A dermatologist and I were talking the other day about online search and Google search results in particular. His pragmatic view is that Google has become the new phone book. It’s where consumers—prospective patients—turn first to search for and to find a “dermatologist in [community].”
What’s more, he feels that if a medical practice isn’t prominently visible high on the list of results, then they simply don’t exist for today’s patient. And he’s correct. Online search is the new YP directory or Thomas Guide map of today. In fact, it’s far more prolific, available and convenient than any 300-page YP directory.
First, smartphones and other mobile devices are close by and immediately available at a time of need, urgent or otherwise. They are nearly always the consumer’s pocket or hand. (Try that Mr. 50-pound Big Book Directory.) And more than 50 percent of Internet users access it from a mobile device, according to Google.
Secondly, the smaller screen of a mobile device draws the visitor’s attention to the first listings on the page—the listings that are seen first draw the most response. But regardless of the screen size, most people (75 percent) never scroll beyond the first page, which gets better than 90 percent of search traffic activity. (On page two, traffic drops to less than five percent is kindly referred to as a marketing dead zone.)
Third, with a few additional taps on the screen, a smartphone user enables a quick decision, makes an immediate phone call, and displays a map and driving directions. Although these same capabilities are available with second page listings, the consumer has already left the building.
So… Do you want to be above your competitors on Google?
Answer: Definitely yes; otherwise you disappear. Our friend the dermatologist would say that if you aren’t listed high on the first page—and seen ahead of your competition—then you and your medical practice simply don’t exist.
The first page of Google’s search results is highly prized real estate. There’s no fee attached to appearing among these organic search results, but there is professional investment in putting together the right blend of relevance to search terms and other Search Engine Optimization (SEO) considerations.
For professional help reviewing your website performance, give us a call. And for related reading about combining compelling content, design and advanced SEO to attract new patients, click though to these informative pages:
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Notice is a Dire Warning for Healthcare Websites
- Profitably Attract Patients from the Internet
- A Clear and Sensible Business Case for SEO and Healthcare Marketing Analytics