Why Claim Your Name? Local Directories

Claim Your Medical Practice Information on Local Business Directories“Claiming” your business on local directories can improve your marketing,  encourage reviews and improve your SEO.

Claim vs. Create

There are many directories, including Google Places.  Most directories are created from a third party database such as a mailing list and may contain errors.

Fewer listings (Yelp, Google) require the small business to actively create account de novo.

In either case, you want to either “claim” your listing to make sure that the  information is correct or “create” a new account with accurate information listing your small business and practice focus.

For example, I am a retinal specialist (snobby eye doctor) and I have been incorrectly listed as an Internist and General Surgeon.  I created accounts in these directories and submitted the changes.

Finding the Directories

There are dozens of local business directories, local medical directories and doctor ratings sites.  We can provide you an analysis of the business directories that have you listed on their websites and you should proof-read then gradually.

You can also “Google” yourself.   Go through the SERP (results page) and visit those sites that list your information.  Each site usually has a method to change your information.  In this way, you only have to bother with the most popular sites indexed by Google.

Be Accurate with Data Entry

Make sure your information is both accurate and uniform.  For instance, while the use of “avenue” vs. “ave.” may not matter to you, it will have some impact on your web rankings.  Other examples,

  • Road vs. Rd.
  • Suite vs. Ste.
  • Boulevard vs.  Blvd.

Most importantly, make sure you use your business name as listed with your state!

Encourage Ratings and Reviews

You want to encourage positive reviews and ratings by happy patients.  Give them every reason to give you a great review.  Leaving inaccurate information (wrong address, misspellings, incorrect specialty of practice); however, will dissuade your supporters from leaving any comments.

Stale/incorrect information correctly connotes that this is a stale listing and the owners of the listing (i.e. you) could care less.

You should  get an email about a new comment left on the listing/rating site either from you Google Alert or from the website itself.  Take this opportunity to review, and thank, your supporter.  It’s a great way to show you care and appreciate their efforts to support you.  It’s an easy way to create a “conversation.”

Add Your URL to Boost SEO

There are two reasons to add your URL.  Anyone interested in learning more about you from the directory will want to visit your web page.  More importantly, you should be in the habit of adding your URL everywhere you can to increase the number of links to your site….this will improve your rankings.

Many of these sites, such as HealthGrades, have significant PageRank and links from their site to yours will improve your SEO!








How to Create a Google Alert

Creating a Google Alert to Protect Your Online Reputation

Monitor your online reputation with a Google Alert.

A Google Alert is an email alerting you of something recently published on the Internet about a subject of interest.

Google, for free, will monitor the Internet;  webpages, blogs, articles, press releases, comments, etc, for any search terms and/or subject you desire.  Anytime someone publishes content relevant to your search terms…you’ll get an email.


Google Alerts are great ways to;

  • follow conversations about a company, such as your medical practice
  • follow developments in a news story
  • follow the competition
  • follow yourself

Follow Yourself for Negative Reviews

Particularly useful and highly recommended is to set up a Google Alert on yourself, your colleagues and your practice.

With this simple tool, you can then monitor the Internet for any information published about you or members of your practice.

This is especially useful for keeping abreast of comments made about the practice; both good and bad.

Negative Comments

Negative comments posted on another website are a big concern.  It is our opinion that all comments be dealt with in the following manner;

Answer all comments within 24-48 hours, but not immediately.  Wait until the next day to calm down a little bit.  Answering quickly, however, will actually demonstrate that you care and are concerned, not only to the negative reviewer, but also to future readers.

Always be positive, never defensive nor accusatory just as a concierge handled your recent complaints at a 5 start hotel or fancy restaurant.

We have some other tips about how to handle negative reviews in another post.

Positive Comments

Just as important are finding and responding to the positive comments.  There are too many positive comments on too many review sites that remain idle….just begging for a response.

Take the time to find your comments and respond to each and every review remaining polite and thankful.

Responding to a positive comment can enhance your transparency, shows your practice is willing to engage and you are appreciative.  In addition, your responses alone (just the mere action of responding) will illicit even more comments in the future.

Patients innately want to say “thank you” and will do especially if there efforts are appreciated and acknowledged versus falling on dead ears.

