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In Searchdrop this week we focus Googles response to COVID-19,  how they’re utilising search to support people with Coronavirus and more general medical information. We also look at top tips for creating great Q&A video content; something our research into the perfect landing page highlights.

Google Responds to COVID-19

With the ever-growing threat of COVID-19 globally, Google has stepped up how it supports people in an effort to help users better understand Coronavirus by providing a ‘richer’ search result for related searches. This includes an SOS alert banner, top stories and pandemic specific information, as well as a COVID-19 interactive map which highlights the spread of the virus on a country level.

COVID-19 search resultsCOVID-19 help and information in Google search results COVID-19 interactive map in Google Search

All this information, aside from being a brilliant resource for anyone with concerns about the virus, highlights the way that Google can quickly adapt search results to tailor them towards the user. The key lessons from a search perspective here are:

  • Always monitor your search results as they could change at any point, with more ‘rich’ results added often.
  • Be useful. Although it’s an extreme case, you can see the information of the most useful/authoritative sites is being served. Ensuring you’re providing up to date, accurate and useful information is imperative to rank well.

Another key aspect of what Google is doing is protecting users from misinformation by taking steps to provide important information for businesses and students who may need to self isolate. On top of this, Google is supporting research through Deepmind in structure predictions for proteins related to the virus.

See everything Google is doing in response to Covid 19 here.

Google to Surface Information from NHS Directly in UK Search Results

Related to recent updates made around COVID-19, Google has created a new rich snippet for displaying medical information directly from the NHS (in UK search). These results provide content directly from the NHS for a number of different illnesses.

NHS content rich results in Google

This evolution in the way that content is delivered in the search results begs the question – what other types of content could be impacted by this?

The Financial Services are one area that feels like something that could be impacted, although un-biased versions of necessary information may be hard for Google to come by, particularly as it won’t come from a body such as the NHS.

It seems like a simple enhancement Google could make to include different types of service information. For example, the term “What is private banking?” could have search results displayed with an overview of its meaning, the companies that offer this service, and more.

So what does this mean for you? As with the COVID-19 example above, search results are continuing to develop into something users are (sometimes) able to get the answer from without the need to actually visit your site. Ensuring you have the information that appears for the ‘clickless’ SERPS will be important in the future for brand awareness and rankings broadly.

Read more on this here

How to Make Compelling Q&A Videos to Build Trust in Your Brand

Video has been hugely valuable to SEO for years and will likely continue to grow in importance, which means that understanding how to create engaging video content is vitally important.

The key things required in the production of a good Q&A video are:

  • Ensuring you have sourced good questions for your video content. This could be through customer research or feedback, AMA’s on social channels or research into your target keywords to highlight associated questions (see people also asked in search results).
  • Creating a script. A script will ensure that the delivery of your answers is clear and well structured. This script can also increase the overall value of whatever page you add the video to as it can be transcribe and added below the video, increasing accessibility and SEO value.
  • Good production value. Regardless of whether you can film on a smartphone or professional standard camera, your content can still be good and useful. What good production value adds to the video is a degree of professionalism that is then associated with your brand – but more importantly, it engages the user better. If your sound quality is terrible and your visuals are fuzzy people are going to be less likely to hang around to watch.

The SEO value of good video content can be quantified in a few ways:

  • Increased engagement on pages where there is video content, as it’s easier for users to digest than reading walls and walls of text.
  • Possible new rankings in Video search and YouTube, which is, of course, subject to you correctly optimising your video content either on-site or on YouTube.
    • On-site you need to ensure the video is compressed, good quality, with structured data markup (video schema), as well as providing value to the page it’s housed on.
    • For Youtube,
      • Optimise all aspects of your video titles, descriptions, tags and categories, always being aware of your target keyword and audience, with content focusing on click-through rate.
      • Focus on high retention (e.g. keeps people on Youtube longer). This requires topic summaries, direct into content approaches and open-ended video content, where the user wants to explore more.
      • Optimise the content of your video. This includes the speech in your video, so you need to be talking about your keywords or targeted topic.
      • Push for engagement, likes, comments, and subs. All this engagement ensures your reach is greater and you rank for longer.
      • Keep videos long. Longer videos rank better than shorter videos.

Read the full guide here