UK Private Healthcare Companies - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q1 2024

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The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK private healthcare companies has just been published. Learn how the top 8 UK private healthcare companies perform across the digital space.

The latest Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK private healthcare companies has just been published. It covers the largest 8 national private healthcare companies, including Spire Healthcare, Nuffield Health, Aspen Healthcare, Ramsay Healthcare UK, Circle Health Group, The London Clinic, Benenden Health, and HCA Healthcare UK. Private Healthcare - LOGOS-1

The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other private healthcare companies to win brand exposure, drive traffic, and generate online enquiries. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.

To see a preview and contents page of the Q1 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call. Private Healthcare - COVER


For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 8 private healthcare companies on, check out our quick-look table below; Private Healthcare W&L Nov23

Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing private healthcare companies, or request a copy of the report for the full review.

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What The Industry Research Report Covers

The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each site based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.  

Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels

Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing.  Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.

Technical Website Compliance

Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. Private healthcare providers will want to ensure their sites are easy to navigate and that information is clear and readily available, as potential patients will want to find answers quickly.

In the last audit, Ramsey Healthcare UK flagged 1,239 4xx errors, and it’s since reduced this figure to 62 in this quarter. HCA Healthcare UK is the private healthcare company with the most 4xx errors (106). This provider must assess its linking structure to check for any dead ends to prevent any negative SEO repercussions.

Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance

When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. As with ensuring their site is easy to navigate, private healthcare companies will want to convey a fast, convenient experience from every digital touchpoint, including mobile page speed.

For Q1 2024, the mobile site speed ranged between 33 and 20, with HCA Healthcare UK scoring the lowest of all companies. It should compress all files on its website to help reduce download speeds and prevent customers becoming impatient and resorting to competitor websites.

Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority

Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. Private healthcare providers can look to raising awareness of specific conditions to gain backlinks and authority in their sector - both digitally and through brand perception.

A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. 

The DA range for this quarter ranges between 77 and 34, with only Aspen Healthcare reporting below 40 (the recommended benchmark for a DA rating). This company has the lowest total backlinks, and it should focus on creating content that’s easily linkable.

Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop

A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. Private healthcare providers may see themselves be hit in two contrasting ways by current consumer trends. Though many potential patients will be cutting back on non-essential treatments (or opting to pursue surgeries and treatment plans through the NHS), many others will be looking to beat NHS waiting times by opting for private treatment.

In this quarter, five of the companies saw a loss in organic mobile traffic, with Nuffield Health seeing the biggest loss (19%). Alternatively, all companies saw an increase in organic desktop traffic. This highlights that companies should focus on catering to desktop users rather than mobile.

Universal Search Opportunity

Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a site can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. Private healthcare providers are likely to see the most benefit from 'people also ask' appearances - a chance to share information about procedures, pricing, and conditions directly from the SERP.

Nuffield Health continues to report the highest for the total Universal Search results (20,710), with most of these appearances coming from the ‘image’ category (10,300). Circle Health Group is at a fairly close second place for total Universal Search results (14,599).

The Longtail Keyword Opportunity

Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for brand new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Private healthcare providers should look to optimise for high-enquiry intent terms, such as those including pricing details or potential recovery times.

Nuffield Health continues to rank the highest for longtail keyword appearances across all positions. It has more than double results in positions 4–10 compared to position 3, implying that it won’t be falling off the number one spot anytime soon.

Facebook Adverts

With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) hitting over 44 million users in 2023, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.

We’ve included three examples of The London Clinic’s sponsored Facebook posts. This private healthcare company included text across 4 lines, which it should reduce to a maximum of 3 to help grab people’s attention as they’re scrolling by. Additionally, it incorporate vertical videos to cater for mobile users, which is wise given that most Facebook consumers use the platform on their mobile.

Private Healthcare - Facebook

Top Social Shares & Content

When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your brand engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. As with improving DA performance, and longtail keyword content, private healthcare providers can look to raising awareness of conditions, promoting healthy lifestyles, and answering common questions as a way to build brand awareness through engaging, shareable content.

Facebook appears to be the most popular social media platform for all companies. Nuffield Health has the largest Facebook account (53,300 likes) and the largest Instagram account (24,900 followers). Interestingly, Circle Health Group has the highest total engagement (7,882) and Nuffield Health is second to the bottom for this category.

Website Readability & Accessibility

20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, brands lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. It goes without saying that any brand operating within the healthcare sector should have accessibility at the forefront of their concerns. Brands within the healthcare sector often trend towards light blue branding and imagery, due to its soothing nature, but this can often cause contrast issues and be difficult to read.

In our last audit, Nuffield Health raised the most concerns with 161 accessibility alerts. In Q1 2024, this private healthcare company has increased these alerts to 164. After assessing its website, most of these alerts are caused by underlined text, which must be addressed to enhance readability for those using a screen reader. Furthermore, Ramsay Healthcare UK reported 188 contrast errors, and it must address low contrast errors across its website to reduce this number.


To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.

Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

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