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5 Things Optometrists Should Know about Google Reviews

by | Mar 19, 2024

Online reviews are a cornerstone of your optometry practice’s reputation on the internet. People can and do read and write online reviews, and as of March 2024, the most visible reviews platform is on Google. If you own or manage an optometry practice, here are five essential things you should know about Google reviews.

Google reviews impact your local SEO and influence 

Google reviews significantly influence your practice’s visibility in local search results. A higher number of positive reviews can improve your practice’s search ranking, making it more likely for potential patients to find you.

Google considers the number and quality of your reviews when determining your business’s ranking in search results. Positive reviews can help build trust and credibility, which can improve your online reputation and potentially attract more patients and customers. Prospective patients often read reviews to gauge the quality of care and service they can expect, with many considering them as trustworthy as personal recommendations.

Encourage patients to review you on Google

Actively encouraging patients to leave reviews can help increase your review volume and enhance your practice’s online reputation. I know it’s a hassle to come up with a workable process on getting more reviews, but I have seen great growth on new patient exams scheduled when practices increase the quantity of reviews!

Personally, I like the process of automatically sending out a text message after someone visits you for care with a link to your Google business profile. This makes it easy for people to leave reviews, and it also removes the burden of responsibility from your team, who may get busy and forget to ask or feel awkward asking people for reviews.

It’s also a bit of a numbers game. Sending out a link via text message with a request to review you on Google to everyone will increase your odds of significantly increasing the number of reviews, versus sending out requests manually and sporadically.

Be careful when responding to Google reviews

It is so tricky for optometry practice owners to engage with people when they leave a review, be it positive or negative, because of HIPAA. Patients may leave detailed accounts of their experience at your practice, but that doesn’t give you authorization to identify them as such. Do not reveal any patient-identifiable information when responding to reviews. Be professional and neutral if you choose to respond, and if you receive a negative review from an actual patient, seek to resolve the situation offline.

Monitor and manage your Google reviews

Regularly monitoring your Google reviews allows you to stay informed about what patients are saying about your practice. This can provide valuable insights into areas where your practice excels and where there might be room for improvement.

In general, we want to keep the star-rating at 4 stars and above. It’s okay to receive a few bad reviews – it simply makes the good reviews more authentic and believable! But if there’s more bad reviews than good and the star-rating dips into 3 stars or below, people can get the impression that they should steer clear.

Don’t incentivize people to leave Google reviews

Follow Google’s guidelines for reviews, such as not incentivizing reviews, to maintain the integrity and authenticity of your reviews. All it takes is one or two people stating, “they gave me a Starbucks gift card to leave this review!” on your Google business profile to blow the credibility of the good reviews, even if you truly earned them through your excellent care and service.

In summary, Google reviews are a crucial piece of your online presence and reputation. Make it easy for people to leave reviews on your Google business profile, be careful when you respond not to disclose any patient information, and regularly monitor the status of your star-rating and reviews.

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