Healthcare professionals need to think of their services and practices as brands, according to research released this week that suggests the industry has poor optimization and branding practices, along with slow response rates to patient reviews. All these elements prevent healthcare professionals from being found in search results.
The Chatmeter report analyzed 10 of the largest healthcare systems to determine those most optimized online. The healthcare providers include Community Health Network, Dignity Health, HCA Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Kindred Health, LifePoint Health, Prime Health, Tenet Health, Trinity Healthcare, and Universal Health Services.
Each brand was analyzed based on their local listing accuracy, review quality and quantity, and local search rankings. Using review data and customer feedback, analysts examined real experiences provided by healthcare systems provided by patients.
Despite the focus on healthcare professionals, the strategy behind the research applies to all businesses.
The research found that healthcare systems actively monitor their online reviews with an average review response rate of 38% in the last three months. Some 72% of patients use online reviews to find a new doctor. Consumer healthcare reviews are one of the most important factors that influence a new patient’s decision to work with a new doctor, according to the study.
Some 46% of consumers who leave reviews expect a response from a brand within six hours.
Google and Yelp are the sites healthcare systems prioritize most based on review response rate yet majority of reviews are coming from Google and Facebook.
Listing accuracy is significantly lower than it should be with an average of 83%, when it should be at least 95% and listing presence of 99% because of how important information — name, address and phone number — in the listings are for local rankings. Listings accuracy, presence, and optimization account for 35% of how Google ranks businesses according to the 2018 Local Ranking Factors survey.
And the three most common keywords consumers use to find healthcare professionals include “hospital near me,” “hospital,” and “doctors near me.”
The study suggests healthcare professionals should focus on the accuracy of the listings, implement a local page strategy, and add unbranded keywords to increase visibility in search results.