It’s awfully difficult for patients to get treated at your orthopedic practice if they can’t find you. But time and again I encounter orthopedic practices that make it hard for patients to find them through online searches. They hide behind a wall of wrong data, such as inaccurate addresses on their social profiles, and they hide crucial content about their physicians and their locations deep on their websites. And poor findability incurs a cost: the patient experience typically begins with an online search, and if your name does not show up in search results, patients will find someone else to do business with.
To be findable, make sure you follow these steps:
- Get Your Location Data in Order
Audit your website and make sure that your basic data is present and accurate, including:
- Name, address, and phone number (NAP) data — the basics.
- Latitude/Longitude, which is important for proximity searches Apple Maps and Google Maps
- Business Category (spelling Ortho with an “A” or without “A” matters to the ecosystem).
- Business Description (Surgery, Physical Therapy, ASC)
- Hours of operation
Many orthopedic practices overlook the basics, and they soon suffer the consequences, such as patients getting lost when they look for their address on Google Maps. It’s also important to keep in mind that data needs to be checked at least once a month to make sure nothing needs to be updated to reflect any changes in your practice, such as a change in hours or the opening of a new location.
- Mind Your Physician Data
Review the essential data for all your physicians and make sure it’s complete and accurate. Doing so may mean reviewing all the location data cited above for each physician, too, if your physicians operate out of multiple locations and keep different hours. In addition to checking their location data, make sure your physician data covers the essential information that any patient will want to know beyond their location, such as:
- Insurance accepted.
- Their specialties.
- Any languages spoken besides English.
As with location data, managing physician data is not a one-time event. As I noted in a recent blog post, physician data can change often, especially as physicians come and go or their insurance coverage changes.
- Optimize Your Content for Search
Optimizing content to be found comes down to doing some basic blocking and tackling with search engine optimization (SEO). Optimizing content means, among other things, ensuring your practice descriptions include keywords that people are probably using to do non-branded searches for care (“I need a foot doctor”) as opposed to branded searches (“I need to find Piedmont Orthopedics”). As I mentioned in a recent blog post on visual search [<– link to it when published], being found also means including visual content such as photos and videos that Google bundles together with search results. The more content you share, visually and written, the more Google has to draw from when presenting your practice in an “entity,” or a collection of information about you.
As voice search takes hold, I advise orthopedic practices to optimize their content to answer more complex queries, such as, “Where can I find someone who does shoulder arthroscopy and decompression within 25 miles of Akron?” Tip: include FAQs on your website that answer commonly asked questions about your practice and the care you provide. Doing so will make it easier for Google to find your information in the form of answers to natural questions that people ask Google when they seek care.
- Spread Your Data and Content Far and Wide
Publishing accurate data and findable content on your site is just the beginning. To be found, you’ll need to ensure your content is accurate and optimized on all the places that people search for you, including:
- Social media
- Review sites
- Mobile apps
- Google Maps
- Apple Maps
One efficient way to spread your data far and wide is to share your location data with the companies that distribute the vast majority of location data across the search ecosystem. At SIM Partners we call these businesses data amplifiers. They consist of publishers such as Google and aggregators such as Neustar. If you have a large practice, it’s worth your time and effort to share your data with these businesses (here is a list of the principal amplifiers). SIM Partners can help you by managing your data and keeping it up to date with the amplifiers.
- Optimize for Mobile
Google continues to put pressure on all businesses to optimize their content to be found on mobile devices. As my colleague Jay Hawkinson blogged recently, Google is launching a new mobile-first index that will result in Google creating and ranking its search listings based on the mobile version of content — even for listings that are shown to desktop users. As a result, if you don’t optimize your website to be found on mobile devices, your organic search results will drop considerably. As Jay points out, you can do a quick test offered by Google to get a sense of how well your site is optimized for mobile: Mobile Website Speed Testing Tool. But optimizing your site for mobile may not be a simple task. If you have an internal team that manages your website, make sure they can articulate clearly their approach for optimizing your content to be found on mobile devices, and be ready to get outside help.
As these examples show, being findable means more than having your geographic location easily found. Being findable in the digital world means having your name turn up for searches for “who” and “what,” not just “where” — and across a wide variety of devices and touch points where patients look for care
On Wednesday, April 12, at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, I will discuss the importance of being findable as part of a webinar I’m hosting, “5 Steps to Get Your Digital Practice in Order.” Please join me for a comprehensive overview of many more ways that orthopedic providers can attract and retain patients with digital. Here is a link to register.
Also, if you are planning to attend AAOE 2017 in Indianapolis, visit us at booth 821 or contact us now to schedule a meeting to learn more about how SIM Partners’ Velocity Health can make you more findable.