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What Does a Patient See When They Google You

Last time, we discussed how to get rid of a negative review from a number of different review sites. Today, we are going to take a step back and look at your online reputation from a different perspective. Forget the individual review sites. Instead, let’s answer this question:

What does your search engine results page (SERP) look like when you Google yourself?

You probably already know the answer to this question, but if not, go ahead and do a quick search. Go ahead. I’m waiting…

Is there anything there that you wouldn’t want a prospective patient to see?

If the answer is “yes,” you may want to consider a suppression strategy.

Negative Result Suppression Process

Suppressing a negative result is no small task. Unlike normal Search Engine Optimization (SEO) where your goal is to get just one result as high up in the rankings as possible, the negative result suppression process involves managing the entire SERP to bury the negative result. The following is the process that we follow to suppress a negative result:

  1. The first step in a negative result suppression project is determining whether we can actually just get the offensive page removed entirely. This can be accomplished by reaching out to the webmaster of the offending website and pleading our case. Depending on the content of the page and the pliability of the webmaster, we may be able to get the page taken down. It’s a small chance, but one worth taking because instead of burying the page, we get it removed completely. This equates to far less time and money than you would incur by actively suppressing it.
  2. The second step is information gathering. Each case is completely different. We need to identify a number of things to get started:
    1. What is the authority of the offending page? The authority of a page is based on a number of factors, but it essentially equates to how much clout it has with search engines. For example, if you are featured in a New York Times article, that will likely outrank your Instagram profile in the search results. If the authority of the page is low, the suppression will likely be fairly easy. If it is too high, the suppression will be either impossible or financially prohibitive.
    2. What else is showing up on the SERP? A successful suppression project won’t be achieved until 10 pages comfortably outrank the offending page, but that’s just if you want it off of the first page of search results. If we really want to bury the offending page, you will need even more pages to outrank it. Getting a handle on what is already there will help us determine the plan.
    3. What other assets do we possess?
      1. Do you have social media properties that are not showing up in the search results?
      2. Do you have videos that we could potentially use to start a YouTube channel?
      3. Do you have any newsworthy stories that we could use for a PR campaign?

    The more information we have, the better we can plan our strategy.

  3. Now we develop our plan. The goal is to have 10 or more pages that outrank the offending page. Because we completed our information gathering, we know what sites we are already working with. From here, we have to determine if we need to create new pages to try to rank above the offending site, claim and optimize existing ones, help the rankings of existing ones or partake in a combination of these methods.
  4. Finally, we execute the plan. We create all the new pages, optimize them, publish them, claim existing pages, and work to increase the authorities of each. We then revisit the SERP after some time and see how we are doing.

Negative Result Suppression Methods

The following are some standard pages and strategies we have successfully used to outrank negative search results in the past:

  • Profile on practice website. If your practice already has profiles on the site, your profile is probably already ranking fairly high when people search your name, but if not, it is definitely something that you should create.
  • Review sites. Your profile will likely already exist and may even be ranking on some of these sites, but by claiming them and adding content, you can increase their authority.
  • Quora. Quora is a website where people ask questions and other people, usually experts in the subject matter, answer them. If you decide to go this route, your profile on Quora could rank on the SERP and help to push down the negative page. The only issue is that it can be time-consuming to provide valuable answers to a number of questions and build up your profile authority. Some specific niches have Quora-like sites that you could also potentially use. RealSelf is a perfect example for plastic surgeons.
  • Existing search results. If there are other positive or even neutral results that show up on your SERP, you can try to build up their authority and move them past the offending page.
  • Press release (PR) and blog outreach campaign. If you have a story that you think would be picked up by a news site or a blog or would get a lot of interest on social media, you could gain another first-page result promoting it.
  • Exact match domain microsites. If the SERP is generally not that competitive, which is ideally the case, building a microsite, a small one-to-five-page website, on a domain that matches your name (e.g., johnsmithmd.com) could instantly benefit from the ranking boost that comes with having an exact match domain.
  • Social media sites. Creating social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., is another great way to grab some quick SERP real estate to bump down the negative result. The problem with these pages is that if they are not maintained and if they have minimal followers and engagement, they will drop out off the SERP fairly quickly.
  • Blogging sites. Much like the social media sites, profiles on blogging sites like Tumblr and WordPress are easy to create, but require some ongoing maintenance in order to stay on the SERP and continue to push down the negative result.
  • Video sites. If you have some informational videos, creating a YouTube and/or Vimeo channel for them is another great way to get another page above the negative result.

These are just a few pages and strategies that you could use. Each project is completely different with a new SERP requiring a new plan.

Do you need help suppressing a negative result? We can help! We can also quickly identify if your project would be impossible or too costly so you don’t waste your time and money. Give us a call at 973-998-8008 or head to our contact page to get in touch!

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