December 11, 2011

For a Physician, When is the Best Time To Tweet or Publish a Blog?

According to professional bloggers and tweeters, timing of content publication is important in order to maximize getting noticed and shared. From a general topics viewpoint (not healthcare specific; data taken from here):
  • 4PM Eastern is the best time to Tweet
  • Friday is the best day to Tweet
  • 9AM Eastern is the best time to Facebook share
  • Saturday and Sunday are the best days to Facebook share
  • In the morning is the best time to blog
  • Publishing a different blog article multiple times throughout the day is better than once per day
However, I've always wondered if such "rules" similarly apply to healthcare content as by their very nature, people tend to search a problem after seeing their doctor or seeing/reading it on the news.

Ever since I've been monitoring my website statistics starting in 2005, I've noticed some undeniable trends of "when" website activity occurs which presumably reflects "when" healthcare keyword searches occur.

For any given 24 hour period of time (graph shown below is for Nov 14-15, 2011), my ENT practice website got THE most activity between noon and midnight; peak activity being from noon - 3PM.

On a weekly basis (graph shown below is for Mon Nov 14 - Sun Nov 20, 2011), the greatest activity is Monday thru Wednesday after which web traffic drops off almost 50% by Saturday before bouncing back up 100% on Monday.

Such statistical fluctuations have been true for the past 5 years I've been tracking this stuff.

Now I certainly can't explain the "why" this phenomenon happens without more google analytics data from more healthcare websites, but I certainly can take advantage of this knowledge as it pertains to ENT problems (though I suspect that what is true for ENT is true of other health problems when it comes to web traffic).

How can I take advantage of this knowledge?

People are CONSTANTLY adding to the content found on the web, all vying for the attention of eyeballs. Being the first is important as it seems to me that google values original content (not copies that appear later), but just as important is "when" the content first appears as one would like to ride the wave of when healthcare keyword searches occur.

Overall, the holy grail is to come up with great original content, be the first to publish it, but publish it at the right time.

Great, Original Content

Good content is king and #1 in the priority of getting noticed. If your content stinks, being first and when you publish won't matter.

Be the FIRST to Publish

I can't prove it and I don't have supporting evidence for it, but it seems that google does prefer content that appears "first" over copies that appear later. The prime example is Associated Press articles that are syndicated and re-published over a wide variety of different newspaper websites throughout the world.

If google encounters the same exact article 100 times, how does it rank one over the other?

I suspect, it ranks based on two factors:

1) "Popularity" of the website publishing the content
2) Being the first to publish

Obviously, an individual only has control over timing. Take advantage of it.

WHEN to Publish

Though being the first to publish is important, the timing of when to publish is also extremely important. It's almost like surfing... You want to be the first to stake out a place to ride a wave... but you need to be where the waves are.

Given the dramatic... but consistent... fluctuations in healthcare web activity, it is better to wait and publish when people are actively searching. It is more likely to get noticed and hopefully shared, emailed, liked on facebook, tweeted, etc. Going viral is the goal all content publishers dream of.

So, WHEN is the golden moment to publish?

It is around 11AM on Mon, Tues, and Wed based on my limited data.


Now, do I even follow my own advice?

Not necessarily... I tend to go with the "be the first" rule regardless of the time, not because I feel it more important than the timing of publication, but it's just that I have so much other things to do (like taking care of patients), that if I come up with an idea to write about, I just publish it and not worry too much about timing.

BUT, if I do have a moment, I WILL tend to publish things timed between 11AM and 3PM during the week.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

1 comment:

dr lasermed said...

Loved the analysis. I'm new to the blog world, so will see if this helps.
I tend to post when I have time and/ or the post is "finished". But I will look for trends and keep this in mind.

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