Controling your professional reputation as a physician.
Dr. Julie Silver recently posted about my colleague, Rusty Shelton’s comment, “Your reputation is what Google says it is.” She asked me to provide some guidelines for managing your online reputation. The first thing you need to do is research: What is that reputation now? Rusty calls that part of your “Online Brand Audit.”
What comes up on the first page when you Google Your Name or Business? You want it to be:
2. An accurate representation of your brand, including the image and attributes you want people to associate with you and your business.
3. Likely to resonate with your target audience(s)
Rusty suggests you put yourself in the shoes—or mind—of a New York Times reporter or TV talk show producer. I might add a conference organizer. When they’re looking for a trusted source or a speaker and find you on Google, what will they see first? How about if they Google your name?
- Will they see videos?
- How do these represent you?
If the first video they see if a six year old interview when you were first getting your feet wet, you might want to find a way to get other videos to show up sooner than this one.
So, how do you manage your reputation online and shift what people see?
1. Respond graciously to a poor review, indicating that you strive for patient/customer satisfaction, you’re so sorry they had a bad experience and you’d like to make it up to them by x. Of course, if there are any legal implications, check with your attorney first.
2. Ask happy patients, clients and customers to write positive reviews. They can review your business or practice at sites like RateMDs, Yelp and Yahoo! Local, Healthgrades, Angie’s List and Vitals. Never have anyone write a “fake” review. There are legal implications in addition to the moral one.
3. Blog: The more you blog, the more you create content on your website, so that your own website and blog posts tend to come up on the first page.
4. Add videos on your blog and website and use appropriate keywords to help these videos place in search engines.
5. Blog for high profile sites: If you blog for Psychology Today, WebMD or the Huffington Post, you’re likely to have those posts come up high in search engine results—a nice credibility bump for you and it gives you control of what people see.
6. Be sure to claim your listings on search sites such as Google Local, Yahoo local, etc.
7. Note any Facebook photos of you posted by friends and relatives. You should be able to at least “untag” yourself in photos. You may also want to request them to be taken down.
8. Put your best videos on YouTube and tag them with keywords. YouTube videos tend to rank high.
9. If you find something that doesn’t represent your brand or image, see if the person is willing to take it down, replace it or fix it. It may not be as heinous as a bad review, but it could be something that no longer represents you.
Searching online for the phone number of a very reputable and conscientious literary agent I know, I was shocked to see her name come up next to some un-complimentary remarks in a Google listing of a website that rates agents and editors and “outs” the bad guys.
When I clicked on the actual page, it looked fine—so it just “appeared” she had a bad reputation because of the way the website’s listing came up (some issue with title tags, I assume). I immediately e-mailed her to let her know about the issue. She did know and was working with the website owner to fix that misleading information.
So, if you see something bad, don’t panic. Even if you can’t get it taken down, you can work on these other strategies to drive it to a lower ranked page. Take control of your online reputation today.
Here are some additional resources on the subject: