When it comes to gaining a competitive edge on the Internet, local listing websites are the best place to start – especially Google+ Local. One of the major benefits of these types of sites is that past clients can post reviews on the very same page as your business listing. These can help you win new clients and increase your credibility on the web.

But – you may be asking – how can patient reviews help my visibility in search engines?

To answer this, you have to understand how Google ranks websites. And, what it all comes down to is authority. The more websites that are pointing and linking to your site, the more authority your site has in the eyes of Google. And, patient reviews are no exception. Acting as inbound links, the more reviews your have, the more Google picks up on your business. Someone with a detailed listing and a large number of reviews is more important than a business without any reviews, at least when it comes to search engine authority. Plus, as an important added benefit, people are more likely to trust a business – especially a healthcare provider – when they read positive first-hand accounts from past clients.

Strapped for ideas? Here are a few ways to encourage patient reviews:

  • Reach out through your social networks. Create social media posts on your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ that encourage patients to review your services.
  • Compile an email list. When patients check in to your office, ask them if they would like to opt-in to receive practice emails. Send a message to everyone on your list.
  • In-office kiosk. Place a designated computer or tablet in your waiting room. Encourage patients to review your services right then and there.

Today, your online success can seriously influence your offline success. Make sure you’re being seen online!

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