We know online reviews are important for attracting new patients to your practice. But did you know they’re also incredibly important to your SEO? According to Moz, reviews are the second most important factor used to rank your site, right behind your Google My Business setup. If you’ve put effort into your Google My Business page but still aren’t seeing great results with your SEO, it’s worth making sure your reviews are up to par. Luckily, Google is using a lot of the same things your prospective clients are using to judge your practice. 

Curious what Google is using to judge your reviews? Here are the signals the algorithm is looking for.

Number 

This one is pretty self-explanatory. How many reviews does the business have? More is more, in this case. Even negative reviews, if properly responded to, have a positive impact. This isn’t just a Google thing, either. Prospects routinely indicate that they don’t trust a review score until it hits a certain threshold, usually somewhere around 40, according to BrightLocal

Sentiment 

That’s right, not only are your prospective patients paying attention to your negative reviews, so is Google. No business has a flawless rating (in fact, prospects tend to not trust a perfect review score, believing it to be a sign of fake reviews), so don’t despair if you have some less than stellar reviews. It’s all about how you respond because your prospective patients are reading your responses as much as they’re reading the negative reviews. This brings us to our third factor.

Responses 

Whatever you do, don’t just ignore negative reviews. Your prospects expect to see responses just as much as the search engines do. Creating a plan to respond to negative reviews will go a long way. Remember to keep all of your responses HIPAA-compliant, avoid getting defensive or attacking the reviewer personally, thank the reviewer, and outline your solutions to the problem. 

Why does Google choose to rank these particular things? It all comes down to authority. A more detailed listing combined with more patient reviews is a signal to Google that your practice is well-established and should rank higher than practices with no reviews or incorrect information on their listings. Your potential patients view it the same way, so it makes sense!

So, now that we know what Google is looking for when it looks at your patient reviews, how do you encourage customers to review your practice? Here are a few things to try:

  • In-Office. Contacting patients after they’ve already left your office can be difficult. Including a kiosk in your waiting room with a tablet or computer gives patients a chance to review your services while they wait. 
  • Email. If a customer chooses not to interact with an in-office opportunity to leave a review, emailing as a follow-up is a good strategy. Make sure they’ve opted in to receive communication from your practice.
  • Social Media. Utilizing your existing social media platforms is a great way to remind customers to leave a review, as well as a great place to incentivize customers for leaving a review. 

Stumped by your site’s lackluster SEO? You need SEO Power. Our SEO tool can help you increase your on-page SEO, improve your local listings, and help connect you with your customers more effectively. We don’t just do SEO though. Our Review Power tool makes requesting, responding to and monitoring your online reviews easy.

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