Google revamps scramble the SEO playbook

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Google revamps scramble the SEO playbook
Google revamps scramble the SEO playbook

Google has torn up the SEO playbook, and pharmas had better figure out how to make their search words more contextually relevant, factoring in the time and location of a search as well as the device running it.

That's what the digital media behemoth's David Blair had to say at yesterday's inaugural MM&M Skill Sets Live, a half-day event that drew 130 pharma marketers and agency execs (the next one's on Sep. 24).

Blair, who is head of industry, health at Google, said that given the increasingly targetable nature of search, if you're simply buying a term like “Cardiac arrest,” you're missing out.

“If you search for ‘Pizza' right now, you're going to get a lot of info about delivery options,” he told the packed room in Midtown. “If you go down and do the same search around the block, you're going to get info about pizza by the slice based on what area you're in.”

AdWords buyers can also bid by time of day, and/or by device. So if a hospital does more heart surgeries in the morning, and doctors are likely to be searching for that information on a mobile device, a marketer could optimize their buy accordingly.  

“What's the context in which a physician is actually going to look at and use that content? It has to be relevant and discoverable.”

Blair also prodded marketers to start producing “liquid content” that moves effortlessly between screens.

“You can't think in terms of devices anymore,” said Blair, “You have to think about screens.” Consumers and physicians alike are moving fluidly from desktop to phone to tablet, he noted, touting Google's commitment to responsive design, seen most recently in its revamp of YouTube, which he boasted will display the same on a 50-inch screen as on a 5-inch one.

He pointed to an earlier talk by Merck global creative director Marty Kovach, who discussed the company's recent roll-out of a global template for iPad presentations in details.

“As we put out those standards and people played within the rules, we actually found that the creative was more creative and the content was dead on,” said Kovach. “Reps were now able to think about the content and not how to navigate it.” 

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