Reputation Management Tip #3: Own Your Search Engine Results

By: Grant Peterre

This week, we are excited to share another Reputation Management tip from Forbes Magazine. In our previous installments, we discussed the importance of being social with your online audience, as well as the many benefits of creating and maintaining quality blog content.

Today, we will discuss how to optimize your search engine results and rankings in order to increase your visibility.

Tip #3: Own Your Search Engine Results!

reputation management tip 3, own your search engine results

When a prospective patient, friend or family member is searching for your facility, you want them to be able to locate your website as quickly as possible. As we discussed in a recent post, Google has implemented a major change to the way local businesses are listed in their search results. It is imperative that your website data is both correct and concise if you want to appear in the prized top positions of a search engine result page.

So what does this mean, and how can you begin to take action?

Meta Descriptions

A good place to start is with your website’s metadata descriptions. A meta description is the text that will appear about your site on a search engine’s results page.

a website's meta description on google

If you are a website administrator, you can edit the coding of your website to include specific keywords relevant to your practice or service lines in the meta description. In addition to confirming the accuracy of your business’ phone number, hours of operation and contacts, adding a brief metadata description of your services on each page and ensuring that your website page titles are correct can provide additional clarity for search engine users.

Alt Text

Adding alt text to your images is also a quick way to improve your rankings. The metadata will be the first thing that people will see when glancing over search engine results. Think of it as a concise introduction to your page that will draw in readers.

View our tutorial on adding alt text to images.

Internal Linking

Additionally, if you have separate pages within your network of sites, such as pages for service lines or blogs, you can link between the pages to increase traffic and gain higher search engine rankings. If you are able to successfully link your pages together and generate traffic for your sites, the search engine will do the rest of the work for you by listing your site higher than the rest!

View our tutorial on linking between internal pages.

Read more about Reputation Management tips from Forbes Magazine, and watch for another tip coming soon!

Vitals Has Changed How Patients Leave Reviews

You may have noticed that the “Write a Review” button has mysteriously disappeared from your physicians’ Vitals profiles.  In a recent update, Vitals removed this button, which was formerly located below the physician’s profile photo.  Now, to leave a review, patients must leave a star rating first:

Before the Vitals update:

Before Vitals Update

After the Vitals update:

After Vitals Update

Patients can add their star rating by clicking the number of stars they would like to leave the physician next to “Add your rating.” A pop-up window will appear and ask the patient to share more details about their rating.  In this pop-up window, patients can rate specific aspects of their visit and leave a written review.

Ratings on Vitals

Despite this recent change, users’ ability to leave anonymous reviews on Vitals remains the same, as does the site’s policy stating that “users [patients] are permitted to post only one submission [review] regarding the same Healthcare Provider, entity, procedure or subject during any thirty (30) day period.”

This new process may be confusing or difficult to some people, so when asking patients to leave online reviews, educate them on the steps they must take to do so. The advantage to this update is that the new rating process, which is similar to Healthgrades’, will allow practices and physicians more insight into what aspects of the patient experience they can improve, whether it is ease of scheduling an appointment or accuracy of diagnosis.

If you have any questions about this update, please direct your questions to

Updated Toolkits on Atlas

You can now access the most up-to-date toolkits for social media and online marketing on Atlas. As the online space changes, our team works to keep these resources as current as possible. Our goal is to make it easy for you to build and master your practice’s online presence.

We’ve provided updated toolkits for Course 100, 200 and Reputation Management, as well as toolkits and Best Practice guides for online profiles not covered in our courses. If you’re interested in establishing your practice or providers on sites we do not cover, you can use our step-by-step toolkits to do so.

You will also find the current release forms that should be signed before releasing photos of patients or staff for marketing purposes.

The following files are available to you on Atlas:

New Website, New Process

In an effort to improve the patient accessibility, search engine optimization and functionality of HCAPS and hospital websites, HCA Web Services has recently created the Healthcare Unified Template (HUT) for all hospital and physician practice websites and designed a new process for building your practice’s website.

