Case Study:
Google’s understanding of the Health sector

September 2020

Executive Summary

Google uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) routines to convert its understanding of text into topics and concepts (Entities). We looked out how much understanding Google misses using this approach in the Health sector.

InLinks analyzed the page content of the top 10 Google results (in the NZ Market) ranking for the phrase Air Pollution and compared the Named Entities recognized by Google’s NLP API with the proprietory routines designed by Inlinks to uncover gaps in Google’s machine learning in the Health sector

The results showed that 11.4% of entities seen on the results in the Health sector SERPS (search engine results pages) were positively identified by Google.

This compares to 20.2% average across all analyzed industry sectors.

How the Sector Compares

Different sectors tend to be analyzed with a different degree of accuracy by the search engines. This stems from two main challenges.

  1. the more demand there is by consumers within a given sector, the more they need for search engines to apply more sophisticated entity recognition to better answer user queries.
  2. the more sophisticated the industry is in creating search-friendly content, the more search engines can surface topics and concepts.


Health Industry Google Analysis InLinks Analysis
Avg. Number of words per page 1139
Avg. Number of Topics per page 7.9 69.6
Benchmark - Avg. nb of entities/page (all sectors) 9.3 46.9
Of which, Topic types are:    
- Persons 2 0
- Organizations 19 15
- Cities & geo. areas 14 11
- Concepts 17 378
Semantic Density   8.7

How the research was conducted

Google’s Search API returned URLs for the following sites competing for this phrase:,,,,,,,

The texts of each page are then sent to Google’s NLP API, in order to determine which entities are identified by the search engine. These are important for search since Google is then able to link these to its Knowledge Graph to feed its services including Google Discover, Google search, Voice Search and Google News. (Although, correct identification does not guarantee inclusion in these results)

Here is first of all the synthesis of the results returned by Google:

  • 19 organizations, including the Ministry for the Environment (New Zealand) (detected 5 times) World Health Organization (3) NZ Transport Agency (2)
  • 17 concepts, including Particulates (6) Statistics New Zealand (2) Metadata (2)
  • 8 geographical areas, including New Zealand (9) South Island (2) Timaru District (1)
  • 6 cities, including Dunedin (2) Christchurch (1) Timaru (1)
  • 2 persons, including Harbourmaster (1) Liz MacPherson (1)

Errors in Google’s Detection Rate

No error.

Most important entities (provided by InLinks), compared to those identified by Google:

  • New Zealand (seen 9 times) => detected by Google
  • Natural environment (9) => NOT detected by Google
  • Health (9) => NOT detected by Google
  • Pollution (7) => NOT detected by Google
  • Industry (7) => NOT detected by Google
  • Particulates (7) => detected by Google
  • Sulfur (7) => NOT detected by Google
  • Report (6) => NOT detected by Google
  • Old age (5) => NOT detected by Google
  • Statistics (5) => NOT detected by Google
  • Vehicle (5) => NOT detected by Google
  • Medical guideline (5) => NOT detected by Google
  • Data (5) => NOT detected by Google
  • Information (5) => NOT detected by Google
  • Carbon dioxide (5) => NOT detected by Google

How can the Health Industry benefit from this report?

By understanding where Google is failing to recognize important concepts within the industry, there is an opportunity for companies in the sector to write clearer content that Google can better understand.

Another option is to explicitly state these concepts in Webpage schema for machine learning algorithms to take into account. This would require using and the "about" and mentions" properties for important concepts such as Health, Old age, Medical guideline.

Internal linking of topics to pages dedicated to each important topic will also help to reduce cannibalisation of content in Google’s understanding of content within your content.

In Summary

Google's understanding of the Health market, based on its NLP algorithms remains limited at 11.4% for this industry. Businesses either need to improve their schema or make their content more understandable by Google to improve their level of understanding.

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