Online Reputation Management for Doctors
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Online Reputation Management for Doctors
Curated and Written Articles to help Physicians and Other Healthcare Providers manage reputation online. Tips on Social media, SEO, Online Review Managements and Medical Websites
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Are Paid or Fake Testimonials Illegal?

Are Paid or Fake Testimonials Illegal? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Are Fake Testimonials Illegal?

Yes.

Under 15 U.S. Code § 45, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the power to stop and penalize parties “using unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” This makes it a crime to break official rules imposed by the FTC. And the FTC forbids the use of fake testimonials.

 

Dozens of FTC documents explain the details of “misleading advertisements,” but it boils down to a simple Truth in Advertising statement; “When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading.” The FTC had made a number of guides explaining how truth in advertising works in different situations, but fake testimonials are actually illegal under Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. 45).

 

Fake testimonials are considered false or deceptive advertising—and therefore against the law—for several reasons. First, they are not based on a real customer’s experience, which a testimonial must be. Second, it misleads the customer. Claiming a happy customer exists when the don’t is misleading in itself, but whatever the fake testimonial claims are also misleading. Third, it encourages customers to spend money on a product or service they otherwise might not, thereby financially defrauding the customer, which is an especially notable offense for the FTC.

 

How Do I Get My First Testimonials?

Many businesses use fake testimonials when they don’t have any of their own, often when they’re new. This is a crime, it’s deceptive to customers, unfair to competitors, exposes you to liability, and it’s bad for your reputation. So what can you do instead?

 

A System to Get Your First Testimonials
Get the free testimonial request toolkit

  • If you have a new product, try getting your first testimonials before you launch. Talk to your first product testers. These people helped you make the product great, and their input can help convince other customers too. Since you’re giving these people the product for free, make sure you disclose this.
  • If you have a new business, get your first testimonials with your grand opening event. Set up a kiosk, hand out surveys, conduct a contest or giveaway, or simply ask your first visitors to share their experience. A testimonial collection tool like Boast makes it easy to capture testimonials at your grand opening using a laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • If you’re combating bad testimonials or reviews, show that you have fixed the problem and demonstrate it. If you have a business, hold a celebratory event and capture testimonials there. If you sell a product, give away some free samples, but make sure you’re following the rules of honest testimonials. Appeal to your existing customers in an email or social media campaign.
  • Remember that not all bad testimonials are bad news. Companies with 100% glowing reviews make customers suspicious. A few critical comments will show that you are not using fake testimonials or deceptive advertising.

Are Paid Testimonials Illegal?

Yes, with some exceptions.

Many of the same laws which make fake testimonials illegal also make paid testimonials illegal. There are some differences, however, since paid testimonials can be based on real customer experiences.

The FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising” address how 15 U.S.C. 45 applies to testimonials, including paid testimonials. These guides and others lay out legal (and illegal) practices for testimonials or reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Business Reviewsand others, as well as any testimonials you use in advertisements, on your website or elsewhere.

According to these guides, legal testimonials must adhere to all of the following;

  • Made by a real customer or user of the product or service
  • Based on a real user’s experience
  • Be an accurate description of expected or normal results
  • Not influenced by money, gifts, or publicity unless it is clearly disclosed
  • Not influenced by a familiar or business relationship (such as employer-employee)
  • Not edited or altered so to change the message

This means paid testimonials are illegal unless; the company or person giving the testimonials clearly states they are being paid and the statement is still true and accurate. The FTC also makes it clear that gifts such as a free trial of the product or service, a gift card, a giveaway, or any other incentive are a “material relationship” that must be disclosed.

While the FTC makes some exceptions for true testimonials that disclose payment, many review sites take a harder stance against this practice. Amazon, for example, does not allow any type of paid reviews. Both the business and the reviewer can be banned from the site for taking part. Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and others all have strict “no paid testimonials allowed” policies. This includes free products and discounts as well!

How Do I Get Customers to Leave Reviews?

Getting a customer to take time out of their day to leave a review can be tough. Customers have a lot of demands on their time, so how can you compete without a payment?

  • Go above and beyond. If you truly deliver an exceptional customer service experience and then ask for a testimonial, many customers will oblige.
  • Forge a relationship. Find out what your customers care about and give it to them. Are they looking for a company with good ethics? Someone with knowledgeable experts? Personal service? Delightful ambiance? The customers that repeatedly buy, visit, or work with you for a long time are the customers that support you and will give testimonials.
  • Make it easy. Make your customers as comfortable as possible giving reviews. Provide question prompts so they don’t have to search for something to say. Allow them to share a testimonial with just a few clicks.
  • Ask at the right time. When a customer comes in for an appointment or a regular visit, ask if they have a minute to share their thoughts. Or, if an online purchase was completed, ask for a testimonial when you ask how their experience was.
  • Be sincere. While paid and fake testimonials rely on deception, real testimonials allow you to just be yourself. Tell the customer what you think of your relationship and why their public approval is important to you.
  • Have a system and a plan. Testimonials don’t just happen, you have to ask for them. Have a plan and system for gathering and managing testimonials, such as an automated email campaign, an in-person script, or a video app like Boast.

How Illegal Are Paid or Fake Testimonials?

So paid and fake testimonials are against the law, but just how illegal are they? What’s the punishment?

Thousands or millions of dollars in penalties and civil suits.

Each FTC violation is subject to a $10,000 penalty under 15 U.S.C. 45. And it doesn’t stop there; there’s also a fine of $41,484 each day a deceptive ad runs. For many big corporations, this might not be enough to stop paid or fake testimonials. The FTC can and has filed civil actions against larger businesses with judgments in the millions of dollars. The more widespread, deliberate, misleading or damaging a deceptive ad is, the bigger the civil case will be. The FTC can also order businesses to admit to and correct deception, or return money to consumers they deceived. In 2016, Volkswagen had to pay out $10 billion from a false advertising campaign. Though this was due to false product claims and not fake testimonials, it’s a severe demonstration of the litigating power of the Commission.