Setting Up Your Google Alert

Setting this up is easy.  Make sure you (or someone in your practice) has a Google account.

  1. If you need a Google account, set one up via GMail.
  2. Here’s the address for setting up the alert:  http://google.com/alerts
  3. Follow on screen directions (should take < 1 minute)

TIP:  Placing “quotes” around the search phrase will only produce alerts using those exact words in the same order.  For instance, “Randall Wong”  will bring up only articles using that exact phrase.  Whereas Randall Wong (no quotes) will find anything containing Randall or Wong.

The point?  If you have a common name or phrase, you might consider using quotes to limit the search.  You can always go back and change it!

To Your Growth And Success!


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization



The Anatomy of a SERP Page

Good medical SEO will get your pages ranked highly on SERP.

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page.  There are 3 basic areas to a results page; the organic section and two are paid advertising.  Good content marketing, optimization or SEO (search engine optimization) is focused on getting your pages ranked highly in the “organic section” as opposed to the paid advertising areas.

I created this search engine results page using the following search terms:  Medical Marketing Enterprises.

SERP or search engine results page. Medical website SEO and website optimization.


A – Banner Advertising (PAID)

This section has the colored background and is always in the top left position.  These are “banner” ads and are paid advertising.   The keywords used and amount of competition will determine the price.  In general, these ads rotate and are related to specific search terms used to generate the search.

For instance, the 3 results in section A all paid Google to place these ads and are related to my search keywords “Medical Marketing Enterprises.”

C – “Adwords” PPC Advertising (PAID)

The section on the right are also paid advertising.  These are the famous Google “Adwords” PPC (pay-per-click) advertising whereby an advertiser pays Google to place these small 4 lined ads on the side of your SERP when you are searching for related terms.  See how they all “relate” to Medical Marketing?

You’ll see these ads pop up all over the place;  email, and other websites are common places.  Advertisers only pay Google when a serfer actually clicks on the ad (hence, “pay per click”).  For a medical practice, these PPC ads are very affordable, but do nothing to increase your page ranking.

B – Organic Search: The Target for Your SEO Goals

You want your pages to rank highly here.

This is the listing of true, legitimate search.  Pages listed here appear based on their relevance to the search terms used to create the search and are not paid advertising (such as the banner ads and Adwords).

Pages ranked here are the most relevant to your search terms, have the best SEO and pagerank.

It is in this area where we want your pages to rank in the “Top 10” or “Above the Fold” (newspaper term used to connote the “most important).

The goal of every medical practice is to get their webpages ranked highly in the organic section.  Using content marketing strategies and good SEO, your pages will attract the most traffic due to the high visibility.  Content marketing (i.e. getting your pages ranked highly on the organic search) is the only way a practice can attain and maintain high SERP rankings.

Compared to the paid advertising, the organic search is free, and thus, has the best ROI (return on investment).  It is how my website increased my surgical volume over 30% last year….all through content marketing.

To Your Growth And Success!


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization




What is Your PageRank?

 PageRank compares websites based on relevance and qualtiy backlinks.  Medical marketing Enterprises.  Medical SEO


PageRank (PR) is an SEO valuation method, used by Google, to compare websites.  It is a grading system and is different from SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

PR is a numerical grade from 0-10 used to establish the relative “worth” or importance compared to other, similar webpages.  0 is a poor grade and 10 is the best.  I believe only two sites are “10’s”;  Google and Facebook.

A Man Named Page

The PageRank algorithm was actually created by an individual named Larry Page.  It is patented by Stanford University and licensed by Google. (This was news to me!)

The algorithm used to establish ranking uses several variables, but is essentially based upon the number, and quality, of inbound and outbound links to and from your website.

Links Are Votes

Inbound links are hyperlinks from other sources leading TO your webpage.  Outbound links are hyperlinks FROM your site to another page.

In this context, links are viewed as votes, or endorsements, for another site.  For instance, if  your page has multiple links arriving from other sites and those sites have a higher PR than yours, your site PageRank will improve.

On the other hand, if  your page has multiple links from other sources of inferior grade, your pagerank may actually drop.  Also, if your outbound links are to real duds…your PR may drop, so choose your links carefully.  Link to known, reputable sources.

