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November 17, 2020

Tracking Coronavirus Search Trends on Google – November 2020

By: Kieran McQuilkin

A vaccine looms in the near future, but COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing across much of the U.S. Consumer behavior continues to change in response, as uncertainty remains high and patients hesitate to return to healthcare facilities. To understand patients’ current needs, healthcare marketers are looking to Google Search in November for guidance. Search trends give us a real-time picture of consumer sentiment and…

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coronavirus-search-trends-novemberA vaccine looms in the near future, but COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing across much of the U.S. Consumer behavior continues to change in response, as uncertainty remains high and patients hesitate to return to healthcare facilities.

To understand patients’ current needs, healthcare marketers are looking to Google Search in November for guidance.

Search trends give us a real-time picture of consumer sentiment and knowledge gaps. Healthcare consumers, specifically, are grappling with changing hours, medical facility policies and telemedicine services. Using Google Search as a guide, marketers can address common questions on their local listings, website, brand communications and social media pages.

In this article, we break down real-time search data on Google to understand what types of information healthcare consumers are looking for. Here are coronavirus search trends that digital marketers should monitor in November.

Coronavirus Search Trends for Healthcare Organizations

COVID-19 continues to arise frequently in search queries and business listings, though related searches have gradually declined in recent months.

Here are some notable November trends on Google Search, based on data from our healthcare partners:

According to Binary Fountain client data, total searches for healthcare organizations haven’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. There are now about 8% fewer monthly searches for healthcare clients than in February, but totals are climbing.

Clicks on healthcare companies’ Google My Business (GMB) profiles rebounded more rapidly, however, now up 17% from late-February click volume. Meanwhile, clicks to phone calls have increased by 45% from pre-outbreak levels. Weekly clicks on GMB profiles for driving directions are down about 10% since February, but climbing toward average levels.

Clearly, healthcare marketers need to prioritize updating local listings with phone numbers, URLs, hours and contact information for each facility.

Google Searches for Coronavirus in November

To survey the coronavirus search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top related keywords and queries broken down by category and geography.

In November, global search volume for “vaccine” reached an all-time high. Below are the top search terms used related to vaccines.

The trending coronavirus questions on Google in the U.S. relate to vaccines, lockdown and the virus’ spread. The past week’s highest-searched COVID-19 questions were:

  1. Is there a vaccine for coronavirus?
  2. What states are on lockdown?
  3. When will coronavirus vaccine be ready?
  4. Why are Covid cases increasing?
  5. Who is most at risk for the coronavirus disease?

Google is also keeping track of where people are searching for COVID-19 testing information in real time. This geographical indicator can help predict when local consumers will need authoritative information from providers about tests, treatments or vaccines.

Follow these instructions to get your coronavirus testing site listed on Google Search. Google also recently added a new feature tracking real-time searches related to different symptoms, which you can find here.

The shorthand “covid” and “corona” continue to appear frequently, so it should join your keyword lists for any social listening initiatives.

Location-based news and information about COVID-19 risks, meanwhile, remain high in demand from searchers. As local authorities on the topic, healthcare brands need to include location-specific keywords in marketing content, business listings, review responses and social media.

Other COVID-19 Google Trends

Most search trends regarding coronavirus in November concern health guidelines and news of its spread. But other search trends offer healthcare organizations insights that can further weigh into a patient’s decision to seek medical care.

You should be prepared for questions that arise as new updates reach consumers. For example, searches for “elective surgery during coronavirus” increased by 600% this week.

Meanwhile, face masks have become especially relevant to U.S. searchers in recent weeks, as states reconsider lockdown plans. Be on the lookout for search terms including “mask mandate” and “mask policy,” which have spiked in recent weeks.

Employment and economic uncertainty also remain top of mind for searchers. We see continued high search volume for unemployment benefits, unemployment offices and coronavirus relief bills.

Search Trends for Helping Healthcare Providers

Not all coronavirus search trends in November are negative. Digital marketers can engage the many people looking to support local healthcare organizations during the pandemic.

For example, search volume for “how to help healthcare workers during coronavirus” doubled in the past week.

Brands should answer these questions – on Google My Business, local landing pages and social media – about supporting local providers. Google recommends the following methods of using its platform to help consumers and support healthcare workers:

  • Let people know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
  • Assess when people need you most, whether through your own first-party data or Google Trends.
  • Frequently update or publish content that informs, entertains, connects and promotes wellness.
  • Consider who the heroes are among your employees or your local community.

For more on managing your business listings and brand reputation during the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Resources Page or browse these resources:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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November 11, 2020

Reputation Management KPIs: Tracking Key Metrics of Your Online Presence

By: Kieran McQuilkin

In today’s digital world, what consumers think, say and share about your company matters. There are few, if any, expectations for any industry. Warren Buffet famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” If you’ve put work into…

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In today’s digital world, what consumers think, say and share about your company matters. There are few, if any, expectations for any industry.

Warren Buffet famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

If you’ve put work into managing your online reputation, chances are you know just how true that quote is. Building a stellar business listing online takes time, dedication, and a strategy to put your best foot forward for customer acquisition.

But how do you know if all your work is having the desired impact? What KPIs should you be measuring for your reputation management program?

Understanding the right way to choose and measure KPIs is critical to determining your campaign’s return on investment (ROI). Ignoring vanity metrics will help you build a strong online brand. Focus on metrics that help you attract new customers and retain the ones you currently have.

