- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On June 24, 2015
You are your Google results.
Google search volume is astounding: 1.2 trillion searches per year. Every day someone searches for your system and your doctors.
What do they find?
As we all become more and more to used to Googling (it’s a verb now after all) we are starting to judge the businesses we find by their Google results. And we judge you by all your Google results not just your website.
No invisibility cloak
Unlike Harry Potter, businesses cannot just don a “invisibility cloak” and be done with it. As generations go by consumers are becoming increasingly wary of businesses with no web presence (A 2013 study found 56% of consumers don’t trust a company with no website.) And directories like Google My Business will add your business to the directory even if you don’t. So there’s no escape. You will have a web presence one way or the other.
If someone searches for your system, one of your doctors or one of your outpatient facilities by name, they will probably find your system’s website near the top of the search results.
Getting your website to show up when people don’t search for you by name is the focus of most SEO. This kind of SEO work is a great idea. For example, a medical practice may want to show up when a potential patient searches for “cardiologist Stamford CT”.
The SEO work required to get your website to rank well for different keywords like “cardiologist Stamford CT” is called “on page SEO” as it involves optimizing the pages on your website.
But “on page” SEO is only part of the SEO story today. Your brand and chance to drive business results from search is not just about your website. It’s about your “off page” SEO more than ever.
It’s a funny thing but whenever I seem to conduct a search that Google interprets as local up pops a Google My Business directory listing or listings. OK, it’s not really surprising since this is Google’s directory and I’m searching on Google’s search engine.
Your website may well be popping up near the top of search results (well let’s say it is since you’ve done a lot of “on site” SEO work) but that Google directory listing and map are very visible. Optimizing that listing as well as your website is going to be important to how consumers view you (available research says 38-76% of people on a search page look at the Google “7-pack” results.)
If we lived in a simple world that might be all you need to do. Optimize your website and optimize your Google directory listing. But sadly we don’t live in a simple world. There are 10 (ten) results on the first page of Google results.
Directories like Yelp or Superpages or Yellow Pages or Manta and medical review sites like RateMDs, Vitals, ZocDoc often show up in those spots. So how do you look on those sites? The results are going to influence how prospective patients see you and your physicians.
Social media pages
You’re probably aware that social media pages often show up on that first page of Google too.
Once we click on of these social media pages what do we see? Do these pages represent your system well? Are they well managed pages with lots of useful content and activity? Do you have a lot of followers? Do your physicians have many positive comments and testimonials? Videos? You get the drift…
Articles and content
When we Google one of your physicians, or keywords related to their specialties, what content do we find? Do they look like a subject matter expert in their field? Are there lots of quality articles on trusted websites by them and their team? Are they highly visible or are they “missing”.
You need a plan to get your content out to strategic places on the Internet. This is rather the modern version of PR. You need to get your content “placed” on the right websites (and a lots of them.)
Managing it all
You’ve probably realized somewhere in the middle of this post that this is a lot of work. Yes, I’m afraid it’s true.
Much of this work is not super technical but it all takes time and a little bit of savvy. It’s something “ordinary marketers” can do but it’s a big time suck so many will want to outsource this work.
So think about everything that shows up when people search. You are your Google results after all.