If you are a practice manager or even the primary healthcare provider, the term patient feedback probably brings up some feelings. If you’ve experienced constructive feedback from your patients, chances are you’ve either felt incredibly encouraged or defeated.
The reality is when a patient leaves feedback online; it can either be a big help or a major headache for your practice.
In this article, we cover how patient feedback scores can impact your search engine rankings, your ability to acquire new patients and even your practice’s revenue.
How Do Patient Reviews Improve SEO?
Will more patient reviews improve your practice’s organic search rankings? That’s a complicated question that doesn’t have a cut and dried answer.
While everyone knows that patient reviews are extremely important to your online presence, it’s harder to fully understand how patient reviews can impact the organic search traffic to your website. There are a lot of variables at play that can impact the search engine result pages (SERPs) beyond the number and quality of business reviews.
In the simplest answer possible, yes, online patient reviews can have an impact on your SEO efforts. According to the SEO experts at Moz, online reviews are a ranking factor for local search rankings, but they do caution that there are a ton of other factors at play that can influence local search results including inbound links, on page SEO optimization and how users interact with your search results.
While this certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, you can an idea of how much goes into a search ranking. The good news is that patient feedback does act as a signal for search engines to determine authority and trustworthiness about a practice.
When it comes to patient reviews, Google’s algorithm is specifically looking for:
- Total volume of patient reviews
- Recent reviews
- Overall star rating (quality matters)
- Practices responding to online reviews
Google recently confirming online reviews play a role in local search factors means healthcare marketers or practice managers need to be involved in online reputation management as part of their overall SEO strategy.
How to Get the Most out of Patient Feedback
So how do you get the most out of your patient feedback for SEO purposes?
You can leverage patient feedback in many interesting and helpful ways. This includes everything from improving your consumer experience to responding to negative reviews, but two things should come first: being transparent and focusing on the patient first.
When you get patient feedback, you should always take their concerns seriously, even if their criticism feels like a slap in the face. View feedback as an opportunity to improve your customer experience and develop a deeper relationship with your patients and not as a personal attack.
Remember, if one person is saying it online, there’s a good chance many more have the same opinion but haven’t taken the time to post it. Fixing patient concerns should be a top priority.
If you are able to utilize patient feedback effectively, you will be able to accumulate more reviews in the future (increasing your SEO efforts) and increase patient loyalty.
Get more Patient Reviews
Start a customer review campaign with the goal of increasing the amount of reviews and the frequency of them. Don’t worry about trying to only get positive feedback. You want to know what people really think.
Additionally, you should have a place on your website and on your social media accounts where patients can leave reviews.
Patients who leave reviews on your site help by creating unique user generated content that can help you with link building, keywords and other basic SEO best practices.
If you decided to display reviews on your site, remember to leverage microdata and schema markup to highlight your reviews for search engines rewarding rich snippets and other enhanced search results.
Taking all of these steps will help you grow your visibility in search results as well as help you build a good brand image with your target audience.
Respond to Patient Feedback
You will also want to start responding to all forms of patient feedback online. This of course includes Google, but also includes other third-party review sites. Don’t be afraid to respond to negative reviews.
If you see a negative review, we recommend responding to it quickly with a sincere apology and what you are going to do to resolve the situation to meet their expectations. This makes people feel like their voice has been heard and makes them more likely to give your practice a second chance. Then it’s up to you to make sure your staff delivers on your promise to improve the consumer experience.
If you see a positive review, thank them for their review and leave some kind of personal message. Reputation management for practices is all about making the patient feel like they have a voice.
Responding to patient feedback will help you keep your current patients and also improve your SEO.
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