Below are some of the most important reputation management KPIs to measure the success of your program.

Volume and Quality of Online Reviews

Increasing the number of customer reviews and raising the average rating are cornerstones of an effective reputation management campaign.

Reviews are social proof that potential customers use to determine if your business will meet their needs. Most customers are looking for a high volume of reviews on the top review platforms for your industry. A large quantity of reviews makes your business look credible, experienced and like a vital part of the local community.

With the right review management software, you can easily manage your listings on the most popular platforms. Use this tool to be everywhere your customers are looking. Staying up to date on these sites can boost your overall search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. As a result, this allows you to be more easily found in relevant Google searches.

If you are seeing an improvement in the number and quality of your online reviews, you are on the right track.

Here are some other key performance metrics to measure your online presence:

  • Overall customer sentiment
  • Referrals or leads from review sites
  • Website traffic from organic search and social media platforms

Online reviews can greatly help attract new customers. They’re also a positive indicator that you will retain the business of current customers. Take special care to respond to both positive and negative reviews. Not only does it encourages customer interaction, but it also offers insight into improving the customer experience.

Additionally, review manager software can pick out reviews that best match your marketing metrics and SEO keywords. Once collected, it makes them readily available to display across multiple platforms. Publishing verified, rich patient survey comments to your physician directory webpages can help increase SEO and attract consumers seeking a physician.

Turning Fans into Advocates

One of the goals of any reputation management program should be building a lifelong relationship with your customer.

Growing a business isn’t just about acquiring new customers. It’s about taking the customers you have now and making them advocates for your brand.

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If you are focusing on the customer experience and meeting their expectations, you likely already have strong support from your community. Patients are increasingly embracing their role as consumers and seek out reviews before choosing a provider. This new customer role makes it increasingly important for organizations to engage with customers online.

If you are struggling to satisfy your current customer base, you need to be measuring loyalty and advocacy. Make sure you are measuring the current impact of your brand advocates. Then, identify highly satisfied customers, who are perfect candidates for sharing information about your business on social media platforms.

Your KPIs for turning your customers into advocates include:

  • Volume of customer testimonials shared on social media profiles
  • Customer engagement metrics on your website and social media channels
  • Number of brand advocates (social listening metrics)
  • Positive comments on public, third-party directories

Don’t Forget to Monitor Offline KPIs

There are plenty of offline KPIs to track in order to measure your reputation management program’s ROI. For example, reducing customer churn or increasing patient retention is far more important to your business than social media review counts.

As a customer experience manager or marketer, you need to ensure your efforts have a downstream impact. By the same token, it’s critical to avoid measuring vanity metrics.

Reputation management solutions powered by natural language processing (NLP) automatically gather insights. NLP technology identifies actionable insights from unstructured text data in online reviews and surveys. As a result, the software provides insights at a speed much great than would be possible via manual processes.

When evaluating the impact of a reputation management campaign, be sure to look at these offline metrics:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Customer satisfaction surveys (both quality and number of responses)
  • Word-of-mouth customer referrals
  • Estimated market share
  • Net promoter score

Seeing improvements in these offline KPIs will lead to the business growth you need from a reputation management program. Your review manager software can help you boost these KPIs. Additionally, the software can uncover areas of improvement, help you make operational changes and improve the customer experience.

Get the Most Out of Your Reputation Management Campaign

Nothing is more important than delivering as much bottom-line value as possible to your customers and to your business.

Using these KPIs will help you identify areas where you can improve the customer experience and simultaneously attract new business leads. As a result, meaningful reputation management campaign KPIs ensure your investment is worth the invested time and money.

Take advantage of the opportunity to listen, analyze and act on the plethora of feedback available with reputation management software. Binary Fountain’s reputation management software is designed to give your business actionable insights. Our clients use them to improve their business operations and better meet their customers’ expectations.

With our proprietary natural language processing (NLP) technology and data analysis, you can create customized online reputation management solutions. Tools such as digital surveys can provide a pathway to rapid feedback collection through quick analysis of trends and comments.
Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can improve your online reputation?

Schedule a Demo

To learn more on managing your online reputation, see these resources:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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November 10, 2020

[Webinar Recap] Tips for 2021: Content Creation for Flu and COVID-19 Season

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Winters are challenging when it comes to managing health, but never more so than in 2020 and 2021. No matter the symptom, your audience is going to crave empathetic, informational and reassuring content. In this webinar, Aha Media Group President Ahava Leibtag joins Binary Fountain to offer three content ideas and strategies for healthcare communicators that…

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tips-2021-content-webinarWinters are challenging when it comes to managing health, but never more so than in 2020 and 2021. No matter the symptom, your audience is going to crave empathetic, informational and reassuring content.

In this webinar, Aha Media Group President Ahava Leibtag joins Binary Fountain to offer three content ideas and strategies for healthcare communicators that will gain consumer trust this season.

For a quick 15 minutes, Leibtag covers content trends, SEO strategies, and expert tips that you can immediately use to engage patients, involve physicians in digital marketing content, and influence the online conversation around your brand.

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Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:

Monitor Search Data in 2021

To create quality marketing content, you need to know what people are searching for. To start, Google Trends has a vast amount of real-time data on which search terms are popular and trending.

