7 steps to boost your online reputation: a doctor’s guide

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Doctor reputation management is crucial to the lasting success of your practice, and much of it has gone digital. In fact, most people (74.6 percent) have gone online to research a doctor, dentist, or medical care.1

When patients go online to research providers, they are often looking at online reviews to help them make a decision. One survey revealed 57 percent of people won’t use a business that has a star rating of fewer than four stars.2 If your online reputation isn’t great, this is likely stunting the growth of your practice.

Download this whitepaper for steps you can take to improve your online standing.

How doctors can boost their online reputation

1. Create/claim and optimize online profiles

Boost your online visibility by claiming and optimizing your online profiles. Sites like Google My Business and YellowPages.com often have online listings for your practice, so it’s important to claim them.

Claiming your profiles allows you to ensure all your online information — i.e. your specialties, office location, and hours — is accurate no matter where patients find it. This should be a key part of your online reputation management strategy because these sites get a lot of traffic — especially from mobile users. These profiles are likely to appear in local searches, which is important because those who are actively looking for care in their immediate area are more likely to be customers.

Between 2015 and 2017, there was more than a 150 percent growth in mobile searches that included the terms “near me now.”3

Your Google My Business profile, for example, can help you rank for these types of searches.

These websites also offer patients the ability to leave online reviews, so claiming your profiles also ensures you stay on top of the types of reviews your practice is receiving.

2. Build an optimized website

Nearly two-thirds of small businesses (64 percent) have a website.4 Having a website to promote your practice is great, but it’s equally important that you make sure people can easily find it.

90 percent of people don’t look past the first page of search results5...

so to have a healthy web presence and online reputation, it’s important to optimize your website for search.

A properly optimized website is crucial to your online reputation management strategy because it helps patients find you. Techniques like weaving the right keywords into page content, using structured data, and ensuring your site’s pages load quickly make a difference when it comes to climbing search results.

For example, page speed is a known Google search engine ranking factor. The average mobile landing page has a load time of 15 seconds; however, 53 percent of mobile visitors leave a page with a load speed greater than three seconds.6

3. Regularly ask patients for feedback

When selecting a healthcare provider, almost 70 percent of people consider a positive online reputation to be very or extremely important.7  In fact, online reviews are considered the top online resource — relied on by 59 percent of patients — when choosing a new provider.8

Your online reputation is most influenced by several factors, including average star rating, total number of reviews, and frequency of reviews.

40 percent of consumers only consider reviews written within the past two weeks.9

Requesting feedback is crucial because nothing speaks louder to the quality of your care than patient reviews. Research also shows that patients are 22 percent more likely to submit a review when asked.10 This presents an opportunity to improve your average star rating, as 60 percent of patients who’ve posted a review have shared only positive experiences.11

Displaying positive testimonials on your website and having a high star rating on external review sites is a key component of online reputation management for doctors.

4. Continuously monitor for online reviews

Getting to the point where you’re frequently receiving online reviews is great, but that doesn’t mean your work is done. Engage patients by replying to both positive and negative reviews, where appropriate.

More than 3 in 4 providers say they are concerned about a negative review...

and yet only 26.1 percent say they have a process in place to follow up with unsatisfied patients.12 More than half of patients who’ve submitted negative feedback (51.8 percent) were not contacted by the practice to address their concerns.13 Considering patient satisfaction rates nearly double to 99 percent when negative feedback is addressed, this is a major opportunity to make things right.14

Along with responding to genuine feedback, you also need to keep an eye out for fraudulent reviews. Three-quarters of consumers say they have read a fake review in the last year, but they weren’t always easy to spot.15

This should alarm you because you don’t want patients to gain a false perception of your practice. Carefully monitoring and managing for inaccurate reviews ensures you’ll catch them quickly and increases the chances of having them removed.

5. Publish useful content via a website blog

Blogging is a fantastic online reputation management tool because it offers the ability to highlight your expertise, rank higher in search engines, and generate backlinks. It also provides you with quality, unique content to post on your social media sites.

More than half of marketers cite creating blog content as their top inbound marketing priority, according to HubSpot.16 Crafting relevant, useful, and engaging blog posts is another way to get your name out there. Demonstrating authority on issues important to your patient base builds trust and makes people feel like you truly understand them.

Additionally, when people really connect with a blog post, they’re inclined to pass it on to others. This increases your both your reach and conversion rates.

6. Share content and engage on social media

Most of the U.S. population (72 percent) use at least one social media site.17 Chances are your patient base is among this group, making these sites an ideal platform to promote your practice.

69 percent of U.S. adults have a Facebook profile, 37 percent are on Instagram, and 22 percent use Twitter.18

Many people have a presence on multiple sites, but others stick to one, so extend your reach to wherever your patients are.

Maintaining an active social media presence allows you to connect with patients and humanize your practice. It also creates brand awareness because patients will comment on the posts they like and share them with their own followers.

7. Lend your expertise to media

You spent years honing your medical expertise — actually, you never stopped — so allow the work you put in to boost your online reputation. Journalists need input and quotes from expert medical sources to increase the credibility of their stories.

Participating in interviews is mutually beneficial as they introduce you to a broader audience. For example,  if you were quoted in an article for The New York Times, your name — and expertise — would get in front of the publication’s more than 4 million subscribers.19

Even patients who don’t see these stories when they’re hot off the presses can be swayed because they’ll appear in search results for your name. This will help you build and maintain a positive online reputation because you’ll be viewed as an expert in your field.

In today’s digital era, having an online reputation management strategy is crucial. However, as a busy doctor, you may not have much time to dedicate to this initiative.

Online reputation management software can monitor your online standing with minimal effort from you. Not having to choose between spending more time with patients and boosting your online reputation allows you to have the best of both worlds.

PatientPop offers health practices an all-in-one reputation management solution that makes it easy for you to monitor your online reputation and for patients to share feedback with you and others about their experiences. If you’re interested in learning more about how PatientPop can elevate your online standing, visit patientpop.com.

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7 steps to boost your online reputation: a doctor’s guide