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.

VitalSite 6.7.6 – Secure Content Enhancements for Hospital Websites, Intranets and Extranets


Image of a lock symbol on the key of a keyboard
As 2013 finally draws to a close, we have one more release to announce: VitalSite 6.7.6. This release contains a few new features related to secure content (CMS pages and secure files), and a number of fixes and updates requested by clients (full details are provided to clients in GeoCentral). The new features will be of interest to clients using VitalSite to host content for authenticated users on hospital intranets, board extranets and secure sections of their public websites.
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Four Reasons Healthcare Marketers Need to Stop Ignoring Google Webmaster Tools in 2014


Image of a stop watch with the words "Time for Change" on the dial

I get it. For a long time Google Webmaster Tools appeared to play second fiddle to its shiny sibling, Google Analytics. It went long stretches without updates, and a good many webmasters and hospital marketers let their attention lapse. For that reason, you might have missed the fact that Google has been making some tremendous investments in Webmaster Tools recently. In fact, it’s now to the point that you’re flirting with disaster if organic search traffic from Google contributes significantly to your goals and you aren’t paying attention to Google Webmaster Tools.

If you’re one of the few who has let their Webmaster Tools literacy lapse over the last couple years, here are four things you should start doing with it in 2014:

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Four Essential Tools for Getting Started with Schema.org Markup

Image of dice with letters spelling out 'Semantic Web'

We’ve all heard it before: The future of search is semantic, and the job of those of us in inbound marketing is to help Google (as Amhit Singhal famously put it in 2012) “understand things, not strings.” In the past, Google built its index by looking at the word frequency of various elements on a page. Different elements (such as H1 text or anchor text in a URL) were of greater significance than others (such as words in body content). Over the years, this approach led to many attempts to manipulate results by stuffing the various strings with the terms marketers wanted to rank for. Great debates ensued over keyword placement, frequency, and how successful various tactics were. The abuse went further, of course: paid listings in indexes of dubious quality, buying links via press releases, and other shady approaches intended to blatantly manipulate Google’s famous page rank algorithm.
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Active Directory Integration and the Healthcare CMS

Screen capture showing the ADFS network sign-in option for VitalSite

VitalSite 6.7.5 is nearing completion, and as we prepare it for release, I’m particularly excited to announce our Active Directory authentication integration.

VitalSite administrators will appreciate the reduced overhead now that they don’t have to manually create and deactivate accounts in VitalSite when employees enter and leave the organization.
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Healthcare Marketing and the Coming Top-Level Domain Landgrab

You’ve invested substantial time and budget promoting your brand on the Web. And just when it seems like you’re starting to get traction, a slew of new gTLDs threaten to upset the apple cart. How should hospitals, health systems and physician practices prepare for this changing landscape? What impacts are we likely to see in the market? Change is afoot, and some planning today could translate into market dominance tomorrow.

What’s a gTLD?

Image depicting the elements of a domain name.

gTLDs (often referred to as just “top-level domains” or “TLDs”) are generic Top-Level Domains. If that doesn’t ring a bell, think of them this way: you probably currently know them as the familiar three-letter extensions to domains you use all the time. For example: “com” is a top-level domain in www.geonetric.com. You already know many of the others: .edu, .org, .net, .gov, .mil. Perhaps you’ve even dabbled in .co, .tv, .mobi, .info, .me or some of the others floating around the Web.

Well, there’s a host of new ones coming that you need to be aware of…
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Scrum, Minimum Viable Product and Operation Overnight

Image of Geonetric's Operation Overnight logo

Last week Geonetric held its second annual Operation Overnight, a 24-hour volunteer event that brings teams from across Geonetric together with local area nonprofits in need of website makeovers (or even first websites). Despite it being a 24-hour event with the feel of a hackathon, many of the basic tenets and concepts from Scrum are applicable. In fact, I posit that a Scrum approach is more important, not less important, for an event like this.

Breaking the day’s work into manageable sprints, having a sprint board, hourly standups, retros, and a clear investment in backlog grooming — all help. In fact, this year I introduced a new concept to our Operation Overnight team: the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). What’s an MVP? Kenneth S. Rubin, noted Scrum theorist and author, introduces it this way:
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Join Us on Google+


We’ve had a lot to say recently about the growing importance of Google+ in the digital strategy of healthcare organizations. In fact, it should be part of any organization’s digital strategy. Including ours.

Because of this, I’d like to announce Geonetric’s new Google+ Page. Come add us to your circles, and to the circles of the pages you manage. We’re always glad to reciprocate and look forward to continuing the conversation on this channel!

Google+ Is Not An Optional Component of Your Digital Strategy

google-plus

Ahhh… Google+, the social media property that we all explored eagerly, and then ignored. Neither as convenient as Twitter, nor as familiar as Facebook… for a good long while, nobody really knew how to use it for business.

But that has changed. And if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to dust off your Google+ account and do some work.

This is because Google has decided to make Google+ the lynchpin for several of their endeavors. Many new features from Google require it:
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Google Authorship Is Coming (Whether You Want It Or Not)

Image of a keyboard with a News key

If you’re trying to weigh whether or not you want to implement Google Authorship as part of your digital strategy and marketing, your role as decision-maker is becoming less and less relevant.

On Monday Google announced they have partnered with WordPress.com, TypePad, About.com and other platforms and sites to implement what they call, Google+ Sign-In.
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The Guide to Google Publisher

It’s Time to Start Using ‘nofollow’ Links in Your Press Releases

I’ve been tweeting a fair bit lately about Google’s recent change to their Quality Guidelines regarding link schemes and the consequences for backlinks in press releases. Put simply, if part of your SEO strategy is building backlinks by spamming the world with press releases pointing back to your Web properties, it’s time to stop that and start investing in building quality content instead. If you use press releases as a tool to get your message out, you can continue doing this…but all the links in press releases that point back to your site should use the nofollow attribute.
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The Google Authorship FAQ

We’re at a point in time where Google is giving us unprecedented control over how our properties are listed in their search results. Based on the questions I’ve been getting, it’s something many health care organizations are currently trying to figure out.

One important way organizations can enhance how their content is listed on Google search engine results pages (SERPs) is by implementing Google Authorship in their content.

Because it’s a popular topic and something that can help draw attention to your pages in search results (possibly even more so than buying ads), I’ve assembled a convenient FAQ that answers some of the most common questions I’ve heard.
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VitalSite 6.7 is Here!

Last week our engineering team released VitalSite 6.7. It contains a slew of new features, fixes and enhancements focused on helping consumers find your site and the content within it. This release includes enhancement to site search, schema.org support, and a range of tools for webmasters.

Site Search Enhancements and Schema.org Support

Screen shot of VitalSite's module search showing provider directory
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Schema.org, Structured Content and VitalSite 6.7

The recent announcement from Google underscores the growing importance of structured content on the Web. This is not a new trend, but it’s one that has definitely been gaining more and more momentum recently. I expect this to continue to increase, which is why I’m excited to talk a little about how our upcoming VitalSite 6.7 release will begin supporting schema.org microdata.

Based on the enhancement requests I’ve seen since schema.org was launched by Google, Yahoo! and Bing, I know that a fair number of clients will be excited by this support. If it’s a new concept for you, hang in there: I’m about to give a quick overview describing what it is and why you should care. At the end, I’ll also share some helpful links.
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