Thanks to how quickly negativity can spread online, managing your reputation are more important than ever when you run a medical practice. Problems such as negative reviews, aggressive social media posts, and even false business listings can harm your business and damage your SEO. The good news is that by keeping a few things in mind and taking a proactive approach to online reputation management, you can take care of any problems before they spiral out of control.
However, you should also be aware that SEO (search engine optimization) is a big part of managing your reputation. This being the case, let’s take a look at how you can use SEO and reputation managing techniques to build a better brand image online.
What is SEO?
SEO is search engine optimization. By engaging in good SEO practices, you can get more organic traffic landing on your website so that you can move them into your sales funnel. For a medical practice, this is essential when it comes to gaining new patients.
On-Page SEO Factors
When it comes to SEO, on-page factors such as keyword density and intuitive navigation are the most well-known and the easiest to implement. Here is a quick list of the most notable on-page SEO factors:
- Keyword density
- Meta descriptions
- Mobile-friendly design
- Page load speeds
- Image descriptions
- Intuitive navigation
- High engagement
While off-page SEO strategies may take more effort to implement, they can be more powerful than their on-page counterparts if done correctly. Here is a list of off-page SEO factors:
- Business listings
- Map listings
- Domain age
- Social shares
How Does SEO Factor Into Managing Your Reputation?
SEO is all about getting your web pages on the first page of the search engine results so that people visit your site when they search for related terms. For example, if someone searches “best orthopedic doctor near me,” Google will figure out where they are and give them a list of orthopedic practices in their area.
The flip side of this is reputation management. A large part of managing your reputation online is controlling what people see when they do a search related to your practice. Going back to the previous example, if a person does a search and your practice comes up, that’s great. However, if a number of negative results come up as well, such as blog posts criticizing your practice, social media trolls, and negative reviews, then that will work against you.
Taking this into account, it is easy to see how important it is to use SEO to control what appears in the search results when people search for terms related to your medical practice. However, unlike traditional SEO, managing your reputation involves more than just checking all the boxes when it comes to on-page and off-page SEO factors.
Tips for Managing Your Reputation Online
There are several best practices when it comes to eliminating negativity online that can damage your brand image and stifle your inflow of new patients. Here are a few tips that can make all the difference when managing your reputation online.
1. Have Excellent Customer Service
While negative reviews are sometimes the result of malicious trolls and sometimes even unethical competitors, there are bound to be some legitimate complaints regardless. By having exceptional customer service practices you can proactively cut down on the number of negative reviews while increasing the number of positive reviews. In some cases reaching out to someone who left a negative review can get them to delete it if you address their problem.
2. Dealing with Negative Reviews
No matter how good your customer service is, there will always be negative reviews – legitimate or not. Negative reviews should be responded to promptly and courteously to show readers that you genuinely care about your patients. Another strategy is to incentivize positive reviews so that the negative reviews get buried. In some cases, you may be able to get negative reviews removed if it is obvious that they’re fake and/or the result of a review bombing campaign against your practice.
3. Dealing with Unknown Business Listings
Having your medical practice listed in business directories is an important part of off-page SEO. However, you may find your practice listed with directories that you’ve never heard of. This is because some business directories are created only to get clicks and generate ad revenue. If you find your business listed in an unknown directory, take a moment to investigate. You can leave your listing if you determine that it’s accurate and helpful to your SEO, but if it’s not, then you should request that the directory remove your listing.
4. Build a Strong Brand Image
It is much harder for negativity to take root if you consistently work on building a strong brand image for your practice. The more loyal your base is, the less likely they will be swayed by any negative that pops up. This can also be helpful when marketing to new patients since a strong brand image can offset negativity they may have come across online.
5. Remain Consistent and Vigilant
Managing your reputation online isn’t something you do once and then forget about, it’s an ongoing task. The sooner you notice negativity, the faster you can erase, suppress, and/or bury it. It can also be a good idea to periodically go back over your old blog posts, social media posts, and social media videos. Times change very quickly these days and what wasn’t considered offensive just a few years ago could have serious negative consequences for your reputation today.
Managing Your Reputation and SEO
When it comes to managing both your reputation online and your SEO efforts, it should not be viewed as a balancing act. Instead, the two should be seen as complementary to one another. This is because both managings your reputation and SEO give you better control over your brand image and improve your marketing efforts.
If managing your reputation and doing SEO feels overwhelming, then you may want to consider hiring firms to manage them for you. In most cases the value this brings to your practice should far outweigh the costs.
In the end, managing your reputation is something that should go hand-in-hand with your SEO efforts. By taking your online reputation seriously, you can build a stronger brand image that’s resistant to negativity. This will help you to attract more new patients, generate greater revenue, and grow your business faster.