Mobile Searches for “Best” on the Rise

The best hospital. The best doctor. The best ER. The best nurses. Mobile searches for “the best” have grown more than 80% over the past two years. So what happens when potential patients search for “hospitals in YourCity” verses “best hospitals in YourCity”? Is there a difference? Is your hospital on either list?

A few examples:

  • Indianapolis:
    • Hospitals in Indianapolis yields a first three of: NeuroPsychiatric Hospital of Indianapolis, Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, and IU Health University Hospital
    • BEST hospitals in Indianapolis yields a first three of: St. Vincent Heart Center, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent Indianapolis, and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital – Pediatric Endocrinology
  • Seattle:
    • Hospitals in Seattle yields a first three of: Virginia Mason Hospital and Seattle Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, and Kindred Hospital Seattle – Northgate
    • BEST hospitals in Seattle yields a first three of: Virginia Mason Hospital and Seattle Medical Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Harborview Medical Center
  • Miami:
    • Hospitals in Miami yields a first three of: Mercy Hospital, University of Miami Hospital, and Jackson Memorial Hospital
    • BEST hospitals in Miami yields a first three of: Sister Emmanuel Hospital, Miami VA Healthcare System, and University of Miami Hospital Outpatient Center

Think with Google’s Editor Ken Wheaton posted an article this month, “Ask a Researcher: What Does ‘Best’ Really Mean?” While not specific to healthcare, it’s filled with fascinating nuances that translate well.

One key point in the opening: finding the best isn’t necessarily about finding the absolute best – rather finding what is best for you and your needs. If a patient searches for “best knee surgeon in Phoenix,” she’ll not only be looking at rankings, ratings and quality scores, but will also be considering proximity, the time it takes to get an appointment, whether or not she can find additional information online, whether or not the surgeon is in her insurance plan, etc.

“With so many options and so much information online, consumers increasingly can and have to make decisions based on differences beyond quality, price, and basic features. The deciding factor is often personal criteria for that product and how it solves their individual needs,” explains Sara Kleinberg, Google’s Head of Ad Research and Insights. “Consumers told us searching ‘best’ helps save time by returning a curated list of fewer options or aggregated rankings, ratings, or reviews from consumers and experts.”

So with “best” searches on the rise, how do you make sure your hospital, physician group, or clinic is toward the top of these all-important listings? It’s all about the content – always the content. As Kleinberg notes, ensure your content and search copy convey how you will meet and solve consumers’ needs.