The internet age has made it possible for urgent care operators to reach patients who would have otherwise never heard of them. When someone wakes up sick and needs to see a provider, they’re likely to head right to Google and type in “urgent care” and their location. This may be especially true of travelers just passing through your area now that vacation season is here. Savvy operators have developed methods (such as search engine optimization) for getting the name of their business to appear toward the top of the search results. You can “buy” certain phrases (for example, Anytown Urgent Care) to associate with your operation in order to lead new patients to you. The challenge is, your competitors are trying to do the same thing, which drives up prices per click. Even more challenging, some unscrupulous businesses juke the system and essentially hijack your good name. An article published recently in The Wall Street Journal reveals there are some 11 million fake listings on Google Maps. A typical scenario: A disreputable business owner links his address to an Anytown Urgent Care tag in the hope that patients will drive up to his front door instead of going to the “real” Anytown Urgent Care. The risk of that is largely economic for many businesses (if you think you’re calling a plumber with good online ratings but end up with one who doesn’t know what they’re doing, you’re likely to pay more than once to get it done right), but in healthcare failing to get the right care the first time has real risk. So, it would be advisable to ensure your Google Maps listings are correct. If you type in your business’s name and see addresses, URLs, social media names, or phone numbers that aren’t yours, contact Google to straighten things out immediately. Your revenue, your reputation, and patients’ lives could be hanging in the balance.
Beware Shady Competition Who May Be Playing the Name Game on Google