A recent study from Pew Internet shows that 77% of online health seekers (a.k.a. potential patients) begin their session at a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing (Google being the most popular). Only 13% say they began at a site that specializes in health information, like WebMD. A mere 2% say they started at a more general site like Wikipedia and 1% started at a social network like Facebook.

This trend implies a decrease in loyalty to individual brands and websites and an increase in substitutability between web services. The data also imply a strong trust in search engines to serve relevant results. Further, search engine use is more prevalent among younger online health seekers, with 82% reporting that they used Google, Bing, Yahoo or another search engine.

Your choice in a WPO (Web Presence Optimization) platform determines how your presented relative to the other doctors competing for these potential patients. Would useful information from your website help a drive a patient to make that needed appointment with you?

To learn more about how online health seekers find information, check out the study from Pew Internet: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Health-online/Part-One