From cars to cosmetics, consumers turn to online reviews for honest opinions that inform their purchase decisions. When it comes to finding a doctor, it's no surprise that patients rely on reviews to find the best for their health care.

Online reviews lend credibility to your practice. But these online reviews can also improve your search engine optimization (SEO), leading more potential patients to make an appointment. Read on to learn why reviews matter and how to implement a ratings campaign.

Build trust through online reviews

Reviews are an increasingly important strategy to attract new patients. People care about other patient's experiences, and it shows in how they choose a doctor. In a recent survey, 90% of patients say they use online reviews as a source to find a new doctor. Feedback and high ratings from patients can build trust in your practice and encourage new appointments.

Boost your search rankings

Ratings and reviews are crucial SEO factors for many reasons. Reviews are a prime source of user-generated content. These first-hand testimonials contribute to higher Google rankings as do the click-through rates generated by your positive reviews. When your patients leave ratings and feedback, chances are they are also using many of your keywords. This adds SEO value to your practice, once again helping you reach more potential patients.

Tips to implement an online ratings campaign

An online ratings campaign requires close attention but can have a considerable return on investment. Here are four tips for success:

Select your platforms

Offer your patients at least two places where they can leave an online review. Your practice's website is a natural start for first-party reviews and testimonials. Sites such as Google My Business, Vitals, Healthgrades, RateMDs, Facebook, and Yelp are popular third-party review sites.

Encourage reviews

Ask your patients to give feedback on their experiences. Set up an email campaign to reach out within a week of appointments and make it easy for patients to participate.

Follow up

Responding to reviews—both positive and negative—shows that you care about the insight your patients share and are committed to improving your practice. How you interact and respond is essential to your reputation. See our suggestions for responding to negative reviews.

Share your reviews

Post reviews on your website and share them on your social media channels. You'll instill greater trust in your practice and boost your SEO as well. A ratings campaign can help increase your website traffic, grow your reputation and generate new patient leads. Contact CMG Health Marketing for guidance on how to leverage patient reviews in your SEO strategy.