If you’re like most searchers, you probably use reviews to help you find a new restaurant, electrician, or even a child care center. The same happens when patients are looking for a new dentist or healthcare provider. These reviews help patients learn more about your practice – and increase your search engine rankings.But why are Google reviews connected to your local SEO? Let us explain! Google uses a multi-faceted algorithm to rank dental and healthcare search results. This algorithm includes a variety of ranking factors including the physical address of the practice, consistency of citations across the web, and the domain authority of the website. It also includes Google reviews. Because Google’s main goal is to give users the best search results possible, reviews help Google show that one practice is better than another. This enables consumers to make better healthcare decisions. Reviews are not only important on Google, but on other popular reviews sites as well, including Yelp.com, Yellowpages.com, and Healthgrades.com. Google will pull reviews from these other sites and include them in their ranking factors. The more quality reviews you have, the better your local SEO.
Tips to Encourage Patients to Write ReviewsGetting patients to write reviews can be tricky. It’s important to follow specific guidelines so your reviews don’t get penalized or removed. Here are a few tips to help patients write reviews:
- Ask Patients Via Email Newsletter – If you use an email newsletter to communicate with patients, work in verbiage that asks readers to review you on your Google, Yelp or Healthgrades profile. Send out the direct link to the page, along with some instructions (if necessary) to make the process quick and easy for them.
- Ask Patients After Their Appointment – As you’re wrapping up an appointment, politely ask your patient if they wouldn’t mind leaving you a review. You can also give them a handout with instructions on leaving reviews and where.
- Don’t Offer Incentives – Offering gifts or discounts in exchange for a review may help motivate people to write a review, however it goes against many review site guidelines. This can get your reviews permanently removed, or worse, your profile removed.
- Respond to Reviews, Especially Negative Ones – Getting negative feedback is tough, however it allows you understand how patients view your practice. By responding to the reviewer, you’re showing patients that you value their input – and will make the necessary adjustments to keep them happy. It can also prevent a patient from leaving your practice for a competitor.