What’s clear is that uncertainty remains high.
To understand patients’ current needs, healthcare marketers are looking to Google Search for guidance.
While healthcare consumers grapple with changing hours, medical facility policies and the shift to telemedicine, search trends give us a picture of their concerns. Once the search landscape is clear, healthcare organizations can address common questions in their local listings and brand communications.
In this article, we break down Google’s coronavirus search trends in September to understand what types of information healthcare consumers are looking for. Here are coronavirus search trends that digital marketers should monitor.
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 September 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, now at about 25% fewer weekly searches than in February.
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 a whopping 56% from pre-outbreak levels. Expectedly, weekly clicks on GMB profiles for driving directions are down about 15% since Feb. 24.
Healthcare marketers must ensure local listings have updated phone numbers, URLs, hours and contact information for each facility. Otherwise, they risk losing significant patient volume.
Google Searches for Coronavirus in September
For a full picture of the search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top 100 places searching for coronavirus and the top related queries – what people type when searching for the virus.
On Sept. 15, the top coronavirus searches on Google in the U.S. were related to symptoms and general information. The past week’s highest-trending COVID-19 questions were:
- Who is the coronavirus czar?
- Is throwing up a symptom of corona?
- Is sneezing a symptom of coronavirus?
- When did coronavirus start?
- Is there a cure for coronavirus?
Like last month, the shorthand “corona” and “covid” are appearing more frequently, so they should join your keyword lists for any social listening initiatives.
The search engine is also keeping track of where people are searching for “testing.” This geographical indicator can help predict when local residents will need authoritative information from local healthcare providers.
Follow these instructions to get your coronavirus testing site listed on Google Search.
Meanwhile, searches including “during coronavirus” have surged in the past week, as consumers look to resume activities in many states. These Google searches include:
- Going to the dentist during coronavirus (up 4,100% in the U.S. this week)
- Is it safe to go to the gym during coronavirus
- Going out to eat during coronavirus
- Is it safe to stay in a hotel during coronavirus
News and information about COVID-19 risks – especially locally – are in high demand from consumers. As local authorities on the topic, healthcare brands need to include this information in brand communications, business listings, review responses and social media.
Other COVID-19 Google Trends
Though most searches regarding COVID-19 are currently related to tracking the spread and health guidelines, there are other coronavirus search trends in September that healthcare organizations should monitor. These searches offer insights into the other factors that can weigh into a patient’s decision to seek care.
Employment and economic uncertainty remain top of mind for consumers, with continued high search volume for unemployment benefits.
Unfortunately, school closures have become increasingly more pertinent to U.S. searchers. Be on the lookout for search terms including “school closure covid” and “coronavirus school closure,” which have spiked in the last month.
You should also be prepared for questions that arise as new updates reach consumers. For example, “can pets get covid,” “CDC high risk groups” and “families first coronavirus response act” all are trending in the past week.
Helpers Search on Google, Too
Not all coronavirus search trends are negative. Healthcare marketers can engage people who are searching for ways to help during the pandemic. Brands should answer these questions – on Google My Business, local landing pages and social media – about how to support 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, your customers 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