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Many doctors, dentists, and chiropractors look longingly at their competitor’s volume and quality of online reviews wondering, “Why not me?”

Online reviews have a strong influence on a prospective patient’s decision on which practice to select for care, as well as, your local SEO. Yes, your reviews make a difference, and that “difference” can either be positive or negative.

Everyone has a website, so a point of differentiation(POD) can be how you manage and capture – online patient reviews. These reviews are given by the patient- your customer – directly without any filters. This helps your medical or dental practices capture the real pulse of patients. This can either be a boon or a bane. In this article, I will give you some insightful tips about online reviews and reputation building and how it impacts local SEO.

The importance of patient reviews for online dental marketing, medical marketing, or chiropractic marketing is reflected when patients click your website over a competitor’s based on peer recommendations and your response to prior reviews.

THE HUNT FOR STARS

The number of stars (rating) can make or break your profits. The type and volume of online patient reviews are what matter. Positive reviews indicate you have a superior practice and patients are so satisfied with their experience they will preach to others. That means, you have got it right and can use these reviews for further enhancement of your practice growth.

While quite the opposite is happening with the negative reviews, which if repeatedly noted indicates something is wrong and may need further examination. It ultimately means that you have got it wrong, either with the process or its delivery. Now, these negative reviews can help correct your mistakes or patient’s perception if the correction is done right away. The more you wait, the larger it looms. I suggest that instead of shying away, you respond to negative reviews respectfully, effectively, and immediately.

Neutral or lukewarm reviews indicate that you are missing out on opportunities to shine. Here, it is better to send a message that you are grateful for the review and try to learn from it. Showing a few lackluster results mixed with a large number of rave reviews also lends legitimacy to your results since it is hard to hit a homerun every time.

FACTS TO BACK IT UP

According to BrightLocal’s survey, nearly 90% percent of patients trust online reviews for their medical selection. Since, it covers a wider demographic of people, locations, ideologies, and usage patterns, people just trust online opinions.

Your Google rankings improve only if patients have been given the permission to write their reviews on your website through a third party site like Yelp or Google Reviews. As Google’s search algorithms incorporate third party data, off-site rankings can have more effect on your overall rank than reviews on your website. Attaching these Google reviews can authenticate and impress your potential patients.

Google 4-pack shows 1 Ad and 3 Organic Local listings which increase the weight of online reviews in terms of visibility and rankings.

Basically, you need to begin a review functioning system on your website to help handle reviews so you are rewarded for these golden nuggets. Also, claim a presence in local review sites [40% of consumers visit review sites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare) while 60% use the search engine] to better impress and retain your customers/patients.

LOCAL SEO

It is a highly effective form of local online marketing. Local SEO allows local businesses to promote their services to local customers/patients at the exact time that they are looking for your type of business. This local search engine optimization uses search engines like Google and business directories like Yelp, Superpages, Qype, and TouchLocal.

Positive online reviews can help healthcare companies grab a prominent position in local search engine results. Search engine listings with good reviews push for more click-throughs and physical visits. According to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking factors survey, online reviews make up to 10% of how search engines decide to rank search results.

Hope this review was useful to help you decide on implementing an online review strategy into your practice. In the next article, I will discuss the hot topic of how to acquire good online reviews and how to manage poor ones.

For more information on Online Reviews and How to Reinforce Positive Reviews or Manage Negative Reviews for your Healthcare Website, contact Kristine Grace at KristineG@IntellaHealth.net.

by Kristine Grace, Feb-14-2017

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