UK Private Healthcare Companies - Digital Marketing Benchmark Report, Q4 2023

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The Q4 2023 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 Q4 2023 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

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 Q4 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 - Digital Benchmark Report - Q4 2023 - 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 our last report in Q3, UK private healthcare providers were one of the best-performing sectors we specialise in, when it comes to technical website compliance. All eight providers recorded fewer than 100 4x errors in our crawls. However, in Q4, Ramsay Healthcare saw its technical compliance fall, with our crawls flagging 1,239 4xx errors. This indicates a difficult site to navigate, which could lead to visitors turning elsewhere out of frustration.

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.

Mobile page speed scores for private healthcare companies range from 44 for Nuffield Health and 19 for HCA Healthcare. HCA still remains significantly behind its next closest competitor, and must asses which areas of the site are holding performance back, in order to improve on mobile page experience.

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. Nuffield Health is presenting with not only the quickest mobile site, but the highest domain authority, with 77, indicating a site which not only performs well organically but also presents a strong on-site experience. Aspen Healthcare remains at the end of this scale, 25 points behind its next closest competitor, the London Clinic. Aspen should be prioritising earning powerful backlinks from reputable sites, which will both improve DA and increase referral traffic.

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 our last report, we noted that only Circle Health Group and Ramsay Healthcare had achieved any growth in year on year traffic. In Q4, Ramsay Healthcare maintained an increase of 30%. However Circle Health Group has now seen a 4% loss in digital footfall year on year.

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.

The eight private healthcare providers in our report are using a wide range of Universal Search features, with 'people also ask' being the most-appeared for result. Though Nuffield Health has secured the most appearances, with 5,700 results, Spire Healthcare is not far behind.

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 not only has the highest volume of longtail keywords ranking overall, but the most appearances in the top three, ten, and twenty positions. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that many of these may be gym related, a service that not all of our eight healthcare brands offer. Spire Healthcare has the second-most longtail keyword rankings - though this does not outperform Nuffield in terms of volume, a higher proportion of these keywords are in the top positions, indicating a well-maintained and optimised content plan, which includes further potential for improvement.

Facebook Adverts

With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, 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.

Below, we've included examples of HCA Healthcare's Facebook ads. HCA has used vertical formatted ads to fill users' screens and sit withing organic 'Reels' content. The use of varying copy lengths also enable HCA to evaluate the best performing ads for its audience, and tweak future campaigns accordingly.

HCA Healthcare Facebook Ads November 2023

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.

All eight private healthcare providers are favouring Meta's platforms, with Nuffield holding the largest organic following, with 52,400 Facebook likes and 23,600 Instagram followers. Private healthcare providers should also consider Pinterest as a key platform, due to the abundance of inspiring health content and the comparatively more affluent audience to other social platforms.

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 two reports, we noted that Ramsay Healthcare was returning one of the highest volumes of accessibility barriers in our crawls. Though Ramsay Healthcare has still not improved in Q4, Nuffield Health remains the poorest-performing private healthcare provider, flagging 161 alerts. Nuffield must prioritise making the site easy to access for all potential visitors.


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 Patty Brito on Unsplash

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