Drilling down into trends for keywords like “flu,” “cold,” “covid” and “coronavirus” can tell you which terms are used with different symptoms. You can see daily and weekly trends in whether consumers are looking at “coronavirus symptoms vs. flu symptoms,” “covid symptoms vs. flu,” “cold vs. coronavirus,” and so on.

With search data in tow, answer questions that your audience is searching, especially those that appear on Google knowledge graphs for symptom searches. Healthcare consumers currently are asking whether it’s possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at same time, common symptoms, which illness is more severe, and what differences are in symptom development.

“These are specific questions,” Leibtag says. “People are drilling down into what matters for them, so in your content, be as specific as possible answering their questions.”

Leibtag says healthcare marketers can also find content inspiration from Google Images. Searching for flu and COVID-19 symptoms will bring up different ways similar organizations have tried to present this information. To create the most engaging content, use search data to see what pulls consumers into your website and directly address their frequent questions.

Use Experts in Your Content

Consumers want expertise, authority and trust when it comes to healthcare information, Leibtag says. And Google wants the same: It gives higher rank to more trustworthy pages, like government health organizations and national hospital brands.

The best way to earn trust through content is let your audience hear directly from doctors, nurses and health officials. Use plain language to deliver authoritative, but understandable information.

The Cedars-Sinai Hospital blog is a great example of featuring articles by doctors to talk about differences between cold, flu and COVID-19 symptoms. For another example, Pomona Valley Hospital published a Q&A with a physician going over common questions regarding flu season and COVID-19. His picture at the top of the article, wearing a mask, makes the brand appear authentic and trustworthy.

There are many digital channels to distribute this information. What’s important is that, regardless of medium, you infuse your content with exactly the information your patients or caregivers need, when they need it. It’s just as important that they get the information fast.

Use Fast Content About Flu and COVID-19

People are going to get symptoms, colds, and allergies, and are going to get nervous this winter. Your content needs to provide fast, clear answers.

Take information from the CDC and other central sources and convert it into digestible, easy-to-understand formats like charts and infographics. For reference, WebMD has a good example of a graphic for cold symptoms compared to COVID-19, and Beaumont uses a table with checkmarks to compare flu, cold and COVID-19 symptoms.

The infographic approach, Leibtag says, is easily usable on social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Since a large portion of your flu-focused audience will have a caretaker role, they will frequently surf those and similar sites, looking at quick content. Creative healthcare marketing departments might even think about using Snapchat or Tiktok to spread their message.

And there’s much more. Watch the 15-minute webinar on demand:

Watch Now

 

Check out more episodes of our Tips for 21 webinar series:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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November 05, 2020

[Webinar Recap] Tips for 2021: Social Media’s Biggest Opportunities

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Your healthcare organization’s social media presence has never meant more to your bottom line: Consumers are using social media to find physicians 300% more than they did in 2017. In this on-demand webinar, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing co-founder Kelley Knott joins Binary Fountain to discuss the greatest opportunities for healthcare marketers to leverage social media, engage local consumers, and drive…

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webinar-tips-2021-social-mediaYour healthcare organization’s social media presence has never meant more to your bottom line: Consumers are using social media to find physicians 300% more than they did in 2017.

In this on-demand webinar, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing co-founder Kelley Knott joins Binary Fountain to discuss the greatest opportunities for healthcare marketers to leverage social media, engage local consumers, and drive new patient revenue.

In just 15 minutes, Knott lays out the trends and opportunities in social media that will impact healthcare marketers the most in 2021. She covers monitoring and influence the online conversation around your brand, which platforms offer the best value for healthcare marketing budgets, how to involve physicians in your brand’s social media activities, and much more.

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Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:

Create Trending Social Media Content

Social media is providing more and more opportunities for healthcare providers as patients move to digital platforms.

To become a thought leader in your practice’s specialties, marketers need to create engaging content with expert authority and original insights. And originality is key, Knott says: The biggest social content mistake healthcare providers make is posting about too many other blogs and sources, driving patients away from your website and listings.

To stay authentic and original, Knott recommends that healthcare marketers divulge their organization’s secret sauce: “Be the expert – give away your secrets to create real value for your audience.”

In terms of format, video is king for consumer engagement. Knott recommends keeping social media videos under 2 minutes, and don’t forget about captions. Consumers like to read first, then will add volume later if they’re interested.

Knott says to be creative with content, with a mix of how to’s, videos, FAQs and visuals. Providers and patients should be the stars, when appropriate – consumers want to see and hear from the specialists and patients themselves.

Your content can take many forms on social media, but it should be visually engaging: “Share x-rays, surgical images, before-and-after pictures,” Knott said. “We want to see the blood, guts and gore.”

Best Social Media Platforms for Healthcare

Healthcare marketers should pick the social platform that works best for their brand, then repackage high-performing content on the other platforms to see what works.

Knott’s favorite platform for healthcare marketing is LinkedIn, due to its filters, searches and networking. Facebook is even better for patient-centric content, and it has a review system that helps engage consumers.

On both Facebook and LinkedIn, groups are great ways to spread your message. Or, as Knott puts it, “the riches are in the niches.” Support groups for specific conditions, for example, are important for patients and members appreciate hearing from your healthcare experts.

Twitter, meanwhile, is a great way to grow your audience through trending hashtags. And Instagram is a highly significant platform for practices with aesthetic videos/images to share, such as plastic surgery, weight loss or dermatology.

Involve Physicians and Boost ROI in 2021

Knott also offers tips for involving physicians in social media and getting the most ROI for time spent creating content.

