What many physicians don’t realize is that they have an online presence already – even if they haven’t set up a website, or a social media account. I’m talking about third-party listings like ratemds.com, healthgrades.com, and ucomparehealthcare.com. These third-party listing sites have a lot of ranking authority and will almost always appear on the first page of Google when a potential patient searches a physician’s name. If you aren’t actively monitoring these listings and proactively reaching out to patients to leave positive reviews, you are endangering your online reputation.
A HealthGrades Nightmare
Here’s a recent example we had to deal with. One of my clients (an orthopedic surgeon with his own private practice) noticed a decrease in new patients coming in. This particular client gets about 75% of his patients through his website – as well as the online ad campaigns we run for him. What made this drop in patients particularly baffling is that we’d been having a fantastic quarter in terms of web traffic and conversions via the website and Google ad campaigns. So why were new patients dropping?
After a bit of investigating, we pinpointed the culprit – Healthgrades. If you’re unfamiliar, Healthgrades is a third-party doctor listings website where patients can leave reviews of their physicians. Though my client had an overall rating of 4.3 / 5 stars (with 82 total ratings), the most recent three reviews were very negative – and from patients who were only mad because they couldn’t get all of the prescription pain medications they wanted.
Three negative ratings on a third party site were killing new patient referrals for my client. Potential patients were finding my client via Google search, and since Healthgrades lists reviews with the most recent first, their first impression was these 1 star reviews.
Solving the Problem
Once we figured this out, we went to work right away to resolve the issue. Working with my client’s clinical staff, we reached out to previous patients to see if they would be willing to write positive reviews on Healthgrades. Most were more than happy to, and within a week we had populated the listing with seven new 5-star reviews from happy patients – burying the negative reviews in the process.
Ryan McGinty is the founder and CEO of Oil Can Marketing – a Twin Cities based web design and digital marketing company. For the past five years, he has been helping physicians and surgeons build their online reputations and grow their practices.