Here’s how you can use online patient reviews to boost your ranking in Google Places and thus the local organic search engine results, according to a February 2012 blog post at KevinMD.com.
Claim your listing. Google Places pulls information from online directories to create listings. Therefore, your practice may already exist in Google Places. Start by searching Google Places by your telephone number and then claim your listing(s) if you haven’t already. All you need for this is a Google account (simply sign up for a free Gmail account if you don’t already have one). Delete any duplicate listings as this may harm your rankings and do not use the same phone number for multiple locations.
Complete your listing. After you claim your Google Places account, you’ll want to fill out your profile as completely as possible. That includes adding a link to your website and a description of your practice. Be sure to use keywords that relate to your practice or specialty. Your Google Places page will show your profile completion rate. Make sure it reaches 100 percent to be most effective.
Manage reviews. Unlike some review sites, Google actually allows you to respond to reviews by Google users. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your customer service skills by promptly responding to negative reviews to show patients you are listening. You can’t delete negative reviews but what you can do is encourage your happy patients to dilute negative comments with positive ones. One or two bad reviews will not hurt your reputation as long as there are three or four positive ones right next to it. Facebook and Twitter are great resources for asking satisfied patients to post reviews. Google recognizes when you keep your profile up to date and are an active participant in your listing and uses this as a major part of their algorithm when calculating rank.
There are many reasons to monitor and manage your online patients reviews, but perhaps most beneficial of all is the opportunity to improve your website rankings in Google. For good or for bad, online patient reviews are an effective (and free) way to promote and grow your practice. You might as well use them to your advantage.
Amanda Kanaan is a healthcare marketing author, speaker, and consultant. She blogs at WhiteCoat Designs and can be reached on Twitter @whitecoatdesign.