We know that it’s important to have the correct information about your practice available online, but there are also many indirect benefits of having an online presence. According to Search Engine Land, here are the main ones:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Social media and online profiles provide signals that can help sites rank better. Search engine sites, like Google, use algorithms to determine where a site will come up in search results. With 200+ ranking signals in an algorithm, it’s difficult to determine the influence of just one factor, like social media. However, there is enough evidence to prove that good social media usage over time does, indeed, provide some ranking benefit.
There are some “prominence” signals we can be certain of—external links, citations, business listing interactions (clicks on maps, driving directions, clicks to website, etc.), frequency and volume of user ratings and reviews, and social media interactions.
Proactive Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Having an online presence provides a level of protection from attacks on your reputation. As your claimed profiles and social media pages appear higher in search results, it makes it harder for negative influences to appear when someone looks up your practice. Being in control of your online presence is kind of like insurance. If you get hit with a negative claim, your positive online presence will help protect your reputation.
Establishing a presence online can be a sign of professionalism. It serves as a sign to patients and potential patients that your practice is important enough to merit having an online presence. Being available in search results and signaling that people can communicate with you through the platforms they already use, is significantly beneficial for your practice’s image.
You may not see immediate benefits when you begin establishing your online presence, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial. Over time, the accrual of SEO benefit alone makes it a necessity for you to be involved online, while proactive reputation management and patient engagement are also compelling reasons to be present and active online.