As much as we speak to Practices about verifying all their business listings out there, it often seems to be a task that is put on their back burner and rarely completed. What these well-meaning ODs don’t understand is that claiming your businesses' online listings is an essential part of establishing and controlling your online presence.
Claiming and verifying an online business listing is critical for a few reasons.
Why claim your business listings?
Each time you claim and verify a business listing, you create a ‘citation’ for your practice. This is Google speak for ‘a mention of your business name and address on a webpage’. This is not the same as a link; it’s a mere mention of your business name and address. A citation can come from a variety of sources such as a local business directory (Google, Yelp, Craigslist), online yellow pages, or a local chamber of commerce.
Citations are key components to SEO as they are an integral part of the ranking algorithms used by Google and Bing. Citations help the search engines by adding a degree of authenticity to the information you have provided on your website, allowing them to better understand and categorize your business. Therefore, the more citations your practice has from well-established and trusted portals the greater the impact on your online visibility and rankings on the search engines.
The more online listings that are claimed and verified, the better it is for SEO.
Do you know what your practice looks like online?
If the answer to that question is “I don’t know”, I would be worried. Your Practice is listed on a number of business portals whether you know it or not and you want to be sure that the information is accurate. Further, patients and customers will leave reviews of your business, good and bad, and that discussion can either go on with you or without you. The only way to take control of your listings and make sure they represent your Practice the way you want them to, is by verifying your business with each listing, then editing the list to match your business. You may not be able to eliminate negative reviews, but you can respond to them and show potential patients that your customers’ opinions are important to you.
Yes, claiming your Practice on the many business indexes that exist can take time and requires a bit of patience, but it is worth the trouble. If you want to limit it to the most important sites, here is a good list of places to start:
Top 10 List of Citations (in order of importance):
If you are an EyeCarePro ODLingo or ODLite client, or you’re paying for online marketing services, most of the work is likely already done for you. You just have to take the final steps to follow through with the verification instructions you are sent. In our next digital tip, we will discuss more about the process of actually verifying citations to make sure your efforts are making the biggest impact possible.