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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Gallery of Google Health Oneboxes (Partnering with Google Inc may well be the ultimate form of SEO)

Google is showing Google Health oneboxes since a while. If such a onebox is triggered by your health related query – from the US* – it will always be the top result (below ads, but above what would otherwise be the first organic ad). The top results are now less diverse, as they all (or at least the ones I checked) come from health content provider A.D.A.M., who probably partners with Google (at least their entries are fully reproduced at Google’s health site, which hints at some type of agreement. Note other sites are too displayed in the onebox but in less clickable positions).

Below are 15 examples of searches that show a Google Health onebox – I’m including the top non-onebox result in the screenshots for reference so we know which site got pushed down (for better or worse for the user, you be the judge... what’s rather safe to say is that it’s worse for the traffic of whichever site gets pushed down):

Searching for migraine (also see the landing page)



back pain




lyme diseases


multiple sclerosis






In an interview with Playboy, Google co-founder Larry Page in 2004 said, “We want you to come to Google and quickly find what you want. Then we’re happy to send you to the other sites. In fact, that’s the point. The portal strategy tries to own all of the information.” DMarsch in August at Search Engine Land comments:

People freaked out about Knols, thinking that Google was getting into the publishing business, and would quickly succumb to the temptation of boosting their results higher. Knols fizzled and that didn’t happen, but it happened quite suddenly with Google Health. Using this as a model, there’s no reason Google couldn’t license bodies of content and immediately boost themselves to the top.

How does this not damage their claim that they organize, rather than build content? Or that their algorithm is responsible for ranking results rather than which partners or content they want to promote?

What do you think?

[Thanks Russell!]

*You can append &gl=us to the URL if outside the US.


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