How Reviews Affect Your Search Engine Ranking

There is a close link between excellent customer service and patient loyalty. One bad patient review is enough to make patients search for another physician. In fact, many patients, over 70%, say they read online reviews before making an initial appointment with a new doctor. 

As a business owner and physician, there is a lot of pressure placed on your reputation. Reputation management refers to the methods and strategies around monitoring and controlling the online presence and reputation of a business or person. In recent years, it has become an increasingly important factor in creating a positive reputation and contributes to ranking higher in search engine results. Google loves a good reputation just as much as potential patients do. 

How Conversion Rates Affects Search Engine Ranking

The more that potential patients trust your business, the more likely your conversion rates will increase. A conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors that complete a specific goal, like making an appointment or contacting your practice, out of the total number of visitors. 

Your conversion rate is data that search engines use when determining your online ranking. An increase or decrease in your conversion rate due to negative or positive reviews directly impact your search engine ranking.

There are a few ways to raise your conversion rate: 

·   Improve the visual aspect of your online listings by adding high quality images to your listings. Studies show that people are highly visual and will engage with your listing based on “how it looks” and if it is the most visually appealing. The more clicks your listing receives, the greater the chances of increasing your conversion rate.

·   Simplify your conversion funnel. When a person clicks on your listing, make it simple for them to book an appointment or contact your practice. The fewer steps they have to take, the better. 

·   Optimize your listing for local SEO. 88% of potential patients who search for local businesses either call or visit within 24 hours. Have your practice information and services up to date and be sure that you specify your location.

SEO and Online Reviews

SEO has been closely related to online reviews and digital marketing for a long time. According to Moz, online reviews make up approximately 10% of the criteria that Google used when displaying search results. Since Google’s algorithm can be tricky to navigate, knowing how to leverage their criteria to achieve a higher ranking is still pretty secretive and cryptic. 

However, after years of research and studies around Google, online reviews, and SEO, there are a few commonalities that stand out. 

Reviews are not going to affect your SEO if you aren’t getting them – which means you need to develop a strategy to collect high quality reviews. 70% of patients will leave a review when asked following an appointment. This means your strategy needs to include 3 things: 

1. Timeliness: The timing of your appointment follow-up communication needs to be precise. Whether you are communicating via email campaigns or text message, you need to time your follow up so it is a day or two after the appointment. The most effective time of day to send these messages is in the morning. 

2. Approach:  When asking people to leave a review, be concise without overwhelming them with too many questions. The best way to get genuine, detailed responses is to keep it simple. A short form asking for the positive or negative aspects of their visit and an overview is nice and short. Remember, a honest review is worth more than a simple starred rating with a vague, unclear sentence. 

3. Persistence: Finally, be persistent without being pushy. If your first request for a review goes ignored, give them another chance. A “nudge” email or text can be sent a few days after the original request. The number of views you receive plays a big part in how your business performs in search engine rankings.  

How to Get Started

Contact the team at Valet Health to discuss our LaunchPad solution to ensure that your online information is accurate and builds up a steady stream of positive online reviews. LaunchPad provides fully-managed support, with our team updating your profiles, building your reputation, optimizing your SEO, and even responding to reviews. Contact our team today for your FREE reputation report card.