By Noha Abou-Hashima
Did you know that online reviews can help boost your SEO? Search engines understand that consumers rely on other consumers' experiences to help them make purchasing decisions. 90% of consumers base their purchasing decisions on positive online reviews, while 86% said their decisions were influenced by negative online reviews
. If you want your patients to choose your practice over your competitors’ you should be utilizing the tools your patients use - one of which is online reviews.
Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, Ireland, revealed two of the top three signals that Google uses
to rank search results: content, and links. But search engines rely on hundreds of factors for ranking search results, and online reviews rank pretty high on that list. In fact, review signals rank as high as fifth on local search engine ranking factors
. That's right - fifth! You might be thinking: "but reviews are just people's opinions about a business, why do they matter so much to search engines?" Three words: User-Generated Content.
More than just a bunch of people praising (or cursing) your practice, online reviewers are a valuable asset to search engines when it comes to evaluating websites. Search engines look at reviews as original, organic content created by users. This content lends legitimacy to your website, as search engines look for honest testimonials about your practice.
Okay, so you know how valuable online reviews are to search engines. How exactly do they impact SEO? Simply put, reviews and ratings can help distinguish your practice from the competition in search engine results. Other than reviews being organic, user-generated content, search engines also look at the quantity, diversity, and velocity of reviews. In fact, factors related to reviews were among the top 50 factors that influence search results rankings
. Some of these include: product/service keywords in reviews, positive sentiment in reviews, and authority of third-party sites on which reviews are present.
Related Article: Online Reputation Management for Practices
Now that you understand how important online reviews are to search engines, let’s talk about how you can use them to boost your SEO.
- User-generated Content
An active site makes for a happy search engine. Sites stay active by generating content. However, this can be a tedious and expensive job. So how can a website keep generating content without expending effort and money? The answer: rely on user-generated content.