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Why The Medical Online Space is Still Up For Grabs

Dominance among the sea of websites in healthcare-related searches is non-existent. Everybody is scrambling for a piece of the cake—“no winner takes it all situation” here.

In fact according to Adil Laheraitani, MBA a seasoned veteran in the online health niche, the only reason the space is currently up for grabs is because Google has decided in august 20018 that it was time to clear the space of charlatans and propagators of fake news and harmful medical info.

The searches that are taking the top spots are for example ways to reduce a child’s fever and even how to find leading nursing homes—this is according to a report from Conductor.

74% of the total market share for healthcare searches has no dominance—no company comes close. The remaining 16% is occupied by the five big health-related websites—Mayo Clinic, U.S. News & World Report, WebMD, ZocDoc and the Cleveland Clinic.

WebMD may have carted away a giant share of the market, other medical providers such as the hospital and health systems are coming up strongly.

Two factors have been adduced for the shift, according to Christine Schrader, the senior manager of content strategy at Conductor. One of the factors is that well-known hospitals will always drive the search result if they occupy top positions on page one; people will naturally click on them because of their credibility.

The second factor is that SEO is becoming a critical tool in the hands of hospitals and medical providers. This stems from the unprofessional conduct of putting out wrong medical information in the online space by some unscrupulous elements.

According to a new player in the Health info niche this hinges on the fact that these institutions are careful about what goes online, and would go the extra mile to ensure accurate information pervades the online space. Keeping away wrong information from the top of the SERPs is the goal. To this end, these institutions want to gain credible and trust of the general public and online users.

Mayo Clinic took the lead when it comes to a wide range of health queries. ZocDoc leads the way for doctor search, and the Blue Shield and St. John Health System followed suit—Schrader told FireceHealthcare

It might interest you to know that St. John System occupied the third position; the hospital is based in Oklahoma, and it is coming up strong. It brings to the fore that local hospitals can compete favorably with the big guns like Healthygrade,, World Report, etc.

The data from Conduction revealed a secret strategy, which Mayo Clinic is using to gain an advantage—they put out separate pages( with different URL) for symptoms and causes, diagnosis and treatment, doctors and departments, and care to cover for a condition. With this strategy in place, more than one of them may show up on the SERPs for a single keyword. When you search for the “Diabetes treatment” both “diagnosis and treatment” and “symptoms and causes” page shows up to take the first and second position respectively

Their report also revealed that:

  • Only Susan G Komen for Cure organization—a top ranking site—set its target on women as opposed to general health when you put into perspective women health-related searches.
  • Medical New carted away 7% of the market share—and it is a top ranking site. Others like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health—both government websites—were only able to grab market share of 6%.
  • 14% of birth control market searches go to Planned Parenthood—over 9,000 searches every month. Also, keywords with medical ethics and accessibility care gain more searches by women.
  • Men seem unclear as regards symptoms identification when putting their health into consideration. Healthcare companies capitalize on this to provide the right information.
  • YouTube and WebMD are in a supremacy war over who takes the largest share for baby-related searches. For the top 10 domains, 20% targeted baby health. They were proactive searches which took care of 3,004 and reactive searches of 9, 057 every month. From the data available in search behavior for the baby category, parents were more concerned about actionable steps with “how to” or “what to do” following suit.

There was a vast difference between the sources people used to gather reactive information as versus to preventive information. This is according to Schrader

In the quest for reactive information—like having a grasp over specific procedure or diagnosis—searchers are inclined to use high authority sources, such as medical provider or insurer, this is based on Schrader assertion.

In the search for preventive queries information—situations where people are seeking out information to stop something from taking place—the results came in diverse forms: medical question aggregators like WebMD, blogs, forums. Searchers were keen on “testing out” with less authoritative sources when it comes to preventative measures versus traditional sources with medical expert skills

With regards to all children, KidsHealth and WebMD were the most visited. There was no top-ranked in 10 subcategories in children’s keywords—no domain came up as a clear leader.

According to the study, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and John Hopkins put out informational pages on diseases—and not only on provider services. These providers are top rankers.

On the final note, Center for Hospice Care Southeast Connecticut in the category of the elderly ranks tops as the best performing domain for nursing home (a subset of nursing home). They are providers as well as a content provider. Information provision is critical to this site—selling of services is a secondary objective.

A Place for Mom and SeniorLiving were other top-ranking domains—they are senior living options’ aggregate information sites.

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