Michael O'Neill

About Michael O'Neill

It’s not often you find a communications professional who is an expert writer, understands the power of social media and has the technical capabilities to embed on and contribute to software development teams. But that’s exactly the background Michael brought with him to Geonetric as the technical communications strategist. From writing eBooks to managing Geonetric’s digital presence, Michael uses his software know how and his marketing savvy to help tell Geonetric’s story through a variety of platforms. This former adjunct professor holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Worcester State College in Massachusetts and completed graduate level coursework at the University of Connecticut. In addition, Michael is also a Certified ScrumMaster, a contributing writer at iBusiness Magazine and a member of the Board of Directors at Gems of Hope. This new dad is known for his high coffee standards and has quite the following around the office when he brings in his favorite craft-roasted beans.

A Working Model For Understanding How Patients Qualify Physicians

A partial representation of how patients qualify physicians for selection.
As healthcare marketers, we often like to jump right to the tactics and bury ourselves in campaign work in the hopes that it will make a tangible difference. And sometimes it does. But more often than not, results are disappointingly modest, leaving us with the sense that we’re investing more and more just to maintain current performance.

Sometimes in our rush to do “stuff” or chase down the next great idea we lose focus of the fact that we’re choosing the work we do based on how clever it sounds and not by how it supports the patient journey.
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Mobilegeddon Q&A

question mark imageIt’s been a few days since I first wrote about Google’s upcoming mobile algorithm change. Since then, we’ve had a slew of questions, and we’ve even learned a few more things about the algorithm itself. Before I share this, let’s first recap my previous guidance for understanding the scope of your mobile traffic, and surfacing any problems you might have on your websites.

The Five Things You Need to Do To Prepare for April 21

  1. Check your mobile traffic in Google Analytics
  2. Using your smartphone, look for the “mobile-friendly” tag in search results
  3. Check your pages with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
  4. Review the Mobile Usability Report in Google Webmaster Tools
  5. Check the Mobile User Experience score on Google PageSpeed Insights

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A #Mobilegeddon Prepper’s Guide to Surviving the Coming Mobile Searchpocalypse

mobilegeddon-searchpocalypseIf you pay attention to SEO or read the standard trade publications for webmasters, you’ve no doubt heard that the world is ending on April 21. OK, well maybe it’s not actually ending… But if you’ve been listening to some of the coverage concerning Google’s next algorithm update, you wouldn’t be remiss for thinking it was.

Rather than amplifying the message that the end is nigh, I’d like to cut through the noise, describe the pending change and share some of the concrete steps I’m taking to figure out what sites are well poised for the change, and which ones need to be worked on.

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Simple Content and SEO Guidelines for Physician Promotion

Image of a physician appointment recorded in a calendar
We’re living in a world of change. More so every day. Industry consolidation, legislative mandates, and new competition in your market means that a physician promotion strategy starting and ending with “just being there” is increasingly irrelevant. Let’s face it, yesterday’s local competition has grown increasingly savvy, and tomorrow’s competition for patients may very well come from the very pharmacies your patients used to get their prescriptions filled at. At the end of the day, the primary goal of your organization’s physician promotion strategy is as simple as it is clear: patient acquisition. In service of this goal, there are some fundamental content and SEO considerations that will help ensure your physician profiles work to bring new patients in to your organization.

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Navigating Content Quality Signals in a Post Authorship World

Image of a tombstone with Google Authorship inscribed upon it
Late Thursday afternoon before Labor Day, John Mueller, notable Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, dropped some news that gave some of us enough heartburn to last through the celebrations and festivities of the long weekend. Writing in a post on Google+, he revealed, “[W]e’ve made the difficult decision to stop showing authorship in search results.”

If you read this and subsequently spent your weekend alternating between your bottle of Pepto and whatever beverage you happen to hold in your beer koozie, here’s a quick take on what happened, and what it means for your content plans going forward.

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Who Should Build Your Hospital Intranet?


A road sign showing two opposite directions to turn.
The intranet is a critical piece of your hospital’s infrastructure. It’s typically composed of multiple systems, applications and devices that work in concert to provide your staff with the critical resources they need to work effectively. At the center of this oft-dizzying array of systems is the ‘intranet website.’ Sometimes called an ’employee portal,’ this website is the home base for your employees. It’s where they stay current with recent organizational news and policies. It’s where they find the day’s lunch menu, the CEO’s blog, the most recent vacation policy, contact information for colleagues, links to the other systems and more.
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The Eight Steps of a Successful Health Content Library Integration


Word Health written in search bar on virtual screen.

Licensing a health library is the right decision for most organizations. It promotes your hospital’s expertise, helps serve patient education needs, and helps fill waiting room seats and physician schedules. But just licensing a health library does little to help you realize these benefits. In fact, the value your organization gets from its health library is directly related to how effectively it is integrated with your website. A health library that is merely attached to a website provides visitors with a clickpath to health information, but returns little of the value that a fully integrated health library does.

The following sections describe options for integrating a health library, starting with the most basic and proceeding to more advanced – and valuable – types of integration. Read sequentially, each section is an integration step that moves the organization from a rudimentary attached health library that provides minimal value to increasingly sophisticated health library integrations that provide maximal value.

