Why Less Educated Doctors Sometimes Earn More Money

Your online reputation, or “webutation” is so important—it can trump even the most prestigious of educational backgrounds.

For instance, in one national survey, nearly 2 out of 3 consumers preferred a physician with a more general education yet online reviews averaging 5 out of 5 stars—versus a physician with a 4 out of 5 star average who went to Harvard.

In other words, a physician whose online reviews averaged just one star higher had a competitive advantage over one with an elite degree.

This is one of the shocking findings made by Health Management Academy, who conducted a national survey of 1,500 American adults. More startling takeaways:

  • Having more reviews is better than being perfect. In their words, “64% of consumers prefer a physician with 4 out of 5 stars and 25 patient responses over one with 5/5 stars and 3 responses.”

  • Social media, including business profiles, matter quite a bit. Because in their words, “consumers opt for a physician with Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter followers, but with fewer reviews (55%), over a physician with more ratings but no social media component (45%).”

  • Experience makes a difference. They also found that 61% of consumers prefer a physician with twenty years of experience and a 4 out of 5 star review average, versus a physician with a 5/5 average but only four years of experience.

These revelations highlight just how important your web presence is as a physician. It’s why companies like PatientPop have created a free way to diagnose the health of your website, the centerpiece of your medical marketing strategy.

Is Your Website or Online Presence Sick?

When you take that assessment, it can be quite sobering. Because if you’re like most physicians, you’ll find that there are a number of key areas where you are not, shall we say, in robust health.

The first is your web presence.

With inadequate presence across the major web profile platforms, including Google, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, White Pages and more—patients are going to have a hard time finding you online.

Worse yet, PatientPop has found that many web profiles contain inconsistent and incorrect business information, including details like business hours, which creates confusion and frustration amongst potential clients. Because in these cases, patients will hit a dead end, and you lose the opportunity at a new appointment.

Lastly, in addition to missing profiles, many others lack professional photos (the Health Management Academy study found that the right picture can put you ahead of physicians with slightly higher ratings); or they lack critical information like provider bios.

Any one of these issues could be problematic, yet when aggregated, could be holding your practice back from attracting new patients, and putting you behind competition in your market who are doing it right.

And it’s only one metric provided by PatientPop’s free web presence diagnostic tool.   

Why Your Desktop Website May Be Prohibitively Slow

The next key metric provided is desktop website health; because when Google reports issues with your desktop site, it means you’re unlikely to be competitive in searches for your area of focus.

In fact, PatientPop has found that a desktop website should ideally score 90/100 or better on Google’s scale, in order to be fully competitive. Most fall well short of that. (You can see how your medical website ranks right here.)

Now, you might be wondering, what are the factors that make a website “desktop optimized”? One critical factor is page speed.

Analysis from Google shows that the average time it takes to fully load a landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis. Yet 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.

There are other factors, like how well your content is search-optimized, which individuals over at PatientPop can help you better understand. Let’s keep moving...

Mobile Optimize or Die

63% of all web traffic in the United States now comes from mobile devices. And yet, most physician’s websites are NOT mobile optimized. Far from it.

In fact, mobile optimization is so important, in 2015 Google publicly announced that websites which are not mobile-friendly will be penalized. Then, in March of 2018, they announced that mobile-friendly sites would receive priority indexing, meaning they’d be weighted even higher in search engine rankings.

What does it mean for a site to be mobile optimized? In its simplest form, it means that the site will reformat itself for a list of handheld or tablet devices, with some key upgrades for mobile.

These might include larger navigation buttons, specially formatted content, and different size images, all of which is designed to optimize the user experience. This makes it easy for people using mobile devices to get the ease and information of those using desktop.

This is only the beginning, though. A site could have a mobile version and still score 42 out of 100, like one PatientPop’s team recently tested. And just like desktop, a mobile healthcare or dental marketing website should rank 90 out of 100 on this diagnostic test to be maximally competitive for key searches.

The Fastest Way to Fix Your Website and Online Presence

Like nearly all doctors, you probably want more patients walking through your doors. And now you understand how essential your online presence is for this purpose. In fact, even subtle changes to your review quality or volume can make a massive difference in your success.

In real life, if you’re sick, you go see a doctor and get a diagnosis. And it should be the same with your website: you can’t properly begin getting better until you’ve been diagnosed.

Only from that point can your treatment begin.

The good news is that PatientPop has seen and fixed some of the most challenging cases on the web. They’ve helped doctors who lacked any online presence in highly competitive areas, quickly turn things around.

The same can be done for you. And the benefits are transformative for your practice:

  • Patients can easily find you and book from any device

  • Your online reputation gets a boost, with more requests for patient feedback

  • You attract customers via optimized web profiles

  • You reduce appointment no-shows and keep your patients loyal

  • And you grow your practice faster and help more people

Already, you’ve seen how differences in reviews can offset an education as prestigious as Harvard.

It’s clear we’re living in an unprecedented time, where online reputation and presence are far greater factors in your success than ever before.

Doctors who do take this seriously will have a significant competitive advantage over those who don’t.


Get your free medical website diagnosis here from our friends at PatientPop and get your practice back on track for the growth you deserve.

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