Since it would be easy for a business to just pay for reviews, Google uses an algorithm to determine if a business’s reviews are natural. This algorithm is designed to observe natural human behavior. For example, it wouldn’t be natural to suddenly get twenty reviews for your business on the same day. Google’s algorithm would likely see this as unnatural and wouldn’t post them.
Here are three things to keep in mind when you’re getting reviews for your practice:
- Relevance: The words in the review should reflect the type of business. For example, a review about a dental office will probably include the word “dentist” or “dental implants.”
- Diversity: It’s important to get reviews on all the major review platforms. Otherwise, Google’s algorithm might think you’re targeting one review site and that the reviews aren’t from real customers. The major review platforms include:
- Google+ Local – the user will need a Google+ account to make a review
- Yelp – the user will need a Yelp account to make a review
- Yahoo Local – the user will need a Yahoo account to make a review
- Citysearch, Insiderpages, Yellow Pages – the user doesn’t need an account, but they are less helpful for your ranking
- Velocity: The reviews should come in at a natural rate, as patients are asked and then decide to write the reviews. If your business suddenly got 100 reviews – even if they were all from real patients – Google’s algorithm would probably think they weren’t real.
Of course, you can’t control what people write, but you can provide various opportunities for them to do so by providing them links to your various profiles. Getting reviews coming in at a natural rate will take time and dedication. Get into the habit of emailing patients personally after each visit to help to keep the reviews coming in over time.
Part 2 of 5 - Read next "How to get online reviews for your dental practice"