Your Web Presence is Now Your PR Image
Thanks to the internet, word-of-mouth advertising is getting louder than ever! Even if you have no website, you have a web presence. Your web presence includes your patients’ reviews, license information, age and personal information. Fortunately, you can be the greatest influence on the quality and size of your web presence. The first step is to see what the world can read about you. It may be difficult to face, but must be done.
Five Steps for Evaluating Your Web Presence
1. Google yourself. Google is the most popular way to search the internet. If you do not have a Google search box on your screen, go to google.com. Type in your name, e.g., “Jill Smith, DDS.” If the results of the search are too broad, add your city, e.g., “Joe Johnson, MD, Los Angeles.” Google will show you a list of web pages. Look at all the web pages related to you. Make a list of the pages you want to update, change, fight, fix or enhance.
2. Google your reviews. The first search will show some reviews, but now enter you name with the word “reviews” in your Google search box, e.g., “Chris Green, OD San Francisco reviews.” The most important review website by far is yelp.com. Reviews at these other websites also affect your PR: Google+, insiderpages.com, citysearch.com, yellowpages.com and healthgrades.com. Read all the results of this search. Add to your list from step #1, all the pages you want to update, change, fight, fix or enhance.
3. Google your profession and city. Pretend to be a patient who is looking for a practice like yours. In a Google search box, type your profession and city, e.g., “dentist denver.” If your name or website shows up on the top half of page one, you are doing well! If your practice does not come up on the first two pages, you have work to do. Users usually find what they want on page one, but sometimes go to page two; rarely to page three. Repeat this step using yahoo.com and bing.com (the second- and third-most popular search “engines”).
4. Evaluate your website. Go to websitegrader.com and type in your domain name, e.g., tampabaymedicalgroup.com. You will get a grade from 1-100 with 100 being the best. You will also get a complete explanation about your grade. If your website grade is 90 or above, your website is popular and generating new patients every week. If you website grade is under 50, you have work to do.
5. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-friendly. The world is going mobile! Up to 30% of your potential new patients are now using their cell phones to look at your website, and the percentage increases each year. If your website is not mobile-friendly, the text will be tiny and the menus unusable. Use your own cell phone to look at your website. Google will help you evaluate your website and give you advice of how to make your website easy to use on mobile devices. Start with Google’s free analysis tool: google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly
Seven Ways to Improve and Expand Your Web Presence
Below are ten things you can do to significantly increase your web presence. Any improvements you make will pay off for years to come.
1. Update your information. Ensure you contact information is correct on every website that mentions your practice. Do a Google search using your name. For each web page that lists your practice, check the contact data. Fix any errors by following the instructions on the page. Do another search using your practice name and repeat the steps.
2. Make Yelp and Google+ your friend. Make your Yelp and Google+ business pages look terrific! Add photos, your bio, link to your website and details about your practice to your pages. Give your patients a WOW experience and thank them for posting great reviews. Update your Yelp and Google+ pages on a monthly basis to stay ahead of your colleagues.
3. Handle negative reviews. Contact unhappy patients and make it right. He or she will then remove or improve the review. If nothing else, post a public comment without revealing any patient private information. Be honest, sincere and kind.
4. Use social media. If you enjoy socializing, use facebook, Google+, and Linkedin to attract attention. Use your charm and personality to create interest in your services and expand your web presence.
5. Make your website more popular with Google. While you can pay someone to improve your web search position (“Search Engine Optimization” or SEO), Google will help you for free! Go to google.com/webmasters for instructions.
6. Write and post articles. Even if you are not a good writer, you can use the internet to become a popular writer and increase your web presence. Simply write an article as best as you can. Don’t worry about it being disorganized or poorly written. The pay an online editor for a rewrite or editing work (e.g., servicescape) and then upload it to free article distribution services (e.g., articlesbase.com).
7. Create your own videos. For some practice owners, this may be the most enjoyable way to expand their web presence. Go to YouTube.com and type in your profession. You will see hundreds of great videos that will give you ideas for creating your own. Once you shoot and post your video on YouTube, you can include a link to the video in your e-mails or embed the video to your website.