Beware of these five major hackers who prey on your online brand as a physician to make money for themselves.
In our previous articles on medical marketing we talked about the importance of setting up your websites, blogs, Internet ads, and managing your online reputations. This week, we’ll be talking about how to effectively protect all of your investments and hard work by watching out for these five major hackers.
1. Online health companies that have physician locators, rewards for doctors to “claim their profiles,” and offering “badges” so that you share your websites, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook with them. By offering up your online properties, you’re introducing another competitor into the mix - advertisers that these companies are directing their visitors to, using your credentials. So when patients come to check out information about you and your practice, they’re most likely directed to your competitors or resources that compete with your own information. The worst problem is that by using your credentials they’re gaining popularity and credibility. These companies will set up doctor profiles which are indexable by Google and effectively establish another listing on the Internet for your name and your practice. They will scan your Tweets, websites, blogs, and everything else you’re sharing and make copies. Then they proceed to re-publish everything under their own brand. Once published, online health companies put up highly-targeted advertisements from medical companies - on everything you just shared.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies. They are more than happy to use your name, practice, and personal information to develop an online presence for you. They will sell you on everything because who are we kidding… stroking physicians' egos is a business all by itself. SEO companies will never educate you and will never share how they do business. Most SEO companies still use black hat tactics (deemed “illegal” by Google and other search engines).
3. Physician Directories. These are companies that prey on doctors who do not have an Internet presence and physicians who do not understand that just having a website is not effective by itself. Everybody knows that a website alone is like having an office in the middle of a forest. Unless you’re talking about it, sharing it, welcoming people on it, providing directions to it, etc., what’s the point of having an online office?
4. Online ratings companies. There is no public service on ratings sites. The reason why so many of these ratings sites have prevailed over doctors who sue them is because the legal system is set up to protect the masses. One doctor speaking up or trying to fight a giant with hundreds of millions of investors’ money is not going to make a dent. The only way to fight these giants is by teaming up together to expose their unethical practices. There will not be any Internet regulations any time soon, so the only way to fight it is to establish your own online presence.
5. Website Companies. Again, a website alone is not effective. A majority of physician websites are lacking even the most basic set up of how these sites are indexed by Google. While you’re getting a flashy, gorgeous, website if you’re still getting less than 10 visitors a day you should be very concerned. Ask these website companies to share Google Analytics data with you every 30 days. There’s only one way of finding out if your website works - review the work.
Establish your own online presence or face the alternative: somebody else will do it without your knowledge. Doctors should care about it, because whatever is developed online now will be their reputation for the next decade or more. We are in the age of digital media, and it’s only going to get more advanced. Having a well-developed website is already considered a dinosaur. The comet of social media already came and impacted the entire medical world as we know it. Now the only way to survive is to adapt and evolve, or face extinction to Dr. Google.
Find out more about Simon Sikorski and our other Practice Notes bloggers.