Physicians' very specific Web searches lead them to natural, or organic, search results rather than paid search listings, according to a new report by research firm comScore.
are more likely to use natural, or organic, search and direct navigation to
find their online health resources compared with paid search listings, a report
by Web analytics and research firm comScore
buy paid search listings, which appear in a blue or yellow background at the
top of Google search results, while natural, or nonpaid, search results
generated by Google's algorithm appear below the paid results.
have a very specific goal in mind when searching for health information online
compared with patients, and this criteria leads physicians to click on natural
search results, according to John Mangano, comScore's vice president of health
guys are using the Internet in ways that are trendy, relevant and growing, and
in some ways using it more than the average American," Mangano told
a patient may search for the general term "cholesterol," which leads
to a few paid links, a doctor may get more specific with a search like
"triglycerides in Italian-Americans."
you put in a search like that, organic search is going to be more likely to
deliver the kind of answer you're looking for," Mangano explained.
"Paid search is not as detailed."
search terms for Web content compiled by government resources are not paid,
doctors will also tend to rely on the authoritative content of sites like that
of the National Institutes of Health. The first natural search results on
Google for pharmaceutical items are government content, and the search engine
signifies the NIH content with a red and blue pill icon. Google uses what looks
like a gray pill box with a red outline for non-pharmaceutical NIH searches for
other terms like "malaria."
content is good because there are certain things that the government has;
there's content that you can't get anywhere else, like on the CDC site,"
also dive in quickly in health care search, find very specific details they're
looking for to inform patients-like the side effects of a medication-and then
get off, Mangano noted.
not as heavy as research; it's more of an info snack you need at that moment
before moving on," he said.
doctors searching in an organic way, rather than using paid search, the
research shows that companies need to build brand awareness and effective SEO
strategies to attract physicians to their Websites, comScore
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.