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Patient Reviews: The Key To First Place in the Search Results

Posted by Surgeon’s Advisor

Patient Reviews Are The Key To First Place in the Search Results

Google rankings can make or break a business, and healthcare marketing relies heavily on good feedback to rank website to website to website, especially for the local search results.

ENTER: Patient Reviews

Patient reviews are critical to local SEO, but patients don’t normally leave a review if the service was good.  Generally, people leave reviews to account for a bad experience, for bad service.

It’s the “no news is good news” mindset that people in dramatic Netflix shows push, in contrast to the unspoken “news is bad news, and bad news is usually very bad” mindset.

However, one study shows that 70 percent of consumers will leave a positive review if asked. 

This is the digital “tips are appreciated” jar mindset, where there’s no expectation, no coercion, no big spectacle or drawing of attention.  Just a small little place where something left behind is a silent expression of gratitude.

Naturally, all reviews should be voluntary, and not the result of harassment or bribes. Makes for good, organic search results, as opposed to robotic-sounding, artificial ones.

But it is also important to respect when patients don’t want their health issues heralded through a digital megaphone; at least, not with their identities attached. 

There are, thankfully, ways to glean reviews, from shortening names down to initials to anonymous review sites. It’s also helpful to suggest a common-sounding nickname or a pseudonym through Twitter or Facebook to leave a review behind.

And positive reviews tend to be short things too, with far fewer rules and way less time to type in anything that can help the reputation, and therefore the ranking, of your healthcare business. Do not forget to emphasize to patients that there is no hidden requirement when they leave a review, that one to two sentences will work.  You do not want to take up more time from them than you already have, and being considerate of their time, space, and mental energy goes a long way.

Why Reviews?

Patient reviews are the most trusted source of information when potential patients are doing their homework before stepping into your office. Content crafted from customers makes your website fresh and current, which means relevancy and authenticity, both in the people and the practice.

Reviews also increase how many people see your website, and how long they stay to read things, maybe call or email in about a service they have a spark of interest for. 

Reviews essentially do your SEO for you, decreasing the bounce rate and compiling search queries and keywords for you. 

The keywords, search queries, even the reviews may not always come in neat little piles, but that will be your job — or the job of your SEO expert.

Whoever is combing through the digital stack, take a breath of relief, knowing that the hard work, the tedious and time-consuming work, has been taken care of by people whom your practice has taken care of. The Golden Rule does work, everyone, and remembering that will keep your business sailing.

So, what tips should one keep in mind, when thinking of how to get your medical website to the top of the local search results?

Use Whatever Is Free (and use it to help)

In this case, tools like Google Maps and Google My Business. For patients, it’s frustrating to not have a clear way to find the location of your medical practice or to have a point of contact like a phone number. It also looks unprofessional in a Google search.

Make sure you have your location clear on the website that mentions your business, as well as updating phone numbers and email addresses as needed. Please help every potential patient, and they will help you back.

Roll With The Punches

Not every ounce of feedback will be pleasant, or even helpful. Negative reviews exist, and it will hurt your ranking, and your business, if you try to make it disappear.  So, face it head-on and follow up. Respond.

Turn this bad hit into a good one by taking this as a learning lesson and admitting it.  No one is perfect, which means no practice is perfect, and if there is a way to fix the mistake it’s always the best route to try and remedy it with minimal backlash to the patient.

It gives you the reputation of a practice staffed by people who are humble, open to new information, and willing to show others what not to do and, ergo, lightening the load of navigating negative reviews.  Everyone leaves looking, feeling, and doing better.

Reward The Good

‘Reward’ is not quite the right word here, admittedly.  Perhaps ‘respond’ is better? Positive reviews are always welcome, so make sure that is public knowledge, at least in regards to your business.

Replying with a personalized reply (or privately with a message) shows that there are real people behind the procedure pages and FAQs. And that those people are very happy.

Happy that the patient is pleased with the results, happy that their hard work is appreciated.  Good feelings make for good marketing. Good responses and reviews make for good marketing and good business overall.