Marketers should find out which content matters most to a provider’s audience and patients. Then, make it easy for them when you point and shoot the camera – “so all physicians have to do is talk about what they know best.”

Knott recommends advertising value-based content on social media that patients can opt into, such as cheat sheets, quizzes and other downloads. Further down the funnel, they can engage more with organic blogs and long-form materials, completing what she calls the “Know, Like, Trust” relationship.

And there’s much more. Watch the 15-minute webinar on demand:

Watch Now

 

Check out the next episode of our Tips for 21 webinar series:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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November 03, 2020

11 Multifamily Marketing Blogs and Newsletters for Busy Property Managers

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Multifamily marketing is busy work. With large brand reputations and resident attraction and loyalty on the line, there’s little time left to read blogs, news and trends that influence perceptions of your properties. But everything is easier when it’s on a list. That’s why we curated a list of multifamily marketing blogs and newsletters that will keep you up to…

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multifamily-marketing-blogs-newslettersMultifamily marketing is busy work. With large brand reputations and resident attraction and loyalty on the line, there’s little time left to read blogs, news and trends that influence perceptions of your properties.

But everything is easier when it’s on a list. That’s why we curated a list of multifamily marketing blogs and newsletters that will keep you up to date – in a hurry.

Though the property marketing industry constantly changes – whether it’s Google algorithms, Facebook ad policies or best practices for video – the right answers are out there. To help keep your content and campaigns targeted and relevant, these publications offer search trends, resident review strategies, new marketing tools, and more.

If you’re looking for how-to’s, property management industry insights, or that small dose of inspiration for your next blog post or tweet, start with this list. Here are some of the best multifamily marketing newsletters and blogs that every property manager should read.

 

Appfolio Property Manager – Appfolio

Software provider Appfolio’s blog content is timely and digestible, mostly focused on leveraging technology to deliver a better resident experience. The Appfolio Property Manager blog posts multiple times per week and covers topics spanning from digital marketing to resident retention and property management trends.

 

Multifamily Executive – Handy Wood Media

Multifamily Executive is a must-read news publication for property managers of all creeds. The publication offers up-to-date information on housing market news, industry demographics, and executive leadership moves, along with events and podcasts. Additionally, its articles and newsletters frequently feature innovative technologies for multifamily marketers and community managers. Subscribe here.

 

The Balance Sheet – Yardi

The Balance Sheet is Yardi Systems’ corporate blog, and is paired with a weekly digest newsletter of recently published articles. Its content focuses strongly on digital marketing and resident experience strategies and tools. These topics include resident satisfaction, winter event ideas, how different demographics search for apartments, web design, and more. The Balance Sheet also has a full section dedicated to marketing and reputation management. Subscribe here.

 

Apartment Marketing – Multifamily Insiders

Multifamily Insider covers industry news, publishes press releases and runs large vendor directories for property management marketing. Its posts from multifamily professionals, including a category specific to apartment marketing, are great for property managers looking for a leg up from industry insiders. Visit Multifamily Insiders if you’re looking for a high volume of content that goes into specific topics like technology, training and legal insights.

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Property Management Newsletter – Multi-Housing News

Multi-Housing News covers news stories from multifamily properties across the country, making it one of the more locally focused publications on this list. The publication is a leader in breaking news for multifamily deals, and is a good source for location-specific information. Along with business updates, which you can sort by region, Multi-Housing News maintains a research section full of data and market trends. Subscribe here.

 

Multifamily Industry News – MultifamilyBiz

MultifamilyBiz is a large media platform for the multifamily housing industry that offers a high volume of news, event listings and resources. The blog and newsletter are curated daily from third-party sources and joined by a deep list of industry conferences. You can find vendors, jobs, news and educational content, and can also distribute your own brand’s resources.

 

Real Estate Management News – IREM

Real Estate Management News, IREM’s weekly newsletter, lets you customize your news feed from across the industry. Articles are curated based on your interests, containing information about current events, awards programming and webinars. You can find national trends in real estate management, regional real estate news, trade publication articles and new job postings, among other helpful content. Subscribe here (paid membership required).

 

Bisnow Multifamily Newsletter – Bisnow

Bisnow is a major news source across North America and the U.K., catered toward mid-level professionals to executives within the CRE industry. Though focused on the business of commercial real estate, Bisnow looks to humanize its data-driven stories and publish quick, easy reads for busy property managers. Events, branded content and video accompany the articles and newsletters, which Bisnow says reach 18 million readers. Subscribe here.

 

Units Magazine – National Apartment Association

Units Magazine is a full-color trade publication from the National Apartment Association that features news and newsmakers from the apartment housing industry. Alongside the digital magazine and news articles, the NAA also publishes the monthly marketing newsletter Marketing Buzz, containing trends and tips on the marketing and leasing of apartment homes. Other frequent Units and Marketing Buzz topics include communications, crisis management, virtual leasing and hiring strategies.

 

Rental Housing Journal

The Rental Housing Journal’s blog posts aim to solve specific, day-to-day problems in the management of rental properties. The publisher’s educational information and news include useful content ranging from how to market apartment vacancies, to landlord-tenant laws, to multifamily property management basics. As a national publication, RHJ is made up of six regional print monthlies with a circulation over 20,000.

