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I’m Paying for SEO, Why Worry About Patient Reviews

I’m a huge fan of search engine marketing. I love this industry because it keeps me excited and engaged. Over the past few years, search engine marketing has expanded to include SEO (search engine optimization), social media, reputation management, media buys, the list goes on and on and on.

Recently, the position of online reviews has become more prominent in search results as potential patients place more value and trust in them.

Most patients interested in an elective procedure will begin researching their procedure of interest online. I would like to take a quick walk through a standard Internet patient conversion to best explain the synergy between SEO and patient reviews. It is important to pay attention to both the SERP (search engine result page) and your online reputation.

Example of Elective Healthcare Purchase Process

Let’s say I am interested in LASIK and I live in San Diego. My initial Google search may be “lasik” or “laser eye surgery.” Upon doing my due diligence, I find a website full of educational information, and lucky me, it just so happens to be a local San Diego ophthalmologist. Now that I know I am interested, my next step is to schedule a consultation to determine if I am in-fact a candidate for LASIK.

If I am like most people, I will interview 3 – 5 practices before I find my doctor. Now that I have consulted with a few options, I will narrow my search down to two candidates. My next step is to search for additional information about each doctor to confirm the physicians I connected with have a good reputation. SEO is mainly responsible for getting me as the patient to this point, but now patient reviews will come into play, and can provide the final push a patient needs to schedule the appointment.

Why a Combination of SEO and Patient Reviews is Essential

My goal as a consultant is to build a profile for procedural search terms in a specific geographic location. However, since most of my clients’ top search terms are variations of their name or the practice name, focusing on the search results for variations of a business’ brand is also extremely important.

The example above represents the typical purchase process for the average patient when they first begin to consider an elective healthcare procedure. While there are a number of SEO tactics I can initiate to enhance the online performance of your website, there are also a number of resources potential patients rely on when considering such a procedure. Patient reviews and SEO both play a significant role in the purchase process, which is why taking a proactive approach in both areas is essential.

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