The healthcare industry depends on accurate location data for successful business. Patients count on location data to find the nearest hospital or emergency room, research physicians, fill prescriptions and participate in clinical trials. Conversely, doctors depend on data from clients to accurately and effectively treat patients and recommend procedures. Part of gaining trust comes from avoiding frequent mistakes when it comes to updating and optimizing location data. Below are the five biggest mistakes that healthcare marketers should avoid.
- Incomplete or Inconsistent NAP Data
Your brand’s name, address and phone number (NAP) are some of its most important information. More than any other, your brand needs to be immediately accessible in the exact moment of a user’s need. Users normally head to search engines to look for a local hospital or emergency room in the spur of the moment. Inconsistent or inaccurate listings could lead not only to frustrated customers, but to increased injuries and even lost lives. Ideally, customers should be able to find all of the information they need about your hospital or physician's right from your brand’s website without needing to call you or look elsewhere. Thirty-three percent of consumers used a business’ website when looking for information about local businesses. In this fast-paced millennium, brands cannot afford to have missing or inconsistent NAP information, like the missing website and hours in the search results below
- Inactive Local-Social Profiles
The healthcare industry is sorely lacking when it comes to actively engaging with local communities. Only 26% of all hospitals in the United States participate in social media, and that number shrinks when it comes to individual doctors or small businesses, such as private practice. today.Social media is the new search engine with 91% of consumers using Facebook to find a local business. Inactive local pages form a perception of apathy on the part of the hospital or doctor's office and forces patients to form distrust for that brand before they even have a chance to visit the physical location. Dead profile pages leave room for doubt about whether that hospital or location is even still in business. and create an apathetic image and cause users to form a perception of creating and claiming social profiles is critical to the industry’s success, and even more so for individual physicians. It is important to remember, however, that maintaining a local-social presence is a continuous journey that involves not only monitoring activity, but engaging with users and constantly updating relevant content. The graph below the percentage of missing or inaccurate location data across Google, Bing, Facebook and Foursquare.
- Missing Facebook Child Pages for Individual Locations
While maintaining a corporate account for a brand’s Facebook profile is important, many brands fail to create individual pages for each specific location. Facebook allows you to create individual “child” pages under your corporate account where you can post relevant, timely content that is specific to that location’s personnel or features. Having individual location pages can boost your brand’s collective search rankings and garner higher engagement rates. Brandify analyzed the local-social pages of large hospitals, we found that 60% had local pages missing from Yelp, 12% had missing local pages on Facebook and 26% had missing local pages on Foursquare. This desolate Facebook page is unofficial, but was created (most likely) by users who were looking for the information themselves and wanted to help others in the process.
- Missing Relevant Categories
Fifty-two percent of smartphone users have used their phone to look up health or medical information. Users often search detail-heavy phrases that are not specific to their intention. Selecting relevant business categories from search engines like Google and yelp can help brands get found by the right people at the right time. On a daily basis, thousands of searches are conducted worldwide for specific medical problems, symptoms, diagnostic problem-solving and home-remedy cures. Many healthcare providers and medical sites are not claiming the appropriate categories in order to rank for a searcher’s query. Categories can be a great way to showcase the wide range of services your business provides.
- Failing to Optimize for Mobile
With the majority of online searches taking place on mobile instead of desktop, it is no surprise that Google favors brands with mobile-optimized content. Seventy-seven percent of all health inquires start at a search engine, with 82% of those searches happening from users 18-29 years old. Medical emergencies often take place away from the home, and with more adults owning a smartphone than a computer, mobile is the immediate, in-the-moment search method by which patients will often search for your brand. Companies who do not have mobile-optimized websites or local pages are missing out on a huge opportunity to serve their local communities and drive business to their physical addresses. Mobile-optimized pages should include a clear indication of your brand’s services, physician profiles, business address, phone number(s) with click-to-call buttons and action buttons, such as social sharing icons.
Accurate, consistent location data is essential for the healthcare industry. Not only is it important for engaging prospects and patients and providing relevant, timely answers to their search queries, but accurate location data is critical for being found when patients need you the most. Is your brand committing one of the cardinal local search mistakes? Don’t let patients overlook your brand because they can’t find your physical address or other relevant information.
Make sure that your brand’s location data is consistent, accurate and syndicated by determining your Brandscore with our free brand scan below.