If your organization is a large health system with thousands of doctors and hundreds of locations, you know how important it is to have accurate, up-to-date business listings. It’s essential to claim and manage listings for all your doctors, clinics and locations on Facebook, Google and healthcare review sites so they rank higher in search -- and so that patients can find you.
But accuracy isn’t the only thing that matters. When it comes to your business listings, choosing the right categories is an important step.
Categories Affect Your Rankings
Getting categories right for your listings affects whether they show up in local search at all. According to a 2013 survey by Moz, proper category association was the top overall local search ranking factor.
Categories help patients find you, because search engines use category data to determine which providers to list on the results page. If you don’t choose categories most relevant to your location, you’ll limit that location’s visibility to prospective healthcare seekers — or the location may not display on the results page at all.
According to Google’s guidelines, you should use as few categories as possible from Google’s provided list to describe your core business. Google recommends choosing categories most specific to your business — the company adds more general related categories behind the scenes. If you can’t find an appropriate specific category, choose something more general.
Several online tools can help you choose the right categories: Google Places Category Tool is one example. Developed by SEO expert Mike Blumenthal, it allows you to work through the hundreds of Google Places categories to find the most relevant ones for your locations. You can even search the entire database of Google Maps categories based on synonyms.
Remember: Not choosing any categories can have the same effect as choosing the wrong categories. So, whatever you do, don’t skip this step when you’re optimizing your listings.
Add Credibility with Reviews
Once you get people to your business listings, be sure you have enough reviews to accurately reflect the excellent patient experience you provide.
An Online Reputation Management (ORM) platform like Reputation.com uses APIs to stream reviews from major review sites to doctors’ websites, adding context and credibility to ratings. And you can build review volume by inviting patients to review you, preferably immediately following an office visit, via text message, in-office tablets or email follow-up.
Enlist Expert Help
Getting categorization right may require help from ORM experts who understand the methods search engines use and can help you choose the best possible set of keywords for categorizing your business. Reputation.com provides Business Listings management to automatically locate, claim, correct and manage your business listings in hundreds of online directories.
Check out this helpful guide to learn more about how to optimize and manage your business listings, build review volume and improve your locations’ ratings and rankings.