October 2015

Moving, Consolidating or Expanding Your Practice? Make Sure Your Digital Footprint is Accurate!

By Dorothy Mowbray

Medical SEO

Notifying the public that you moved your medical practice, consolidated offices, or added one used to be easy. You just waited until the new yellow page book was printed.  With the Internet, your digital footprint doesn’t wash away with the sands of time.  Your old address can pop up in all sorts of on-line directories you never even knew existed!  So how do you comprehensively change your address and still have people find you?  Through a process called Local Search Optimization.

In the same way there are many factors in the human body that determine a person’s health, there are many factors that determine your medical practice’s placement on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) whenever someone searches for your practice or specialty.

There are several kinds of search results displayed when you “Google” a local service:

    Paid Search – These are the Pay-Per-Click ads that are displayed on the very top and down the right side of the screen.  You only pay Google when someone clicks on your ad.

   Organic Search Results - Organic results are located generally under the first few paid ads and are listed for free. These rankings are influenced by the quality or relevance of your website content in relation to the search query.

   Local Search – These free “listings” display when someone adds a geographic indicator to their search query.  Most common are city names and zip codes. The results now typically show just three practices under a map. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into local search.  Even companies with bad websites or no website can show up well in local search because the results are based on a process of claiming and populating key “local” directories.  Winning local search is making Google confident about all the data for your business. If the digital information about your business isn’t consistent, Medical Digital Footprintyou probably won’t even show up in the map. 

Worse yet, the wrong information may appear and patients call saying that they can’t find you!  Or, when they do eventually find you, your front desk gets an earful about how difficult it was to find your office.  It’s hard to get patient satisfaction when the journey starts off on the wrong foot!

If your practice is experiencing these kinds of complaints, you need Local Search Optimization.  Keep in mind that even if you didn’t create these pages, they are out there!  Here are a few places to start: 

1.      Go to www.gybo.com and search for your business name. Google will tell you if your Google listing is complete, partially complete or non-existent.

2.      Claim your Bing Places, Yellow Page listing and Yelp business pages.  In this process, you’ll be able to update any wrong information about the practice.  Note that it’s important to always use the same NAP (Name Address Phone) protocol in every listing.  This consistency helps build the search engine’s confidence in the data, which is key.

3.      Claim your business / practice listing in any other directories that you find by searching your own practice name, former practice name, your new address, your old address, name of individual doctors, etc.

4.      Claim your individual doctor’s listing in all the medical directories.  This includes not only the generic ones like Vitals and Healthgrades but also any practice specific directories that you think that you would be listed. 

This may sound pretty simple, but it’s time consuming!  Once you complete the four steps above, then you need to keep monitoring and checking these directories to make sure that nothing has mysteriously changed.  In the same way that you didn’t create these directories, they can get updated with incorrect information without your knowing it too!  When it comes to the internet, you can never set it and forget it!

Dorothy Mowbray is a MOROF member who is a marketing representative for ROAR! Internet Marketing  and has been working in the Florida media industry for over a decade. ROAR! Internet Marketing is a full service digital agency, located in Altamonte Springs that helps their medical clients achieve success through organic, paid and local search strategies.  Contact Dorothy Mowbray, Internet Marketing Specialist with any questions or concerns.