About HCAPS’ New Website Template:

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The basic design and structure of the template is the result of the web team’s detailed research and analysis on creating a structure that would perform well in search results, but could also be easily customized to fit entity branding standards and additional requests. The Healthcare Unified Template is also optimized for mobile devices, improving patient access to make an appointment or locate our clinics and hospitals.

HCAPS Website Template Features

Requesting a New Website

The web team will be organizing all website builds and HUT redesigns into 6-week Web Project Sprints, or rounds. Some divisions have elected to implement a systematic rollout schedule to move their websites to the new template. If you are interested in developing a rollout schedule with your division, please notify Amanda Short.

To be selected to participate in an upcoming sprint:

  • Submit a Web Development Request
  • Start working on completing the Online Content Gathering Form. To ensure a site is ready to build at the start of the sprint, all content must be submitted through the online form before the sprint begins.
  • You will be notified when you have been selected to participate in an upcoming sprint.

Requirements from the Practice

Each 6-week sprint requires a time commitment of 4-5 hours, which includes a 2-hour time commitment for submitting all content. Once the sprint begins, the primary responsibilities will be providing insight on the branding and imagery, reviewing the site and approving the site for launch.

Please contact Amanda Short with any questions on transitioning your website to this new template or participating in an upcoming Web Project Sprint.

Search Marketing, Part 1: What is SEM?

Search marketing is the process of gaining online traffic and visibility from search engines through both paid and unpaid efforts.* It encompasses two parts:

  1. Search Engine Optimization: Utilizing unpaid or free listings to earn traffic (remember all those online profiles you claimed?)
  2. Search Engine Marketing: Utilizing paid search listings and ads to buy traffic

Read more about SEO in our Beginner’s Guide to SEO post.

What is SEM?

SEM involves purchasing ads on search engines to gain online traffic. In order to understand SEM, there are a few key terms you should know:

  • Algorithm—set of rules a search engine uses to rank listings in response to a query; unique formulas used to determine relevancy.
  • Click Through—when a user clicks on a hypertext link and is taken to the intended destination.
  • CPC—Cost Per Click, or the amount search engines charge advertisers for every click sent to the website; total cost for each click received.
  • Keyword / Keyword Phrase—a specific word or combination of words that a user might use as a search query to find information around a certain topic. Includes generic keywords, category keywords, industry-specific terms, product brands, common misspellings, expanded variations, or a string of multiple words.
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicator)—is a measureable value that a company uses to gauge or compare performance in terms of meeting their goals.
  • Organic Search Results—listings search engines do not sell (unlike paid listings). Instead, sites appear in search results solely because the search engine has deemed them editorially important to be included, regardless of payment.
  • Paid Search Results—paying for ads to have a position, or appear, on a search results page. This position is relative to other paid ads and organic search results. Some ads appear at the top of the page, and some appear in the right column of the page. Factors in the search engines position placement include bid price, the ad’s CTR, relevancy of the ad to search queries, relevance of the click-through landing page to search queries and quality measures based on user experience.
  • Pay Per Call—similar to Pay Per Click, advertisers pay for every phone call received from a paid search ad.
  • PPC—Pay Per Click, or paying only for each click on an ad that directs users to the intended landing page. Even though PPC ads may get thousands of impressions, or views, with the PPC model, advertisers only pay when the ad is clicked.

SEM can be a very powerful marketing tool because it gives you the ability to initially reach patients who are already in the buying cycle. Whether the user is in need of information or ready to make an appointment, they are actively seeking out services you provide.



*Search Engine Land
SEMPO Glossary

Support Needed: How to Contact Support Teams for Online Review Sites

The Promote My Practice team works hard to provide you with the most up-to-date and useful resources we can; however, there are some issues with online review sites that we can’t fix. When this happens, it’s time to turn to the support teams. Here’s an outline of common problems you may encounter, and how to contact the site’s support team for help.

Google+ Local Business

If you are having trouble claiming your Google+ Local Business listing, you can reach out to Google’s Support Team for verification help.

1.  Go to the Edit Information page in your Places for Business dashboard.


2.  Scroll to the bottom, where you will see a few different options under Manage this listing. Click on Get help with this listing to go to the Places for Business Help Center.


