If you manage a local healthcare organization, you know how vital positive online reviews are to the success of your practice. Search engine optimization, known as SEO, greatly affects how your practice appears in search results, thereby impacting the decisions of potential patients. One of the most popular sites for local reviews is Google My Business. The site works by factoring in the number of times people mention your practice online and translates that into higher search results and better outcomes for your digital marketing strategy.
Why Reviews Matter
People utilize the Internet to not only find healthcare organizations near them, but also what others are saying about them. The site Reviewtracker reports that 80% of online users and 60% of adults utilize the Internet to obtain information about healthcare providers. Approximately 50% of people said they would see an out-of-network provider if they had positive online reviews. In addition, nearly 85% of people stated they are more likely to select one provider over another due to positive online reviews.
These numbers illustrate how essential it is to ensure your healthcare organization is utilizing SEO to create a strong online presence. Your goal should be not only to maintain current patients, but also to attract new ones. Take a look at some of the ways SEO factors into local reviews of your practice.
One of the key elements of a review is the content itself. Those that contain keywords people are searching for will help determine where your practice appears in the search results. This is the box that appears under the map in search results, known as the local pack. Your practice is much more likely to rank high in the search results if reviews contain your location and keywords you want to rank for.
4+ Star Reviews Are Your Goal
The impact of a positive online review extends farther than just successful SEO. The reviews and ratings of your practice are the deciding factor for most patients when choosing a healthcare organization. Research shows that more than 50% of people will not select a provider that received less than a four-star rating. This perfectly underscores the importance of creating a strong online presence to attract new patients. Google appears to favor sites that yield high click-through-rates. The ripple effect of positive online reviews means you will likely see higher website traffic, which will then increase your SEO ranking.
Take The Time To Engage
Another key element of the relationship between SEO and local reviews is the amount of interaction you have with your online reviewers. Take the time to respond to reviews left on Google My Business, even the negative ones. Be sure to engage in a polite, professional manner with all reviewers. Google has a Q&A section where people can post questions. This is another way you can interact with reviewers and potentially increase your SEO rankings.
When it comes to your website, creating rich content is crucial for on-site SEO. Adding content such as videos, podcasts, or and infographics are highly appealing to both current and potential patients. You can add videos detailing your treatment procedures or services to help educate people.
Optimize Your Site For Mobile
To attract the most potential patients, you should optimize your website for mobile use. Many people rely on their smart devices even when at home, so it is essential to remove broken links and resolve loading issues on your website. Along with a mobile-optimized website, you should create a strong presence on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. You will also want to create a presence on healthcare-related websites such as RateMDs and Healthgrades. Ensure your address, phone number, and operating hours are accurate across all platforms where your practice appears.
The site referralmd mentioned a survey from the Altarum Institute Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care that found 43% of people reported they would most likely switch healthcare providers due to negative online reviews, while only 23% of healthcare providers believed negative reviews would affect the decision-making process. The site also reported that nearly 90% of people utilize the Internet to find a healthcare provider consider positive online reviews as important as a personal recommendation from family or friends.
The use of schemas, which is a set of data markup, on your website will enable search engine crawlers to better analyze the content on it. Search engine crawlers currently utilize a schema that targets certain medical data such as illnesses, symptoms, and treatments. This will also help increase the chances of your practice appearing in the top of local search results.
Utilizing some or all these mobile strategies will help you create an overall successful SEO strategy and increase your chances of appearing higher in local search results.
SEO, Reviews, And New Patients
Online reviews play a crucial role in the success of healthcare organizations, as they directly impact search engine optimization (SEO) and the decision-making process of potential patients. Google My Business is a popular site for local reviews, and positive reviews can lead to higher search results and increased website traffic. Therefore, it is important to not only maintain positive reviews but also engage with online reviewers, respond to both positive and negative feedback, and create rich content, including videos and infographics.
Moreover, the use of schemas on your website can help increase your chances of appearing in the top of local search results. It is also essential to optimize your website for mobile use and create a strong presence on social media sites and healthcare-related websites. The impact of a positive online review extends beyond successful SEO, as it is the deciding factor for most patients when choosing a healthcare organization.
Finally, healthcare providers should take note that negative online reviews can significantly affect their decision-making process. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor and manage online reviews effectively to ensure a positive online presence and attract new patients. By implementing these strategies, healthcare organizations can create a successful SEO strategy and improve their chances of appearing higher in local search results, leading to increased website traffic and potential patient conversion.