It Pays to Be Consistent
- Posted on: Apr 30 2019
Consistency is good in everything you do. There’s nothing more tiring than a friend who’s a no show every other time you make plans. And who needs co-workers who are diligent one day, worthless the next?
It turns out algorithms like consistency, as well. When search engines are trying to figure out what a website and corresponding medical practice does, they find all the listings for your practice and compare them.
- One listing has the original address of your practice, 14 Elm Street. The problem is, you are now on 41 Oak Lane.
- One listing has your hours as Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:00 p.m. But in the summer, you are closed on Fridays.
- One listing has your practice name as Smith & Associates Plastic Surgery. Another has it as Smith and Associates Plastic Surgeons.
If your practice has been around for some time, odds are you have a variety of listings out there across the web. Even if you didn’t move, listings can vary from Street to ST to St. Phone numbers change. Partners are added or subtracted.
These can seem like trivial differences. How can the spelling out or abbreviating a common address term, such as street, make a difference in search? It can because these minor variables fool algorithms.
Sure, we all assume Google and Bing have algorithms that know pretty much everything about us. They do have lots of data on each of us, but simple variables can fool them. The algorithms believe these different spellings, office hours, and such mean these are different practices, and they punish these listings in search results.
But how are you going to find all of your listings across all the directories and other locations out on the web? You let us do it, that’s how. At Advice Media, we have a tool called Local Power whose sole mission in life is to make your practice information consistent everywhere.
They’re not picking up the yellow pages
When was the last time you used an actual phone book. Remember them? Phone books are soon to have a place in the Smithsonian. People now search for businesses on their smart phones. And more often than not, those searches involve local directories. In fact, 150 million people access local directories each month to find local businesses. This includes people searching for health information and providers. According to MSN, 70% of Americans don’t even open their phone books when they come.
But over the years, as your practice has evolved there have been changes. The name may have stayed the same, but now there are duplicate listings out there. Some of these maybe could have been managed on your part, but often these duplicate listings are the work of bots scraping together information from all over the web.
This confuses search engines, and they punish you for those inconsistencies by dropping you down in search. Why? Out of Google’s five most important ranking factors for local search, two of the top five are the accuracy and quality of your listing.
What’ a practice to do? Who would even know how to find all of the places your practice is listed, much less go in and correct each one?
That’s where we come in. Our Local Power tool includes a robust network of over 60 local search engines and mapping sites such as Yelp, Yahoo!, and Bing. Our team is able to submit the same listing for your practice to all of these sites through one convenient portal, ensuring that the information is identical across all of these directories.
Plus, we enhance your listings to further please the search engines and help more potential patients find you. This addresses the “quality” factor mentioned above in Google local rankings. In addition to the basics, we include descriptions, services, staff bios, and photos to add depth to your information. Google then views your site with greater authority and credibility, both keys to search.
What does consistency do?
This may seem like much ado about nothing, but consistency delivers results. When search engines find the same information across the web for your business, they view your site as more credible, current, attended to, and probably a better search result to satisfy the searcher. And don’t forget — Google’s mission in this world is to make searchers happy with the results they get after a search query.
What does this do for your practice? Lots of stuff, and it’s all good. Consistency…
- Improves your ranking in local search…
- Which increases traffic to your website…
- Which generates more phone calls and “Contact Us” responses…
- Which makes your practice more likely to come up in voice search…
- Which brings lots of shiny new patients through your front door.
Now you see that consistency and accuracy of your practice information across the sea of online directories is important to local search and for potential new patients to find your practice. But it’s not something for you to spend hours and hours policing — have the team at Advice Media handle it with Local Power. Give us a call or shoot us an email and let’s talk about it.
Posted in: Search Engine Optimization