Online reviews have become an influential tour de force: A whopping 88% of consumers read reviews to determine whether or not they’ll use a business, and they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A large part of gaining ownership of your online reputation is being aware of where consumers are reviewing you. The following are the top sites your patients and customers are using.
Yelp has a staggering influence with an average of 132 million users each month. Four out of five Yelp users say that they visit the site before deciding to spend money—and 90% do so within a week of reading Yelp reviews. Being listed on Yelp can help boost your search engine rankings. Companies and services are given a “star”ranking, which gives consumers a quick, visual glance at your reputation.
Not only is this a site for reviews, but it can also help your business or medical practice score some prime internet real estate. When a Google+ page is claimed, it not only helps your ranking on Google search, but it also provides integration of your business’ presence across all Google platforms—including maps. Google+ also uses the star rankings format. And because it’s the world’s most popular search engine, pages on Google+ are helpful for a company’s search engine optimization.
With one billion users, Facebook has become much more than a social networking behemoth; it has become prime territory for businesses. Facebook’s reach is so extensive, that if all its users were made into a country, it would be the third most populous in the world. Through Facebook, not only can users follow businesses and get the latest up-to-date information, but they can also post to the business page and leave reviews.
Angie’s List is a major review site for service-based businesses, including physicians. Angie’s List now requires a paid membership in order to write or review services. By creating a business page, Angie’s List enables businesses to respond to negative reviews. Reviewers are able to give businesses grades from A to F, incorporating different facets of the business (wait times, friendliness of staff, etc.) These individual facets are averaged to give the business an overall grade.
Citysearch is a free, user-generated local review site that can pack a punch when it comes to search engine results pages. Like Insider Pages, it operates on a 5-star review system. City search also offers a rewards program. Reviewers get points for providing guides and information and those points can be converted to an Amazon gift card.
Health Care Specific Review Sites
If you own a restaurant, you’re not likely to see reviews on Amazon, but OpenTable and Foursquare will have a wealth of customer reviews. Likewise, TripAdvisor and Expedia would have more reviews for hotels, while you shouldn’t expect to see the local Holiday Inn reviewed on Healthgrades. Following are some sites that focus solely on health care reviews:
In 2013, there were more than 150 million Vital searches for physicians, and industry experts indicate that some patients will use an out-of-network provider if that doctor had excellent reviews. Vitals allows reviewers to leave a star ranking and review.
HealthGrades provides reviews for doctors and publishes national hospital rankings. While it does not allow specific written comments, users can provide “star rankings” to providers in a wide variety of specific areas, including ease of scheduling appointments, office environment, staff friendliness and wait time. Some sites, such as Insider Pages, pull reviews from this page.
Allows users to search over two million doctor reviews and ratings. These ratings include not only MDs but dentists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners and psychologists.
Of course, knowing where your customers and patients are reviewing you is just one small part of the equation. You need to determine what is being said about you, how to protect your online reputation, and how to appropriately respond to negative reviews.