Google Reviews and Your Medical Practice
“Insightful physicians will see [patient reviews] as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. This new era of online information can be especially useful in competitive medical environments.” So recommends The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Reviews of your business. It is easy to feel like there are a million review sites (actually there may almost be that many). Trying to cater to all of them and to monitor your reviews on each site can be an overwhelming thought, and not one that we would recommend.
While its smart to keep an eye on review sites and check your reviews across various sites once per quarter to make sure there is nothing damaging being said about your business, it is only necessary to focus your time and efforts on one particular consumer review site: Google Reviews.
Why Bother with Google Reviews?
Not only do most people take Google Reviews seriously (mainly because when you perform a Google search more and more Google Review stars are being integrated into the results and what would you rather have next to your business listing – 5 stars? Or no stars?), but more importantly, Google regards Google Reviews highly. One of the reasons for this is because in order to leave a Google Review, a person must have a Google Login and Google, in their infinite wisdom, has the ability to determine which are verifiable, accurate reviews. With so many review sites being gamed for good reviews (or the inability to stop competitors from spiking you with bad reviews), Google Reviews is the review outlet in the best position to capture fair and true consumer evaluations.
Of course, this means that as a medical practice trying to attract new patients you will benefit greatly from a strong, positive Google Review profile. This means that you need to solicit Google reviews from your patients, and to do this, you need to set up a simple and easy system for your office staff to alert patients of the importance of reviews, and to make it easy for patients to leave them for you.
A study by Digital Marketing Works found that quality and quantity of reviews are the most important factors that affect Google ranking. Google reviews are also generated by people only once they have Google+ accounts, so it makes sense that Google is giving them a high value in order to encourage people to ask for reviews, and to spur more people to create Google accounts.
Encouraging Google Reviews
There is one rule for encouraging Google Reviews: Keep it simple. Give patients easy alternatives to find your site and to leave you a review.
- If you send out any emails or electronic newsletters, provide the link to your Google My Business listing and let your patients know that they can leave you a review. Consider giving them a step by step instructional with screenshots so that they know exactly what to do. At the very least, let them know that if they do not currently have a Google login, that they can very easily create one.
- You can choose to make things super easy by having a way for people to leave Google reviews while still in your office. We recommend using a tablet computer (it is easier if you use an Android tablet – as Google doesn’t make it quite so easy to leave Google reviews from an iPad – although it can be done).
- Ask patients who have finished their appointment if they would consider leaving a review. And print out a handout that explains in simple, numbered directions how they can do so. (Note: You cannot exchange anything for a positive review, it is something that Google forbids, and quite frankly, it is not worth the risk to do.)
- Keep a printout of your positive Google reviews in your office so that patients can see that you value reviews of your business. It may also plant the idea in their head to give you a review for the superior medical assistance you have provided them with.
- Post a link on your Facebook page for your followers encouraging them to leave you a Google Review.
How to Make Sure People See Your Positive Google Reviews
The best way to ensure that a strong record of solid, positive Google reviews helps to turn your medical practice into a thriving business is to make sure that you have a Google My Business account that are all linked to your business and verified by Google.
Once you have set up your account and verified your business/location with Google, whenever your practice comes up in search results, Google may choose to share your 4 or 5 star review with people conducting a search for a doctor. While there is no known way to ensure that your review stars will show up in search, Google does pull them in when showing Map search results (which is why it is important that you verify your business with Google Local/Google Plus). For more information on Google Reviews, contact the experts at Premiere Creative and give us a call at (973) 346-8100.