Besides being against the law, businesses who host reviews and testimonials are also fed up. They’ve changed their terms of service agreements to stop incentivized reviews altogether, and they’ll remove or flag reviewers or businesses who violate the agreements. Amazon sued over 1,000 offending businesses, reviewers and sites in 2015. Yelp did the same, bringing offending companies and reviewers to court for fraud.

Will I Get Caught?

Paid and fake testimonials are illegal, and they can carry harsh penalties. But some business owners still ask; will I get caught?

Most likely, yes.

The FTC’s blog is filled with hundreds of cases they’ve brought against small and large businesses. Big businesses like Volkswagen, small B2C trampoline sellers, B2B freight brokers, marketing companies and many more have all been caught using paid reviews or fake testimonials to deceive consumers, and they’ve paid thousands, even millions of dollars. And there are likely many other cases that don’t make it to the blog.

Many of these cases are first brought to the FTC’s attention by suspicious or angry customers, competitors, third-party websites, consumer protection groups, or local governments. Regional FTC offices and investigators address complaints and sometimes work with local law enforcement or district attorneys to stop deceptive practices on a local level. Third-party sites simply follow users’ trails to track down fraudsters and file civil suits against them or create an automated screening process to prevent fake testimonials.

Customers have also taken notice of paid and fake reviews. Several plugins and apps now exist that will point out fake reviews as customers shop online. These plugins take note of generic terms, grammar mistakes or other common red flags that aren’t present in real, trustworthy reviews.

In essence, if it’s making a difference in customers’ minds, the FTC, other websites, or other customers will notice. And if it’s not making a difference, is it worth putting your reputation on the line for?

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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10 Commandments of Online Reputation Management for Physicians

10 Commandments of Online Reputation Management for Physicians | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Across the board, reputation is an ever-present ingredient in health care marketing.

 

Informed and empowered consumer/patients do their homework, researching symptoms, medical conditions and hospitals. From branding to public relations (and everything in between), a physician’s reputation is a key component and influence factor.

 

And as many as 8 out of ten people will look online for information about individual doctors. And all of that happens long before they make an appointment…and what they find—positive, negative, neutral or nothing at all—influences their decision to call or not to call.

 

Perception is the reality: Who you are online is who you are to most people.

 

Many doctors fail to appreciate that their reputations extend far beyond their immediate circle of professional colleagues and current patients. In fact, far more people—the consumer public, prospective patients and many other physicians—know you first (and sometimes exclusively) by your online reputation.

 

It is the “management” side of Reputation Management that is most often neglected.

 

A physician carefully stacks the familiar building blocks, carefully aligning data points that include education, training, experience, academic papers, presentations, recognitions, etc.—all the stuff that fills a multi-page Curriculum Vitae (CV). And for the sake of conversation, let’s assume the CV is “sterling,” and the provider is a skilled communicator, has a caring “bedside manner,” and is trusted, well-know and well-liked by close colleagues, staff and patients. All good stuff.

 

The First 10 Rules. (What would you add to this list?)

 

Although there’s very little cost involved, the Internet has many facets and reputation management requires a systematic commitment of time and effort. (You may want some professional help, particularly to get things going at the outset.) Here are some of the essential concepts for effectively managing your online status:

 

Your reputation lives in two places: online and in-person. Pay attention to both daily. Few things have a higher priority for doctors…concern for their professional reputation is hard earned and constantly protected in their daily work. Physicians need no reminder of the “in-person” part. But the “online” part—which is often out-of-sight-out-of-mind—deserves equal concern and attention.


What’s online can hurt you and it can help you. The Internet is the home of “digital word-of-mouth.” Comments—either good or bad—tend to be seen as a form of endorsement, crowd sourcing, or social proof. Patient recommendations and testimonials can, and often do, significantly influence the decision process and provider selection of other patients.


The Internet never forgets. Never. It’s frustrating to think that user-generated comments often remain online (and available) even when they are incorrect, inaccurate, and often undated. Because things are “continuously available” online is further reason to keep your figurative stethoscope on this vital sign.


Proactively work your online presence at least once per week. It’s just good business sense to see yourself as other see you. Carefully examine these primary (and slightly overlapping) information arenas…


Search Engine Results – use a variety of keywords and search with Google, Bing, Yahoo! Search, Ask, Aol Search and others. Pay particular attention to listings or results that have a community connection.

 

Local Directory Listings – regularly check “find a doctor” sources with online Yellow Pages/SuperPages, business listings, insurance-provider lists, hospital databases, Google Plus pages, community, “area connect” or “city search” directories, medical society listings and the like.

 

Social Media – Primarily your own faces such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Keep your own material fresh and engaging, and don’t overlook mentions that might appear in the social media platforms of others (such as discussion groups, events, blogs, etc.)

 

Physician Rating and Review Sites – Compile a list (and check each listing regularly) of online listings. A 2011 study of 4,999 online physician rating sites identified these 10 as the most commonly visited sites with user-generated content: HealthGrades.com, Vitals.com, Yelp.com, YP.com, RevolutionHealth.com, RateMD.com, Angieslist.com, Checkbook.org, Kudzu.com, and ZocDoc.com. (That leaves only 4,989 others.)