 

Reputation Roundup – Binary Fountain

Get the latest updates on online reputation strategies and listings management from Binary Fountain’s email newsletter. Every three weeks, we’ll send you a list of recent blog posts, case studies and e-books focused on the world of mulifamily property management. We’ll also let you know about upcoming webinars that you won’t want to miss.

 

Check out more recent blog posts and webinars about multifamily marketing:

Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can improve your online reputation?

Schedule a Demo

 

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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October 29, 2020

Apple Search Engine: What We Know About Apple’s Competitor to Google Search

By: Kieran McQuilkin

An Apple search engine could be in the works as the technology company looks to add a Google Search competitor. Apple has significantly increased its efforts to develop in-house search technology for iPhones, according to a new report from The Financial Times. The company’s search engine ambitions have been rumored in recent years. But this is the best indication yet that marketers soon will need to add…

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apple-search-engine-conceptAn Apple search engine could be in the works as the technology company looks to add a Google Search competitor.

Apple has significantly increased its efforts to develop in-house search technology for iPhones, according to a new report from The Financial Times.

The company’s search engine ambitions have been rumored in recent years. But this is the best indication yet that marketers soon will need to add Apple search optimization to their list of concerns.

What is the Apple Search Engine?

It’s not yet clear how an Apple search engine would look and function. But there are some clues.

The company’s Applebot, introduced 2014, has significantly increased its rate of crawling the web, according to The Financial Times.

Furthermore, Apple is showing its own search results on iOS 14’s home screen search, bypassing Google and linking directly to websites. When iPhone users with iOS 14 type in the search window, Apple displays search results instead of Google’s, according to CNBC.

These developments mark a significant increase in Apple’s in-house search development and likely contribute to a broader push into search. These initiatives could range from Spotlight search and Siri voice search enhancements to a full-blown, Google-type search engine. We will update this post as more details emerge.

How Would Apple Search Engine Affect My Business Listings?

One of Apple’s primary selling points is privacy, which would likely be a key feature in an Apple search engine.

The company might try to build a search engine that doesn’t store personal information nor track users, similarly to DuckDuckGo. Unlike Google, it does not rely on advertising income, so it may not need as much personal data from users to sell search ads.

One question that arises, then, is how Apple would create a successful search engine without collecting users’ browsing data en masse. Local search marketing and SEO strategies would need to adjust to Apple’s privacy limitations – which may not offer geographic or device-specific search results.

Another question is whether only Apple devices would have access to this search engine, and how that would affect search and engagement data connected to device usage.

What Does This Mean for Local Listings and Google Search?

On every Apple device, Google is the default search engine for the Safari app. That may change, meaning millions of users will get different search results than before – an opportunity for savvy digital marketers who optimize their business listings early.

Google pays Apple at least $7 billion annually to be the main search provider on Apple devices, but that deal expires soon and Google is currently under antitrust scrutiny.

Apple’s entry into the search landscape also recently included Apple Maps ratings, which you can read more about here. The thumbs-up/thumbs-down recommendations are starting to appear in local business listings on Apple devices’ default Maps app.

 

Here are some related posts about local search, SEO and online reputation management:

Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can improve your listings and online reputation?

Schedule a Demo

 

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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October 28, 2020

Updated: Google Review Rich Results FAQ and 3 Takeaways from Recent Update

By: Hannah Borchik

  This article was updated Oct. 27. As Google review rich results start to reappear for some businesses, including healthcare, we are adding responses to FAQs about these updates.   What are Google review rich results? A review rich result (formerly called a rich snippet) is a short excerpt from a review website on Google search results, usually averaging the combined rating from many…

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This article was updated Oct. 27. As Google review rich results start to reappear for some businesses, including healthcare, we are adding responses to FAQs about these updates.

 

What are Google review rich results?

A review rich result (formerly called a rich snippet) is a short excerpt from a review website on Google search results, usually averaging the combined rating from many reviewers. When Google finds reviews or ratings markup on your webpages, it might show rich results including star ratings and other review summary text.

Review rich results may appear as stars and numerical ratings in rich results or Google Knowledge Panels. You can add markup to your site for nine content categories, but the most important are “Local Business” and “Organization.” Here is an example:

google-rich-snippets-example

Keep in mind that updates to rich results do not affect your Google My Business listings – just organic search results. And it may take time for the search engine to trust that your page’s reviews are valid.

Where are my company’s rich results on Google search?

Google is constantly monitoring your site’s eligibility for displaying rich results.

You won’t be notified about Google review rich results appearing on search results, and they are not guaranteed, but you can monitor them. Use this tool to see if your pages support rich results.

Pages using LocalBusiness or any other type of Organization structured data are ineligible for star review feature if the reviews are “self-serving” – meaning you control them manually. Ratings must be sourced directly from users and not from other sites.

After Google has indexed your pages, look for issues using the relevant rich result status report.

How do I get review results back on my business listings?

There’s no magic bullet for these features to appear – they are up to Google’s discretion. But here are a few ways to troubleshoot your rich results:

  1. Use the correct schema.
  2. Check your structured data.
  3. Troubleshoot through Google resources.

Google recommends that the reviews and ratings you mark up are readily available to users from the marked-up page. It should be immediately obvious that the page has review content.

To keep Google informed of future changes, we recommend that your listings management vendor submits a sitemap. Some platforms can automate this with the Search Console Sitemap API.


From September 2019:

How have review rich results changed?

In fall 2019, Google updated its organic search algorithm to significantly limit the schema types that will trigger review rich results in a search.

