By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
It’s no secret that the Internet has become the new front door for healthcare providers and hospitals. And Google searches are primary pathways for that lead to health-related information, medical practices and professional care. They dictate being lost or found online.
Without a strong online presence, providers and practices simply disappear from view. Three-quarters (75 percent) of users never scroll past the first page of search results, according to Search Engine Journal. Beyond the first page, it’s almost as if a practice doesn’t exist.
Not too long ago, being found meant having a website with a dash of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to assure visibility. These days, there’s a lot more that you need to know about being found—or being lost—online.
Here are some of the facts and figures in a rapidly changing digital marketing world:
- Online search remains the top driver of traffic to content websites—far exceeding social media—according to Outbrain; 86 percent of all Internet traffic is generated through search engines. (iPoint).
- Smartphones do the heavy lifting: Search is the top smartphone browser activity (SEO In-House).
- Voice Search is now critical to SEO success. Google voice queries have increased substantially (Google), and 50 percent of all searches will be voice by 2020. (ComScore)
- Speed counts: Econsultancy reports that 40 percent of Internet users will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
- Goodbye prospective patient: If a website takes four seconds or more to load, the bounce rate jumps to 100 percent. And at eight seconds or more, it goes off the chart.
- Healthcare reviews guide purchase decisions: Nearly 70 percent of users who read healthcare reviews are influenced in the selection of their next physician, hospital, health plan, pharmacy and drug or medical device. (PwC Health Research)
- In reviews we trust: Some 80 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, but reviews must seem to be authentic. (BrightLocal and National Research)
- Digital marketing leads traditional channels. Over 40 percent of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device schedule an appointment. (MM&M)
- Social media and blogs reach 80 percent of all US Internet users, and they account for nearly one-quarter of all time that users spend online. (Mindjumpers)
- Speaking of blogs: They are considered the single most important inbound marketing tool, rated as critical or important to company connectivity. (Marketing Charts)
The bottom line here is that online and Internet media are constantly changing. And healthcare and marketing professionals need to keep pace. Online search—where Google owns close to 90 percent of the field—is a primary channel for reaching and attracting potential new patients. And social media is the digital-tech world of Word of Mouth.
Traditional and offline advertising tools remain an important part of the planning and media mix. But digital channels change often and rapidly, and patients are now informed consumers who are willing to change providers. More than ever, patients rely on the Internet for decision guidance and support.
Healthcare providers rely on digital channels to reach, engage and retain new patients. We keep up on these kinds of digital changes, so feel free to give us a call to see what’s new today: 800-656-0907.