Managing Your Hospital Online Presence: SEO is Not a Silver Bullet Anymore [Podcast]

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Tyler Haney

Tyler Haney

 For every hospital, health system or facility, your online presence goes well beyond the primary website. As a starting point, it is a bewildering challenge to manage the tens of thousands of online directories, each with scores of entries and a ton of data points for each entry.

But, in this installment of our continuing podcasts, we learn that getting your arms around the mountain of listings and entries often comes down to “a precious few” directories that mean the most. Our podcast experts share their experience.

For hospital and health system marketing, “with the proliferation of all these online directories, one of the frustrations is making sure all this information is correct,” for patients, family and friends, according to Kevin Smith, Director of Marketing Intelligence at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

kevin smith upmc

Kevin Smith, UPMC

Kevin, and Tyler Haney, Director of Digital Strategy and Creative Services at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, talked with Healthcare Success’ Lonnie Hirsch about their presentation—titled, Online Presence, Beyond SEO: Directory Management, Patient Feedback, and Facebook Integration—at the American Hospital Association SHSMD Connections 2013 event (September 29-October 2) in Chicago.

They told us that their presentation will illustrate the various levels of directories. Tyler explained that, among the many thousands of directories, “there are probably 100-200 [of these] that actually matter, and there are maybe three or four base directories that tend to feed all the other directories.”

In our interview today, Kevin Smith and Tyler Haney speak about how search engine optimization (SEO)—although still vitally important—is not the “marketing silver bullet” it once was. UPMC, for example, has made improving and expanding their online presence a priority with a technology platform built around online directories, patient reviews and surveys, and Facebook.

And what about physician rating and patient comments?

With regard to online patient feedback, Lonnie asked about the social media sites, the organization’s primary website, and locations where patients may post positive or negative comments.

KEVIN SMITH: “We include all of them. The ones within our social media and inbound marketing strategy—as part of our response matrix—are the ones that come in to us on Facebook or Google Plus or within our social media channels. And by policy, those have to be responded to as if the patient made the complaint or raised the issue in person.”

TYLER HANEY:  “I think, over time, as organizations become more transparent, and we focus on some of our quality measures, that you’ll see many more organizations start to integrate ratings within their sites. Social media is a reality and people are used to giving and getting feedback immediately, so you’re going to see more health systems embracing it and taking advantage of it for purposes of search.”

Facebook integration, and more…

In addition, our podcast guests also discuss other timely issues:

  • How they handle negative comments on Facebook or in social media;
  • The importance of “speed of response,” so patients know you’re listening;
  • The assistance of social media monitoring tools and outside resources;
  • The value of patient feedback to improve service and patient experience;
  • Strategies for handling feedback, (and it’s not always negative);
  • Influencing the quality of care and improving patient satisfaction; and
  • Facebook integration with search and social media strategy.

Social media is not going away, and search engines are increasingly looking at “social signals” as one of the biggest ranking factors for local SEO…and how this plays a role in marketing and messaging to the audience. Listen here.

Tyler Haney and Kevin Smith will be speaking at the annual conference of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development in Chicago on September 30 on the topic of Online Presence Beyond SEO: Directory Management, Patient Feedback and Facebook Integration. And, for individuals attending the conference, meet up with Lonnie Hirsch at the Healthcare Success Booth #202 on the exhibit floor.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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