Patients today have turned to the search bar as their first course of action when seeking a healthcare provider. Indeed, 45% of patients use a search engine like Google when looking for healthcare services, more than other online discovery methods like insurance portals, practice websites, and healthcare review platforms combined. Further, no matter the search method or platform, 86% of patients ultimately rely on online reviews to drive their healthcare decisions.
As the patient acquisition journey continues to transform, no approach better aligns with the behaviors of today’s patients than Reputation SEO — a digital marketing strategy that builds upon the primary efforts of online reputation management.
In this article, we explore this growing digital marketing strategy and share four ways practices can maximize their Reputation SEO in an effort to drive greater patient acquisition.
What is Reputation SEO?
Reputation SEO uses patient-generated content to maximize a practice’s online visibility and rankings in search results, particularly in “category” or “discovery” searches such as “best doctor near me.” A natural extension of healthcare reputation management (HRM), this digital marketing strategy leans heavily on the optimization of the three primary parts of a practice’s online image:
- Provider and practice online review site listings
- Patient-generated content (online reviews and ratings)
- Patient engagement
Overall, Reputation SEO seeks to elevate a practice’s visibility in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). In doing so, this comprehensive strategy offers practices a simple, cost-effective way to increase their brand awareness, grow their trust marketing, and unlock new acquisition opportunities by meeting their patients where they are online.
4 Strategies for Maximizing Reputation SEO
Reputation SEO relies largely on online reputation management strategies instead of conventional search engine optimization efforts. As such, healthcare providers must implement strategies different from those adopted for previous digital marketing initiatives.
In this section, we provide four ways practices can maximize their Reputation SEO in an effort to rank higher in local search results and improve patient acquisition.
1. Build complete listings for every doctor and practice location
Today, 49% of patients say they would not book an appointment with a healthcare provider who has an incomplete Google listing, citing the lack of information as a “red flag.” Building complete and accurate listings on major healthcare review platforms is crucial for healthcare providers looking to maximize their Reputation SEO. A key strategy in this regard is ensuring each listing’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) information is consistent and up to date.
To maintain a strong online presence and boost visibility in search engine results, it is recommended that healthcare practices conduct regular audits of their listings for each provider and office location. As a rule of thumb, updating these listings at least once per year helps ensure that prospective and returning patients alike can easily access accurate and reliable information.
2. Optimize the “Four R’s” of your online image
Many variables used to determine search rankings, such as your physical address, are outside of your control. Fortunately, you can easily control and quickly improve the “Four R’s” to maximize your Reputation SEO and be prioritized by Google.
Reviews, ratings, recency, and responses play a crucial role in elevating Reputation SEO. Google and other popular search engines place high value on patient reviews, making it essential for practices to actively manage their online reputation. An abundance of high-quality reviews is one of the best ways to attract positive attention from Google’s algorithm. Amplifying the patient voice is a must for any practice seeking to build trust and showcase proof of exceptional care.
Recency is another major factor to consider when optimizing your practice’s online presence. Google favors fresh, relevant content to ensure users are receiving the best possible information. The more time that passes between reviews, the less Google will value your listings. Receiving frequent, high-quality patient reviews and testimonials ensures Google will continue to promote your listings, boosting your visibility in search results.
It’s also important to consistently engage with patients and promptly respond to their feedback. This demonstrates your commitment to patient satisfaction and helps build trust among potential patients who come across these interactions. Google explicitly states that responding to reviews is a key way practices can improve their rankings in local search results. Notably, healthcare providers must ensure all responses are HIPAA-compliant and protect patients’ confidentiality.
Abundant and frequent reviews, 5-star ratings, and responsiveness all contribute to a patient’s sense of trust and confidence that you’re the right provider to care for them or their loved ones.
3. Cultivate reviews across multiple platforms
While having a strong presence on Google is important, it is equally crucial for practices to establish themselves on secondary review platforms such as Vitals, Healthgrades, WebMD, and Facebook. To efficiently manage the distribution of reviews across various healthcare review websites, many practices adopt reputation management solutions such as rater8.
rater8’s unique internal algorithm automatically distributes reviews across every major healthcare review website with, of course, an emphasis on Google listings. This ensures your practice’s reputation is consistent and amplified across multiple platforms, instilling in patients a sense of confidence in your practice.
A balanced reputation across multiple review sites also wins favor with Google’s algorithms. When the search engine detects your practice is frequently receiving positive reviews across different platforms, it recognizes your practice as reputable and trustworthy. This increases the likelihood your listings will appear at the top of Google search results, where your practice will receive the vast majority of web traffic and actions.
4. Take advantage of patient-generated content
Not only does patient-generated content like reviews and ratings help increase online visibility, but it also plays a crucial role in trust marketing. Patient reviews and ratings provide social proof of quality care and build trust among potential patients who are researching healthcare options online. Positive feedback from previous patients can heavily influence the decision-making process for new patients.
A great way to take advantage of patient-generated reviews and ratings is by adding them as dynamic content to doctors’ bio pages. When potential patients visit a practice’s website, nothing instills more confidence than seeing recent, positive testimonials displayed right under their doctor’s information.
Constantly updating your practice’s bio pages can become laborious, which is why rater8 developed an automated testimonials widget for healthcare providers. Easily embedded into any practice’s website, the widget automatically collects 5-star online reviews with high patient sentiment scores and containing at least 100 characters, and adds them directly to the doctor’s page. As a result, practices further enhance their perception among current and future patients, ultimately driving greater patient acquisition and retention.
Transform Your Practice’s Reputation SEO with rater8
Ready to see how rater8 can elevate your practice’s patient acquisition strategy? To try our multifaceted solution for 30 days absolutely free, schedule a live demo with our HRM experts.
During your 30-day trial, your practice will be able to:
- Seamlessly integrate rater8 with your PM/EMR system
- Start seeing new patient volume increase
- Cultivate 5-star patient reviews across every major healthcare review platform
- Increase your practice’s overall Reputation SEO
- Send fully customizable post-visit patient feedback surveys
- View all patient reviews and feedback via the rater8 dashboard
- Meet with rater8’s team at the 14- and 30-day marks to track and review your progress
What are you waiting for? Upgrade your practice’s online reputation today!