How to Audit and Optimize Online Presence for Your Healthcare Organization
Have you taken a look at your online presence lately?
Sure, you have a website, but do you keep it updated? What about social media platforms — do you post regularly there? Do you engage with your patients and reply to their reviews?
If you’re not sure how to answer these questions, then we’ll venture a guess that it’s time to audit and optimize online presence for your healthcare organization.
Building and maintaining a strong online presence is an ongoing process that involves much more than simply having positive reviews, a website, or a Facebook page. As technology and healthcare marketing trends evolve, there are countless reasons why your online presence needs constant attention.
Over 82% of patients use search engines (such as Google) in their quest for a healthcare provider, while almost 50% use online reviews in their decision-making process. They dig deep and gather as much information as they can before choosing a healthcare provider. And just think — all of these first impressions happen without them even stepping into your clinic or talking to your staff.
A robust online presence leads to all-around visibility of your practice on important platforms, such as search engines, social media, and review websites. Evaluating it gives you an idea of how your healthcare practice and practitioners are perceived. You can then use these insights to optimize online presence for your healthcare organization, fix any issues, and discover opportunities to engage with your patients and drive better results.
What Is an Online Presence Audit?
If you’re looking to attract and retain new patients, you need to consider whether they can find you online and, if they can, whether they’re left with a positive impression.
An online presence audit involves a detailed overview of different elements (such as your online reputation, website, social media accounts, Google Business Profiles, and other local search elements) to determine what’s working and what’s not, so you can make adjustments to your healthcare marketing strategy and create a better online experience for your patients.
The stronger your online presence is, the more discoverable, credible, and reliable your brand becomes. Follow the steps below to learn how to audit and optimize online presence for your healthcare organization in a simple and effective way.
Is Your Website in Its Best Shape?
A professional, modern, and responsive website is the basis for growing your online presence. It’s ultimately where all prospective patients end up and it helps them find the correct information and make the right decision.
Regular website audits for issues and mistakes are necessary to keep it up-to-date and relevant. You want to make sure it’s functional, informative, and easy for your patients to navigate so it can turn new visitors into patients. You want them to think: “If this is how their website looks, I can’t wait to see their practice.”
With that in mind, here are some of the website analysis tasks that you should perform regularly:
Check the load speed of your website and ensure that nothing is slowing it down. You can use any of the free online tools — it’s as simple as copying a link. These tools will analyze your website and give you a list of improvements you can make to bring your website up to its optimal speed and performance.
Design and Functionality
Review your website design and structure and consider whether it might be time for an update. If you’re not sure how to estimate that, here are some pointers:
- If your website is 10+ years old and hasn’t been refreshed since — it is definitely time to spruce it up;
- If it’s confusing to navigate through the website and find relevant information, you need to address the structure and optimize the user experience;
- If you simply don’t like the way it looks, but you’re not doing anything about it because you think it’s not a priority — make it a priority because it will matter to your audience.
Check the graphics and images on your website — are they in line with your brand? The visuals aren’t there only to fill the empty space. Their role is to support and complete the narrative, so make your choices carefully. Another important aspect is technical optimization: make sure your graphics are properly named and have the appropriate alt text — this will help with SEO and accessibility — and that the file sizes aren’t too large, as that can slow down your website.
Responsive design refers to building websites so that they adapt to a device’s screen size — from desktop computers to smartphones — and make it easier for people to use and navigate the content. It’s a necessary component of a great website, especially since 60% of Google searches are done via mobile devices and this number will only continue to increase. Test your website on different devices and browsers to see if it displays correctly. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you need to scroll horizontally to finish reading sentences?
- Are buttons too small or hard to click on?
- Does the website menu display incorrectly, or do the images seem too big?
- Do you need to zoom in and out as you use the website?
If any of these problems arose as you audited your website, you need to improve your website responsiveness.
Content and SEO
Content is the most important aspect of your website, as it provides your users with the information they need. And optimizing that content for search engines is what will optimize online presence for your healthcare organization.
First things first, review the content on your main pages — are the details about the services you provide clear and simple? Do you feature your practitioners and their bios? You want to make sure all information is accurate, relevant, and up to date, and then written with simplicity and to the point.
After you’re done with the main pages, review all of your top-performing blog articles and see if they can be updated with new content. This will help you rank higher on Google (and other search engines) and drive more traffic to your website.
Lastly, generate backlinks to your website by listing it on relevant websites, directories, and more — this will help strengthen your domain authority and SEO.
Make sure to have an online scheduling feature or contact form, so patients can easily book appointments. This form should be as simple as possible and yet allow your patients to arrange all the details of their visit. For example, you shouldn’t ask redundant questions in the form, as those tend to make the process seem complicated and turn users away, but you should ensure that they can choose a practitioner, time and date, and any other specifics they tend to double-confirm while scheduling appointments via phone.
To round this up, make sure they get a clear confirmation that they have successfully booked their appointment – both by displaying a success message on the screen after they click the submit button and by sending a confirmation email or text containing their appointment details.
Do You Make The Most of Your Social Media?
A strong social media presence is essential for growing your practice and reaching a wider audience. At the same time, conducting a social media audit allows you to evaluate where you’re at and optimize online presence for your healthcare organization.
