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TestLocal Search Simplified: How Healthcare Organizations Can Rank on Google

Local Search Simplified: How Healthcare Organizations Can Rank on Google

With the majority of patients turning to online search engines to research healthcare providers, ensuring high visibility on Google has become a non-negotiable for the success of practices of all sizes.

Read on to learn how to attract the modern patient to your organization via local search rankings, and discover how rater8’s healthcare reputation management solution can significantly enhance your practice’s online presence, reputation, and patient acquisition efforts.

Why Ranking on Google Matters for Healthcare Organizations

Google and other search engines have shifted from prioritizing paid ads and traditional SEO methods to boosting businesses whose consumers express trust through 5-star reviews.

Best orthopedic surgeons in Raleigh NC Google search query

This means businesses can no longer rely on paid ads as a “pay-to-play” method to get in front of their audiences. Instead, they must focus on building a strong brand and reputation bolstered by “peer-to-peer” reviews and ratings. Where it was once the gold standard to appear at the top of the “paid results” section, the Google 3-Pack now reigns supreme. For healthcare organizations, this means relying heavily on patient-generated content to boost rankings in local search results, with the ultimate goal of dominating all three spots within the coveted 3-Pack.

The Google 3-Pack and Why it Matters

The Google 3-Pack refers to the top three local search results prominently displayed at the top of Google search engine results pages (SERPs). The 3-Pack doesn’t display just any healthcare provider — Google’s algorithms offer users the top three most relevant results, based on a combination of factors like proximity, reviews, ratings, keywords, and more. When a patient in Raleigh, North Carolina, searches for “best orthopedic surgeon near me,” Google does its best to show exactly that.

In addition to their visual appeal, these results are positioned strategically to draw more attention and clicks. The 3-Pack features Google Business Profile (GBP) listings with relevant business details, ratings, and a map to offer even more visibility and online real estate. The 3-Pack secures the #1 local rank 93% of the time, and healthcare providers average a 183% increase in listings views when they appear there.

The Google 3-Pack plays an important role in shaping the online presence of healthcare providers and the regions they serve in local “near me” searches. Bottom line: if you haven’t claimed and optimized your GBP listings, the likelihood of your organization appearing in the 3-Pack is slim to none.

How to Light Up Google’s Algorithms

To step into the good graces of Google’s algorithms, GBP listings must be complete, accurate, and include a plethora of positive patient reviews.

Here are a few best practices that will help boost your Google local search rankings so patients can easily find you:

  1. Create a GBP: When it comes to appearing in local search results, having a GBP is the first step and arguably most important ranking factor on Google. Without it, how will patients find you? Plus, it’s free!
  2. Ensure Accuracy and Completeness: That said, it isn’t enough to simply have a GBP. Think of your GBP as your practice website’s new homepage. A good “homepage” should include accurate, up-to-date content. Remember, this is the information prospective patients will see before they decide to visit your website and ultimately book an appointment.
  3. Cultivate Patient-Generated Content: In addition to offering accurate information, review volume is crucial for local search success. The more reviews you have, the higher the chance of matching keywords that patients search for, such as “best knee replacement surgeon near me.” An abundance of 5-star reviews is a great way to light up Google’s algorithms and build patient trust.
  4. Consistently Engage: Equally important, engaging and responding quickly to all patient feedback is crucial. Google’s stance on the matter is clear: responding to reviews is one of the best ways organizations can improve rankings in local search results.

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How rater8 Boosts Your Practice’s Online Visibility

Manually responding to every patient review and updating dozens of practice and provider listings is unsustainable from an operational standpoint, and it’s unfeasible for long-term growth. This is where adopting a healthcare reputation management (HRM) solution like rater8 becomes essential.

While the healthcare industry’s investment in reputation management has seen an uptick in recent years, many practices and providers have yet to get on board. What many fail to realize is that having an automated HRM platform significantly increases an organization’s chances of appearing and ranking in local search results, where they will receive the vast majority of web traffic and actions.

