By Jovana Smoljanić, PT
With 40,000 searches per second and an average of 3.5 billion searches per day, Google can be the first point of contact between you and your clients.
A study by Search Engine Land found that having a positive Google presence provides the greatest increase in conversion rates than any other search engine optimization effort – not to mention it is free, so you are getting the best bang for your buck.
Therefore, ensuring your business comes up on the first page – and preferably on top of the first page – of a Google-search result is vital… Let’s be honest, no one checks the second page.
How to ensure that your clinic appears on top of your customers’ Google search…
1) Verify your Business
Google favors verified businesses when displaying search results. Your business needs a Google+ page in order for you to verify it, following which you will need to confirm the information by postcard or phone. Depending on the size of your business(es), instant or bulk verification my be possible.
2) Star Rating
The star rating of your clinic is one of the factors that determines if your clinic comes up on the 1st page or the 21st page on Google.
Therefore, ensuring that you clinic has something close to a 5-star rating is very important. The Help page that Google provides at “Google My Business” states that more “positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking” in the search results.
3) Positive Reviews
Not only is it important to have a high star rating, it is just as important to have as may positive reviews as possible.
A study by Search Engine Land has found that 88% of people trust Google reviews as much as personal recommendations. Furthermore, the more reviews a business has the more trustworthy it is deemed to be; potential customers will on average read six reviews to make up their mind.
Also, keeping those reviews recent – that is, continuously getting new reviews – keeps your page active, which keeps your clinic on top of Google’s search results.
From the potential-patient’s perspective, if two clinics have a similar star rating but one has three reviews and the other has 40 reviews, they will call the clinic with the 40 reviews. It instills confidence and buy-in into the services that you and your clinic provide before the client even sets foot into your clinic.
Furthermore, since physiotherapists in Ontario are not allowed to post patient testimonials on their website, Google reviews are a great way of showcasing your clinic’s satisfied clients.
4) Replying to Reviews
Google rewards businesses for responding to reviews by ranking those businesses higher when displaying search results. This is another great way to climb your way out of the second page of Google’s search results.
It is especially important to respond to any negative reviews, and this should be done in a way that leaves the reviewer and potential customers satisfied – i.e., this is not the place to tell a client that their treatment wasn’t successful due to their lack of compliance to the treatment plan.
It is important to show that customer feedback is important to you and that you try to make changes/improvements based on the feedback.
5) Photo and Google Posts
Sharing content on your page is slightly less important, but it is another way of keeping your Google page active (which Google does reward).
Photos of the clinic and staff are always good to have because they give clients a sense of where they will be going and who will be treating them, which can help put them at ease.
Google Posts only stay up for seven days and then disappear – this is a great way of sharing new programs/services your clinic is offering, interesting/fun facts about services you offer, or even inspirational quotes.