The last ten years has seen the online market change beyond recognition thanks to the sheer, awesome power of online reviews. Many people won’t make a buying decision without first reading through online reviews to check what other people have experienced. However, it’s not always clear exactly how collecting online reviews will help improve your visibility on Google.

We’ve outlined why, if you want to please Google’s algorithm, get better website visibility and attract more patients, you really need to collect and share more online reviews.

Online reviews? They’re incredibly powerful mini-marketing tools

Great reviews can seal an excellent online reputation in stone, and a long run of really bad ones can sink your business like a ship. Reviews help you create a positive feedback loop with patients. They help you boost your user-generated content, stuff that people love because it comes from people like them, people they trust. An excellent review or two can even improve your sales conversion rate. No wonder every good business needs a proper review strategy, plus a collection of workable tactics to support it.

The most important reason of all for getting into reviews is that they help Google’s algorithm view your business as having authority in your sector, and that means you’ll enjoy better website visibility, which naturally means more patients visiting. 

Optimising your website with online reviews can deliver website visibility on Google without the need to pour your marketing budget into AdWords advertising or other paid search campaigns. At the same time, operating in a crowded sector like healthcare means paid advertising is more expensive and more competitive than ever before. In today’s online landscape, ranking well in organic search results is something your business should prioritise.  

Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors

Moz is one of the most respected online marketing experts, highly experienced in the way Google’s algorithm works. They’ve discovered that review signals like quantity, velocity, and diversity are incredibly important to the search engine, the 3rd most important factors in the way Google ranks local businesses. Some experts even believe review signals are going to be more important than ever for 2019. If you do business locally, reviews are potentially an even bigger deal.  

Google also uses reviews to derive the ‘brand signals’ that improve domain authority and eventually positively impact the search results. They have just one goal, to serve up the best, most relevant results to users. Brand signals that help them separate popular brands people love from the brands that have poor reputations are really important in this context. The more clearly you can show Google that your site is good quality the better, and reviews help you do exactly that.

How reviews can affect off-page SEO

On-site SEO deals with the content on your site and the way it’s structured. Off-site SEO involves things like building a strong brand presence on social media and a collection of respected third party review platforms, both of which tell Google you’re a brand. Moz claims off-site SEO like third-party reviews carry as much as half of the total ranking factor weight, signalling vital essentials like relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. More evidence that reviews are really important in the great marketing scheme of things.

About structured mark-up for reviews

The best way to present an online review is to mark it up properly with the relevant code to show Google it’s a review. Schema markup is one of the most popular methods. Because Google uses the markup to extract information from web pages and deliver the best results to users, schema markup a strategic must for your site, yet another powerful signal that enhances your practice in the eyes of Google and boosts your organic search results.

Schema markup also creates eye-catching search results. Instead of being one in ten plain links on the search results page, schema markup lets you visually differentiate your practice so it stands out on the page with more detailed information.

If you don’t mark your reviews up properly, Google won’t know they’re reviews and won’t include your star ratings in the search results. While using schema markup doesn’t guarantee Google will feature your reviews in the search pages, without schema markup they never will. Get it right and you could experience a valuable hike in your site’s overall visibility. And that, in turn, can improve your organic search results. You see the pattern?

Collect reviews on a platform with a great reputation of its own

Always keep patients in mind when prioritising what to optimise on your website. When someone looks for reviews about your practice, they want to see good quality, trustworthy information. And that comes from trusted review platforms like Doctify. We make sure our website and practice profiles are fully optimised to perform well in organic search. Our high domain authority helps to increase search visibility to drive patient engagement. 

No reviews? Let’s get cracking!

If you haven’t tapped into the wonder of online reviews yet, you’re missing out on a simple yet highly effective way of improving your online reputation, boosting your natural search rankings on Google, and providing people the information they need to make a properly-informed decision about their healthcare.