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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11 online reputation management techniques for doctors 

11 online reputation management techniques for doctors  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

At Digital Authority Partners, we are often asked about our doctor reputation management services. Usually, reputation management for doctors, as a service, is often sought if a doctor is:

  • dealing with too many negative medical reviews
  • involved in embarrassing public incidents
  • receiving negative press coverage
  • recovering from a malpractice lawsuit

 

Reputation management is critical to the success of a medical practice. When negative media coverage or online reviews about doctors appear online, medical practices see a one-third drop in visits and calls to their offices, causing a potentially disastrous financial impact.

 

When any of these events occur, doctors tend to enter “crisis mode” and often scramble to find the best strategies to restore their reputation.

 

Usually, reputation management companies refuse to divulge the techniques used to repair a doctor’s online reputation. Unlike most agencies, at Digital Authority Partners we prefer to be honest and transparent about how we approach reputation management for doctors.

 

If you or your medical practice are dealing with a reputation issue, read our ultimate guide to online reputation management, along with an explanation of how each technique works.

 

Every doctor should care about their online reputation

 

As early as 2012, 60% of US customers researched their doctors online. By 2016, 84% of patients researched new medical practitioners before their first appointment. Positive reviews and coverage are consistently considered important or very important before scheduling an appointment with a specific doctor.

 

The first page of Google search results tied to a doctor’s name or practice is the new business card. While some doctors may still choose to ignore this fact; their prospective patients will not.

 

The bad press won’t go away. So a lot can go wrong if you don’t address the problem head-on.

 

This is the simple truth about online reputation management for doctors: bad reviews and bad press coverage don’t go away. As a consequence, prudent doctors have taken very aggressive measures to guard their reputation. But there are good ways and catastrophic ways to restore your reputation. This article will only focus on the tried and true tactics to restore a doctor’s reputation.

Let’s pause for a second and explore the unfortunate ways some doctors try to deal with their tarnished online reputation.

 

According to Aaron Schur, Senior Director of Litigation at Yelp, the company regularly receives subpoenas from legal counsel retained by doctors to fix their reputation. Yelp rarely acts on these aggressive legal tactics to remove customer feedback.

 

Even though negative coverage never goes away, the worst thing a doctor can do is fight fire with fire.

 

In 2016, a Manhattan dentist sued multiple Yelp reviewers for their negative reviews – a move that backfired. The New York Daily News began its coverage of the suit in very unflattering terms: “A Manhattan dentist has been trying to extract money from patients who give him bad reviews online.” Then the case caught the attention of national media.

 

Worse yet, the case caught the attention of senior executives at Yelp. Two years later, potential patients going to the dentist’s Yelp page see this warning message:

 

Although you cannot delete negative coverage, you can bury it with positive content


The Manhattan dentist mentioned is a prime example of what reputation management companies advise against. Obviously, more negative coverage is the opposite of what a medical practice needs to restore trust in the digital space.

 

Instead, any reputation expert will advise its customers to focus on other strategies that are more likely to succeed. The best way to deal with negative reviews and coverage is to bury it with positive content.

 

How do you bury negative content? By replacing it with a single recipe for success: use Google’s search algorithm in your favor by creating valuable content that pushes the negative content associated with a business name after the first page.

 

It doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s easier said than done.

 

Regardless of your industry, there are specific white hat marketing techniques that can be employed to repair your online image. These are legitimate, widely accepted tactics promoted by some of the most renowned marketers in the world.

 

The rest of this article presents 11 tried and true tactics Digital Authority Partners leverages to successfully restore the online reputation of doctors. We strongly believe all doctors should know exactly what steps we follow to repair their online reputation.

 

Strategy Number 1: Build a website for yourself and/or your practice

 

The first and most valuable strategy to repair your reputation is to create a website dedicated to yourself and/or your practice. In some cases, you should consider doing both.

Why build a website for yourself or your medical practice?

A website serves multiple purposes. First – it introduces a doctor to the world. A good physician-dedicated website tells the story of a specific doctor, the values to which he or she adheres and provides testimonies about the quality of services the physician provides.

 

So, what makes a doctor’s website rank highly in Google search results?

 

Launching your own physician website has multiple benefits.

 

First, if done right, your website will be found when patients look up your name. That’s very powerful. Even if patients find some negative reviews, making a great first impression is imperative.

 

Second, in online doctor reputation management, it’s best to have a website that clearly presents all the critical information about yourself you want to be emphasized. Your website is a building block, a central place that will be used for all aspects tied to reputation management.

 

For example, one of the foundational strategies to improve an online reputation for a doctor involves the act of securing backlinks to the cornerstone digital property. That can be your own personal website or a website dedicated to your business.

 

Either way – for any reputation management campaign to succeed you need one primary digital property that you own and control. The reason that matters is that a centralized digital property with a robust analytics platform is needed to actually measure and improve on the overall effectiveness of your reputation management campaign.

 

Third, a personal website is your own forum. It’s where you can share updates about your practice, show your thought leadership, and engage with patients.

 

In short, having a website is the single most important tactic of reputation management for doctors.

 

Strategy Number 2: Start a blog directed to your patients


If you talk to 10 marketers, all 10 will tell you that the best way to manage your reputation is to have a blog.

 

A blog lives on the internet forever (or as long as you pay for your web hosting).

 

More importantly, a blog allows you to speak to your patients – current and future – to show your expertise and the value you bring to your clients.

 

Most important of all, a regularly updated blog is more likely to bring new clients, garner repeat business, and help you and/or your practice rank higher in Google search results.

 

Why launch a blog for yourself and/or your medical practice?

 

Starting a blog may seem to be a daunting task. How often should you publish content? Will you regularly have time to do it? Is it really worth it?

 

If you talk to any reputation management company, you will often see a list of clear and indisputable benefits tied to starting a blog. If you are in process of repairing your reputation online, here are some quick reasons why you should start a blog for your practice or yourself.

