Why There’s No Second Place in Online Healthcare Marketing

By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist

This ideacrime scene outline of a dead person is funny because it’s so painfully true: “The best place to hide a dead body is page two of Google search results.” Actually, it’s not so funny.

Marketing professionals recognize that most consumers who search for hospitals, doctors and health care information begin with the Internet. It has become a universal digital front door—so much so that, for prospective patients, medical providers and facilities are either online or nowhere.

Why “page two” is a marketing dead zone…

Once upon a time it was amusing to know that a Google search for “hospital in Des Moines” would return about 11-million results in less that half a second. Or that an online search for “cardiologist in Pittsburgh” would find over 300,000 results in one-third of a second.

The reality is that the 11-million results, or the 300,000 results in Google’s digital delivery are meaningless when nearly all of them are never seen. The painful truth about Google search results is that page one results get 95 percent of all search traffic. [Chitika Online Advertising]

If you want to crunch the numbers and put an even finer point on stats:

  • Google commands almost 70 percent of the US search engine market [comScore]
  • Bing is such a distant second (18.7 percent) that it also qualifies as a dead body hideout
  • The top spot on a search engine results page (SERP) captures over 30 percent of clicks
  • Second position SERP gets about 17 percent of traffic

Personally, I rarely reach the bottom of page one, and statistically, most people (75 percent) never get to page two. There are, of course, other search engines—Bing, Yahoo, Ask, AOL—who fight over the single-digit crumbs in a marketing dead zone.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is only part of the solution…

There are several previous articles in our free marketing library about the business case for SEO as well as easy SEO tips about the importance of local search. Although Search Engine Optimization is a powerful tool for improving your search results rank, SEO is only part of the formula.

In addition to what makes Google happy, success also depends on delivering meaningful content that creatively and intellectually engages people—your intended target audience. Your overall marketing and public relations effort contribute significantly to your search engine results position.

Profitably attracting patients via the Internet is a skillful combination of compelling content, graphic design, advanced SEO, social media and other variables. The sad-but-true challenge for healthcare marketing is that if your online presence doesn’t rank close to the top of search results, prospective patients are missing you. And that means you’re missing a significant business opportunity.

Kathy Gaughran

Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist at Healthcare Success
In her career, Kathy has helped over 4,000 clients all over North America achieve their growth goals. As an award-winning strategic marketing planner, Kathy has been involved in both the high-level strategies required for long-term sustainability, plus the tactical execution used to accomplish the day-to-day successes. Kathy’s clients include practices with annual revenues well over $10 million and with annual marketing budgets up to $900,000. In addition, Kathy is an accomplished speaker, appearing at countless national, local and state healthcare associations. Kathy is a member of the American Marketing Association and The Direct Marketing Association.



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