3.  Click on Contact Us in the top-right corner. A pop-up box will appear with various ways you can contact Google.


    • You can click Call Us to talk with a specialist. This is the best way to get your listing verified if you have encountered problems.
    • You can choose one of the listed options to explore some common issues, find the one that relates the most to your issue, and email Google about a solution.


Another reason you may need to contact Google’s Support Team is if your attempted edits haven’t gone live within a day. To do this, go to Manage this listing at the bottom of the Edit Information page and click on Report problems with this listing. This will take you to a form where you can select aspects of your listing that are incorrect, and submit a support ticket from there.

Yelp for Business Owners

If you have had trouble claiming your Yelp listing or need information updated, you can contact Yelp’s Support Team for assistance.

1.  Scroll to the bottom of any page on Yelp and click Contact Yelp to go to the Contact Us page.


2.  From the drop-down menu, select the topic that best applies to your situation. Most likely, you’ll be selecting one of the following topics: Business owner help, Duplicate business listing, Out of date business listing or Missing reviews.


3.  Each topic will have its own setup of information needed to submit a support ticket. For instance, if you select Business owner help, you will need to choose a subtopic from another drop-down menu. Once you have done that, enter your practice’s Gmail and search for your listing.


4.  Select your listing, and then enter a detailed explanation of the problem you’ve encountered in the Comments box. Click Send once you are done.


If you created a listing on Yelp and haven’t received an email within a week saying the listing has been unlocked and is ready to claim, you should contact Yelp Support. While your listing is still locked, you will not be able to search for it on Yelp’s contact form. Alternatively, you can email Yelp Support at

Vitals for Doctors

There are a few cases when you may need to contact the Vitals Support Team.

  1. You receive an error message saying There was a problem verifying your information.
  2. You receive a message saying your provider’s profile has already been claimed.
  3. There is no existing profile for your provider.

To contact Vitals Support Team, use your practice’s Gmail to email Include your provider’s NPI number for verification purposes and a detailed message about the issue you’re experiencing. Make sure to include the email address associated with your Vitals account as well.

Foursquare for Business

If you have trouble adding and claiming multiple venue listings, experience a loading error or need to request a receipt for the claiming fee, you should contact Foursquare’s Support Team. In the past, the support team has been quick to respond and very helpful.

1.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Help to visit the Foursquare Help Center.


2.  Click on Foursquare for Business in the Help Center menu.


3.  Choose a topic that relates to the issue you’re having. The topic you need will more than likely be under the Claiming Your Listing or Managing Your Listing(s) sections.


4.  If the help article doesn’t answer your question or if you have a more specific issue, scroll to the bottom of the article to Was this article helpful? and click No.


5.  Choose the option that best describes your issue to reveal the contact page. Generally, you will choose I have a question about my business.


6.  Fill in the contact form to submit a support request. Use the email address associated with your account, add a subject and detailed explanation of the issue, choose a broad issue from the drop-down menu, put in the requested Foursquare URLs, add any related attachments (like screenshots of the problem) and click Submit.


Angie’s List Business Center

Angie’s List provides the most support options out of any other site. In addition to the typical contact form, they have a phone number specifically for Business Center support. Steps for submitting a support ticket via the contact form are below.

Angie’s List Business Center Support: 1-866-843-LIST (5478), call center open M-F 8:30am – 8:15pm EST

1.  If you are logged into your account, click on Contact Us at the top of your dashboard. If you are not logged in, Contact Us will be at the bottom of any page under Site Links.


2.  To complete the contact form enter your first and last name, an email address (use your practice’s Gmail), include a subject and a detailed question and attach any related files.


Indicate what your question is about by choosing a topic from the drop-down menu. Most questions or issues will be related to one of these topics: Getting onto Angie’s List, Business Profile, Reviews or Business Center Website Trouble. Then choose a more specific category from the second drop-down menu. These options will change based on what you first indicated as the overall topic of the question.


3.  Once you’ve filled in all sections of the contact form, click Submit to send your question to the Angie’s List Support Team.