Will Online Reviews Matter in 2019?
In recent years, online reviews have not only become more prominent and popular, but reviews have also become a major rank factor in the eyes of Google. Measuring its weight and worth for SEO is key to using reviews to your advantage.
Not Quite Convinced Reviews Matter?
Let’s go over some case study statistics that were released this year (courtesy of Brightlocal studies):
- 50% of users between the ages of 18-34 claim they always opt to read online reviews before choosing a business.
- 91% of this age group trusts an online review as much as an in-person recommendation.
- Positive (4-5 star) reviews make users 68% more likely to choose your practice, while negative reviews can deter patients from your practice by up to 40%.
In addition to these staggering stats, it’s important to know that 2018 saw a general positive increase in user reliance and interactions on online reviews. Brightlocal also noted that only about 20% of online users don’t leave a review when asked. So, don’t be afraid to ask your happy patients to leave a review on Google My Business, Facebook, or Yelp following their appointment with you. Statistically, there is a good chance they will leave one if you just ask!
So, What Should Your Goals Be?
Going into 2019, your practice should make it a goal to at least double your current amount of reviews. Make small changes in your office to encourage a higher influx of reviews, like a reminder sign on your front desk or verbally asking your patients to review your practice. You can also use a review automation service to make the process even easier!
Some best practices for handling reviews are:
- Politely responding to negative reviews without giving away patient information (violating HIPAA guidelines)
- Thanking patients for their reviews by responding directly on the platform
- Taking constructive criticism to heart, and understanding one lower review will not destroy your reputation (it may, rather, make your practice appear more relatable and realistic)
- Finding ways to encourage more reviews in your office, and reminding patients to leave reviews
- Don’t neglect other platforms! Make sure Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp are all getting consistent reviews