Reputation and Relevance

Google’s quest is to find the best websites relevant to a keyword search (i.e. your question or phrase you are “Googling?).  The algorithm values incoming links from reputable websites, that is, incoming links from websites of similar relevance (subject matter) are weighted heavily.


My website on retinal diseases is a health related site (BTW, this is actually a backlink from this site to my retina site).  While I may claim (using health related keywords, meta tags, titles, etc.) to be a health related site, a better endorsement of my site is when other health related sites, especially of higher PR, link to mine.  These are quality links:  similar type of site and of higher PR.

As a consequence, this cuts down on the spammers and makes it harder for poor quality sites to get your attention when using link farms (mass quantity links of little relevance or quality).

What Can You Do?

Most likely, it will take  6 months to a year to gain a PR of 1.  One other criteria for PR is age of the site (and also the duration for which you purchased your URL – 5 years is great).  This “trust” variable is used to combat spammers (those trying to get high rankings but only for a short, short time).

As a small business (i.e your medical practice), a PR of 2 is more than adequate.

I use a free plug-in called SEOquake to check pageranks.  It also gives me my Alexa ranking and the number pages indexed by Google.  It’s free.  Many others exist.

A good PR improves your ability to rank well on SERP (your ultimate goal).  Your page should rank higher than pages with similar content if the PR is higher.  It’s that simple.

Often, I will “guest post” as a method of building links.  Within my post, I’ll have a few links back to my own site, yet this post will be published on a site … with a higher PR than mine!

To Your Growth And Success!


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization


3 Reasons to Use Google Documents

Create Content Using HTML Such as Google Docs.  Medical Marketing Enterprises

I love Google products.  I use GMail, Calendar, Feedburner, Analytics and Webmaster Tools every day.

Use Google Documents as your word processor.  Google “Docs” includes programs to create a document, spreadsheet, presentation, etc.  Today, we are limiting our reference to the word processor on Google “Docs.”

(You can create your free account by beginning at gmail.com.  It’s free!)

Google Products are Server Based

Choosing a server based platform means that my work is automatically saved on a server, not the hard drive of my own laptop or PC.  This means that my work is always accessible from any Internet device….any.

In contrast, use of Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, requires use of the same PC/laptop to continue working because both files and the software reside on your hard drive.

If it’s a laptop, that laptop must travel with you.  If it’s a PC, you can only work on your project when sitting at that specific unit be it home or office.

Server based products allow you the freedom to always have access to your work because the word processor program (in this case) and your files are on a remote server (in this case Google’s).

For instance, I may start an article at home and finish at the office or on the road on a kids’ hockey trip.  I don’t have to save my work to a flashdrive, email myself or pack up a laptop.  I don’t even have to remember to save my work…it’s done automatically.

Server based utilities allow you to work when you want to work.

Text Editor Similar to Microsoft’s “Word”

Creating a document is very similar to Word, yet is easier to use.  When creating your content, you really have few requirements of your word processing; text editing, creating links, tables and adding images.  Pretty basic stuff for any program.

Google’s Docs is pretty versatile, too.  You can upload in various formats (including MS Word) and download in various formats (including .pdf).

Best of all, “Docs” allows you to work and save in HTML.  HTML is the universal language or standard for creating hyperlinks, text, tables and manipulating images.

Google Docs is Web Friendly, “Word” is Not

The web, and your website, publishes content generated in HTML.  “Word” based documents do not always translate well into HTML (ever see the little “Word” icon with a clipboard on the toolbar of your text editor?).

For instance, simply copying and pasting your Word document into your website most likely will cause interruptions in your hyperlinks, table formatting and image editing…..all that work lost!

Item Last

Creating your work directly onto your website is possible and with time, preferable.  Using Google Docs is a great way to save and backup your work.

If you are writing an article, however, for someone else to publish or edit, write using HTML.  I often “guest post,” and send the article to the editor in HTML format.  I have no fear that my precious links (backlinks) will be saved and remain accurate.

Files created on server based Google documents can be shared with and viewed by anyone of your choice.  With a simple click, the format of the article can be sent in various formats (Word, pdf, HTML) and quantities.  They can be sent as attachments, embedded in an email or simply shared via a link.  Your friends and associates don’t even have to own a Google account!

To Your Growth And Success!


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Medical Website Optimization