Online reputation management (ORM) and search engine optimization (SEO) are two distinct services that are often grouped together. However, they both serve entirely different purposes. In general, SEO is used to increase the search engine ranking of your brand or content. Whereas ORM is a broader term that is used to manage the online reputation of either a doctor, a medical practice or a brand. Since they sound pretty similar, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what each term entails.
This understanding is key to making a wise decision, especially when determining the needs of your medical practice. Let’s start with SEO since it is often integral to ORM, but ORM is not a part of SEO. It does not sound evident for the moment, but hopefully all will soon be clear.
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Understanding the basics of SEO for doctors’ clinics cannot be done in one blog. It cannot be done in ten sections, either. In fact, if you Google “SEO,” you will come across millions and billions of results.
So, what exactly is SEO for doctors’ clinics?
SEO is all about making a website or a blog meet the specific criteria that a search engine uses to determine its ranking. It may sound simple, and the basics are always simple, but as the millions and billions of search results in Google can attest, SEO for doctors’ clinics anything but straightforward.
Good healthcare SEO uses keywords and other specific criteria to help push your medical practice website toward the top of search rankings for relevant keywords or phrases.
Healthcare SEO focuses on promoting your website and increasing traffic.
SEO for doctors’ clinic focuses on keywords such as “physician in Iselin” or “dentist in Edison” rather than on the name of a medical practice.
What Is Doctor Reputation Management?
Online reputation management (ORM) or doctor reputation management is an ongoing task that serves to create, establish and maintain your brand image and its good standing online. It’s about building patients’ perception.
But what does ORM involve?
It may involve using Facebook to jump in on social media conversations and tackle negative or defamatory comments about your medical practice. It may also include writing a blog and educating your target audience about the real values and face of your medical practice.
- ORM impacts search for branded keywords. It focuses on how target audiences see your brand.
- ORM is not about making a sale but about having a positive impact on the target audience for long-term success.
- ORM focuses on the entire search experience, including organic search results, crowd-sourced information, video content, social media posts and profiles on online directories.
ORM or SEO: Which type of digital marketing does your medical practice need?
The best and easiest way to decide what your brand needs more is to Google. Search for your brand name on different search engines.
Where does it appear?
Does your medical practice appear on top?
Is there any harmful content about your brand/services?
Google your name and names of other doctors working at your medical practice. Find something negative?
What if you see harmful content?
It is time to pull up your socks and look for ways to either convert any harmful content into a positive or make the negative stuff go down in search results so that when prospects search for your brand name, they only read positive content.
The longer you wait, the more clicks harmful content will receive. It takes people time to trust healthcare brands, and one negative review can do a lot more harm than you might think. So if you see any harmful content, act fast.
What if you don’t see harmful content?
Pat yourself on the back! You are ahead of the game. Next, you have some options, and pursuing one of those options will be a smart move.
Your first option is to work hard and improve your SEO. Your online presence includes your medical practice website, social media pages, blogs and content on third-party review sites.
Another option is to be proactive and contact an experienced doctor reputation management or physician reputation management agency and allow them to begin tracking to make sure no harmful content ever comes online. This will allow you to have the peace of mind that if something happens, experts are on top of it and will handle it professionally.
Your third option is to do both. This is probably the best option. In addition to working on your healthcare SEO, managing your online reputation or physician reputation will give you the peace of mind to focus on the medical practice that you know best.