Adopting an Automated Solution

It cannot be overstated how important it is to build stellar practice and provider listings on Google. However, it’s equally crucial for providers to establish themselves on secondary healthcare review platforms such as Vitals, Healthgrades, and WebMD. Cultivating a balanced reputation across multiple platforms signals to search engines that your practice has a consistent, legitimate reputation on all fronts. Google and others will “reward” this behavior by pushing your practice and providers to the top of local search results. To efficiently manage the distribution of reviews across various healthcare review websites, many practices opt to use automated solutions such as rater8.

Huron Gastro Stylized pollin8 Chart

One of the main features that sets rater8 apart from other HRM vendors is its unique internal algorithm, pollin8™. The algorithm works behind the scenes to determine which listings need the most attention across each major healthcare review site. While other  HRM vendors leave it up to the client to crunch the numbers for the best possible review outcome, pollin8™ does the hard work for you. It establishes a best case scenario every time by automatically directing patients to leave reviews on those listings immediately after their appointments.

Overall, rater8’s automated review distribution methodology ensures your practice’s online reputation is consistent and balanced across the platforms that matter most, instilling a sense of confidence in prospective patients.

rater8 Social

Having a social media page for your company isn’t just good for brand recognition. As it turns out, a company page that ranks well within Facebook can also rank well outside of Facebook, thereby boosting your visibility on Google.

As a rater8 client, you’ll have a wealth of quality, patient-generated content right at your fingertips, and we want you to get the most out of it. rater8 Social allows you to augment your online presence with automated patient testimonial posts on Facebook, so you can easily engage your followers and highlight your practice’s successes. With the best 5-star reviews prioritized for publication, you’ll have the ability to showcase regular new content without lifting a finger.

Verified Reviews Pages

An additional feature that helps practices stand out from the competition are rater8’s Verified Reviews pages.

A badge embedded into each doctor’s profile page on your practice’s website opens their respective rater8 Verified Reviews page at reviews.rater8.com, which feature all of the unfiltered Verified Reviews for that doctor. These pages appear high in Google search results, providing yet another opportunity for prospective patients to find your practice.

Positioning Your Practice for Success

Despite providing exceptional care, Huron Gastro’s online reputation skewed negative due to a handful of less-than-stellar Google reviews from unhappy patients. The group was not appearing in local search results, and was therefore missing out on new patient acquisition opportunities.

Recognizing the importance of improving their online image, Huron Gastro embarked on a journey with rater8 to cultivate a stellar digital footprint to match their excellent real-world reputation.

After their first full year with rater8, the practice not only saw a 14,114% increase in online reviews, but was also able to dominate southeastern Michigan’s highly competitive market, positioning them in the Google 3-Pack for nearly every relevant search result.

Today, Huron Gastro continues to benefit from these coveted rankings, with ongoing review growth following their initial incredible burst. At the time of publication, a case study revealed the group had seen a 153% increase in online reviews in their most recent year with rater8, which correlated to a 14% increase in Google listings actions (website visits, phone calls, and direction requests). With rater8 in their tech stack, Huron Gastro will continue to gather timely, high-quality reviews, maximizing their local SEO efforts and fostering patient trust well into the future.

Prospective patients are searching — the question is, will they find you? rater8 serves as a catalyst for healthcare organizations seeking to thrive on Google through enhanced visibility, ranking, and reputation.

The industry’s only goal-based online review builder, pollin8™ cultivates 5-star patient reviews via post-visit text and email requests. Each patient is directed to the listing and review platform that needs the most attention, thus optimizing every provider and location listing across multiple review sites to maximize a practice’s online visibility.

Additionally, rater8 seamlessly integrates with 110+ of the leading practice management and EMR systems, ensuring all review requests are fully automated and sent exclusively to verified patients.

If you’re ready to position your practice for success and experience the power of rater8 through a 30-day free trial, schedule a live demo with our team of reputation experts.

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