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Zero to Piwik Analytics in Under Three Minutes with VitalSite CMS

Screen capture of VitalSite Script Manager displaying the Piwik Analytics tracking code.

We’ve been making some major investments in VitalSite that provide more power to the system administrators who manage hospital websites, and to the client advisors who work with them. To this end, one of the new features we’ve recently released is the VitalSite Script Manager. This new utility is available to users with GeoTechnician or System Administrator privileges, and it allows them to manage the markup and scripts that appear in the <head> sections and near the </body> sections in the HTML of all VitalSite pages.
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VitalSite Notes: An On-Page Space for Your Editorial Conversation

page-notes-image

With the recent release of VitalSite 8.0, we introduced Notes, a helpful new feature designed for the teams and individuals responsible for planning, creating and maintaining the content of hospital websites.

Because Notes are right next to the content they describe (but are visible only to administrators and never to the public), content teams can easily communicate with each other about the pages, panels, providers, services, locations or other VitalSite objects they work on and govern. If you’ve worked on websites for any amount of time, you know how helpful this type of capability can be.

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Google’s Universal Analytics Arrives. VitalSite’s Ready.

Google Universal Analytics Graphic

Well, it’s official. Google’s Universal Analytics (UA), the next generation of the ubiquitous Web analytics tool, is now officially out of beta and ready for prime time. According to Google, “all the features, reports, and tools of Classic Analytics are now available in the [Universal Analytics] product, including Remarketing and Audience (Demographic) reporting.” This is good news for those of us interested in taking the plunge, but unwilling to sacrifice any of the functionality we’ve come to depend on in the classic Google Analytics (GA).

Of course, it’s not just about feature parity between old and new. From custom dimensions and metrics to new approaches to cross-domain (and sub-domain) tracking, there are a bevy of new features and capabilities in Universal Analytics that will be of interest to most Web marketers and webmasters.

If you’re a Google-watcher, you’ve no doubt been keeping your eye on Universal Analytics for some time. And if you aren’t a Google-watcher, rest assured that we’ve been watching on your behalf. In fact, we’ve been planning for this announcement for quite some time.

That’s why the just-released VitalSite 7.0 includes a new Site Root Script Manager built specifically with Google’s Universal Analytics in mind.

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Value, Release Frequency and VitalSite CMS

vitalsite 7 cms

A number of years ago we took pride in the fact that we released VitalSite updates every quarter. Not only was it a significant differentiator from other software developers who struggled to deliver even one release a year, but frequent releases just seemed like the right thing to do. Why? Quarterly updates allowed us more opportunities to help our clients manage their top performing hospital websites. And that’s hard to do when you have to wait a year or more to take advantage of new features.

Over the last few years we’ve been resolute in our commitment to frequently delivering software, and the rate at which we release updates has increased manyfold. In fact, we now consider a quarterly release cadence to be slow and often symptomatic of problems on software development teams. Such problems can be the result of:

  1. A software development team that is incapable of responding quickly to changing market needs, or of quickly deploying fixes and updates to clients. This can be because of anything from code quality to management problems. Regardless of the cause, it should be considered a warning sign for many types of software.
  2. A vendor who has decided to withhold valuable changes and updates from their clients until the marketing team decides that they have ‘enough’ new functionality for them to bundle it all in a release and promote it in the market. This approach is common among software vendors who just want to rack up new sales and have little regard for existing clients.

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Search Is Not Your Website’s Dumping Ground


Stylized image of a search box

Like water from the tap or electrons from the outlet, we tend to take search for granted. Beneath the ubiquitous experience we’re all familiar with, there is a lot of advanced engineering at play… engineering intended to empower users by connecting them to results highly relevant to their queries.

That’s the theory, anyways.
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Support Options for Internet Explorer 8

Screen capture of download screen for Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) was first introduced in March of 2009 and initially represented a major step forward in browser design. But now, nearly five years later, it’s showing its age. Loathed by Web designers and Web application developers alike, IE 8 doesn’t support many modern features of CSS3 and HTML5, and designing for it means investing in countless workarounds and developing special code specific to just that browser. In fact, supporting it in websites and Web applications has become so complex that industry leaders like Google decided years ago that they wouldn’t support it in many of their Web apps.
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Hospital Website Guidance: Opening Links in New Windows


Screen capture of browser context window on a hyperlink.For some time now, standard Web guidance has been to open hyperlinks in the current window instead of opening them in new windows. For those not familiar with what I’m describing, the following provides an example of each:

There are multiple reasons that inform the recommended approach. If you’re not familiar with them, here are a few of the more important ones:
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Finding Broken Links and Fixing Them With VitalSite Redirects

Image conveying "redirect URL"

In the previous section, , we explored the differences between internal links, outbound links, and inbound links. Now that you have a working understanding of what these are and how they are different, we’ll cover some easy techniques you can use to be proactive about identifying them. For broken links that require 301 Redirects to fix, we’ll even show you how you can use VitalSite’s redirect manager to add redirects.
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