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Is RealSelf in Cahoots With Google?

Many have heard about Google’s August algorithm update, nicknamed “Hummingbird.” But have you stopped to think about who stands to benefit most from Google’s ability to better process “natural language” search queries? Google might argue that you and I, the searching public, are the big winners. I would argue that RealSelf is the biggest beneficiary in the aesthetic industry.

For those unfamiliar with the phrase “natural language search,” it refers to search using spoken language. Spoken language searches, thanks in large part to Siri and the iPhone, are quickly on the rise. But unlike our desktop searches that contain a few words in simple phrases, natural language search usually involves complex queries in the form of a question.

“How long does BOTOX® last?” RealSelf knows and has the first result on Google.


“Does CoolSculpting® hurt?” RealSelf ranks well again.


“Who is the best rhinoplasty surgeon in Denver?” Google thinks RealSelf knows best.


Do I actually think that RealSelf is in cahoots with Google? No. But the site has been smart about capitalizing on this trend. RealSelf offers a wealth of aesthetic insights in the exact format used by natural language searchers: questions and answers.

Aesthetic doctors not already active on RealSelf have another compelling reason to join this Q&A community. But why stop there? Any site with rich Q&A content may ultimately benefit from trends in natural language search. Sites such as,,, and even the sites of your medical societies all have opportunities for participatory Q&A.

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