In the famous line from Forrest Gump, Mama always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Well, something you definitely won’t get is clients, if you aren’t listed in online business directories.
Since 54 percent of U.S. consumers swapped their phone books for online search, according to comScore, it’s become essential for healthcare providers to build and maintain a robust online presence.
How’s That Working for You?
In April 2016, Yext published results of a study of 1,800 healthcare facilities and 15,000 listings, which showed:
- 31.5 percent lacked a local online listing,
- 48 percent had basic errors in their details, and
- 29 percent had missing or wrong phone numbers.
Since local SEO is one of the most frequently used search methods with 95 percent of patients looking for a “provider near me,” it’s clear none of the organizations included in these numbers are getting found.
Sure, local SEO is a different animal, but unless you have tons of money to throw at content marketing, you really need those listings to make it happen.
Why the Big Fuss?
So, why is online listing such a big deal? Business directories help potential clients decide whether a healthcare organization fits their needs. The listings include valuable information such as location, hours and specialties, contact details, photos of the practice, directions to the office, parking info, services and products available.
The greatest advantage? The providers are all listed in one place! It might sound counter-intuitive to promote your company where your competitors are, but if you’re serious about improving the customer’s experience, you’ll realize it makes access much easier for the user.
Choose Your Vehicles
That doesn’t mean you need to be listed on every online business directory in existence, and certain listings are more effective than others. Make the best use of your time by focusing your efforts on local directories, followed by “A-List” sites, such as WebMD.com, Healthgrades.com, and Vitals.com. These are household names in web health, being online directories as well as knowledge resources.
Then there’s Google My Business (GMB), which although not specifically healthcare-related, is critical because it displays on the right of search engine results, as well as on Google Maps. It’s not only free to claim your listing on GMB, but it ranks No. 1 on Alexa and is considered to be the most important consumer and business review website with 34.3 percent of total U.S. traffic. If your healthcare organization isn’t on GMB, users searching for your services will very likely choose a provider who is.
If your healthcare organization isn’t on GMB, users searching for your services will very likely choose a provider who is.
For expert advice on local SEO and online business listings, Wax Custom Communications can help. Call us at 305-350-5700 today.