When it comes to online review market share, Google is king. Google assists the smart consumer by providing everything they need to make an informed choice with ease – including Google reviews for doctors. When leaving candid reviews, consumers help other consumers by providing an inside perspective of what the business, product, or service is like.
Just as Google users consider a restaurant’s star ratings and reviews when deciding what to order out for dinner, they consider a doctor’s reviews when deciding where to go for medical care. Certain Google search terms trigger local search results, and when your medical practice appears at or near the top of the list, so will your current star rating and your reviews. Before the user knows the first thing about you or your practice, the star rating already gives an impression of your online reputation.
Google Reviews for Doctors Help Healthcare Consumers Choose Providers
Online reviews are the new way of getting word-of-mouth recommendations, and are a cornerstone of your medical marketing strategy. With Google reviews, consumers now have access to the opinions and experiences of people who are far beyond their personal circles. According to a report from Doctor.com, “The majority of patients consider 4 stars to be the lowest-acceptable rating for a doctor.”
This same report shares how “87.8% of patients will go online to read reviews about a provider they’ve been referred to.… Having a strong online presence and reputation is absolutely necessary to acquire new patients and prevent referral leakage.”
Negative Reviews Are an Opportunity
When your medical practice’s staff has been working so hard to provide excellent care for your patients, reading a negative online review can be disheartening. However, negative feedback alerts your practice to issues that live in your blind spots.
What would you rather have: a steep drop in returning patients with no explanation, or a candid review that tells you what might be causing patient attrition? If a patient was too shy to tell you or your staff about a bothersome issue during their visit, they may be emboldened to post about it on a Google review. Thus, you can extract patient experience improvement opportunities from negative reviews. While these opportunities should be recognized and acted on, you’ll also want to continuously strive to provide the very best patient experience. The overreaching goal should be to limit negative comments and build on the positive ones.
Google reviews for doctors are also a PR opportunity. Responding to your practice reviews, both negative and positive is a great way to build goodwill and trust and shows patients you care about what is being said. When you respond empathetically and request to resolve an issue in a private channel, those who are reading a negative review will instantly see your thoughtful and caring reply. This tells potential patients that you and your practice are actively engaged in providing a high quality of care. Responding to positive reviews, tells prospective patients that you do care about them having a great experience and that they are not just a number.
Positive Patient Reviews of Doctors Make Up for the Negative
Your star rating is an average of how all of your reviewers rated your practice. Therefore, when you gain a lot of 4- or 5-star reviews, these will bring up your overall rating. Actively pursuing more patient reviews allows you to achieve a stellar rating.
When a medical practice is new, it may not have any online patient reviews for its doctors yet. While no reviews mean there are no negative comments to influence consumer opinion, there are also no positive comments – so your practice can be upstaged by a competitor with a 4.7-star rating listed right above yours.
Get started now by soliciting reviews so you can build a strong online profile on Google.
How Star Ratings Impact Local Search Ranking
When you do a search for a term or phrase that brings local search results, the shortlist of three businesses you see at the top is known as Google’s “local pack.” These are the websites that are relevant to your search and have also garnered high star ratings. You can easily see all of the other local options by clicking “View All,” but many users don’t bother doing that.
Of course, the big three will get the most visibility in local SEO (search engine optimization) search. In a 2020 report from Moz, Google consumer reviews are now the second-highest-ranking factor for top local search rank. So, all factors being equal among medical practices, those with consistently high star ratings are in the best position to edge out a competitor for Google’s prime “local pack” online real estate.
Be Stellar on Google with iHealthSpot’s Online Reputation Management for Doctors
If you’ve had a peek at your medical practice’s Google reviews and know you can do better, Google reviews experts are here to give yours a boost. With our reputation management services for doctors and other medical professionals, we’ve grown client’s reviews by 160% or more!