By Vikram Sethi

Health-focused sites represented 3 out of the top 10 federal Government sites in September, indicating a high level of public interest in health information, according to a comScore study. NIH.gov, the flagship property of the National Institutes of Health, drew 10.6 million Americans in September 2011, making it the most popular site in the Government category.

NIH.gov Ranks as Leading Government Health Site, Followed by CDC.gov

In September 2011, NIH.gov ranked as the leading public health site with the most unique visitors within the Government category, while having a comparable audience size to top sites within the Health category such as Yahoo Health and MSN Health. NIH.gov received 10.6 million visitors in September, growing 22 per cent from the previous year partly driven by a continued partnership with Google that returned NIH results as the first unpaid listing for pharmaceutical-related searches. The growth of the site outpaced both the Government sector’s 3 per cent overall category growth and the Health sector’s 15 per cent category growth over the past year.

Also ranking among the top ten federal Government sites were CDC.gov, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site, and USDA.gov, the Department of Agriculture site. USDA.gov showed a similar increase in traffic as NIH.gov, with a 20 per cent gain over the previous year. HealthFinder.gov, an initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services, saw the highest increase in traffic from the previous year (69 per cent), drawing 113,000 unique visitors in September 2011.

Selected Government Health Sites by Unique Visitors (000)
September 2011
Total U.S. Home and Work Audience
Total Unique Visitors (000) % Change from September 2010
NIH.gov 10,579 22%
CDC.gov 2,443 9%
USDA.gov 2,297 20%
HHS.gov 1,387 -6%
FDA.gov 818 13%
MedlinePlus.gov 694 -1%
Cancer.gov 553 -9%
WomensHealth.gov 423 -2%
ClinicalTrials.gov 308 19%
HealthCare.gov 121 -58%
HealthFinder.gov 113 69%
Health.gov 59 -20%

 

Flu Searches Drive Visitors to CDC.gov and Flu.gov

In September 2011, broad-matched searches for flu information drove a significant amount of search click-throughs to CDC.gov and flu information site Flu.gov, illustrating the important role of search in driving visitors to public health sites. In September, 1.8 million searches were conducted related to the flu, increasing 116 percent from August as many people began flu season preparation earlier. CDC.gov accounted for the highest share of click-throughs at 17.7 per cent during the month, followed by New York Times Digital (3.7 per cent) and WebMD Health (3.4 per cent). Flu.gov accounted for nearly 2 per cent of all click-throughs.

Top Term Destinations for Search Activity Related to Flu*
September 2011 
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Property % of Click-Throughs
CDC.gov 17.7%
New York Times Digital 3.7%
WebMD Health 3.4%
Everyday Health 3.4%
Yahoo! Sites 3.2%
FluFacts.com 2.9%
Glam Media 2.4%
Google Sites 2.2%
Wikimedia Foundation Sites 2.0%
Flu.gov 1.9%

*Includes broad matches on the search term “flu”

(Vikram Sethi is editorial intern with techtaffy.com. He can be reached at [email protected])