for health information you may get your answer instantly, as Google has added information about common health conditions in its Knowledge Graph.
The search giant announced that within the next few days you’ll be able to ask Google health-related questions and it will return relevant medical facts, such as symptoms and treatments, right in the search results pages.
The information Google will provide is going to be quite deep. It will tell you whether a condition is critical, contagious, what ages it affects, and so on. Depending on the condition Google may even return a high quality illustration from licensed medical illustrators.
In order to compile this information and review it for accuracy, Google worked with a team of medical doctors to gather facts derived from real-life clinical knowledge. However, Google adds that the information it presents is not intended as medical advice and you should always consult a healthcare professional.
Concerns For Site Owners
According to Google, one in 20 searches are for health-related information, so this change has the potential to improve the search experience for a significant amount of users. On the other hand, it also has the potential to detract a significant amount of traffic away from sites in the health niche.
Think of how many fewer people will need to visit a site like WebMD, for example, when you can now just Google a condition and get the symptoms and treatments right in the Knowledge Graph. To Google’s credit, the announcement does add the following: “Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web.”
If you’re in the health/medical niche, are you concerned about this change? Or does the benefit to users outweigh the possible loss of traffic?