 

As other experts have pointed out, a pleasant side effect of physician-run blogs is that they lead to more business and referrals.

 

Most importantly though, from a pure reputation management perspective, a physician blog (preferably on your website) nearly guarantees that your content appears at the top of the Google search results. This is why most reputation management companies make the creation of new and original blog content the Number 1 technique to bury negative results in Google.

 

In sum, no legitimate reputation management campaign can succeed without creating great blog content on behalf of a doctor.

 

Strategy Number 3: Create blog posts for other websites


The key to success, when dealing with a reputation management issues, is to create relevant, timely content associated with a physician’s name on multiple platforms. 

 

However, even if you create the single best physician blog on the internet, that will likely only bury one of the first ten Google search results.

 

A robust doctor reputation management campaign needs to do more than that. The easiest way to bury negative reviews or press coverage is to create new content on other websites as well. For example, at agencies like ours, we have partnerships with over 400 blogs that accept guest submissions from the doctors and clients we represent.

 

First, we work with each client to determine the topics that will best showcase their expertise. Then our team of writers creates long, in-depth content pieces that are published under our client’s name on other websites. As part of the guest posting efforts, we secure backlinks to our physicians’ websites or social media profiles.

 

If you are a doctor with a significant reputation management issue, guest posting is one of the best strategies for displaying additional Google search results when a patient looks online for your name or the name of your practice.

 

Guest posting is perhaps the most popular doctor reputation management tactic for restoring physicians’ online reputations.

 

Clearly, guest posting has numerous benefits, but the technique is primarily used to get backlinks to specific interviews and news coverage about you and your company. Guest posting can be on another physician website, blog, or social media profile. Links from guest posts will point to whatever content we create for you.

 

Strategy Number 4: Create powerful social media accounts

 

(Linkedin, Facebook) for your medical practice
Google takes a wide variety of digital signals into consideration when ranking content for a specific search term. When running a doctor reputation management campaign, the best way to get meaningful results is by tackling all the major signals drawing Google’s attention.

 

It is well established that social media activity has an impact on Google search results. Specifically, Google is drawn by the number of visits to specific websites and blog posts receive directly from social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

 

This strong correlation between Google search results and social media activities is what drives most successful reputation management campaigns for doctors to include a social media component. Creating robust social media profiles combined with frequent posts has proven to be a very effective reputation management technique.

 

By creating strong social media accounts with regular posts, every doctor with whom we perform reputation management initiatives will see their social media profiles rank on the first page of Google search results tied to their own or their firm’s name within 60 days.

 

Social media is a powerful tool not only for restoring your online reputation but also for proactively engaging your patients and future clients. An article from March 2018 reveals how various physicians all over the US leverage social media to combat misinformation – not only about their own practices but also about specific conditions, diagnostics, and other timely healthcare news that could affect their patients (ex., flu season, epidemics, etc.).

 

This makes social media management incredibly relevant not only for reputation management but also for long-term digital engagement with your patients.

 

Strategy Number 5: Claim your Google business listing online

 

According to Google, 97% of users search for local businesses and local business owners names online. For that reason, reputation management campaigns often focus on what is called “local SEO practices.”

 

The first priority when improving a doctor’s reputation is to make sure locals searching for a doctor’s name see relevant results – preferably not the questionable ones.

 

To that end, the most important step when initiating a local SEO strategy is for a practice to claim its local Google business listing.

For example, here’s the Google listing page for a doctor in the Chicago area:

 

When searching for Dr. xyz name, Google search results return her image, Google map location, specialty, address, and phone number.

 

Since reputation management campaigns center on optimizing the Google search results, claiming, optimizing, and managing a Google business listing page is important for online reputation management.

 

Google allows for mini-posts on the Google listing page – something that helps with SEO and reputation management initiatives.

 

This is one of various “social” online listings that carries a lot of weight when tying a doctor’s name and medical practice to Google search results.

 

There are many customization options on the Google Business Listing dashboard, giving doctors the opportunity to create powerful and influential profiles for potential patients to visit.

 

Strategy Number 6: Respond to all reviews on Google/Yelp

 

When looking for new service providers, most customers go to two sources: Google and Yelp.

 

For doctors who are doing well – reviews are a great way to attract new customers. For doctors dealing with unhappy customers and other PR baggage, online reviews can be a nightmare.

 

Doctors’ responses to the new world of online reviews have not always been appropriate or even legal.

 

In 2016, a Washington Post investigation into 3000+ physician responses to negative reviews on Yelp and Google showed that an alarming number of doctors violated HIPAA compliance rules when responding to disenchanted patients. Other doctors – who used a passive aggressive tone or responded rudely to online reviews opened the door to additional criticism and unwanted attention from online users who were offended by physicians’ postings.

 

In general, doctors should not take it upon themselves to respond to online reviews. That’s because it is impossible to not feel emotional when dealing with negative comments. Instead, doctors should either designate a staff person to this task or outsource responses to reputation management consultants. This approach will often avoid making a situation worse or drawing more unwanted attention.

 

Responding to a negative review poorly is not the only problem doctors face with regard to their online reviews. Another unfortunate tactic some physicians erroneously employ, not addressing online reviews at all.

 

Neither strategy is good. Some doctors have reported a 30% loss of business after negative Yelp reviews. As one doctor put it, “Yelp reviews can literally be the bane of many doctors’ existence.”

 

Online reviews aren’t only read by patients. A 2013 study showed that 86% of doctors read their own reviews; 36% also regularly check their competitors’ reviews. As a result, online reviews can affect not only a physician’s ability to acquire new patients but also his/her standing as a member of the medical community as a whole.

