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How Online Reviews And SEO Are Linked Together

If there’s only one thing that you get out of this post, remember this:

Key takeaway:

Google listings with more stars get better ranking.

Your patients are going online first and they are inundated with star ratings from all kinds of sources – Healthgrades., Yelp, ZocDoc, and more.

These online doctor review sites often rank very highly and if your website is not optimized and you don’t have a handle on your reputation management, a patient could see those sites before your own site which is a major (but fixable) SEO issue.

Keep in mind too that most healthcare searches are localized so if you only have the resources to focus on one area, focus on Google which now displays the “local 3-pack” which we’ll get into more detail further on in this post.

With Google, the volume and positivity of online reviews are ranking signals which makes review building an important part of your practice growth strategy.

Any directory like Google My Business, Yelp and Bing use review quantity and variety as ranking factors. These reviews drive decision making in consumers. Higher quality reviews plus your own timely responses to patient concerns and questions in the reviews will generate more phone calls to your practice, more online requests for appointments, and more traffic to your website.

5 Ways Reviews Affect Your Business and Local Search Results on Google

This video from BrightLocal (below) explains recent studies that show why most people trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations and the impact that has on your overall search rankings on Google.

In turn, positive reviews and and having more reviews than your competitors make it more likely that patients will do business with you.

  1. 91% of consumers now read online reviews for local businesses
  2. 84% of consumers actually trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations – trusting the content of the reviews at a very high level
  3. Leading to 68% of consumers saying that Positive reviews make them trust a business more once they’ve had a chance to read positive reviews about them.
  4. With positive reviews consumers are 63% more likely to choose a local business over one of their competitors.
  5. Only 11% of consumers are not influenced by reading reviews. leaving 46% of consumers selecting a local business based on other factors.

More and more patients are reading reviews online so they’re putting more trust in the information that they glean from review sites leading them to trust your practice and determining who they will make an appointment with, ultimately driving more leads to your practice.

Positive reviews also increase your search rankings and clicks from search to your businesses website.

Most Healthcare Searches are Localized

One of most influential factors in local search rankings are Google reviews which affect Google’s local 3-pack which is their way of listing local businesses in search results. The 3-pack only shows the top three businesses. In the past you could rank lower and still have your business displayed. The 3-pack also initially only displays your company name, number of Google reviews, the average rating of your reviews, and link to your website if you have one (You do have a website, right!?)

The sentiment and content of reviews then plays an important role. It’s been proven that there is a correlation between number of reviews and the ranking placement i.e. the more reviews that you have, the higher you will rank.

Google wants information about businesses so that it can present the best search results possible to searchers. The better that Google performs, the more people who will continue to use their services.

A great way for Google to get information about a business is to look at what consumers are writing online about that business. Google then references these reviews placing importance on the sentiment and content of these reviews. For you to continue ranking highly, your customers need to paint a pretty picture of your business via online reviews.

Quality of Reviews AND Quantity

The quality of reviews always matters but so too does the quantity of reviews to get into, and remain in, the top three positions of Google’s local 3-pack.

If you have no reviews or, next to none, a good rule of thumb to follow when you’re first starting to increase the quantity is that for every 7 positive reviews you get, you can increase your star ranking by 1. There’s a cap on that but when you first start off you’ll see some exponential growth.

Generating reviews and outranking your competition go hand in hand. Managing your online reputation can be a full-time job. InboundMD can show you how to automate the process of soliciting reviews to make it easier on you and your staff.

Contact us for a free reputation management trial.

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", and the host of The Practice Marketing Podcast that details how successful practices are winning online.

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