While goods like movies and books will still show star ratings alongside their Google Reviews, any first-party ratings for businesses and organizations will likely be removed. This is because Google believes there are too many “self-serving” first-party reviews created by businesses to artificially boost their own ratings.

The Google Webmaster further explains, “in the past, an entity like a business or an organization could add review markup about themselves to their home page or another page and often cause a review snippet to show for that page. That markup could have been added directly by the entity or embedded through the use of a third-party widget. We consider this ‘self-serving’ because the entity itself has chosen to add the markup to its own pages, about its own business or organization.”

Although first-party reviews will not be displayed on a company’s organic SERP, third-party review sites like Healthgrades or Apartments.com will continue to be allowed to display star ratings for that business.

What does this mean for my search strategy?

Although businesses and organizations must recognize Google review rich snippet changes and make adjustments, the algorithm updates are not expected to drastically impact your overall search strategy.

Listings and reputation management experts from Binary Fountain have identified a few areas of concern as rich snippets evolve:

Search Visibility – First-party reviews often represent a low-effort way to provide a constant flow of fresh, localized content for each specific business listing. Removing these ratings could diminish this benefit.

Click-Thru Rates (CTR) – The biggest advantage of review rich snippets is the impact on CTR from SERPs. Without the star ratings from rich snippets, companies may see a decline in click-thrus and will have to find other drivers to meet their goals.

Conversion Rates – On-page review content has been shown to increase conversion rates due to increased trust. The absence of the review snippet may negatively impact how a business builds trust online.

What else impacts my Google search results?

1. Content is (Still) King

Content, especially when localized with landmarks and attractions frequently mentioned in reviews, can quickly improve a company’s ranking in organic search results. This benefit remains regardless of Google’s changes to rich snippets.

2. Visibility of Rich Results Doesn’t Change Rankings

Though SERP information about a company may change, that ultimately does not affect where a company is ranking on Google. Businesses must still dedicate time and effort to SEO and high-ranking content to improve search visibility. Likewise, even though first-party ratings may not display, the content helps SEO overall.

3. Conversions are Influenced by Many Review Factors

Businesses are already benefiting from higher conversion rates from customers that see and interact with reviews hosted on third-party widgets. But regardless of whether a review is from a first-party host or third-party host, if the content of the reviews is primarily negative, the conversion rate will still decrease. Ideally, brands will respond to all negative reviews on all platforms to demonstrate their concern for the customer experience and their willingness to improve based on feedback.

Don’t be afraid of Google review rich snippets

While people are often quick to panic once Google announces a sweeping change to their policies, there is no need for alarm with the implementation new updates. Many of the things that companies are already doing, like investing in listings solutions and optimizing content for the web, are things that will continue to work and avoid any pitfalls.

Binary Fountain is committed to monitoring Google updates as they arise to ensure they don’t negatively impact our customers, and we will provide service and support if anything changes for our clients.

Want to learn more about how Binary Fountain can give your online reputation a boost?

Schedule a Demo

 

Learn more about optimizing SEO and Google My Business:

About the Author

Hannah Borchik
Account Director

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October 23, 2020

How to Respond to Reviews During a Crisis Like COVID-19

By: Kieran McQuilkin

When a crisis like COVID-19 strikes, the way you respond to reviews can be more important than the review itself. Marketers and reputation management leaders across the U.S. are facing an uptick of negative online reviews, questioning the ways they adjusted operations to manage the health crisis. And according to BrightLocal, 46% of consumers always read responses if they read reviews, up from 29% in 2018. In service…

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When a crisis like COVID-19 strikes, the way you respond to reviews can be more important than the review itself.

Marketers and reputation management leaders across the U.S. are facing an uptick of negative online reviews, questioning the ways they adjusted operations to manage the health crisis. And according to BrightLocal, 46% of consumers always read responses if they read reviews, up from 29% in 2018.

In service industries, therefore, brands must be visibly dedicated to great customer service during a crisis. That means using review responses to ensure future customers see your dedication to protecting their health.

In this post, we explore strategies and templates for responding to reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic and any potential PR crisis.

Responding to Reviews in a Crisis

Responding to negative reviews is difficult in the best of times. These are not the best of times.

But the essential instructions for negative review responses in a crisis remains the same:

  • Address the customer’s problem.
  • Offer a formal apology or explanation.
  • Demonstrate commitment to solving the problem.
  • Offer contact info or outline steps toward solution.

The COVID-19 pandemic is adding volatility to potential public relations crises. In 2020, your review responses require additional considerations:

  1. Empathize pathologically. As Jay Baer said in a recent Binary Fountain webinar, every aspect of a customer’s relationship with your business has changed. Understanding the reviewer’s point of view is key to closing the knowledge gap and gaining the trust of those reading your response.
  2. Be honest. COVID-19 changed things in a hurry, and your business is still figuring out the best ways to adjust. But remember that your review response should explain the problem, not excuse it.
  3. Build an FAQ page. Link to a coronavirus FAQ page in responses to reviews with common concerns to save time for your staff. But don’t forget to personalize it.

In all responses, reassure customers that your business is following guidelines from the CDC, state and local guidelines, and trusted sources. This way, you’re using negative reviews as an opportunity to reaffirm safety measures.

COVID-19 Crisis Review Response Examples

Today’s customers know authenticity when they see it. But especially during a crisis, you should use customizable review response templates for efficient review management.

