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The Most Googled Symptoms in 2015: What's Trending & Why Your Hospital Should Care


In this day and age, most people are turning to the Internet for fast information about symptoms and health conditions. In one of our blog posts from last month, we shared a statistic from Google that said that 1 out of every 20 Google searches is for health-related information. So what types of health terms are getting the most search activity?

Google listed its top 10 most commonly searched symptoms in 2015:

  1. Flu
  2. Gallbladder infection
  3. Measles
  4. Listeria
  5. Sinus infection
  6. Gastritis
  7. Anxiety attack
  8. H. pylori infection
  9. Heat stroke
  10. Lactose intolerance

As we discussed last month, Google has (over the past year) also identified hundreds of the most commonly searched health conditions and provided carefully vetted data about these conditions as additional information in search results. The vetted data includes information such as a general condition overview, symptoms, and treatment options.

How to Work Top-Ranking Health Terms Into Your Hospital’s Content & SEO Strategy

So why do the most commonly searched symptoms and health conditions matter? The answer is that these are the terms that begin patients’ online search journeys, which could eventually lead them to hospital and healthcare provider websites such as yours.

If you want to make the most of the popular health search terms, try incorporating some of them into your website content and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. By doing this, you can use the latest search trends to potentially bring more traffic to your website.

Here are a few best practices for incorporating popular health search terms into your website content:

  1. Use keywords research tools such as Google Trends to determine which health terms are gaining the most traction online — particularly those related to your healthcare services. Which words are people using to search for the types of healthcare services that are offered by your hospital or healthcare organization? Which health topics are trending? Google Trends allow you to search by categories, regions, subregions, and other variables. You can also use Google AdWords Keyword Planner and a number of other tools.
  2. Produce content on your website about these terms and topics, and make sure the content is actually helpful to your website visitors. For example, you may have a page on your website or a blog post about flu symptoms, the importance of getting the flu shot, and where patients can receive these types of shots. Or, you may want to write a digital whitepaper on a commonly searched disease and its treatment options, if your hospital or healthcare organization specializes in this area. Each piece of content will create yet another digital pathway that could lead back to your website in an online search.
  3. Make sure the use of these terms and topics flow naturally within your website content. If it appears that you are simply stuffing your content with irrelevant keywords to boost your search engine optimization (SEO), this will appear spammy. Spammy content will be a turn-off to your hospital website visitors, and it will also likely become a red flag for search engines, which could hurt your ranking in search results.

As you begin the New Year, take time to stop, look at the latest search trends, and adjust your SEO plan accordingly for the year ahead. If you need help finding new opportunities for boosting your hospital’s online exposure in 2016, our hospital marketing experts would be happy to help. Give us a call today!

For other helpful online marketing tips, download our free healthcare social media guide.