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doctor checks his phone for his clinic's Yelp reviews

by OppGen

Yelp is perhaps best known for small business reviews (think restaurants and salons), but the well-known directory listing website is also a place for patients to leave reviews for doctors,  medical practices, and clinics.

If your medical practice does not have a presence on Yelp, it’s time to claim your business page.

 

Why doctors need a Yelp listing

Finding new patients

The top reason why doctors need to have a Yelp listing is simple: it helps bring in more patients.

It is crucial for medical practices to have a strong online presence, and that means you need to have more than just your website up and running. You need to have active social media accounts, a Google My Business listing, and positive reviews

However, Google My Business listings are only one place where new patients can find you.

Other popular medical- and doctor-specific directories include:

Your clinic needs to be as easy for prospective patients to find as possible. That means creating and maintaining multiple listings on relevant directories like Yelp, and those listed above. 

 

Off-page SEO

Although Google My Business listings are growing in popularity because of the unique advantages they offer, it’s still a good idea to have listings in several directories,  especially on popular sites like Yelp.

 Directory listings are critical for off-page search engine optimization (SEO). Off-page SEO looks at your website through the lens of other sites. This means search engines like Google are seeing where your practice’s website is being mentioned on the web through backlinks — links on other sites that link back to your site. Directories are an easy way to acquire backlinks, and Yelp is a valuable one to have.

Getting positive reviews is another key aspect of a winning off-page SEO strategy. Having a lot of five-star reviews on your listings sends a signal to search engines that your business does high-quality work. In turn, the search engine will likely have your site rank higher for searches related to your services.

Off-page SEO, directory management, and positive reviews are proven SEO strategies for gaining visibility in your market, increasing traffic to your website, generating new leads, and signing on more patients.

 

Reputation management

According to a 2020 survey, 90% of patients use online reviews to evaluate doctors. 

Nearly 75% of patients use reviews as the first step to finding a new doctor

But if your clinic has no reviews, that’s a problem.

If someone has a problem or a bad experience in their doctor’s office, they probably won’t make a huge fuss over it in person.  However, they are far more likely to let the world know about it in an online review.

Even if you don’t have a Yelp listing set up, there is a good chance it already exists. Previous patients and Yelp users actually have the ability to establish a listing for you. The good news is that as the owner of your business, you do have the ability to claim your listing. 

By claiming the listing, you will at least be able to respond to dissatisfied patients’ complaints and try to make amends.

 

How to claim a Yelp listing

1. Find your medical practice on Yelp

You can start the process of claiming your practice or clinic’s Yelp listing by.   Go to Yelp for Business at biz.yelp.com/claim. From there, Yelp will guide you through the necessary steps to claim your business listing.

 

2. Create and verify your Yelp account

Next, you’ll need to create an account. Enter your business’s information and email address. Make sure you use an email address you check on a regular basis so you can stay on top of reviews and anything else that happens on your page.

Once you’ve completed creating your account, you’ll need to verify it. With Yelp, you will either receive an email or a phone call with a verification number. Follow the instructions you are given to verify your account.

 

3. Optimize your medical practice’s Yelp listing

Now that you’ve found your practice’s Yelp listing and set up an account, you need to optimize the listing. This means adding more information about your clinic or practice, such as:

  • Clinic or business hours
  • Contact information
  • High-quality photos of your clinic and/or staff members
  • Your practice’s specialties and background (i.e., why did you decide to open this practice or clinic, information about you and your staff)

Once you’ve added this information, double-check it and even triple-check it. It’s important that all of your clinic’s information is 100% accurate and lines up with the information on your website and other directory listings.

 

Healthcare Providers: How to respond to negative Yelp reviews without violating HIPAA

One of the most important aspects of Yelp and similar directory sites is the ability for business owners to respond to reviews. Not all reviews necessarily need a response, but negative reviews most certainly do.

But for doctors and medical practitioners, responding to negative reviews — or any review, — must be done with care. Including too much detail in a response can result in a potential HIPAA violation.

This can be more difficult for specialty clinics that focus on very specific health issues, such as men’s clinics.

All responses to negative reviews need to be original. They should not be copied-and-pasted responses with changes only to the patient’s name and maybe a few other details. If you want an unhappy patient to return, you need to be sincere, which means a non-personalized response isn’t going to do you any favors. 

If you can address the patient’s complaints without giving away why they were there for treatment, that’s often the best route. Maybe they were upset about the wait time, the state of the office, or poor bedside manners. Those topics are fairly easy to safely address while maintaining patient privacy. 

But if a patient goes into more detail about their treatment or why they were there, be careful. It may seem natural to respond with the reasons for their treatment, but it’s even easier to breach a patient’s privacy in the process.

Here is a safer option: Give a brief response apologizing for their poor experience and ask them to call or email you. This will help circumvent the risk of a HIPAA violation.

Ask yourself: Does my response give away any information about why this patient came to visit? Anything about treatment? If your answer is no, you’re probably in the clear.

 

Contact OppGen for more information

For more information about setting up a Yelp listing and other medical marketing strategies, contact OppGen today. We’ve worked with hundreds of clinics like yours to generate leads and increase revenue with an improved return on investment.

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doctor checks his phone for his clinic's Yelp reviews
Doctor Reviews on Yelp