Brands should prepare for their safety measures to be questioned in negative reviews. These could include wearing a mask, disagreeing with facility policies, not being able to see someone in person, or a different check-in/checkout process.

review-response-crisis-covid-19

Use customer feedback and search trends to anticipate your customers’ top concerns and create response templates. Be prepared to answer these questions, among others:

  • What precautionary measures have you taken to protect customers and employees?
  • Are you revising business or store hours?
  • Have any locations or service lines closed temporarily?
  • Should I email, call, use your website or use a third-party app for scheduling and information?
  • How do you handle cancellation and rescheduling of appointments?

Don’t forget to monitor employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, as well. Understanding their concerns about your COVID-19 adjustments can fuel employee satisfaction improvements.

You can also deploy employee surveys to find and solve problems before they impact your employer brand ratings.

To inspire your own responses, you can check out these templates from Ragan’s PR Daily, Doctor.com, HubSpot, Glassdoor and BestSEO.

Respond Across Review Platforms

It’s not enough to respond to reviews on one or two platforms. Your brand needs a voice in every place your customers talk about your business, including Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and industry-specific review sites. Using review management tools with assignment and approval features can keep your messaging consistent across your brand’s locations and listings.

New reviews returned to Google in May, along with the ability to respond to Google reviews, after being suspended during the initial COVID-19 outbreak. Your responses should always comply with Google’s local content policy.

On social media, your responses to comments and reviews – such as Facebook Recommendations – will send a message to other followers that you care about the customer experience. Most social media sites won’t remove a negative post unless it violates your rights or content policy, but the author might be willing to do so if you respond well.

Meanwhile, generating more positive reviews can help quell a crisis online. Run testimonial campaigns on the review sites that matter most to your brand to outweigh negative comments with positive ones.

Monitor, Respond, Generate

Not every negative review or PR crisis can be avoided – especially as COVID-19 throws wrenches into businesses’ daily operations. Paying attention to the online conversation around your brand and proactively addressing customer concerns can prevent things from boiling over.

Sort through potential crises with review monitoring and social media listening tools to determine the urgency and tone of responses. Engaging customers quickly and understanding the root cause of problems will add a protective layer to your online reputation.

How you respond to reviews in a crisis is up to you. How you respond quickly, across all your locations and listings, is up to Binary Fountain. Book a free demo to learn more about our review management platform.

Schedule a Demo

 

For more on review management and crisis management, read these posts:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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October 20, 2020

Tracking Coronavirus Search Trends on Google – October 2020

By: Kieran McQuilkin

COVID-19’s spread is ramping up once again and continuing to change consumer behavior in the U.S. Uncertainty remains high as outbreaks resurge, state regulations change, and consumers hesitate to return to healthcare facilities. To understand patients’ current needs, healthcare marketers are looking to Google Search in October for guidance. Search trends give us a more complete picture of consumer sentiment and knowledge gaps. Healthcare…

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coronavirus-search-trends-octoberCOVID-19’s spread is ramping up once again and continuing to change consumer behavior in the U.S. Uncertainty remains high as outbreaks resurge, state regulations change, and consumers hesitate to return to healthcare facilities.

To understand patients’ current needs, healthcare marketers are looking to Google Search in October for guidance.

Search trends give us a more complete picture of consumer sentiment and knowledge gaps. Healthcare consumers, specifically, are grappling with changing hours, medical facility policies and telemedicine services. Using Google Search as a guide, healthcare organizations can address common questions in their local listings and brand communications.

In this article, we break down recent search data on Google to understand what types of information healthcare consumers are looking for. Here are coronavirus search trends that digital marketers should monitor in October.

Search Trends for Healthcare Organizations

COVID-19 continues to arise frequently in search queries and business listings, though related searches have gradually declined in recent months.

Here are some notable October trends on Google Search, based on data from our healthcare partners:

According to Binary Fountain client data, total searches for healthcare organizations haven’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels. There are now about 20% fewer weekly searches for healthcare clients than in February, but totals are climbing.

Clicks on healthcare companies’ Google My Business (GMB) profiles rebounded more rapidly, however, now up 25% from late-February click volume. Meanwhile, clicks to phone calls have increased by a whopping 63% from pre-outbreak levels. Weekly clicks on GMB profiles for driving directions are down about 9% since Feb. 24, but climbing toward average levels.

Clearly, healthcare marketers need to prioritize updating local listings with phone numbers, URLs, hours and contact information for each facility.

Google Searches for Coronavirus in October

To survey the coronavirus search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top 100 places searching for the virus and the top related queries.

In October, the top coronavirus searches on Google in the U.S. were related to symptoms, spreading and testing. The past week’s highest-trending COVID-19 questions were:

  1. How long are you contagious with covid 19?
  2. What country has the most covid deaths?
  3. How long after exposure should you get tested?
  4. Is diarrhea a symptom of covid?
  5. How many have died from covid?

The shorthand “covid” continues to appear frequently, so it should join your keyword lists for any social listening initiatives.

Additionally, the search for “free coronavirus testing near me” has surged this week. Google is keeping track of where people are searching for testing. This geographical indicator can help predict when local residents will need authoritative information from local healthcare providers.

Follow these instructions to get your coronavirus testing site listed on Google Search. Google also recently added a new feature tracking real-time searches related to different symptoms, which you can find here.

Location-based news and information about COVID-19 risks, meanwhile, remain in high demand from consumers. As local authorities on the topic, healthcare brands need to include this information in brand communications, business listings, review responses and social media.

