Internet giant, Google, blends seamlessly with our everyday lives – so much so, that the average person uses its search engine around 4 days a day. Now, Google is stepping up in the fight against coronavirus. In this post, our experts outline how Google Search, Google My Business and even Google Maps are doing their bit for the covid cause.
1) Predicting coronavirus outbreaks
We know how useful Google search can be for clinics and dental practices, and always recommend incorporating it as part of your digital marketing strategy. But, incredibly, the technology can be used to track illnesses and diseases and even predict when cases will surge.
Research from the University College London – which mirrors an approach used for tracking seasonal flu – has found that by monitoring Google searches for symptoms, outbreaks of covid-19 could be identified up to two and a half weeks early, potentially saving lives. Findings showed that accurate predictions could be made 17 days before cases peaked, based on when people were looking up their symptoms. Even more, interestingly, some of the more reliable symptoms searched for included rashes or pink eyes – much less common than the typical cough or fever.
The report’s lead author, Dr Vasileios Lampos, said that the approach worked across cultural, socioeconomic and climate differences, hinting that the research could help with future pandemic preparedness.
2) Keeping clients on board
Google My Business is a great place to share information about your clinic, from opening times and location to the latest reviews. Now, Google is encouraging clinics to give updates about how their business is affected by the pandemic, covering eventualities such as delays, safety measures, additional or alternative services, and, of course, temporary closures.
Our digital marketing experts always recommend creating a Google My Business listing for your clinic or dental practice to be relevant to your clients and to build trust and loyalty. But it’s also a way to quickly give them the information they need when considering a visit or booking.
3) Mapping the pandemic
At the back end of last year, Google Maps ran an update that shows coronavirus outbreaks by region with clever, colour-coded layers that display on top of map visuals. It gives an average of new infections per 100,000 and flags whether cases are rising or falling. It also shows the density (number) of cases with a traffic light-like system that ranges from red to grey. It’s being rolled out to mobile apps and will be supported globally, with data coming from reputable sources such as John Hopkins (the US research university that tracks covid cases) and the WHO (World Health Organisation).
It comes after a move last summer, where public transport routes were updated with information relating to pandemic delays, and healthcare facilities were flagged near users needing testing.
Is Google helping your business?
If you need tips, tricks, advice or a detailed strategy on how to leverage Google SEO and paid ads for your clinic or dental practice, get in touch with our team today by calling 01159 140 640 or visiting our contact page.