According to Google, 1 in 20 of their search engine enquiries are health related and up to 3 in 5 Australians, look up their symptoms online rather than seeing a doctor about their health concern.

Subsequently, Google launched its’ own self-diagnosis function in Australia on February 1st, 2017, which provides basic information to assist users in the self-diagnosis of around 900 medical conditions. Google’s angle is to assist users in making better informed decisions as they realise that the internet is full of dodgy websites providing unreliable health advice. Their new health function consists of information from accredited and trusted sources and they clearly state that their information source is not intended to replace visiting a medical professional…

Unfortunately, it’s safe to say that not everyone will read the disclaimer and may avoid attending a medical practice in person if they feel an online diagnosis “ticks all their boxes”.

Competing with online self-diagnosis in Australia

Googles’ intentions are pure – to stop people getting poor advice from dodgy websites…

Health professionals are well versed in the power of Dr Google and its’ ability to create a sense of confidence in a patient’s self-diagnosis. Gone are the days of a patient nodding compliantly at the advice of their trusted medical practitioner – even the highest trained specialists are now second guessed by their patients if their diagnosis doesn’t align with what’s currently trending on Twitter.

The bottomless pit of information now available at an individuals’ fingertips isn’t such a bad thing – it has resulted in increased awareness of many early signs of disease and has certainly helped sufferers connect with support and resources to help them manage their condition. The fact remains, however, that todays’ health professional must contend with the “But-What-About-This-Article-I-Read-Online-ers” and they aren’t going away any time soon.

Use the internet to your advantage… Here are 3 ways to become friends with Dr Google:

1. Search Engine Optimisation:

Let YOUR name be the answer that is presented to an individual when they search for “back pain solutions” in your local area. A well search engine optimised website aims to rank in search engine results for specific keywords or search terms

If your specialty is non-invasive fertility treatment in Wollongong, you want your business showing up for a range of specific search terms that are likely to be used by prospective patients when they are looking for answers online. Search engine optimisation (SEO) can take time to get going, but the results are long lasting and low cost.

2. Search Engine Marketing:

Paid advertising is a way to reap the benefits of SEO with instant results. The downside is that when a paid campaign stops, generally so does most of the traffic to your website, but it can be highly effective for branding or getting awareness of a new treatment you may be offering.

To maximise your return on investment, talk to someone who is up to date with the Google Adwords Program or familiar with the advertising platforms available to you online.

3. Become part of the online community:

By becoming more visible online, whether it’s through your website or great social media management, you can build trust amongst your patients and increase the likelihood of new clients choosing you to treat them. Build connections with others in your specialty and become a familiar presence to your target audience.

For example, a sports physiotherapist based in south Sydney, would do well to engage with local football clubs and hockey teams by building website links and through quality interaction on the appropriate social media platforms.

The time spent on a digital marketing strategy for your private practice or clinic is a worthy investment, when done properly. If you don’t know where to start, talk to a digital marketing consultant about the most appropriate strategy for your business.
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References: Google Australia Blog