NEW: Fred Schebesta

Warning: Are you ignoring the desperate customers searching for your services? At 1:02am last Monday my stomach hurt so much that I felt like crying…

Search and rescue

Fred Schebesta

At 1:02am last Monday my stomach hurt so much that I felt like crying. I had no idea what was wrong. My father is an anaesthetist and I called him because he helps me out when I am really unwell.

I told him my symptoms and he quickly diagnosed that it was my appendix that was in trouble. I live in Sydney and know of all the private hospitals, but at the time I was in Melbourne for business and had no idea where to go or what the private hospitals were called. So I did like everyone else would and asked a mate for a recommendation. He said the Alfred Hospital was good, so I went there. 

At the same time as this I asked my dad to go on Google and find a private hospital in Melbourne – “private hospital Melbourne” were the keywords I blurted out in my pain.

Now, my dad couldn’t work out a private from a public hospital in the search engine, as hospitals seem to have the worst search engine marketing in the world. I wasn’t exactly in a position to be reading a review as my pain was excruciating. I personally was desperate for care – I would have accepted help from a dodgy backyard medic with a pocket knife if he was going to remove my appendix. The price was not even a consideration. I would have re-mortgaged my apartment just to get under the knife.

I quickly got into a cab and hurled down the streets to the hospital only to find out it was a public hospital. I have had two operations in my life, and this one has definitely been up there in the pain stakes. It’s amazing how much you use your stomach muscles.

I must say that the service speed has not been super at times, but the nurses have been great. The food is hospital food, and with some creative ordering you can get some nice stuff (I would recommend the spaghetti bolognaise).

After my operation I heard a diagnosis from my surgeon who said apparently my appendix had actually burst and had created an abcess. My stomach had created a wall around it to stop it from infecting my entire stomach, but was not in a good way.

The extreme requirement of this situation was drastic, although I could not find a single place on the internet for somewhere to fix it. It seems that the hospitals have turned a blind eye to people searching for a hospital to fix their condition in an emergency.

There are four things I would immediately do if I were search engine marketing hospitals:

  1. Start buying up keywords for every single emergency condition and send them to a landing page with address details and a good guide on how to get there.
  2. Cleary display in the title tag whether it is a private or public hospital.
  3. Update Google map details immediately so that people can quickly and easily find the premises.
  4. Start optimising the website for all of the main services and the conditions fixed. Make sure you create pages optimised for human-speak and not just doctor-speak (“appendix out” vs “appendectomy”).

During my stay I have thought of a lot of ideas in terms of hospital marketing. Here are my initial 6 ideas. I am sure some of you entrepreneurs out there could build businesses out of these.

Three ideas of web businesses in the hospital niche:

  1. Hospital review website – The website could review and take in feedback from people who have used a hospital and make recommendations. It also provides information and service provisions for the different hospitals.
  2. A directory of hospitals in every major city – A simple directory could bring in a lot of traffic from the travellers and I am sure could be a good audience to market to.
  3. A hospital survival blog – There must be people out there who have mastered the art of going to hospital and having a superb time. There are so many little nuances and things you pick up over time. Like why won’t the tea lady bring you strawberry milk, and how can you upgrade your drink choice?


Fred Schebesta’s company Freestyle Media is an established innovative online marketing agency specialising in building search engine friendly corporate websites and running online marketing campaigns.

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