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How Do 107 People Find a Doctor?

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

You probably know what you search for on Google. But if you're a small business, you're likely more concerned with what your potential customers are looking for each day. People working in professional services -- accountants, doctors, lawyers -- are in a unique position in the world of search. Just about everyone will need to visit the doctor or talk to a lawyer or accountant at some point in their lives.

We wanted to know more about which professional services people around the US have looked for on Google and what keeps their attention on a professional services website. So to satisfy our curiosity, we conducted a national internet access panel of 110 respondents on their recent Google search habits. Of the 110 people we reached out to, 107 were kind enough to respond to us. We got some great insights into their search queries and what catches and keeps their eyes on a website.

Read on for more about what we found, and if you need some custom research to inform your business decisions, check out Our Services.

More than half of everyone we polled has looked for a doctor on-line. Another quarter of everyone we polled has looked for either a lawyer or accountant. That's especially great news if you're a medical practice with an established digital marketing presence on the web.

Now the bad news. Unless you're the name in medicine, law, or accounting in your regional market, the people searching for your services are really only looking for two things in the Google bar:

(1) Proximity. People are looking for what's "near" and "local." If you're not already ranked by Google as one of the top accountants, doctors, or lawyers in your location, you can't expect new clients or patients to find you easily.

(2) Best. Believe it or not, people want "the best" or "the top" providers of professional services and...they don't want to work too hard to find them. The top three organic results on Google's search engine results page receive 75% of all clicks. It pays to be "the best," or at least the best ranking.

You may not be able to convince the world you're the best at what you do but if you have a service area (i.e. you're not a national practice), you are missing a gigantic opportunity by not focusing on your locality in your web and social media presence.

For reference, here's the word cloud for what our respondents searched for:

The next question we wanted to answer was what kind of content do you need to emphasize on your website to get a prospect's attention? Glad you asked! You can rank on the first page of Google by focusing on what your potential clients/patients find most useful in a website. If you need a little help figuring out how to do that, check out our DIY guide for small business SEO. It's a quick read and will get you on the right path to generating great content.

Here's what our panelist thought was most important on a professional services website:

As you can see from this, the most important content you can focus on, according to 107 random Americans, is customer testimonials. After that, you will want to focus on the images, text, and biographic information you present on your website.This isn't really that surprising. People want to know they're dealing with a professional they can trust and the way people experience that feeling of trust is through (1) Word of mouth (2) Bona fides (3) Visuals and Text.

Side note here. In marketing, your website is called "owned media" because you own it. Think of a Colgate toothpaste tube or a bag of Frito Lay chips. The companies that own those brands can put almost anything on the packaging and on the websites for the products. It's theirs to use however they will. Each tube of toothpaste or bag of chips is a little ad for their product. Think of your website the same way. It is your chance to showcase your products and services.

You may now be saying, "Great, I can put up some material on my website to keep the public's interest. But how much of this stuff do I need on my website to keep my searcher's attention?" Great question.

Here's what we found:

So if you want to get 60% of the people who are able to find your business on the internet to work with you, you need between 6 and 30 minutes worth of "stuff" (preferably original, high-quality stuff) to keep their attention long enough for them to decide to choose you as their service provider.

Obviously, putting up a website full of great content doesn't happen overnight. If you want to get gigantic muscles or set a personal best at the next Head for the Cure 5k, you have to put in effort everyday.

Read more on our Blog or check out Our Services page for more about what we do for clients like you.