Reviews represent a massive piece of your online profile. They’re vital for online retailers and just as important for local businesses.
We’ve all seen local business listings appear within Google search results when you search for goods or services nearby. They’re literally the first thing you see! Thereafter you’ll see additional review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.
It’s clear that Google local search results dominate the top portion of the results pages. That means sites like Yelp lose visibility and, thus, traffic. If you want to build web prominence, attract new patients, and achieve local search dominance, you need good reviews.
What do reviews actually do for the patient?
Reviews are the source of social proof. Prospective patients need as much information as they can get in order to make a sound decision when finding a new provider. So, when people are looking for a dentist to fix their broken tooth or want the best quality treatment, they look at businesses with ratings averaging 4 stars and above. Don’t forget the volume of reviews left also makes a big difference.
Do I try to split reviews or focus on one listing?
This is a question we get quite often and there is a pretty clear-cut answer. Google dominates the web and all that encompasses it. Review scores are highly tracked by Google’s algorithm and very reputable SEO authority Moz ranked reviews as one of their top ranking signals in 2018.
Even though Google is where you want to focus your reviews, don’t ignore all of the other directory listings. They each play a role in effective SEO. Together, they create signals that tell Google about the relevance of your business. Reviews on other sites also back up reviews left on Google’s listing within Google’s algorithm.
So how do I get more reviews?
Being pro-active is the best way to gather reviews and to also gather opinions from your patients. Sometimes you may or may not like what you hear but honesty in both cases is what helps you provide the best possible customer service, leading to 5-star reviews.
Another way to ask for reviews is to just simply ask your customers to leave reviews for you! There are many options for asking for reviews such as email marketing after they sign up as a new patient or by handing out review cards (ask us for one!).
One question I get asked frequently is “What if I give them an incentive to leave a review?”. DON’T DO THIS!!! IT GOES AGAINST GOOGLE’S GUIDELINES AND MOST OTHER SEARCH ENGINES HAVE SIMILAR POLICIES.
Getting reviews will take some time and energy, but the effort is worthwhile. When a review does come in, respond to it with a professional response whether it’s good or bad.
So, there you have it! Reviews are a key link to confirmation and reassurance to your potential customers.
—John Lee, Web Developer SEO, Sesame Communications