Almost 60 percent of patients will go online sometimes or often to look for care, according to PatientPop. And 91 percent of patients always or sometimes conduct additional online research after receiving a referral from a healthcare provider, according to Kyruus. As a provider, it’s critical to your healthcare marketing strategy that patients find you wherever they’re looking for care.
You probably have a practice website, and your physician profile may even be listed on healthcare directories such as WebMD or RateMDs. But if you’re looking for healthcare marketing ideas to take your online presence to the next level, it’s important that your practice is also listed on local business directories such as Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Yelp, Facebook, and Angie’s List.
Keep reading to understand why listing your practice on prominent local business directories is a vital part of a well-rounded healthcare marketing strategy.
5 healthcare marketing benefits to using business directories
1. Claiming and optimizing local business directories expands your online footprint.
According to PatientPop, 74.6 percent of people have looked online to find out about a doctor, a dentist, or medical care. A key goal in any healthcare marketing strategy is to grow your online presence. This is a simple numbers game. The more places you are listed online, the more likely you are to get found by new patients.
Having online business listings in your name or your practice name is also effective healthcare marketing because it allows you to dominate the search results for your name. The last thing you want is for a competitor to rank for your name or the name of your practice.
2. Search engines like Google consider local business directories highly reputable.
Oftentimes, local business directories will rank above even your own practice website, so creating listings on these sites gives you a better chance of ranking higher in search results.
For example, Google — the world’s most widely used search engine by far — favors its own directory, Google My Business, in search results. On desktop, a Google My Business profile will appear prominently on the right-hand side of the page in a dedicated box. On mobile, it’ll be the first thing shown in results. Thus, a Google My Business profile can help highlight your practice and drive more traffic to your website.
Because directories tend to rank higher, they can often be how you make your first impression to patients online. Even if you haven’t created your own listings, it’s possible that they already exist and contain inaccurate information. Claiming these listings and ensuring that they contain accurate contact information not only helps patients, but it helps search engines understand what to display in search. If Google can’t figure out which information for your practice is accurate, you may not appear in the search at all.
Learn more: 3 most common online directory listing mistakes
3. Patients use local business directories to find healthcare practices.
More than half of patients (50.5 percent) say they use information on third-party websites to form an opinion on a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare provider, according to PatientPop. When choosing a provider, patients want to know what to expect during their visit. You can boost your healthcare marketing by adding photos of your office and waiting room to your business listings.
Some sites will also let you write a biography and other information about your practice such as services offered. This allows you to generate trust with new patients before they ever schedule an appointment.
4. Local business directories often include reviews.
Online business directories can help you improve your online reputation. According to PatientPop, patients use Google most often to both read and post reviews. Yelp, another business directory, is the third most common site patients use to both read and post reviews, also according to PatientPop.
Your healthcare marketing strategy is incomplete if it does not include online reputation management. By creating or claiming online business directories, you provide patients a place to share positive experiences they’ve had with you.
You can also stay on top of any negative feedback you receive and respond publicly. According to a survey by Software Advice, about two out of five patients will disregard a review if a provider has responded in a thoughtful manner. When a provider responds to a negative patient review, the rate of satisfied patients doubles, increasing 99 percent, according to PatientPop.
5. It’s free to list or claim your practice.
Most, if not all, online business directories are free to list or claim, which means the return on your healthcare marketing investment has the potential to be very high. Here’s a list of 50 online business directories you may want to consider using.
It can be time intensive to go through all 50, so you may consider focusing on the top 10 or the ones with higher domain authority. Websites with a higher domain authority are more likely to rank higher in search results.
PatientPop helps providers elevate their web presence with a website that is optimized for search engines. PatientPop also helps them list their practice on all essential sites in a clear consistent manner to increase search visibility, making healthcare and dental marketing easy.
Looking for more ways to increase your online presence? Check out this blog post on “4 opportunities for patients to find your practice using local search.”