 

In general, the appropriate course of action for doctors dealing with online reviews is to respond to every single new review – positive or negative. That shows others researching doctors that you listen to your patients’ concerns and address them professionally.

 

Don’t forget – you can’t make everyone happy. However, you can treat everyone with respect and courtesy – especially when everyone in the world can see your online interactions.

 

How should physicians and reputation management agencies respond to Google and Yelp reviews?

 

The best approach is to answer to every single online review as part of your ongoing reputation management activities.

 

But how should a physician respond to negative reviews online?

 

There are many ways doctors can tackle negative reviews in their reputation management campaigns. Through it all, remember this point: a bad review doesn’t ruin a business. It’s impossible to please everyone. The best technique is to keep your head cool and to give professional answers to every single review online – good, bad, or ugly.

 

Strategy Number 7: Create medical profiles on relevant directories and social media sites designed for doctors


One of the best approaches to online reputation management for doctors is to create rich profiles on a wide variety of platforms set up specifically for doctors. Just like mainstream social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin, social media platforms for doctors stand a very good chance to rank organically in Google for the search term associated with the name of a specific doctor.

 

Some popular social media platforms and directories for doctors are:

 

CareDash: As one of the fastest growing provider review sites, CareDash uses artificial intelligence to help detect and stop the publication of fraudulent reviews. Doctors can easily create and personalize their profile, and patients trust the platform to help them confidently choose their care provider.


Doximity: An online social network for doctors with verified clinicians’ profiles. As of 2018, the network has over 1,000,000 doctors and physicians. That’s approximately 50% of all doctors in the US.


Healthcare6: An online directory that helps patients find doctors based on specialty and location. The company currently lists almost 3 million doctors and health care providers.


Sharecare: An online health and wellness platform and doctor directory. Sharecare lists each doctor’s full profile – including insurance plans, years of experience, biographical information, specialties, professional affiliations, and educational background. The platform also allows doctors to answer questions and provide thought leadership on specific topics.


WebMD: One of the largest healthcare news and directories in the world. The company allows doctors to create free profiles and advertise on the platform to get new patients.
How physicians and reputation management agencies should optimize healthcare directory profiles

 

Healthcare directory profiles play a critical role in reputation management campaigns. This infographic shows the top reasons why doctors should care about their online directory profiles:

 

For reputation management companies, creating online profiles in established directories is an “easy win” to influence Google search results. Given the nature of some of the directories – where doctors need to verify their identity – new profiles for specific doctors are usually easy to set up and then rank in Google. Google sees verified directories as highly legitimate social signals for ranking those profiles highly for specific keywords.

 

Whether you are actively working on your reputation or not, one thing is certain: you should absolutely have yourself and your practice listed on some of the most popular – and free – directories in the US.

 

Strategy Number 8: Be helpful online by posting on relevant Q&A sites and threads


One often ignored technique for ranking high in Google search results is the practice of creating profiles on Q&A websites and responding to questions posted on message boards that are within the doctor’s specialty.

 

For example, Quora is the most popular question and answer website in the world. It ranks 90th among the most popular sites in the world and 3rd for Q&A sites. On Quora, anyone can create a profile under their own name and contribute to the community.

 

However, Quora has a lesser known benefit. Engaged users who create relevant content using their actual names, can be up-voted by their users. This usually results in that individual profile ranking higher for the name of its author.

 

In simple terms: a doctor can create a Quora profile under his/her name. After answering questions on specific topics, the Quora profile link will appear in the results of a Google search when a user looks for the name of a specific doctor.

 

How physicians and reputation management agencies use Quora to rank organically in Google

 

Strategy Number 9: Use YouTube to post promotional content, highlight testimonials and make your YouTube profile rank highly in search results


Here is a lesser-known fact: YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. Furthermore, YouTube is also a tried and true tactic that has become increasingly popular among doctors to attract new patients, learn new methods, and even attract new employees.

 

In addition, YouTube allows users to create a custom URL in their own name for their channel. As that URL gets backlinks, it will start ranking in search results.

 

The SEO benefits have made creating a channel and getting a custom URL a very popular technique for reputation management firms.

 

Of course, there is a catch. According to Google, a channel must meet the following criteria to get a custom URL:

 

  • Have at least 100 subscribers
  • Be at least 30 days old
  • Have an uploaded channel icon photo
  • Have uploaded channel art

 

This means that if a reputation management company is to reap the SEO benefits for a client from YouTube, it’s not enough to just create a YouTube profile.

 

Reputation management companies need to work with a client to create relevant video content. Then, the video content needs to be promoted. Potential subscribers need to be found and encouraged, through campaigns, to follow the channel.

 

In the end, this is worth the effort. When a doctor or reputation management company uses YouTube correctly, the YouTube channel for a specific physician can become one of the top ten search results associated with a specific doctor’s or practice’s name.

 

How physicians and reputation management agencies use YouTube to rank organically in Google.

 

Many doctors feel intimidated by video content. When we think video – we think high tech video editing, sound editing, special effects, and more.

 

Actually, any doctor with a smartphone can become a videomaker. The videos can be about any relevant healthcare topic. Some examples include testimonials, health-related tips/tricks, video from a conference, etc.

 

Any video – small or big – can help with reputation management. Especially when you are dealing with negative online reviews, YouTube becomes a great channel for online visitors to see you in action, since your personality and charisma, and relate to you as a doctor outside of any negative reviews found online.

 

YouTube is one of the most powerful tools to quickly and efficiently improve your online reputation.

 

Strategy Number 10. Use SlideShare to showcase your expertise, thought leadership and skills as a doctor
Creating a powerful SlideShare online profile is another popular technique used by reputation management companies to remove negative reviews from the first page of Google search results.

