Yelp vs. Google: Prioritizing Reviews for Your Eyecare Practice
By Practice Growth October 19, 2021
Everyone that has an optometry practice or manages one knows the importance of online reviews for their practices – not only for their marketing but also for staff recruitment and developing an online presence. There are many places where your patients can place reviews including Google places listing, Yelp, Facebook, Glassdoor, and Healthgrades.
While an optometry practice website may make claims about the practice's trustworthiness and ability to deliver personalized care, people are naturally skeptical, especially when it has to do with marketing language and web copy. Prospective patients want objective information about a practice. Having a good strategy to obtain good, high-quality reviews from your patients can give your practice a major competitive advantage and attract more patients.
Ignoring your review standing on Google, Facebook, and Yelp can lead to negative impacts on the number of new patients that come to you. The first place anyone goes before settling for a doctor, a restaurant, or any service at all – they check the website. Although in the past fewer reviews were considered trustworthy, the game has changed today. More people are posting their doctor's reviews and ratings online. These reviews are trusted even more than marketing campaigns.
Yelp vs. Google – The battle for high-intent customer searches
If we were to go by the numbers, Google would most likely seem the one with the upper hand against Yelp. This doesn’t mean that more searches would translate to more conversions for your business. Yelp is a review platform built just for reviews, which means anyone coming to Yelp has a specific goal for a product or service. It implies that the person has an interest in purchasing the product or service, and is looking for a quote for a professional service, or ready to make a decision, looking to validate a decision, or take an action. Google, on the other hand, is built for searching for businesses and keywords. If you want high-intent customers, you should include Yelp in your reviews and reputation management strategy.
When it comes to ads for your business, Google sure has a wide range of ad formats including images, texts, product showcase, app promotion, and other ad tools that Yelp has limitations on. Yelp only carries out a simple ad display based on search within the platform. Google ads continue to be an essential tool for most businesses and practices in the US.
Google reviews – A change in the playing field
Before now, Google usually presented online reputation based on reviews from sources like Yelp, Facebook, and other review sites. This changed when Google gave priority to its own reviews, which shows the number of reviews and the average star rating in local search results. This displays the number of reviews and stars referred to as the “Local Pack”. This has become vital for most businesses and practices, as it puts your average ranking and number of reviews at the top and center of your local search.
What happens to Yelp?
With Google’s adjustments, the questions that roll into our minds are, “What happened to Yelp? or “is Yelp still Relevant? Of course, Yelp is still very important and is trusted by many people. Some people still prefer to use Yelp to search for a new service provider or practice than to go on Google, especially in certain markets like Southern California where Yelp is super popular. While this is very true, the quantity of traffic you will get from Google is way larger compared to that of Yelp. When it comes to building an online presence for your practice and building a reputation for yourself, you have to focus on your ROI – and this is likely Google My Business.
Google My Business – Is more really more?
More is more when it comes to Google My Business for your optometry practice since most people will search for your business using Google. Having a lot of positive reviews is very helpful but you have to realize that a prospective patient looks for recent reviews. A prospective patient might see a lot of reviews from the past 3 years and a subsequent drop off in review might trigger concerns about the practice. It’s vital to invest resources in managing your practice reputation with a special focus on recent reviews.
A recent study shows that 79% of consumers trust online reviews and 94% of consumers believe that positive reviews would draw them to pick a certain business. Despite these appealing statistics, the study also points out that 73% of consumers prefer reviews from the last month.
It gets even better for your practice as reviews are counted as engagement on Google business, which, in turn, yields improved SEO results.
How do you get reviews for your eye care practice? The simple answer is to ask for reviews from your patients. You have to be proactive. If you cannot go about asking your patients for reviews while running the practice and seeing patients, then delegate it to someone who can help you do this for every patient. Should you ask the patient who had a tantrum in the office for their review? No. Some critical feedback is ok and there are many ways to deal with that on a review. However, make it a point to ask patients that received quality care from you, got Dry eye relief, score perfect fitting eyewear, or experienced an excellent eye exam. Then, it shouldn't be much to ask to drop a review on Google or Yelp. Just make it easy for them. You can send patients a link from Google or your marketing platform immediately after their visit.
Concluding – Yelp vs. Google
On a final note, the case shouldn’t be Yelp versus Google, but rather it should be Yelp and Google for your practice reviews. The market for Yelp in the US is very robust with the most reviewed categories being restaurants, home, and local services, beauty and fitness, shopping, and health. While Yelp helps you gain high-intent customers, Google will help you increase your visibility and online reach. If your practice is new, Google puts you out there to be seen by giving you the chance to earn credibility using Google’s open-to-all reviews.
To utilize both channels, you need to develop a clear roadmap. If you’re just starting out, don’t get caught up in perfectionism. You just want to get started. You might consider hiring a consultant or reputation management company to optimize your methodology. Think in terms of a 1.0 release where you’re getting a process going that you’ll refine over time. Allocating your investment strategically across smartly designed Yelp review pages, seasonal campaigns on Yelp, and SEO-optimized Google ads is integral to your online presence. Doing so can help you maximize the best out of the two channels.