When was the last time you turned to Google to find information? Chances are, it was just earlier today.
Google has become an integral part of our daily lives, with the average person making 3 to 4 Google searches each day while 84% of people use Google more than three times a day. Moreover, 8.5 billion searches take place on Google every single day, meaning that it processes whopping 99,000 searches per second.
There’s more. Almost 93% of online searches are performed on Google’s search engine, according to StatCounter. The remaining 7,31% of searches are spread out among other search engines (yes, there are other search engines).
It’s pretty safe to say Google controls the lion’s share of search results. At the same time, it’s never static. Constantly evolving, it introduces changes to its search result pages, shaping what consumers see and how they engage with information. These adjustments transform the search experience but also change how patients choose healthcare providers.
Staying ahead in this dynamic environment may seem challenging, but it’s absolutely necessary. Healthcare providers and marketers must keep up with the changes occurring in Google’s search algorithms and evolving consumer expectations surrounding the patient experience. So, let’s explore some of Google trends and tips for healthcare marketers to help you adapt, refine marketing strategies, and drive meaningful results.
Google’s Helpful Content Update
Google has long been dedicated to improving the search experience by connecting users with valuable and helpful information. Their ongoing efforts to prioritize content quality are underscored by the latest Helpful Content update.
This update, which began in 2015 and has evolved over time, represents a departure from previous algorithm changes. Earlier updates focused more on obviously useless, dangerous, and spam content. However, the latest Helpful Content update, which rolled out between August 25, 2022, and September 9, 2022, places a greater emphasis on content quality and authenticity, focusing on delivering relevance and helpfulness to users.
Essentially, Google’s Helpful Content update aims to promote businesses that bring value to their audience, and healthcare organizations can significantly benefit from this update if they follow Google’s recommendations. At the same time, in the ever-evolving digital landscape, the emphasis on content quality and relevance will only continue to grow. That’s why one of the most important tips for healthcare marketers is to focus on developing detailed and helpful content that goes beyond repetitive information and meets the high level of accuracy that patients demand. Once you do this, both patients and Google will be happy.
“Near Me” Searches Drive Appointments
87% of smartphone owners rely on Google search during critical moments, and “near me” searches have witnessed exponential growth. This surge has significant implications for various industries, including healthcare, driving new business opportunities.
Near Me searches happen in those “micro-moments” Google talks about. They actually play a pivotal role in shaping our decision-making process and revolutionizing marketing strategies. We’ve all experienced micro-moments regarding our healthcare: you wake up with severe tooth pain on a weekend when your regular dentist is unavailable, so you quickly search for “Dentist near me” to find immediate dental care options in your vicinity. Your child suddenly develops a high-grade fever, and you google “Urgent Care near me.” Or, you’re on the way to your doctor’s appointment but can’t remember the address, and use voice search to find the location.
In those moments of need, we rely on Google for nearly instantaneous responses that set our minds at ease and help us determine our next action. That’s how Near Me searches can drive walk-ins and appointments, putting your healthcare organization at the forefront of local search results.
Understanding and leveraging the influence of Google’s search behavior patterns can help you align your healthcare marketing strategies to capitalize on these micro-moments. Therefore, one of the tips for healthcare marketers is to embrace the opportunities presented by Near Me searches and ensure your online presence is optimized to provide valuable and timely information to potential patients.
The Best Search Results Drive Action
Google is controlling the results consumers see, aiming to guide them towards content they have a stake in. With the ads, Google gets paid when people click on them. On the other hand, Google’s local 3-pack directs consumers to find the most relevant, actionable content in search results. They can find the information they need to choose a healthcare provider, call the office and book an appointment — without ever visiting their website, and without having to scan past the first three search results.
The implication? Healthcare providers and organizations that show up at the top of the search results page can capture a larger share of the market. To achieve this, one of the crucial tips for healthcare marketers is to claim and optimize Google Business Profile (GBP).
However, Google understands that healthcare businesses are different from regular businesses, so make sure to have a GBP listing for every practice location and every physician. Also, some users mistake GBP listings for the official websites they seek. That’s why it’s essential that your listings contain accurate website links, hours of operation, location information, and other relevant details.
Still, don’t forget that many people will still click through to your website. Even though they have to scroll to get organic results, some users will bypass the ads and dig down to the website. Therefore, optimizing it is crucial if you want it to appear at the top of organic search results.
What is a zero-click landscape? It’s Google’s view of the ideal world.
Google’s push for a zero-click landscape allows users to obtain all the information they need directly from the search results page without the need to click through to external websites. In other words, Google aims to keep users engaged with their platform by providing comprehensive answers and minimizing the need for additional clicks. And, if a click does occur, Google prefers it to be on their ads to generate revenue.
To accomplish this, Google strategically incorporates featured snippets, ads, answer boxes, and GBP listings into their search engine results pages. By doing so, they can prioritize and elevate their controlled information, pushing down organic search results and exerting control over the search landscape.
At the same time, for healthcare marketers who understand how to navigate the system effectively, Google creates an environment that allows them to effortlessly attract their target patients. So, in addition to claiming and optimizing GBP, one of the tips for healthcare marketers is to build a strong reputation and collect reviews. Patients often rely on reviews to assess the quality and credibility of healthcare providers. Encouraging satisfied patients to leave reviews can contribute to the overall reputation and attract more patients.
Another tip for healthcare marketers to make the most of this opportunity is to invest in targeted ads and secure a prominent position in search results to attract potential patients. Finally, working on the SEO of your website also helps you show up at the top of the organic search results. By optimizing your website’s content, structure, and user experience, you can improve its visibility and attract organic traffic.
Keep up with Google Trends
To win with Google, you have to keep up with how they’ve set up the playing field and keep in mind that it’s constantly changing in subtle ways. Navigating the intricacies of Google’s ever-changing algorithms and trends can be challenging and that’s where a partner like SocialClimb can make a significant difference. Our team is well-versed in the game set by Google, and we put our knowledge to your use to help you make the most of the digital landscape.
With SocialClimb’s platform, you can streamline your marketing efforts by integrating your practice management system with Google. This integration allows for seamless optimization of your GBP listings, reputation building, Boost Ads setup, and automated patient acquisition. We can also get your GBP listings in a self-perpetuating growth cycle by increasing your reviews, improving your star rating, giving you greater visibility in local search results, and increasing your number of appointments. This comprehensive approach helps you leverage the power of Google trends to attract more patients and achieve sustainable growth.