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Reputation Management for Doctors: How to Conduct an Online Audit of Your Reputation

By: John Vakidis

By simply typing your name into a search bar, prospective patients can learn a lot about you. So how do you know what they’re seeing and how can you control it?

We live in an age where anyone can find out information about you with the click of a button. No longer do people have to ask their friends or go searching in the Yellow Pages. By simply typing your name into a search bar, prospective patients can learn a lot about you. So how do you know what they’re seeing and how can you control it?

In this post, we’ll outline a few ways you can do research into what your name returns online. This online audit of your reputation will allow you to see what prospective patients are seeing, as well as better manage what shows up when you Google yourself.

First, pretend you’re a prospective patient: type your name into different search engines to see what’s returned. A good idea is to check the top three search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Look at what’s returned on the first page of each search—what’s showing up? Ideally, your practice’s website is first, followed by a scholarly article you wrote or an association you’re a member of, some physician review sites, and then your social media pages.

Step Two: Manage Your Pages

Click on each link on the first page of each search result to see where it takes you. Ask yourself: do you own these pages? If so, are they showing you and your practice in the best light? You might be surprised by what’s still being returned by an online search; it could be an old practice website or even a personal blogging platform. Go in and edit or spruce up pages you think can be improved, update any outdated information, and delete or take offline those pages that are no longer relevant.

If the search returns pages you don’t own, who does? If they’re physician review websites, have you claimed your profile? See if the site provides this capability, and then create an account so you can see and manage reviews. If there’s a third-party website you don’t recognize with information about you and/or your practice, try contacting the website owner or administrator. Hopefully, the site has a contact page where you can easily find who you’re looking for. If not, you can usually find contact information in the footer of the website. Still no luck? Go to WhoIs.net, type in the exact URL/web address, and you’ll be able to see the website registrar’s email address.

Step Three: Separate the Personal from the Professional

As a physician, seeing as your name is just as associated with your professional life as it is your personal one, it’s not unlikely for personal social media accounts or blogging platforms to be returned by search engines.

If you want to keep this from happening, you can use Google’s Content Removal page to request that they not show up in search results. You can also go into the settings of your personal social media profiles to see if you can select that they not be indexed by the search engines.

The Bottom Line

Remember, our online reputation is just as important—if not more so—as our offline one. That’s because the majority of your patients are probably first coming into contact with you online, and most likely via search engines. Conducting an online audit of your online reputation every three to six months will help ensure you’re putting your best digital foot forward.

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