Other COVID-19 Google Trends

Most searches regarding COVID-19 concern tracking the spread and health guidelines. But other search trends offer healthcare organizations insights into factors that can weigh into a patient’s decision to seek care.

Employment and economic uncertainty are top of mind for consumers, with continued high search volume for unemployment benefits, unemployment offices and coronavirus relief bills.

Unfortunately, school closures have become especially relevant to U.S. searchers. Be on the lookout for search terms including “school closure covid” and “coronavirus school closure,” which have spiked in the last month.

You should also be prepared for questions that arise as new updates reach consumers. For example, “coronavirus stimulus package,” “coronavirus worldometer” and “families first coronavirus response act” all are trending in the past week.

Searches to Help Local Providers

Not all coronavirus search trends in October are negative. Digital marketers can engage the many people looking to support local healthcare organizations during the pandemic. Brands should answer these questions – on Google My Business, local landing pages and social media – about supporting local providers.

Google recommends the following methods of using its platform to help consumers and support healthcare workers:

  • Let people know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
  • Assess when people need you most, whether through your own first-party data or Google Trends.
  • Frequently update or publish content that informs, entertains, connects and promotes wellness.
  • Consider who the heroes are among your employees or your local community.

For more on managing your business listings and brand reputation during the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Resources Page or browse these resources:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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October 15, 2020

[Webinar Recap] What Healthcare Consumers Want in 2021: Key Survey Results

By: Kieran McQuilkin

The digital patient journey is changing at every touchpoint – from search to scheduling to surveys. For the fourth consecutive year, we surveyed U.S. healthcare consumers to predict their preferences, frustrations and influences throughout the digital patient experience in 2021. In our latest on-demand webinar, Stewart Gandolf, CEO of Healthcare Success, joins Binary Fountain’s Aaron Clifford…

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webinar-2020-healthcare-consumer-surveyThe digital patient journey is changing at every touchpoint – from search to scheduling to surveys.

For the fourth consecutive year, we surveyed U.S. healthcare consumers to predict their preferences, frustrations and influences throughout the digital patient experience in 2021.

In our latest on-demand webinar, Stewart Gandolf, CEO of Healthcare Success, joins Binary Fountain’s Aaron Clifford to unveil results from the 2020 Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement survey.

Gandolf and Clifford provide insights on how patients are finding doctors online and using reviews to make care decisions, which factors matter most to healthcare consumers throughout the patient journey, where patients leave reviews, and how to generate high-quality feedback.

They offer data-driven tips and strategies that you can immediately use to improve your healthcare brand’s reputation, maximize your online presence, optimize the customer experience, and ultimately drive new patient revenue in 2021.

Watch Now

Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:

How a Healthcare Consumer Finds Doctors

Even with digital customer experiences on the rise, family and friends are still top sources for consumers finding a doctor. As the importance of those personal recommendations slowly declines, insurance coverage remains highly important and patients are looking more at hospital/clinic websites.

That means the investments that healthcare systems have made in their branding and websites are paying off. Not to mention, robust first-party sites and local landing pages are becoming influential factors in search rankings.

Gandolf says that, while the main sources for a healthcare consumer searching for care in 2021 are intuitive, third-party sources have grown tremendously between 2017 and 2020 and will only get more important.

“Digital natives don’t want to talk to people,” he says. “They will just do their homework and be their own decision maker.”

Though your website and Google are cornerstones for your online brand, eyeballs are on third-party sites like Facebook and Healthgrades in high numbers. “There are dozens being used,” Gandolf says, “and they all matter.”

The typical consumer reads nine reviews before choosing a doctor, making patient feedback an equally crucial part of the search process. As online directories become more important to consumers, that average has moved up, and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, the importance of online reviews to healthcare consumers has doubled since 2017.

Brand Communications and Booking Appointments in 2021

Even in the digital age, the No. 1 preferred method for receiving information from healthcare providers is a phone call. And patients have indicated they’re willing to schedule visits and elective appointments if providers call them.

But close behind it is email, which should remain a high priority. Don’t neglect text messaging in your communications, as well: Patients show high preference for texts regarding reminders and results.

Choosing between these mediums is where marketing and patient experience departments become partners, Clifford says, so that consumers get the right data at the right time. For example, you could use phone calls to reschedule cancelled appointments, emails for COVID-19 information, and texts for immunization reminders.

Healthcare consumers’ top frustrations with booking appointments revolve around missing contact information and services not being listed. These challenges with listings management became apparent in 2020’s survey data.

“People have higher expectations of healthcare than ever before,” Gandolf says. “You simply need to identify the patient experience issue and fix it.”

Where and Why Consumers Leave Reviews

Wait time was – by far – the most frustrating part of doctor visits for surveyed consumers (32%). However, that figure has improved since 2017, meaning some health systems have solved the problem by building patient experiences around consumers’ needs.

Solving the long-time, consistent frustration of wait time is an opportunity for competitive advantage. Frustrations are revealed in your online physician reviews, so it’s also a way to generate positive patient experiences that consumers want to share online.

When reviewing providers, the most important factor to patients is a friendly and caring attitude. “The soft stuff really matters to everybody,” Gandolf says. But these preferences do change between age groups, with older patients caring more about a caring attitude and younger patients caring more about a provider’s reputation in the community.

And there’s much more.

Watch Now

 

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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