While people once relied on the Yellow Pages and word-of-mouth when trying to locate a new doctor or medical facility, this is no longer true. More often, they are turning to the Internet. By browsing the Web, they are able to access a vast amount of information in a matter of seconds. While many physicians and healthcare facilities have not yet made the leap to promoting their services online, potential patients are already trying to find them there. Doctors need to begin to ask themselves, “Should I be on an online directory?” By listing yourself on an online directory or two, you can be sure that people will find you when they are searching for a healthcare provider.
What Is An Online Directory?
Online directories can be compared to telephone directories, except they are often specifically designed for certain businesses or industries. For example, www.BoardCertified.com and www.HealthGrades.com are both intended for individuals in the medical field. Major search engines like Google, Yelp, Bing and Yahoo also have directories, however, and they are more like traditional yellow pages where a vast assortment of businesses can be listed. As a physician, it is important to make sure that you are listed on both types of directories to ensure that you are able to reach the widest audience.
On websites like www.BoardCertified.com, people can search for different types of doctors in their area. Listings provide contact information, and you can also add your education and certifications, information about yourself and your practice and any affiliations you may have. Patients can leave reviews based on their experiences. This allows other people to make decisions regarding whether or not your practice will be a good fit for their needs in a manner that is quick and easy.
Register Your Practice with an Online Directory
Registering your practice on Google Maps and websites like Yelp, Yahoo and Bing is also essential in building your online presence. Google Maps and Yelp both allow users to search for specific types of businesses near them. Like some medical directories, they also allow existing patients to post reviews. Registering your practice with Yahoo, Bing and other search engines will ensure that a potential patient will be able to find you no matter what search engine he or she is using.
Even if you haven’t registered for an online directory, there is a good chance that your name and general location may come up if someone is searching for a doctor in your area. While this does get your name out to potential patients, it does not provide them with very much information and often the information is outdated and incorrect. Generic directory listings that only have your name, phone number and address can actually harm your business because they can be quite frustrating when they are wrong. When someone is looking for a physician, they are generally looking for someone who specializes in a certain field. If a listing doesn’t provide this information, it will almost always be skipped over in favor of a more detailed listing. By updating online listings with all of your information, you will be able to get people’s attention and keep it. More importantly if the information is correct the potential patient will be able to find and contact you. These prospect patients will appreciate you taking the time to create a helpful online presence.