 

SlideShare is a social network allowing users to publish professional presentations, infographics, and documents online. The website gets approximately 80 million visitors a month and has over 30 million users. In 2012, the company was purchased by LinkedIn for $119 million.

 

How physicians and reputation management agencies can use SlideShare to rank organically in Google

 

SlideShare has long been used for marketing and SEO purposes. Like other techniques presented in this article, SlideShare is simply another online social network which, when used correctly, can offer businesses and physicians a much-needed search result in the process of burying negative results in Google.

 

Like Quora, SlideShare is created around topics. This makes it easy to create a robust strategy to rank higher in Google search results.

 

As with other techniques discussed in this article, SlideShare is great for reputation management. Prepared correctly, Slideshare accounts can even replace other Google search results and help physicians rank higher for their own content.

 

Strategy Number 11: How physicians and reputation management agencies track online presence in real time


Reputation management never stops. Even when a specific issue is resolved, physicians must be diligent about their online presence and quickly react appropriately when necessary.

 

The best way to handle your reputation management is to create a Google custom alert. When users go to this link they can set up a specific alert for any word or combination of words of interest:

 

In the search bar, a doctor can enter a personal name or the name of the business. Any time the name is mentioned online, an email alert is sent.

 

This strategy is very effective because it allows doctors to easily maintain their reputation management.

 

Rather than waiting until the last possible moment to respond to negative reviews or negative PR coverage, physicians can deal with problems early.

 

In reputation management, it’s imperative to answer criticism proactively and quickly counter any negative publicity.

 

This simple tactic will keep you instantly informed and give you peace of mind. With custom alerts, you can sleep well at night because you know you have access to any good or bad online news as soon as your name is mentioned.

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Fight, Flight or Listen: Dealing with Physician Reviews & Negative Comments

Fight, Flight or Listen: Dealing with Physician Reviews & Negative Comments | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Perhaps you’ve followed the Taco Bell (“Of Course We Use Real Beef“) PR brouhaha, or you recall the PR catastrophe for BP regarding last year’s gulf oil spill.

 

Admittedly these are big business issues at the tip of the PR disaster sword. The media has a field day, and it’s a spectator sport for the general public. Professionally, let’s hope that your healthcare marketing and public relations experience never suffers this kind of global flack.

 

But these corporate calamities hold useful lessons for physicians, group practices, hospitals and other healthcare providers. What the giant corporations do (or don’t do) can transfer to something as common as physician reviews and negative patient comments.

 

Straight from the news pages, here are three PR textbook examples and how they might be useful where you live:

 

The FIGHT Response: In response to a much-publicized class action lawsuit, Taco Bell is out with vehement denials and a series of new advertisements titled: Thank You for Suing Us. While it’s commonplace to quickly embrace and repeat compliments, a common reaction to negative comments by patients is to discount or deny them as uninformed and/or incorrect. Some, perhaps most, situations require a response, but an angry, defensive or “come-out-swinging” answer can more easily aggravate a situation than disarm it.

 

The FLIGHT Response: For reasons that are self-evident, we can’t link to an illustration on this one. Remaining silent–the opposite of FIGHT—is seldom heard. Call it the “ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away” approach. And while minor things sometimes do seem to disappear, healthcare Public Relations pros and marketing communications executives recognize that there can be a serious downside in silence. The “no-response-response can be seen as stonewalling or even an admission or agreement. The patient issue or comment is still out there.

 

The LISTEN Response: Hopefully the patient-physician communications channels are wide open and so that patient issues or experiences can be discussed, addressed and resolved before they blossom into a negative online review or word-of-(bad)mouth comment.

 

A real world illustration of listening and acting—one that didn’t make as many headlines as Taco Bell—is this article by Los Angeles Otolaryngologist John W. House: How Online Reviews Can Help a Physician. It can be surprising how effective it is to listen to, and learn from, patient issues and to actively resolve an issue of concern.

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How to Remove Bad (or Fake) Google Reviews - and Dispute Them

How to Remove Bad (or Fake) Google Reviews - and Dispute Them | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Anybody has the power to critique your company without ever visiting your store or coming face-to-face with your employees. For most businesses, reviews are a great way to build a positive reputation. However, they can also be a nightmare if an angry customer or competitor has a bone to pick with you.

 

But that’s not the only problem.

 

Shady competitors may try to use online review platforms against you. If you doze off behind the wheel, you might wake up to find countless fake Google reviews blasting your business. What’s worse, most people can’t tell the difference between a real customer and a fake reviewer.

 

But don’t worry. We’ll help you spot the frauds and show you exactly how to flag and remove bad Google reviews in this step-by-step guide. Here’s what we’ll cover:

 

How to spot fake Google reviews
Tips to respond to negative reviews
How to flag and remove Google reviews
Follow up and monitor progress
Protect your reputation
Need help rebuilding your company’s reputation? Contact us to learn more about our enterprise reputation management offering.

 

Why it’s important to fix bad Google reviews
It’s practically a guarantee that your business will get negative reviews at some point. That’s why it’s imperative to stay on top of feedback across all review platforms. It’s estimated that 91 percent of consumers read online reviews. They’re usually looking for negative experiences and to see if you attempted to make things right. If they don’t like what they find, they won’t buy from you. That means a poor online reputation could cost large companies millions of dollars and might even destroy a small business.

 

This isn’t to say that all negative reviews are terrible. On the contrary, they can build trust. No business is flawless, so an enormous pile of perfect ratings may smell like a pile of something else to savvy customers. Instead, a sprinkling of neutral feedback creates trust between the brand and the consumer. Bad Google reviews also give you a chance to improve your business. Think of them as free and honest feedback about what isn’t working.

