Why You Need to Claim Your Online Listings!
When was the last time you Googled your name or the name of your practice? When patients search for a chiropractic physician in your area, what does Google say on your behalf? It’s often the first impression a patient has of you, but not one that concerns many DCs, which leaves it up to Google to speak on your behalf!
Before Google and the Internet were ever an option, practices relied on the bulky telephone directory often listing in both the white and yellow pages. In fact, this was a marketing priority. It’s interesting that, in today’s world, claiming listings and ensuring information is correct has gone by the wayside for many practices, yet it’s Google and the Internet that have replaced the telephone directories.
Like the Yellow Pages, today’s consumers will turn to the Internet to locate your contact information and begin their initial search. Unlike the Yellow Pages, that search yields a lot more information than just your name, address, and phone number. ZocDoc, Yelp and other similar sites are today’s yellow pages and can’t be ignored, especially because they offer much more than just the standard contact information.
With so many review sites and Internet search returns, not to mention the standard website and social media marketing, it can be overwhelming to know where to start to update your information. Consider your website and social media your “virtual” address and the online directories as a way for prospective clients to look you up as a means to finding you in your community. Here are some suggested steps:
Start first with writing down the information you want conveyed:
- It’s important to maintain consistency in your listing. Google loves seeing matching information across all listings vs. having multiple listings that vary in information, making it appear like different practices. Determine what you want listed and how it will appear.
- Write a bio and use a good headshot of yourself or the front of your practice. Many sites allow these to be posted.
Next, get out pen and paper for note-taking and do some research, as follows:
- Only worry about page 1 search results. Chances are the smaller sites on page 2 search results get their information from the page 1 listings, so by focusing on the big listings like www.healthgrades.com, the smaller ones will correct themselves. Besides, how often do you search past page 2 search returns?
- Google your name (Dr. First Last, DC). Check both the page 1 search results and also check the images. Make sure to remove images or their links to any that don’t flatter you professionally. Check that the listings are correct and consistent.
- Google your business name. What websites come up? When you click on the Google map, how do you rank in the search, and how do you compare to your competitors? Again, check that the listings are correct and consistent.
- Google your name and “reviews.” (First, Last DC Reviews) What websites come up? How are the reviews, and how do you compare to competitors?
- Next, search Google as a prospective patient would for your services. Google “Chiropractor in [your town name].” What sites come up? Are there any websites that come up that allow you to claim your practice? Make a list of all the page 1 website search results.
At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what needs to be claimed, fixed, and where to focus your efforts. Look for new listing opportunities by repeating the above searches once to twice a year, claiming any new higher-ranked websites that come up.
Now that you know the primary websites on which to focus, do the following:
- Start with Google by claiming your business on Google My Business. This will translate to your business improving its ranking across all Google properties (maps, search findings etc.)
- Next, go to each of the websites on your list from above and look for the “Is this your business” or “Claim your listing” and similarly named options to claim your business. Remember to use the same information across all websites. Don’t leave anything blank.
- Look for inaccuracies in existing listings on page 1 search results and correct them.
Tips for success:
- Keep your services authentic. Don’t try to spread all services across multiple categories – for instance – trying to place your massage services under spa services or a DC only practice under an MD heading (which by the way is a violation of the Medical Practice Act).
- Don’t overthink this – keep it simple and just make sure the information is correct.
A note about websites with patient reviews. It’s easy to stand out from the competition if your listing has more reviews than your competitors and obviously more positive than negative reviews. More often than not, in a list of chiropractic physicians, only one will have a decent number of reviews and that’s the practice on which potential patients will click first. To boost your reviews, ask for them. Most review websites won’t allow you to ask for reviews in mass, but you can ask for them individually. Subtly promote this in your practice, doing so in compliance with the rules and regulations, and you’ll quickly stand out. [Editor’s note: you can find out more in this video]
In summary, both patients and networking alliances, such as referring MDs, will Google you if for no other reason than to look up your address or phone number. Make sure Google talks about you in the manner you wish to be portrayed, with a correct and consistent listing and claimed listings as a basic good start to move consumers toward your website.
When it comes to the importance of patient reviews, the numbers speak loud and clear!
- NRC Health research found that 92.4% of consumers use online reviews to guide most of their ordinary purchasing decisions. This statistic is close to the 94% found by Softwareadvice.com’s survey that showed patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians.
- When asked if they trusted online ratings and reviews more than personal recommendations, 83.3% of patients said yes. (Source Health IT Outcomes)
- 74.7% of patients want to see at least seven ratings before they’ll trust them and 77.6 % need to see seven comments that say the same thing before they’ll believe that there’s a trend. (Source Health IT Outcomes)
- Almost three quarters (72%) of patients use online reviews as the very first step to finding a new doctor, so your online reputation is often the first impression you make on many potential patients. (Source: Softwareadvice.com)
Christina Acampora, DC is the author of Marketing Chiropractic to Medical Practices (Jones and Bartlett, 2007) and the founder of Aligned Methods, a company specializing in helping DCs establish informed working relationships with medical physicians. She teaches the Introduction to Business Principles and Principles of Marketing and Communications courses at National University of Health Sciences. She can be reached at https://alignedmethods.com/.