First, list all your social accounts, including those you set up but haven’t used in a while. Then, review and do the following for each account:
Update Your Information
- Have you fully completed your “About” sections on each account?
- Do your channels contain all the information a prospective patient would need to find out about your services?
- Do your social profiles include a link to your website, a correct phone number, and other contact information?
- Do you need to add or change any of the existing information?
Review Your Visuals
- Are your header images clear and compelling?
- Is your image resolution good?
- Is your profile picture clearly visible on all devices?
- Do you need to update any of the pictures?
Check for Consistency Across All Platforms
- Are you consistent in how you use your brand images across all platforms?
- If you were your ideal customer, would you be able to identify with your brand on social media in terms of image, tone, and voice?
Dig into The Analytics
Each social channel offers insights and statistics that are easy to access and analyze — and immensely help you optimize online presence for your healthcare organization. And contrary to popular belief, it only takes a couple of clicks and a few hours to get a basic idea of how you’re doing.
- Use analytics to see who your followers are — even the basic demographic information will help you get to know them better, understand what content is most relevant to them, and share the right information at the right time.
- Evaluate engagement on your social media — likes, shares, comments, reach, and direct messages you receive, are all factors that will let you know if your content resonates with your audience.
- Look at the type of content your competitors are creating and how often they’re sharing it. Take note of what they’re doing well, and apply those strategies to your own channels.
Where Do You Stand on Google?
As healthcare organizations see more of their patients looking online before choosing them, it’s necessary to consider an online reputation audit to manage online reviews and optimize online presence for your healthcare organization.
Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. Just open up an incognito window and enter your healthcare organization’s name into Google search, so you can analyze the following elements of your presence on search results pages.
If you don’t show up on the first page of Google search results, you may as well lock the door and throw away the key. Just kidding, there’s still a chance to improve things for your business. Follow these steps to ensure successful search positioning:
- Examine the sites that appear on the first page. Google Business Profiles for your locations and providers (GBP) and your website should be the first organic results you see — if that is not the case, then they need additional optimization.
- Take a look at the search ads (at the top of the search results) — if there’s an ad that’s not yours, especially when searching for your brand name or relevant keywords, that means your competitors are trying to snatch your potential patients. You should have an ongoing search ad to prevent this, along with regular check-ins to determine if ad keywords need to be adjusted
- Are there any third-party listings (such as Healthgrades, Vitals, or local business listings) that show up on Google’s first page for your brand’s search query? If so, review the information related to you and, if needed, reach out to site owners to add or remove any information.
People are more likely to trust you with their health if they know others have had positive experiences with you. This is why it’s imperative to manage your online reputation:
- Read through the reviews on relevant sites and try to understand the general sentiment. This way you can identify positive and negative comments about your practice as well as how patients feel about different criteria such as price, quality, and services.
- Do you regularly reply to reviews across all platforms? If not, it’s time to start doing so — this will help you manage negative reviews as well as engage with satisfied patients, both of which help improve your reputation.
- Encourage patients to leave reviews. To simplify the process, use an automated review platform to send out review requests after patients visit your office.
- Always expect some criticism and have a plan for how to address it, but be mindful both of patient privacy laws as well as good interpersonal skills.
You can’t possibly optimize the online presence of your healthcare organization without local search. Local search assists users in finding healthcare services in their area, and you may be missing out on a lot of new patients by omitting it.
- Optimized Google Business Profiles are a must for local search results — make sure you have a listing for your healthcare organization as well as for all your practitioners.
- Identify which GBP-related features come up on Google search for your location or practitioners and evaluate your presence there: ratings, comments, reviews, user-generated photos, etc.
- Make sure all essential information is listed, accurate and consistent across all platforms — this includes your contact information, precise location, and business hours.
- Make sure your business is listed across both national and local directories to ensure wider coverage.
- In addition to your regular content, be sure to include content that revolves around your area, events, local happenings, and so on, so that your audience is aware that you care about the community.
- Double-check to see if you’re easy to find on Google Maps, Apple Maps, and other navigation software people may use to find healthcare services in their area — and make sure the featured location is precise.
Optimize Online Presence of Your Healthcare Organization in A Simple and Cost-Effective Way
When done properly, an online presence audit will show you how your patients are reacting to your brand online, so you can optimize it and implement new ways to keep existing patients satisfied and stay ahead of your competitors. This can also help you identify your current values and possibly even re-evaluate your business objectives.
The key thing to remember is that managing your online presence is an ongoing activity rather than a one-time project. It always needs to grow and adapt in order to stay in tune with current trends.
And we completely understand if this seems a bit too overwhelming. After all, your expertise is taking care of patients, and keeping up with all the things that can impact the effectiveness of your online presence can quickly add up. Still, failing to continuously monitor and evaluate your online presence can result in a decline in your brand value to your patients. While a manual approach will yield results, it will also demand resources. But there’s an easier way.
SocialClimb offers you tools and automation workflows that help you optimize online presence for your healthcare organization with minimal investments. Go beyond reputation and address every aspect of your online presence through intuitive, HIPAA-compliant, easy-to-set-up campaigns that will shoot your healthcare marketing ROI through the roof. Learn more about our platform and see how it can support your business goals.