 

Whether reviews are real or not, you still need to do something about them before they damage your company’s credibility and tarnish your hard-earned reputation. Step one is to find and remove fake Google reviews.

 

1. Evaluate your Google reviews
Regularly check for feedback on all review platforms, including Google, Facebook, Yelp and Ripoff Report. Larger companies should monitor review sites daily, while a weekly check-in will usually suffice for smaller businesses. Here’s an article that explains how to Google your business to find comments that may not have bubbled up to page one yet. It’s also smart to set up Google Alerts for your brand so nothing slips through the cracks.

 

If you see a dreaded 1-star review, don’t light your torches and form a mob. Instead, take a breath, calm down, and come up with a clear strategy to rectify the situation.

 

Bad Google reviews happen for many reasons, but most come from customers who’ve had a negative experience with your company. For example, perhaps someone received a faulty product or was insulted by rude staff. But sometimes complaints are just plain false. Disgruntled former employees, sneaky competitors, and spammers may be out to get you. Read criticism carefully to figure out who may have written it, and why.

 

Tricks to spot and remove fake Google reviews
Compare suspicious complaints with your sales records. Can you find any matching transactions? Here’s checklist to help you spot fake reviews:

 

The buyer isn’t in your point of sale software system
Purchased items and/or the transaction date doesn’t match their complaint


No customer service calls on record
Lack of detail (e.g., they haven’t named any specific employees)
You noticed a surge of bad reviews in a short period of time
There’s a connection between the reviewer and a competitor

 

2. Always respond to negative reviews
Rapid response is your best weapon against customer complaints. Never, EVER ignore a review, true or false. Addressing complaints quickly shows third-party readers that you’re serious about providing quality customer service. This is your chance to show others that they won’t have the same bad experience.

 

Tips for responding to a negative review
Contact the reviewer directly: Sometimes it’s best to talk offline. If you can get people on the phone, you may have an even better shot at calming them down. But don’t forget to revisit the original review and explain how the dilemma was resolved.

 

Take the proper tone: The right tone can turn a bad experience into a positive review. Don’t make excuses. Don’t get defensive. Keep things short and sweet. Maintain professionalism and own up to any mistakes you may have made. Swallow your pride and apologize, even if you’re not the one at fault. Most importantly, thank the consumer for their valued feedback.

 

Never threaten a lawsuit: Just don’t do it. Technically, you can sue someone for online defamation in some cases, but even if you win, you’ll likely lose in the long run. Lawsuits draw negative attention, and the media backlash from suing a consumer will scare off other clientele.

 

Offer to fix the problem: If the reviewer has a valid complaint, work with them to solve it. Address the employees involved, replace the faulty product, and make things right for your customer. But don’t make empty promises. Instead, follow through with everything you guarantee. Most negative reviews can be flipped around if the customer sees that you are willing to make things right.

 

How to respond to a fake Google review (yes, it’s necessary)
It’s critical to respond to all reviews — especially if the review is fake. Although you might know the review isn’t true, your customers may not. So before you do anything else, address their issue and apologize for their discontent. Then tell them that you are unable to find a record of their transaction. This sends a message to fraudulent reviewers that you’re onto them while appearing helpful to potential customers. Finally, offer to remedy their issue and give them your contact information (email and/or phone number). We’ll discuss the next steps you should take in the following section.

 

3. How to remove fake Google reviews
It’s usually possible to have a bad star rating removed if you can prove that it’s fake, inaccurate, or inappropriate. However, only the original author can delete truthful complaints from your company page. In the case of false reviews, though, you should take action as soon as possible to erase any trace of them.

 

Google’s review policy
You can dispute Google reviews and request that they be removed if they violate any of the following guidelines:

 

Spam and fake content: Content must be genuine. Google will remove false information intended to boost rankings.
Off-topic — Content must reflect an individual’s experience at a location. Irrelevant social, personal or political commentary will be removed.


Prohibited content: Google will remove illegal, locally restricted, sexually explicit, offensive, dangerous or derogatory content. This includes hate speech.


Conflict of interest: You may not review your own business, a current or former employer, or a competitor’s business.

 

How to flag fake Google business reviews
Google Maps is the easiest way to flag reviews and complaints. Find your business listing on Google Maps, and click on reviews. Next, identify any false reviews using the tips we shared above. Finally, click the three vertical dots on the right side of the Google business review and select “flag as inappropriate.” That’s all there is to it.

 

How to dispute a Google review
Google might not remove a flagged complaint as quickly as you’d like, if ever. To speed things along, you can also personally contact Google and ask them to take it down. To do so, visit your Google My Business profile again. Next click on the “support” option at the bottom of the left side navigation panel.

 

After clicking “support,” a help box will pop up. To email Google and dispute a review, you’ll need to click through the following list of help topics:

 

Need more help > Customer reviews and photos > Manage customer reviews > Email support

 

Then follow these three steps.

Submit your phone number or email address along with a screenshot of the suspicious review, and you should receive a response in one to two days.


If your situation is especially pressing or you still haven’t received an adequate response, try tweeting directly to @GoogleSmallBiz. Explain your predicament and how the negative Google review violates their review policy along with any images you have.
Finally, if you have evidence that the complaint qualifies as slander against your company, you can fill out a Google form for a legal removal request.


If you’d rather ReputationManagement.com do the work for you, contact our team to learn more about our white-glove reputation management service.

 

Fixing bad reviews on other sites


Facebook
Bad reviews aren’t limited to Google. Whether you’ve created an official Facebook page or not, your customers could be talking about you there. What’s worse, you may have started a page years ago and never gone back to address reviews that could be piling up. Check out this post to learn how to remove bad Facebook reviews.

