A vaccine looms in the near future, but COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing across much of the U.S. Consumer behavior continues to change in response, as uncertainty remains high and patients hesitate to return to healthcare facilities.
To understand patients’ current needs, healthcare marketers are looking to Google Search in November for guidance.
Search trends give us a real-time picture of consumer sentiment and knowledge gaps. Healthcare consumers, specifically, are grappling with changing hours, medical facility policies and telemedicine services. Using Google Search as a guide, marketers can address common questions on their local listings, website, brand communications and social media pages.
In this article, we break down real-time search data on Google to understand what types of information healthcare consumers are looking for. Here are coronavirus search trends that digital marketers should monitor in November.
Coronavirus Search Trends for Healthcare Organizations
COVID-19 continues to arise frequently in search queries and business listings, though related searches have gradually declined in recent months.
Here are some notable November trends on Google Search, based on data from our healthcare partners:
According to Binary Fountain client data, total searches for healthcare organizations haven’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. There are now about 8% fewer monthly searches for healthcare clients than in February, but totals are climbing.
Clicks on healthcare companies’ Google My Business (GMB) profiles rebounded more rapidly, however, now up 17% from late-February click volume. Meanwhile, clicks to phone calls have increased by 45% from pre-outbreak levels. Weekly clicks on GMB profiles for driving directions are down about 10% since February, but climbing toward average levels.
Clearly, healthcare marketers need to prioritize updating local listings with phone numbers, URLs, hours and contact information for each facility.
Google Searches for Coronavirus in November
To survey the coronavirus search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top related keywords and queries broken down by category and geography.
In November, global search volume for “vaccine” reached an all-time high. Below are the top search terms used related to vaccines.
The trending coronavirus questions on Google in the U.S. relate to vaccines, lockdown and the virus’ spread. The past week’s highest-searched COVID-19 questions were:
- Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
- What states are on lockdown?
- When will coronavirus vaccine be ready?
- Why are Covid cases increasing?
- Who is most at risk for the coronavirus disease?
Google is also keeping track of where people are searching for COVID-19 testing information in real time. This geographical indicator can help predict when local consumers will need authoritative information from providers about tests, treatments or vaccines.
Follow these instructions to get your coronavirus testing site listed on Google Search. Google also recently added a new feature tracking real-time searches related to different symptoms, which you can find here.
The shorthand “covid” and “corona” continue to appear frequently, so it should join your keyword lists for any social listening initiatives.
Location-based news and information about COVID-19 risks, meanwhile, remain high in demand from searchers. As local authorities on the topic, healthcare brands need to include location-specific keywords in marketing content, business listings, review responses and social media.
Other COVID-19 Google Trends
Most search trends regarding coronavirus in November concern health guidelines and news of its spread. But other search trends offer healthcare organizations insights that can further weigh into a patient’s decision to seek medical care.
You should be prepared for questions that arise as new updates reach consumers. For example, searches for “elective surgery during coronavirus” increased by 600% this week.
Meanwhile, face masks have become especially relevant to U.S. searchers in recent weeks, as states reconsider lockdown plans. Be on the lookout for search terms including “mask mandate” and “mask policy,” which have spiked in recent weeks.
Employment and economic uncertainty also remain top of mind for searchers. We see continued high search volume for unemployment benefits, unemployment offices and coronavirus relief bills.
Search Trends for Helping Healthcare Providers
Not all coronavirus search trends in November are negative. Digital marketers can engage the many people looking to support local healthcare organizations during the pandemic.
For example, search volume for “how to help healthcare workers during coronavirus” doubled in the past week.
Brands should answer these questions – on Google My Business, local landing pages and social media – about supporting local providers. Google recommends the following methods of using its platform to help consumers and support healthcare workers:
- Let people know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
- Assess when people need you most, whether through your own first-party data or Google Trends.
- Frequently update or publish content that informs, entertains, connects and promotes wellness.
- Consider who the heroes are among your employees or your local community.
For more on managing your business listings and brand reputation during the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Resources Page or browse these resources:
- Every Google My Business Attribute Available to Healthcare Businesses
- Here’s How to Get Your COVID-19 Testing Center Listed on Google
- New Google My Business Profile Editing Capabilities and Hours Options Available
- What are Apple Maps Ratings? New Maps Feature Includes Business Ratings, Photos
About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist