Image of the letters "Q", "&", "A"

If you did not get a chance to read our optimization tip #1 on photos, please click here.

In part two of our three part series on RealSelf optimization, we will be covering one of RealSelf’s most important features: Q&A. For those of you who may not be too familiar with this piece of the website, Q&A gives the opportunity for patients seeking treatment to ask their questions not only to the community, but to other doctors around the country as well. Once a question is asked, a doctor can log into their profile and prove value not only to the patient who asked the question, but also anyone in the community who has a similar question by providing thoughtful and helpful advice.

The goal with answering questions is to a) make sure the patient is educated and b) show off your personality. Patients are looking to get to know you before they even contact your office or come in for a consultation, so it’s important to show off your personality in your answers. BUT, you must always remember to be humble and friendly in your answers, not promotional. Patients want to learn answers to their questions, not hear about how you’re the best at a certain procedure. So when answering questions, let your personality shine!

BONUS TIP: Be funny! Patients love a good sense of humor so let them see it! RealSelf studies have shown that doctors who have a funny title in their answer, receive more clicks on their answer than doctors who have a generic headline.

Now that you know how to position your answers, the next thing to do is find the best questions to answer. One of the best ways to do this is to use Google. Think of some of the most common questions you get about a procedure and then Google them. You’ll see that RealSelf is one of the top results almost every time.

Screenshot of search results for "how painful is breast augmentation recovery"

When using Google, don’t worry about how many answers a question has. Even if a question has 100 answers, answer it anyways! You know that it is a commonly searched question and ranks very high in the search engine, so answering the question (regardless off how many previous answers there are) will increase visibility of your profile. Remember, RealSelf users are researching, so they will take the time to find the thoughtful and helpful answers to their questions, regardless of where your answer is.

BONUS TIP: Link to your website when answering questions! It’s an easy way to direct relevant traffic back to your site. Also, if possible, add video to your answer! Any extra information you can provide to patient questions will make them trust you more.

Screenshot of an online review form

The last thing we’ll cover in Q&A are the 3 things to not care about:

  1. Quantity of existing answers – We’ve already touched on this above, but it is very important, so we want to make sure to drive it home. It does not matter how many answers there are to a question. Any question you answer will increase the visibility of your profile (especially if you’re using the Google method for questions). Quantity of answers matters less when you’re providing high quality answers to questions (as users have the ability to vote answers up or down depending on their usefulness).
  2. Location of patients who asked questions – This is one we hear quite a bit. “I only want to answer patients in my area.” That’s great, but at the end of the day, patients want to know YOU. They do not care that you only answer questions in your area, especially if the answers you are providing (in your area and across the country) are thoughtful and helpful. The goal of Q&A is to show off your personality while providing helpful answers. The location of the patient who asked the question is not relevant. Lastly, just because you answered a question from a user in another state, does not mean that someone in your area doesn’t have the exact same question.
  3. Quantity of answers – While you want to increase your profile’s visibility, doing so by answering a large amount of questions with little to no quality in your answer can actually be harmful to your RealSelf campaign. Here’s a quick scenario to explain: there are 2 doctors in an area that a patient is considering for their breast augmentation. Dr. A has 100, two sentence answers and Dr. B has 10, 20 sentence answers. Which doctor do you think is more valuable to the patient? That’s right, the doctor with a smaller amount of questions who focused on quality over quantity. Again, RealSelf is a community to help patients, so quick answers to questions probably aren’t going to be very helpful to the community. Show patients the same care and attention you would give to someone sitting in a consultation with you, so they get a good idea of what it would be like to have you as their surgeon.

In conclusion, the Q&A portion of RealSelf is one its most important features and you can gain incredible exposure by answering questions with quality information while showing off your personality.

Check back soon as we will be concluding our three part series on RealSelf optimization with something that is absolutely vital to the conversion process: reviews.

By Nohemi Arias
As an SEO Strategist, Nohemi implements result oriented web strategies to produce growing site traffic, leads and visibility for Firm Media's clients. With a Master's Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and currently working towards an MBA in Business Intelligence and Information Technology, she brings passion and attention to detail to every project.

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