 

Yelp
If an inappropriate review hasn’t already been filtered out by Yelp’s algorithm, you can report. If moderators find that the review breaches their content guidelines, it will be taken down. However, fake reviews often slip through the filters. Read our full article about how to remove yelp reviews to learn more.

 

Ripoff Report
It’s much trickier to get rid of Ripoff Report reviews. The only way to remove a Ripoff Report is to pay them an exorbitant amount of money. Otherwise, the platform refuses to take down complaints because they believe comments should be preserved to expose patterns of bad business practices. That means you’ll have to resort to reputation management strategies to push these results down. Learn more about Ripoff Report removal here.

 

Contact outside organizations if necessary
If you can prove that a competitor left a fake Google review for your business, report them to the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce. Of course, you should also inform the owner of the competing business privately and politely that you know what they’re doing and that you’re taking action to protect your reputation. If the matter continues to escalate, it may be worth filing a lawsuit.

 

4. Follow up and continue monitoring
Check up on bad Google reviews: Did you make up for a negative customer experience? Did you offer a refund or other compensation? If you believe you’ve resolved the issue, reach out and ask for their current feelings about your business. They may be willing to revisit or remove their original review.

 

Sadly, many review sites push edits to the bottom of the original complaint. But you should still update the report to show how important customer satisfaction is to your company. If the platform doesn’t allow for any changes, consider asking for another review that reflects the better experience. If he or she agrees to edit or remove their Google review or write a new one, be sure to leave a comment thanking them.

 

Keep tabs on reviews you’ve reported: Revisit the ratings you’ve flagged to make sure they’ve been altered or removed. If not, try pursuing other courses of action as we outlined above. If you find more fraudulent reviews, you may have a bigger problem, such as a competitor trying to interfere with your business. Continue to dispute them, but this is where you might start considering taking legal action.

 

5. Build a positive online reputation
If your search results are still flooded with bad Google reviews, the problem may be rooted in your business. Reevaluate how you can improve the products and services you provide. This might mean revamping your customer service training or even firing an employee. In the end you’ll need to do what’s necessary to make your customers happy.

 

The best defense is great customer service
Of course, the best online reputation management strategy to prevent complaints is to provide impeccable service and and amazing products. Doing so will make it easy to earn enough positive ratings to drown out the negativity. Always do everything in your power to make each experience the best it can be. Don’t charge more than necessary. Deliver the correct order the first time. Most importantly, do whatever you can to make your business a place where people feel welcome.

 

Ask happy customers for reviews
Ask your customers what you’re doing right and what you could improve. If they seem to have positive sentiments about your company, encourage them to leave a review and show your gratitude to the ones who do. Here are some helpful tips to get Google reviews:

 

Ask immediately after a transaction.
Include calls to actions on receipts and email newsletters.
Post a list of review sites near your front door or cash register.
Encourage feedback in your store and on your company website so consumers can air their grievances privately instead of posting them online.


Never buy or fabricate reviews, bribe your customers, or obtain too many good reviews in a short period of time — this looks just as suspicious as a sudden onslaught of bad reviews.
Expand your online presence


Build a positive online presence that keeps negative content out of your search results. It’s not a quick and easy process. In fact, you’ll probably need help from experts like us.

 

We can help you establish and optimize your social media platforms and keep them regularly updated with fresh content.

Stay aware: Our team also offers around-the-clock brand monitoring. We’ll watch over your Yelp, Facebook, and Google reviews, in addition to your entire advanced search landscape. You’ll get relentless vigilance over your brand’s complete online presence so we can take action before issues become widespread.

 

Amplify positive news: We’ll work with you to publish and promote positive content that represents your business. Public relations tactics alone aren’t enough to change your search results. You’ll need cutting-edge SEO reputation management strategies to see results. No other firm understands Google’s search algorithm better than us.

 

 

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Reviews Online Rank Top-Rated Hospitals Poorly 

Reviews Online Rank Top-Rated Hospitals Poorly  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

An analysis of nearly 2,700 online reviews of the nation’s top-20 hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) finds almost two out of three reviewers give the facilities a mediocre to a poor rating on the social media website Yelp.com.

 

Each year the magazine names 20 hospitals for outstanding clinical outcomes in 16 areas of complex specialty care. Meanwhile, from another perspective, an analysis by Denver-based consulting firm Vanguard Communications & Healthcare Process Improvement found that 62.7 percent of Yelp reviewers rate the latest ranked top institutions at only one to three stars out of five possible.

 

The 20 hospitals combined earned an average rating of 3.2 out of five stars.

 

USN&WR published its latest rankings in August based on the best clinical performances of hospitals nationwide. However, on social media, patients tend to discuss customer service far more often. According to Vanguard’s evaluation of 2,679 reviews of the top 20, nearly 9 in 10 (84 percent) complaints cited nonclinical, service issues as the main source of their dissatisfaction, ranging from chronic billing problems, to poor phone and follow-up communications, to wait times of one to four hours or more to see a doctor.

 

Ironically, most online healthcare reviewers who complain about customer service wind up praising their doctors and typically appear satisfied with the quality of medical care, said Ron Harman King, Vanguard CEO.

 

“Each year U.S. News & World Report performs a great public service by evaluating hospitals in areas that are least transparent and accessible to healthcare consumers,” King said. “We thought it would be interesting to learn more about what patients thought. Our findings suggest they focus their online comments more on nonmedical matters such as how many rings or pushed buttons it takes to get a live person on the phone, and the availability of parking for a doctor’s appointment. This is understandable, given the greater transparency of quality of those services.”

 

Vanguard’s prior social media research found patients freely express gratitude for doctors’ individual performances. A 2016 Vanguard analysis of 34,748 online healthcare reviews showed that 2 out of 3 American patients (66 percent) give doctors either four or five stars on social media.

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