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Rethinking Your Search: New Tools for Healthcare Marketers

This is a guest post by Aniko Lecoultre, a web consultant in search engine optimization. Aniko views social media and the web collectively as starters for change in pharma and healthcare. Her focus is on the crossroads of new rising needs. You can read more of Aniko’s posts at dynamia.ch and find her on Twitter @AnikoLecoultre.

The first eye tracking study has just been released since Google integrated real-time data into search results. This study shows people’s eye movements are still concentrated at the top left of the screen. They do not seem to bother with the real-time results figured in the boxes at the bottom of the pages. If this holds true for you, too, it’s time to rethink your search.

Let’s take a look at what else is happening right now. A few days ago, the 10 billionth tweet was sent. That number of tweets is too huge to be neglected. If you are interested in exploring tweets on a particular topic, you can use classical search tools like Search Twitter, or more innovative ones, like Topsy, Twazzup, or Ellerdale. The Ellerdale Project analyzes the context of tweets and the links they contain, and combines that information with other data sources to create a trends tracker. Conversation is categorized in topics and subtopics.

If we check under the science classification, the first tweets are shown

Since my interest is centered in healthcare, I decide to explore the A1C tweet circled in red. This tweet is from webmd.com, a trusted source, and is about identifying diabetes and heart risks. I decide to know more about the discussion flow and to get a quick overview with Stream Graph.

For “diabetes test” it returns the frequency of the most common words found for the last 1,000 tweets as shown.

By clicking on A1C, we obtain the graph and the latest tweets. This stream gives us indications about the content and the volume of the flow. The content is about risk prediction for diabetes and heart disease and the volume seems low.

To have more precise data about the volume of tweets we can use Socialmention.

The content is interesting enough for me to track it. For this goal I will use Tweetmixx.

This tool with a pretty nice interface has an interesting feature called “your interest” which, in addition to tracking the discussions for you, will give some more information like the number of Retweets.

While Tweetmix works for us on Twitter, let’s go on Google, but start again with an overall image. Google also lets us know there is rising interest for “A1C diabetes test”. For this, we will use Viewzi. This image shows the time frame, and it is interesting to see a rise in documents on Google for the February-March 2010 period.

Now, let’s look at a grid of the first sites with the same tool.

In this view, we get the big picture about the sites speaking about diabetes tests. To see the content more closely, we can use the Screenshot functionality. Here, we can walk through the sites in order to more quickly choose the site whose content is best suited to our needs.

On Google, as we did on Twitter, think about using alerts, but Google Alerts. Just enter “A1C diabetes test” and Google Alerts will send you an email with all the new pages Google has indexed.

Finally, in your search, think about the other generalist search engines, too (there are also specialized health search engines, but this is not the subject of this post). An easy way is to visualize again with Viewzi, and easily compare the results from one search engine to another (identified by the different colours.)

Now, it is up to you to rethink your search, and take it to a higher level. Adapt some new reflexes to check trends, get overviews, set up alerts and use visualization tools to give your search a boost and a beautiful touch.

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